Welcome to the ’60s!
By Jennifer Coles
Set in the swinging ’60s and covered in class and charm, Cheeky Theatre Company’s presentation of Come Blow Your Horn is a wonderful return to the fast-paced action of that era. Slick, sophisticated and witty, Neil Simon’s much-acclaimed play is in good hands as handled by the Cheeky Theatre crew, with solid direction, performances and design. Telling the tale primarily of the Baker brothers, Buddy (a hilarious and endearing Simon Alderman) leaves home for the first time as an innocent 21-year-old to move in with his older playboy brother Alan (played with gusto by Antony Talia).
In the wrong hands, this play could quite easily become a mess. The dialogue is fast and thick, and requires constant diction and attention. Thankfully, the cast adhere to the brash and bold Brooklyn style and are not afraid to enjoy the dialogue they’ve been given. The jokes are paced well, with clear evidence of solid direction by Craig Irons, and the characterisation is well emphasized and exaggerated for comedic effect. The subtle mannerisms of Buddy’s bundle of nerves are offset wonderfully by the smooth movements of Alan, and the pair have wonderful interplay. In fact, the interaction between the Baker brothers is the highlight of the show, as it is so expertly written by Simon and here delivered by Alderman and Talia. It was also fantastic to see wonderful performances from Lucy Gransbury as the strong and determined Connie, and lighthearted Lucinda Burney as the contrasting Peggy.
Since the Warehouse is a somewhat unusual space to work in, The Cheeky Theatre Company used it to their advantage. Because there was no stage to speak of, the actors weren’t afraid to get close to the audience, and it was like we’d been transported back to the time period and were quietly observing this little piece of history. However, this proximity did sometimes result in the actors ‘stepping out of the light’ every so often, which can be fixed easily. And apart from a few opening-night jitters, the space was used well.
For a first performance, this production of Come Blow Your Horn was incredibly strong, and will no doubt have a stellar season. So take trip back to the 60’s with the Cheeky Theatre Company- it’s a blast!
Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street
Season: Until September 14
Tues – Sat: 8pm, Sun: 5pm
Price: Full $32, Conc $26