Monday, July 4, 2022

Theatre: Pull the Pin

by Rebecca Fingher

Directed by Sian Murphy

Set designer William Gammel

Lighting designer Spencer Herd

Sound composer Jacob Sgorous

Sound designer David Stewart

Performed by Caitlin Beresford-Ord, Hannah Davidson, Tegan Mulvaney, David Stewart and Elisa Williams

Blue Room Theatre

June 17 – July 2, 2022

Tegan Mulvaney lines 'em up (pic: Sophie Minnissale)
 Pull the Pin, Rebecca Fingher’s story of the trials and tribulations of a ten-pin bowling team of women of a certain age, the “Old Hags”, as they graduate from the relaxed comfort of the Social League to the dog-eat-dog Mid-Year Championship has plenty going for it.
The Hags – Jules (Caitlin Beresford-Ord, Donna (Elisa Williams) and the ambitious Ang (Tegan Mulvaney) are all at the time of their lives where action and consequences collide, on and off the alley, and this is fertile territory for Fingher’s sharp, observational script.
Even more so when their move into the big league butts them up against younger, tougher opponents (in life as in bowling) like the teenaged Lake (Hannah Davidson), whose contemptuous pity for her older adversaries is obvious and often very funny.
In a nice touch the women’s story is narrated by an endearing bowling pin (David Stewart, filling in for the COVID-benched Isaac Diamond) that keeps the story rattling along merrily.
The staging is quite an achievement; William Gammel’s bowling lane set has all the right detailing, and the actual bowling, with the balls rumbling off the traverse stage to that singular sound of pin action (Stewart is also sound designer) is terrific use of the space.
It’s a talented cast – Beresford-Ord and Davidson are particularly effective, and they push the boundaries of realistic characterization with well-controlled discipline (a credit to director Sian Murphy).Rather like last year’s Ugly Virgins from Maiden Voyage at the Blue Room, that plays out very similarly in a women’s roller game team, the plot is simple and satisfying enough (it needs no elaboration here), but it’s a little too straightforward to be truly absorbing. I doubt anyone expected a tragic ending, but the setbacks in the story are too easily overcome, and the conflicts, such as they are, too quickly resolved
It’s nice that everything comes good in the end, but it’s a better game if the danger that it might not lour’d larger upon the Old Hag’s house.

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