15-24 March 2018, Theatre Hawke's Bay, Hastings By Ester Du Fresne
“You don’t grow up, you just get old”. Both comedic and sorrowful, Goodbye to All That is a thoroughly engaging piece that thoughtfully explores themes of familial relations, betrayal and second chances.
British actor and playwright Luke Norris, known for his role in British TV series Poldark, turned his talents to playwrighting as a teen. Goodbye to All That, Norris’ playwriting debut, belies his young years – he was 26 when it was first performed in 2012 – with its poignant, mature content.
We encounter Frank, who has been conducting an affair with widower Rita for the last three of his 45-year marriage to wife Iris. When Frank and Iris’ grandson and dependant, David, finds out about the affair, it sets off a string of events that force the characters together in a dramatic fashion, revealing a sad history and their true nature.
Director Trevor Rose very capably handles the bittersweet comedic content, ably crafting the series of short, engaging and digestible scenes across two acts. Clever use of the Hawke’s Bay Theatre stage’s spaces and lighting, simple sets, talented makeup artistry and charming use of music made it easy to become engrossed in the characters and storyline.
Neil McCorkell as Frank is very convincing, particularly in latter scenes, and competently handles his characters transition from selfish to true victim. Adrienne Hurley plays widower and mistress Rita with poise and tenderness. Grandson David’s young emotion is skilfully and energetically presented by Mikel O’Connell, and several scenes are almost stolen by a very strong performance from Jill Foster as wife Iris, whose true depth of character is revealed only in the final scenes.
While the actors were occasionally a little stiff in very early scenes (as is to be expected from an opening night performance), it was a pleasure to see the actors warm into the characters, providing an engrossing performance that even had audience members nodding along and audibly oohing and ahhing to developments in the storyline.
Nothing was missing from this engrossing and charming play, the conclusion of which I find myself still contemplating days later.
(Photo credit: Ken Morrison)
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