The Radioplay Hour: Little Women by The Drama Merchant
Review by Kathryn Barnes – 11 May 2019
The Radioplay Hour: Little Womenhad two performances at Bankfoot House in the Glasshouse Mountains on 11 May and has now finished.
Bankfoot House in the foot of the Glasshouse Mountains, was the lunch stop for travellers heading to Gympie on horseback during the 19thcentury gold rush days. At the time, this journey took six hours from Brisbane. This picturesque and historic setting was a fitting backdrop for a radio play version of Little Women and it didn’t disappoint.
In simple but elegant costumes, the actors took to the stage in front of the classic radio microphone to portray this famous story written by Louisa May Alcott in 1868. On one side, the sound effects were demonstrated entertainingly and with aplomb by Nathan Schulz who also portrayed some of the parts in the play and is the producer of the show. The sound effect props used were modern, many of them plastic and it would have been a nice touch to source items from the period of radio plays or to disguise them as vintage. One of the characters, Mr Laurence, was also in a modern jacket which looked odd set against the other characters in period costume. These points, whilst minor, would have nicely polished the presentation.
The play was in 3 Acts with interludes of songs and advertisements which were entertaining and amusing and in keeping with the tunes and advertisements of the day. The singing was delightful and the acting outstanding from all of the cast with particular mention of Jenna Baker for her emotional performance which brought some of the audience to tears and Del Halpin for her wonderful character pieces. The seamless performance belied the ‘reading’ which is an obvious part of radio plays. The hand-held scripts became merely props and the characters believable and palpable.
This was the last performance of this play in the Anywhere Theatre Festival and it was a joy to watch. The Radioplay Hour is a set piece of The Drama Merchant and it would be wonderful to see more plays from their collection on the Sunshine Coast. If you are on the Gold Coast anytime, take the time to catch one of their shows. You will be transported to a time where our sensory perceptions allowed us to listen, really listen and absorb the story. And it can be again…