It was a full house for the premiere of David Williamson’s fiftieth play, Jack of Hearts, at Australia’s longest running professional theatre company.
Williamson himself directed this witty comedy of manners, in which his sophisticated 30-somethings agonise over unsatisfactory marriages in their search for fulfilment.
Williamson asked two performer/writers from The Chaser’s War on Everything to play the young husbands and they agreed: Chris Taylor plays Jack, a disillusioned lawyer turned comedian (that’s worth a laugh in itself!), and Craig Reucassel takes on the role of Stu, the sleazy real estate agent.
Their long-suffering wives, cast perfectly in Paige Gardiner as Emma and Brooke Satchwell as Denys, contribute their own comedic style in the expectations they have of their affluent lifestyles.
Isabella Tannock’s broad Aussie accent as Stu’s latest extra-matrimonial squeeze is hilarious, while Christa Nicola as Kelli, the resort owner, is perfect as the uptight business woman.
Having ditched her husband as a loser, Emma takes on a new man, Carl Mochrie, who plays the unscrupulous television anchor for all its worth.
As we expect from comedy, all’s well that ends well, but not exactly in the way we expected.
If I have any quibbles, it is that Williamson’s women lack the depth of his male characters, and that Jack’s forays into comedy performance should have been restricted to two sessions at most, and should have been as funny as Williamson’s dialogue elsewhere in the play.
For all that, Williamson’s latest work is a hoot that’s not be missed. (ID)
Until Apr 2. Ensemble Theatre,78 McDougall Street, Kirribilli. $25-$69. Tickets & info: ensemble.com.au or 02 9929 0644