SIMPLE AND ENDEARING
WHERE ARE YOU MY ONLY ONE?
by Vanessa Rhodes
Director: Cameron Rhodes
at The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
From 27 Nov 2012 to 8 Dec 2012
Reviewed by Adey Ramsel, 29 Nov 2012
Without doubt Where Are You, My Only One? is, in turns, charming, beautiful and eloquent. A love story that thankfully ignores the hackneyed clichés of roses, wine and poetry and finds its true self in the air we breathe, the beauty of an unseen country and the colour of a bird.
Also ignored are the obvious, culture-clash gags yelling out to be included – instead we have feelings (remember them?), truth and hope for friendship, and maybe beyond.
Nine years after starting life as a shorter piece for Silo's To Russia With Love season in 2003, Vanessa Rhodes has crafted a script of passion and delight in its simplicity; there are no convoluted plot turns, twists or cliff hangers here, just real people and their hearts' desires. And the script closes just where it should; no running across airport tarmacs or cosy-happy-ever-afters: just two people being – in their own words – brave.
The dialogue would not be out of place upon the printed page and more than once I found myself repeating the words, wondering how they'd read in a novel.
Cameron Rhodes has reflected this and directed the play with heartfelt simplicity: two tables, four chairs, a rug and a scattering of props. He has placed the play in the hands of David Aston (also the producer), Elizabeth Hawthorne and Elena Stejko, and this tight trio deliver on all levels.
From Bonnie Burrill's lighting to John Verryt's set design, all involved, have been true to the theme and single vision of telling the story of three people who each have a need.
Aston, as always, is dependable as Kiwi Bob: solid as the land he works, never faltering. Bob is as straight as they come and thankfully all attempts at playing him for laughs as a fumbling farm-boy are avoided.
Elena Stejko is a delight to watch, her heart torn between home and hope, the future and family. With Elizabeth Hawthorne as her traditionalist mother, this pair give voice to the age old battle of tradition versus a better, brighter future. Whilst Stejko, in style and persona, radiates the new world on the other side of the world, Hawthorne is a lingering presence of tradition and loyalty, a homage to the past where love and the heart gave way to duty.
Simple and endearing, as all the best stories are.
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See also reviews by:
Matt Baker (Theatre Scenes - Auckland Theatre Blog);
Janet McAllister (New Zealand Herald);