Monday, March 7, 2011

PIAF: Boundary Street

Written by Reg Cribb
Music by James Morrison
Directed by Kate Cherry
Featuring Adriane Daff, Rebecca Davis, Matt Dyktynski, Luke Hewitt, Christopher Kirby, Damon Lockwood. Clare Moss, Emma Pask, Kenneth Ransom, Gina Williams and Terry Yeboah, with James Morrison, Roger Garrood, Harry Morrison, John Morrison and Raymond Walker.  
Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre
Until March 20

Miss Lila Draper and Pte Bob Walker, New York City, dance to 
the US Fifth Air Corps Orchestra at Dr Carver's in 1943 .
This is an important production for many reasons, and the historic events on which it is loosely based, and the issues that arose from them, have been strangely neglected for almost 70 years.
I wish I could say Boundary Street steps up to these marks, but sadly it falls well short. Reg Cribb’s script is terribly episodic, with many short scenes that led nowhere yet required some awfully clunky set changes. Situations arise and disappear without explanation; the fate of the central characters is left unresolved in a denouement that lacks either historical accuracy or theatrical power. 
Director Kate Cherry has difficulty filling the stage with the forces at her disposal, leaving some scenes, especially the dance numbers, dreadfully exposed. Even the music, much of it original material by jazz legend James Morrison, who led the band, seemed tentative.
Too much is wrong with Boundary Street. Despite all the anticipation and high expectations, this play and this production are simply not ready for the public. 

The complete version of this review appeared in The West Australian link here.   Meanwhile, from the safety of his Canberra bunker, Ron Banks sent this spray in to The West, while Vickie Laurie's review for the ABC link here has some back-of-house detail to ponder.          

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