A DAY IN THE DEATH OF JOE EGG
WRITTEN BY PETER NICHOLS
DIRECTED BY STEPHEN LEE
Shirley Van Sanden,
Claire Munday, and
The Subiaco Arts Centre Studio, Western Australia
5 to 20 June 2009
This play, set in 1967, deals with the problems faced by carers of severely disabled children. The issues are tellingly highlighted in this wonderfully fresh and confronting play. Often achingly funny, yet always with a bleak and bitter aftertaste, it is challenging and thought provoking. Would life for all of them by better by far if Joe were to die? Just what is gained by the daily struggle of her existence? Or can the bond between parent and child survive any adversity?
“With director Stephen Lee at the helm, Class Act theatre has turned out one of its finest productions.”
“Clark as Bri…is excellent at showing us the inner anguish masked by tasteless black humour.”
“This play still shocks and moves you on many levels.”
“In act two, Nichols throws in well-meaning friends Freddie and Pam (two excellent turns from Grant Watson and Angelique Malcolm)…and Bri’s toxic mother Grace, played with immaculate timing and great relish by Claire Munday.”
“Van Sanden’s Sheila was a touching performance, switching between comedy and pathos…”
“Clark’s Bri was energetic and very funny. Young Melissa Kiiveri pulled off the tricky role of Joe with aplomb.”
“Affecting, but never cloying, thought-provoking but never preachy, this was truly a class act.”
– The West Australian Review (Ali Talbut, 8 June 2009)
“Director Stephen Lee has captured every subtle nuance of the family’s life. With an amazingly talented cast, he guided them to outstanding performances.
Peter Clark has proved himself in community theatre over the years, but here he shows with a powerful and incredible, energy-filled performance, that he is one of WA’s best performers. He plays several very different characters, flowing seamlessly between the personae. Shirley Van Sanden, as you have never seen her before, gives a strong performance as the optimistic mother. Claire Munday displayed all the mannerisms of an interfering old bat! 14-year old Melissa Kiiveri had superb observation of the mannerisms of a severely brain damaged child, and was totally flaccid whilst being handled, a very difficult condition to depict on stage. Angelique Malcolm and Grant Watson topped off this absolutely amazing cast.
Costume design by Meredith Ford is wonderful, from the wrinkled stockings of Grandma to the leather elbow patches of Bri. The sensitive lighting design by Aaron Stirk worked beautifully.
It is many years since I have cried with laughter at a play, but when Grace arrived the humour reached a peak. I have run out of superlatives for this heart-warming comedy. A must see.”
– Gordon Johnston, Theatre Australia