Review: Day One, Hotel, Evening

Humphrey Bower and Michelle Fornasier in 'Day One, A Hotel, Evening.'

Humphrey Bower and Michelle Fornasier in ‘Day One, A Hotel, Evening.’

It’s not often you go see a show, and then check your diary to see if you can buy a ticket and see it a second time. The current show from Black Swan State Theatre Company is a mountain of fun, so much that you’ll want to take your friends to see it too.

‘Day One, A Hotel, Evening’ by well known playwright Joanna Murray-Smith is a comedy that is sure to become a staple of Australian theatre. The quick paced tale is filled with laughs from start to finish, it’s chock-a-block with great scenes, that saw the audience bursting into spontaneous applause through out the show and the performances from the six actors are brilliant.

The show also has one of the best sets seen on a stage in recent times. A giant carousel spins around, from room to room we spin, it takes us from hotels, to offices, lounge rooms, cafes, street walks, back alleys and restaurants. The actors move with the set, passing through doors, looking in windows, running one way and the other. The contribution of set designer Tracy Grant Lord is substantial, taking this tale of middle class bed swapping into a higher realm of visual wonder.

The story begins with friends and business partners Sam and Tom both in their 40’s, their lives are filled with business dinners, squash games and deal making, but to spice things up both men embark on romantic affairs. Added into the mix is their wives Stella and Madeline, both good friends. Things get complicated when young couple Ray and Rose enter their lives, leading to a series of catastrophes.

Just as the set for this play spins around from location to location, quickly changing, so does the story. Pay attention or the plot will run away from you. This is a story on fast forward, progressing at breakneck speed, just like the affairs the characters within are embarking on.

Humphrey Bowler is in his element as Sam, delivering a captivating performance. Roz Hammond’s portrayal of Stella is comedy all the way, filled with over the top facial expressions, comedic movement and a wonderful vocal inflection that brings to life a character that we’ve all met. Michelle Fornasier is perfect as the icy cool Madeline, while Matt Dyktynski does some wonderful lines as Tom. Jacob Allen and Claire Lovering take on the two smaller roles.

This play is not deep, or incredibly artistic or making some deep meaningful comment on society. It is however a mountain of fun and laughter, great escapism and a joy to see.

Day One, A Hotel, Evening is on until June 29 at the Heath Ledger Theatre at the State Theatre Centre.  

Graeme Watson, image Gary Marsh 




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