Set on the Gillard/Abbot election night of 2010, David Williamson’s stand alone sequel to his classic play Don’s Party offers a comical look into middle class living rooms around Australia. Focusing on a group of old friends who have reunited for an election party, Don Parties On takes a looks at the big issues facing Australians today and the ways in which these have changed since Don’s first election party in 1969.
Canberra Rep has done an excellent job with Don Parties On, assembling an experienced cast and production team to create a play which at times is spooky in the way it captures real life. Whilst the entire cast did a good job, special mention must go to Len Power who had the audience both laughing and cringing in his portrayal of the staunch liberal supporter “Cooley” and who helped move (or shall I say boogie) the sometimes slow moving action along. Helen Vaughan-Roberts brought considerable depth to an emotionally challenging role in the otherwise quite light play. All of the actors, however, needed to work on getting the pace moving again after some of the plays darker moments.
As usual Canberra Rep has built an amazing set which is stunning in its attention to details – the light goes on in the fully stocked fridge, there are family photos on the wall and this reviewer would have been quite happy to move in tomorrow. Whilst there were some small opening night glitches, lighting and sound was used to great effect in this play. The largely (I suspect) ABC watching audience loved the sound bites of Kerry O’Brien and Anthony Green and clever use of lighting created the reflected light and changing colours of the fourth wall TV screen to great effect.
This is a play to make you laugh, cringe, and think (often all at the same time) and whilst seeing a play about an election might be the last thing anyone feels like doing at the moment I highly recommend heading up to Theatre 3 for a fun evening out.
Don Parties On
Directed by Aarne Neeme
Canberra Reparatory Society