Everything in the Garden
Everything in the Garden by Edward Albee at The Star of the Sea Theatre, Sunday matinee. Directed by Roz Riley.
Review by Wendy Lewis, Theatre Blog
Everything in the Garden. Review by Wendy Lewis 22nd April 2016 General admission
In Everything in the Garden, there is a Man, a Woman and Temptation. Kind of like the Garden of Eden although the setting shifts to 1960’s small-town US where social status is everything and keeping up with the Jones’ (or the Chucks and the Beryls) is de rigueur. Throw in some outward respectability, inward moral decay & death, and you have a great evening’s entertainment!
The Man and Woman in question are Jenny and Richard, optimistic, ever-loving American couple with son Roger away at school. They’re not fitting into the neighbourhood because everyone seems to have so much more money than they do. Extra money would make things so-oooo much easier. They could do things. Get a better mower. Put up a greenhouse. Their beautiful life-giving garden consumes them, particularly Jenny. She loves it so much, she would do anything. Enter Temptation in the matronly form of Mrs Toothe with an interesting proposition…
Beginning as a domestic two-hander comedy, Everything in the Garden quickly morphs into something bigger when a third character, Jack, pops up, spinning the story into the surreal. Its dark, comedic, larger-than-life themes are what makes it so engrossing from here on in…
Julie Dimond and Adam Pedicini do a terrific job as the couple whose relationship begins to crumble. Dimond goes from starry-eyed to glinty-eyed; while Pedicini palpably struggles to maintain his decency, wrestling with a scenario he never contemplated. The philosophical & oddly lecherous Jack is amusingly played by Matthew Grego; while Melanie Robinson is perfectly intimidating as the business-savvy Mrs Toothe. The three women friends Beryl (Melissa Kathryn Rose), Louise (Nyssa Hamilton) & Cynthia (Dasha Stephenson) have the artifice of the aspirational rich down pat while the three men (Lindsay Walton as the pompous financier Chuck, Jeff Parsons as rich redneck Gilbert & Firdaws Adelpour as the exotic Perry) form a confronting threesome. As things come to a head at the cocktail party from hell, the whole ensemble is there to simmer and pulsate and close in on the victim (or is that the victims?). Even the oft-mentioned Roger, the likeable, cheeky teen (Damian Wagland) finds himself thrown into a very nasty scenario. Love the little details: Richard and his old-fashioned hand mower; the lascivious segue in Act I as the three lovely ladies give us a taste of what’s to come; the atmosphere of menace; the acts of violence; the throwaway lines about the dead and the living and what’s the difference; the ventures into the garden; the flowers and that little red snake.
Given Edward Albee’s love for tearing characters apart, Jenny and Richard are certainly in for it. But what happens, step by step, is so much fun to watch…compelling stuff!
Everything in the Garden at The Star of the Sea Theatre. Directed by Roz Riley.
Review by Michele Holmes, arts programme, Radio northern beaches.
"it was all delightful, the set was perfect, and the actors endlessly interesting. We talked about it for a long time afterwards" Bravo Factory Space. I’m looking forward to the next production.
Loved the 'garden' and felt it was a very strong play in all areas - script, acting, staging, movement, wardrobe ... all delicious.
Loved the subtlety of the temptation and the death of the potential redeemer - great irony!
I probably didn't catch ALL the parallels but I immersed myself in the unfolding as if I were a 1960s American - outward morality, hypocrisy around race, Jewishness etc. and, of course, women and sex and death. Did I miss the chocolate??? Of course, one of the women brought chocolates for the hostess.
Liked how the money was placed in the tree (Genesis), and later return of ladies to the garden with temptress (Mrs Tooth) now with thorns - rose garden.
The guy who played Jack was just right - unlikely saviour, very human and gorgeous last words prefaced by "I'm still dead" or similar. Loved it - found it very accessible and funny but with a serious base.
Review of preview performance by Jody Kimber |
Ros Riley takes the director's chair for Factory Space Theatre Company's presentation of Edward Albee's adaption of Giles Cooper's "Everything in the Garden."
Upon reading more about this play, my mind went immediately to my teenage years and my mother's choice of art. A modernist painting of a man reaching out for an apple from a tree arrived and was positioned next to my father's bar. That painting looks so simple, yet may have been an unspoken statement. Edward Albee's adaption of "Everything in the Garden" is not so minimalistic in its portrayal of married life. Julie Dimond as Jenny takes on a whole different role than wife and mother to bring in more money. Money or the lack of was making Richard (Adam Pacini) unsettled. Their friend and guardian angel, Jack, played by the ever enigmatic Matthew Greco, has changed his will to make Richard and Jenny very comfortable when he's gone. They are unaware of this as events unfold.
Mrs Tooth, described by Ros Riley as the "serpent in the garden" comes knocking when Jenny is struggling to make ends meet. Wanting the idyllic lifestyle, the school fees paid and the greenhouse.
Wanting all the good things in life now, Jenny takes up Mrs Toops' offer of tax free income and solves the money problems. But a different set of life problems evolve, including a moral problem that seems to get more and more complicated.
There are many questions this nostalgically set play opens the door to. Not easy topics, but ones that could create interesting discussion of over dinner with friends.
With Ros Riley as director, Factory Space Theatre Company always comes up with something that will broaden your perception of the world and theatre.
from weekend notes:http://www.weekendnotes.com/eeverything-in-the-garden-factory-space-theatre-company/
The group thoroughly enjoyed the production & came out muttering about the hypocrisy of the characters & the veneer of a high moral stance behind the façade of the beautiful garden.
From the audience:
Comments included " strong cast particularly the leads", "Its interesting the way Albee twists people away from their basic good morals into lower and lower immoral acts with inner justification. A very good play with lots to ponder."
From JD. was the comment of what a well chosen song it was at the end as, though the main characters believed themselves to be different, they were in fact the same as their friends, all in little identical boxes.
From MaggyF The magical garden setting portrayed the fantasy and dream which came to hide the lies used to sustain the dream.
The colouring of the costumes of the main female character were beautifully matched to the garden highlighting how she was almost part of the setting.
Subtle background sounds such as the birds singing drew the us further into the picture being drawn. Later I wanted to grab my tennis racquet and have a game.
|Everything in the Garden   photographed by John Reeves|