I don’t watch too many movies, so it will be books and the occasional play. I love my MTC plays and having season’s tickets, I tend to enjoy the good and put up with the bad. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised. Something I wouldn’t have usually chosen can turn out to be quite good. I’m sorry to start with a negative review. I think Kylie Trounson meant it as a gentle homage to her dad who is a brilliant scientist. Unfortunately, although the play was long, it dodged a lot of the issues. I doubt that I have any sort of influence as a reviewer, but still I am glad to have written this review after the end of the Play’s run.
If you’ve seen the play yourself and disagree with my review, let me know. I like a bit of a rumble. If you think I’m a lousy reviewer, that’s okay too, I won’t be offended. I’m practicing my practically non-existent reviewing skills.
I went to see The Waiting Room at the Arts Centre on the last night of its run. I was glad of the experience. Call me parochial if you want; whenever it’s possible, I encourage and support Australian talent. But this play, and the author agrees, she said it several times in her on-stage persona, won’t make it to London or New York. It’s my opinion, I know, but I think she was in a position to turn out something better and she dodged it..
Alan Trounson was a member of the research team that introduced a world first procedure and delivered Australia’s first in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) baby. Trounsen’s daughter, Kylie is the play’s author. It was a topic worthy of debate when it all began and it is just as relevant today, particularly now that gay marriage is just around the corner.
I was looking forward to seeing what Trounson had done with her play. At the very least I expected yesterday’s characters to give me an insider’s view. But it seems that like the song Game of Love, what I got was ‘a little bit of this [and] a little bit of that.’ And the story bounced around in every direction including back and forth in time.
I was a young mum in the early days of in vitro-fertilisation, reading about it in the papers, trying to get a handle on the debates and empathising with the heartache, the pain and the desperation of those pioneering women. I was expecting words to fly and debates to rage. People I’d only met in newspapers: ferocious right to life activist Margaret Tighe and Catholic ethicist Nicholas Tonti-Filipini were going to come to life, and I had a front row seat.
Tonti-Fillipini and Tigh – they were names that conjured up memories, but the characters that represented them that night weren’t any more real to me than Paracelsus, Eros and Aristotle as played by William McInnes. McInnes has porked up a bit since those Sea Change days, but it didn’t seem to interfere with his excellent performance. I didn’t know the rest of the cast: Greg Stone, Sophie Ross, Brett Cousins, Belinda McClory, Kate Atkinson but I thought they were impressive. I thought it was a passive but wordy play. There were, not including the intermission, two and a half hours of dialogue. I was imagining them all taking a bit of dinner, then getting ready to start over at the 8.30pm session.