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Review: CHARLIE'S AUNT at Growl Theatre

Review: CHARLIE'S AUNT at Growl Theatre

Playing at Growl Theatre until August 20

Growl Theatre's production of Brandon Thomas' Charley's Aunt was a rollicking Victorian romantic farce.

Review: CHARLIE'S AUNT at Growl Theatre

Directed by Aerlyn O'Brien, the production follows the story of two English gentlemen, Jack and Charley, trying to woo their crushes under the chaperone of Charley's Aunt who is returning home from Brazil. The only problem is that the mysterious is Aunt is no where to be found once the lovely ladies arrive, forcing their friend, Lord Fancourt Babberly (or Babs for short), to adorn some drag and play the part of the allusive Aunt.

O'Brien's direction captures the tone and ambience of the Victorian era, paying attention to the details and timing of comic farce and slapstick humour. O'Brien's choice to completely flip the staging between Act One and Act Two from Jack's living room to Jack's garden was an effective use of the space. Scott Bagnell's set design, complemented by Wendy Shead and Rosemary McLeod's costumes, transporting us into late nineteenth century English aristocracy, complete with garish patterns, teal waistcoats, and way too many cricket blazers.

Brendan James played the crossed dressing Babs rightfully stole the show both as his character and in his performance. His mannerisms, facial expressions, and physical gestures were spot on. Tyler Harris was loveable pompous as Jack Chesney and Ewan Paterson's Bassett maintained a strong stage presence even in his moments of stillness.

Shout out to whoever curated the pre-show and intermission playlist of songs from the Bridgerton soundtrack. Although I think Lady Whistledown might have something to say about it...

Charley's Aunt was a frivolous evening of theatre. I wonder what Victorian farce Growl Theatre will tackle next...

This review was co-written by Virag Dombay and Harry Fritsch

From This Author - Virag Dombay

Virag Dombay is an award-winning actor, director, playright and theatric critic who has been engrossed in the theatric world from a young age. She has been involved in a variety of children’s... (read more about this author)

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Growl Theatre’s production of Brandon Thomas’ Charley’s Aunt was a rollicking Victorian romantic farce.