REVIEW: The Servant of Two Masters

Brisbane’s Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) clearly offers a great program for young artists to master their craft. On Thursday evening (7th May), a talented cast of Diploma and Advanced Diploma actors brought a highly physical and fast-paced production of The Servant of Two Masters to the stage – or rather, to the car park. Experiencing the show in the East Brisbane car park was an experience I’d recommend. The ACPA red-brick buildings, adorned with wrought-iron and stained-glass, provided the perfect backdrop for the actors. Over the course of just under two hours (the production includes an interval) the actors worked their large performance space—entertaining the audience with their acrobatic skill, humour, and enthusiasm.

The show is advertised as fun and hilarious, and the audience were treated to a range of comedic styles, including witty interplay, farce, and slapstick. The whole cast kept the pace moving, giving us a stage fight and even a choreographed dinner. Credit is due to Natano Fa’anana, of Flipside Circus, who worked with Truffaldino (Joshua Thaiday and Sydney Blankett) on some of the more acrobatic moves. Yes, I did mention two actors for the part of Truffaldino. Although the title highlights the play is about one servant and two masters, this production has an unexpected twist (took me a few minutes to catch on!). This draws our attention to the importance of the various pairs throughout the play, and has the two actors working very hard in their central role, as we are taken through some of what Brighella (Beata Kennedy) calls “the things people do for love.”

Director, and Head of Acting, Stella Majewsky, focused our attention on the interplay between the various pairings, which worked really well. The audience loved the physical humour of the exchange between the two “old men”— Pantalone and Doctor Lombardi (Aretha Delaney and Jade Lornas-Ronan). I particularly enjoyed the interplay between a number of the pairs as the story unfolded: Clarice and Beatrice (Tia Webb and Tanielle McHugh), Florindo and Silvio (Sean Dow and Graham Taylor/Joshua Thaiday), and of course between Smeraldina (Kalarni Murray) and her paramour. Each pair brought the script alive, and allowed the individual actors (masked or unmasked) to shine.

Servant is a classic, and for me was well-served by this production. It’s free, but is only in Brisbane for two more nights. I recommend you get down to East Brisbane this week. If you do go, remember it is outside. Expect some car noise, and bring a warm jacket and some refreshments for the interval. There is plenty of parking on site if you are unable to use public transport, or want a place to leave your bike while you enjoy a classic Italian comedy. And, if you don’t make it, then do look out for the ACPA crew around Brisbane as I understand they also perform at the Judith Wright Centre and Cremorne theatre during the year.


Main Picture: Truffaldino (Joshua Thaiday and Sydney Blankett). Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence.

For more pictures from the 7th May 2015 performance visit the Anywhere Festival Facebook page.


Clarice and Beatrice (Tia Webb and Tanielle McHugh), The Servant of Two Masters. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence
Clarice and Beatrice (Tia Webb and Tanielle McHugh), The Servant of Two Masters. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence


Catherine Lawrence