Cosi – madness prevails
MADNESS has always provided good material for theatre and Cosi, Phillip Island’s Offshore Theatre’s latest play, is one mad romp that definitely drew the laughs on opening night in Cowes last Friday.
Directed by the talented Amanda Price, Cosi, the darkly funny 1992 play by Louis Nowra, set in Australia in the later days of the Vietnam War, sees a young director attempt to stage Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte with the patients inside a mental asylum.
Okay this play has its fair share of strong language and adult themes, but judging from the raucous laughter from the very mixed aged audience from 14 years to over 70, this didn’t seem to be a problem.
The play was uplifting, hilarious and thoroughly entertaining!
There is no doubting the challenge to make the Cosi story believable was enormous. The text of Cosi is full of ambivalent feelings, constantly tortured between laughter and tears but the small theatre troupe achieved this balance perfectly and with great sensitivity.
The strength of Cosi is its handpicked ensemble of mad and at times hilarious characters, the majority being local teachers from Newhaven and Wonthaggi secondary colleges.
Leading the charge of standouts on Friday was Roy, the manic depressive and mad opera buff (Simon Furness).
It has to be said Simon was brilliant, giving a magnificent and totally believable performance as a psychotic patient.
He was followed closely by the loveable, and scary pyromaniac Doug (Josh Fredericks). The audience couldn’t get enough of Doug , especially one 14 year old student who couldn’t wait to see what he would set fire to next!
Then there was the wonderfully unpredictable, obsessive Cherry (Nina Prideaux), just fabulous and the anxious, agonised Henry (Hamish Trumble) who drew the laughs and stayed true to his troubled character throughout.
Fine performances came from the doped-up maniac musician Zac (Rebecca Parfitt) and obsessive perfectionist Ruth (Remi D’Agostin).
As for the supposed sane characters, Steven Boon does a top job as Lewis, as does ‘junkie’ and Lewis’s love interest Julie (Holly Hatch), social worker Justin (Ashley Reed), always one to watch and Antonio Castello as Lewis’s friend Nick and Lewis’s girlfriend Lucy (Lauren White) were both convincing .
Full marks to the director for a highly entertaining production; it is well staged and well performed.
And it has to be said the old saying in theatre “the show must go on” certainly rang true for last Saturday’s matinee when the power was off in Cowes for some seven hours and the cast and crew pulled together and gave a stella performance with all the blinds and curtins open to let in the natural light.
The cast lifted its performance to the next level to give another top show, much to the delight of the audience.
The theatre space is small and intimate and the staging simple and effective. If you like a good laugh then Cosi is a must see. The show runs this week April 19, 20 and 21 for 7.30pm performances. Tickets are available online at trybooking or in person at Alex Scott Real Estate in Cowes.
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