“JIGSAW” - OPENING PLAY IN LA BOITE’S 65TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR
La Boite kicks off with intensity, wit
Review by Kathryn Cruise
It's spiced with plenty of clever one-liners, stirred with just o touch of feminist humor and held to together by a strong, five-woman cast. Brisbane theatre company La Boite kicked off its 1990 season with a gem of a play on Wednesday night - Jigsaws, by West Australian writer and journalist Jennifer Rogers.
Jigsaws is a play about five women, all from the same family, all with their own problems, and all trying to come to terms with their relationships with each other. It's Christmas afternoon at gran's house. Outside, an after-lunch cricket game is under way in the back yard. Inside, the fun is just starting as the women of the family start playing their own games. Writer Rogers puts plenty of witty dialogue at the cast's disposal - and the five actors respond with a quick, crisp delivery.
With director Hilary Beaton at the reins, the cast has no problem drawing in the audience to the idiosyncracies of their characters. And it's the whims of the family members that makes Jigsaws so comical - at an times so intense. There's gran Emma (Bev Langford), a little forgetful, a little lonely and a little alienated from younger members of the family. Then there's her daughter Sylvia (Elaine Dow) - nagging, fastidious, domineering and, as far as the rest of the family is concerned, painful.
She has two daughters - Alex (Angie Quick) and the house-proud Monica (Simone De Haas) who is accused of having enough spray cleaners to destroy the ozone layer.Alex is the feminist of the family, the career-oriented black sheep who is too "unroutine" as far as her mother and sister are concerned.
Probably the most likeable character is that of cyncial Aunty Pat (Sue Lawson) who has a comeback for everything.
The Sun, January 1990
Pieces fit in this family puzzle
Review by Peta Koch
La Boite Theatre's year is off to an impressive start with Jigsaws. The play, written by Jennifer Rogers, and directed by Hilary Beaton, is an incisive study of family relationships, with lashings of humor and a keen appreciation of the games people play to win attention and affection from those close to them.
The play is set in Perth at a family Christmas, that time of year when even seasonal goodwill cannot always reconcile the conflicting personalities that congregate ritualistically under an appointed roof.
There are the usual stereotypes that can be found in most families: the black sheep, the nagging, dominating mother, sibling rivalry and the aged parent whose future hangs in the balance. Yet, unlike most stereotypes, there is little that is stale or predictable in Rogers' carefully drawn characters or the stream of close-to-the-bone truisms that ricochet throughout the play.
Beaton's naturalistic yet ordered direction is integral to the play's success, as is the strength of the cast.
Angie Quick brings depth and purpose to the character of Alex, the free-spirited and feisty career woman who is the focal point of the family clashes. Sue Lawson as her aunt Pat has a dry delivery that makes the most of the character's comic potential. Simone De Haas takes time to ease into the part of Monica, Alex's sister, but the result is a convincing portrayal of the sheltered, cleaning-obsessed housewife. Bev Langford brings warmth and an essential touch of pathos to Emma, Alex's grandmother.
Elaine Dow has perhaps the most difficult part as Alex's single-minded mother, Sylvia, because the character has few redeeming features. Her delivery is not as confident as it should be but she nevertheless clearly conveys what it is about the character that so infuriates the family. The puzzling thing is why Rogers allowed what is a rock-solid script full of bitingly funny realism to meander in the second half.
Three hours is self-indulgent, even with such rounded, well-developed characters, fresh and furious one-liners, steady pace and a cast capable of handling the heavy load thrown at them.
The Courier Mail, January 1990