The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead
22/04/2006 - 20/05/2006
By Robert Hewett
Directed by Sue Rider
Everyone has their own story to tell about the day that Rhonda Russell, deserted wife and mother, went berserk in the shopping mall. And who’s to know where the truth lies? With the best friend who might have egged her on? With the husband who denies responsibility? Or with the victim’s family whose lives were changed forever? And then there’s the story of the vengeful redhead herself, but she’s probably the least likely to know what really happened.
In this gripping adventure, the world is turned upside down in a disastrous and comic sequence of events. As the intrigue unfolds, seven different characters give a fresh twist of perspective – all played by one multifaceted performer.
featuring Eilish Moran
2hrs 5min, incl. interval
Review by Ron Kjestrup 09th May 2006
It is never more obvious that theatre is an essentially middle class activity than when it tries to be edgy. The advertising for The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead tries for a bit of street but comes over all Shirley-Valentine-with-attitude.
The first impressions of the set are a bit the same. Hurricane wire fence, costumes and wigs already on the stage – telling us that this isn’t your usual theatrical fare – this is ‘modern’. Which is a shame really because this mournful tragedy set in the western suburbs does have an edge.
Playwright Robert Hewett has said he believes that creating good roles for actors is a crucial part of the job. He has certainly created a challenge here: a solo piece with seven characters arranged in a series of monologues that relate the story of a shopping centre crime and it’s effects on a disparate group of characters.
The relationships are gradually revealed as are some surprises but the crime is not much of a mystery as we know who done it fairly early on. The narrative is really about the unravelling of lives associated with that crime and its causes. It’s a play about guilt and innocence – the complicity w e have in the events of our own and others’ lives.
Actor Eilish Moran is easily up to the task. Her suburban housewife, interfering neighbour and elderly woman – the female characters – are naturally stronger than the males but all have an individual feel and she captures their subtleties beautifully.
Moran and director Sue Rider also manage the arc of the story nicely. It would be easy to lose interest faced with a succession of individual stories each relating the next section of the narrative but the two have created a piece that feels whole and finished despite some deficiencies in the writing.
In fact, apart from the naff promotion, any weakness in the production is in the original script which tends to the obvious and contains sometimes clunky dialogue (is that the right word for one actor?).
This production is well worth a visit, however, for its interesting exploration of the fragility of ordinary lives and for Moran’s a fine performance.
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