RAW: Entertaining Mr Sloane – State Theatre Company
Sloane (Renato Fabretti), is a good-looking young lad who has taken lodgings in the house that Kath (Jacki Weaver) shares with her father, Kemp (Dennis Olsen). Despite their age difference, Kath has designs on Sloane. Her controlling brother Ed (Sean Taylor) is not happy about the arrangement; until he meets Sloan and also finds the boy alluring.
As Kath, Weaver initially presents a vague and simple character that is mildly amusing and decidedly pathetic in her overtures towards the young Sloane. However, as the character develops in the second act it becomes clear that Kath is not just a ditz and that her psychological issues have a truly pathological and disturbing leaning. In these later scenes we see more of the talent for which Weaver is known.
Disappointingly, Fabretti (while undeniably attractive) has neither the appropriate look for Sloane nor manages to inhabit the role in any way that could endear him to the audience. The character was inconsistent and underdeveloped, with many opportunities to give it depth, and illuminate the motivations for his actions, sadly neglected. Taylor is suitably loathsome as Ed and, as the wretched and doddering Kemp, Olsen gives his usual, crowd pleasing, performance.
Overall, the show lacked spark. There were pace issues, particularly in the first act, and much of the dialogue felt like it was being said for no reason other than because it was written on the page. When double meanings were accentuated, they were met with appreciative laughter from the audience but, sadly, the majority of these opportunities were missed due to the lacklustre delivery.
Promoted as a black comedy, the script does have comedic potential but it also touches on some very serious, and unsettling, issues and so a delicate balance needs to be met. Regrettably, this production fails to achieve that happy medium and the result, while not completely devoid of merit, is a rather bland interpretation.
Kryztoff Rating 2.5K