Review by Alan Shepley
The Adelaide Rep with director Norm Caddick at the helm has delivered an entertainment gem with Jill Hyem’s play We’ll Always Have Paris. Set design by Brittany Daw coupled with artistic décor by Lilita Daenke and Kathy McNamara provide an interior that is simple, bright, functional and comforting. It was most satisfying to watch the talented cast perform within its confines. The ultimate success of the performance is shared quite evenly between each of the five cast members who obviously relish both the story being told and the characters they inhabit.
Nancy a delightfully dowager, peaceable and wise Deb Walsh is the lessee of the two bedroom Parisian apartment and invites a couple of old school chums to a get-together. She is a never married school principal, certainly not oblivious to the ups and down of life’s relationships. Deb plays Nancy straight down the line and the result is a well rounded and grounded believable character. Nancy is fully at friendship ease with casual handyman and sole male in the piece Charlot. He is portrayed with a kindly balanced good humour and warmth by Peter Davies. The habitual word games he and Nancy indulge themselves in are great fun. A veritable soupcon of similes.
Nancy’s visiting guest from England, the recently widowed Anna (Lindy LeCornu) is portrayed as demure, meek and subservient. But influenced by her two old friends, together with the kindly and honest attentions from Charlot, she undergoes a delightful metamorphosis as the play unfolds. It is a lovely, measured and nicely understated performance by Lindy LeCornu.
Sue Wylie inhabits her character, Raquel with energy and unreserved relish. She too resides in Paris and is a multi-married, loud, thoroughly “look at me I’m dancing!” type. None of the above prevents her from being extremely likeable and an excellent luncheon guest. She could very well be the real Raquel from the movie “One Million Years BC” sporting a fur bikini! That’s certainly her preferred self image, for most of the time anyway.
The landlady of this Parisian pension (Vicky Horwood) injects just the right amount of venom and vitriol into her rather acerbic character. She has no time for the English, and considers her employee Charlot her personal chattel. I loved the brief exchanges in French between those two and also between Charlot and Nancy. My rudimentary knowledge of the language was sufficient to translate and enjoy.
Director Caddick has provided just the right deft touch in order for his experienced cast to make the script their own. The quality of the individual performances assured perfect pace and timing. Even the thrumming of rain on the theatre roof during the first act had no effect upon continuity. The slight changes to set and property were smoothly executed during the in-between scene blackouts adding to the smooth running of the performance.
After a wintery trip into Adelaide to see this latest Rep offering I felt warmly rewarded. And so too did my enthusiastic fellow audience members.