Caravan by Donald Macdonald at Henry Lawson Theatre starts with a bang and ends on one. The audience roared with laughter throughout this 2-hour production, directed by Jason Darlington. It’s a comedy about road trips, friendships and domestic situations, harking back to the days of early theatre when the audience could laugh at their own marital problems.
The script is witty and acerbic, sharper than a knife. It’s a cross between Strictly Ballroom meets The Castle, shallow as a puddle, but no one seemed to really care. They just wanted to have a good time. And have a good time, they did.
The cast of six do an amazing job bringing their characters to life. The standout was Dianne Darlington as Monica, a character so bitchy and entitled it’s hard to believe she isn’t divorced. It’s entertaining to watch her play off the other characters who are completely opposite to her, including her bored husband Rodney (Daniel Boole), her best friend Penny (Melissa Bedwell), Penny’s husband Parkes (Matthew Doherty), her platonic friend Pierce (Jeffrey Brocktoff) and his new girlfriend Gwendolyn (Amber-Mai Feeley).
They argue about everything. They argue about whether Pierce should come along with his much younger girlfriend, which makes them all feel insecure about getting old. They argue about their age. They argue about who should sleep where, and with whom (!!). Sometimes the bickering got so loud it was like listening to screeching cockatoos. Even Parkes who would whinge constantly like a two-year old having a tantrum.
The rain made a special guest appearance, which made the audience laugh. Act 2 is entirely devoted to it, like that unwelcome visitor that just won’t leave you alone.
Caravan’s production at Q Theatre inspired Jason Darlington to have a go at directing, and he did a great job steering this crew over rocky terrain. Every scene was believable and captivating, even when nothing much really happened, but that’s real life.
The audience thoroughly enjoyed being taken on this trip, exploring territory that felt familiar yet uncomfortable, but incredibly entertaining. If you’re looking for something fun to ‘get away from it all’, a night out to see this play is highly recommended.
Caravan is currently playing at Henry Lawson Theatre until 19 November 2022. For tickets and showtimes, go to https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/931868.
Images: Rebecca Fletcher