A Thing Of Beauty

Paul Gilchrist, Writer/Director of A Thing Of Beauty, is carving out a niche in travel themed one-act plays about personal journeys.

 Subtlenuance Theatre and Tamarama Rock Surfers Old Fitzroy Theatre , 129 Dowling Street, Woolloomooloo Monday, 23 August, 2010
Paul Gilchrist, Writer/Director of A Thing Of Beauty, is carving out a niche in travel themed one-act plays about personal journeys. He is certainly very good at it so this reviewer is very interested in his next effort. Jo Richards is also a very talented thespian and very versatile in A Thing Of Beauty, a one-woman show in which she plays two people. 
Richards took us on a trip through Italy, Serbia, Paris and Sydney. She demonstrated the differences between a ‘tourist’ and a ‘traveller’ and delighted the audience in the difficulties of joining the Mile High Club. 
A solid  60 minutes later after non-stop energy, laughs and no time to glance at your watch, it comes to an end and you are left wanting more but not left wondering which is somewhat fulfilling. 
Richards does offer distinction between her two characters however during the middle of the piece the distinction does become blurred as the action gets more energetic. It is impossible not to see someone you know in either of our two female characters which allows the audience to be captivated by Richards’ performance.  Gilchrist does offer some humorous observations about European culture in his writing including the advances of French men, however a particular phrase used that is funny on the first hearing and perhaps the second does get a little tiresome by its fourth repetition. This is a minor quibble however in an otherwise entertaining dialogue. 
The thing that elevated this piece was the inclusion of mannequins. Both on stage and in the script. A mannequin provides the catalyst for the tension between Ruth and Naomi on their overseas sojourn. The play offers an interesting perspective on the value of mannequins in society and their effect on “real women”. 
Set designer Emma Vine has constructed a colourful set that weaves projections with a mannequin and a Eurotrash night club feel that is just the right tone to be a compliment to the physicality of Richards and not overshadow the dialogue. 
A Thing of Beauty has light and shade and possesses emotional depth. It is another great example of clever writing from Gilchrist and of Richards’ talents.
This piece is featuring as part of this year’s Sydney Fringe Festival however see it first at the Old Fitzroy Hotel before it sells out and you miss out on a fine piece of theatre. Until Monday, 6 September 2010 Bookings http://www.rocksurfers.org
More info www.subtlenuance.com

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *