Dress 1“Wonderful World” by Richard Dresser and directed by Geoffrey Leeder is a family comedy about the strain on relationships when families, including the in-laws, clash over trivial things and mistaken intentions.

Award-winning Leeder has assembled a very good cast. Max (Paul Davey) and Jennifer (Madelaine Jones) are newly engaged and getting ready for a dinner party with Barry, Max’s brother played by Jethro Pidd and his wife Patty, played by Natalie Burbage. They intend to tell them of their impending nuptials at the dinner party, however, it wasn’t clear that Patty was invited and so Barry arrives alone, and there ensues the beginnings of a family feud. Valerie Henry as Lydia, Max and Barry’s mother, makes a brief appearance, trying to temper the squabbles of the wives and husbands.

Dress 5The characterisation of each character is distinctive and the actors are extremely adept at portraying the vocal and physical idiosyncrasies of the characters. 

The lighting design by Alexander Coutts-Smith is very effective and captures the intimacy of the short scenes in different locations, however, I think the play needs music to propel the play along and evoke an atmosphere that would help tie the scenes together.

The costumes by Lyn Leeder are excellent and matched each characterisation. In particular, Natalie Burbage looked stunning and her costumes heightened the powerful and domineering Patty. 

The director and actors did a very good job with what they had to work with, however, I don’t think the dialogue adequately Dress 2captures the themes or raises the stakes high enough for the conflict and tension to be plausible. The play is a pleasing comedy with the occasional fantastic one-liner about families and relationships that had the audience laughing with recognition.

Congratulations to the director, cast and crew on a very pleasant evening at the theatre.

“Wonderful World” plays at Melville Theatre, cnr Stock Rd & Canning Hwy, Palmyra until 8 December with a Sunday matinee at 2pm on 2 December. Bookings: meltheco.org.au or call 9330 4565.