Tea Tree Players has delivered another serving of farce with Robert Scott’s According To Rumour.

This play centres around a bag of money, lots of money, that seems to have appeared in Carter’s apartment during a spontaneous and drunken party that had taken place the night before. We meet Carter (Kieran Drost), as he arises from a stupor and tries to spring into action to tidy up before his mum, Harriet (Theresa Dolman), and sister, Emma (Keyara Maur), arrive. We then meet a procession of characters, including two who had apparently stayed overnight; a naked lady unknown to Carter, Kitty Kat (Kristyn Barnes), and a friend, Roger (Kyle McCarthy).

Through a series of farcical events, a nosey postal worker, Ashley (Carlonia Fioravanti) appears to deliver a parcel and discovers the cash. We also meet Emma’s fianc√©, Logan (Clinton Nitschke) who is a detective, and Harriet’s twin helpers, Maxine and Martine (both played by Madison Hart).

The play opens with some gentle laughs as the audience is drawn into Carter’s confusion during his gradual discovery of unexpected guests. The potency of the farce moves up a gear when Carter decides he needs to hide the stash of cash. The secret knowledge of the money becomes a hot potato that gets passed between characters as they all seek ways to get away clean to avoid having to share the loot with everybody else.

Given the rich heritage of high farce delivered by Tea Tree Players, it was encouraging to see this young cast breathe life to this script, under the direction of Lachlan Blackwell. As Blackwell notes in the program, he “sure did pick a challenge” for his second directorial credit, and if it were possible to see a re-staging of this production in another year’s time, I’m sure we’d see more confidence and deftness in the troupe.

That said, there are some rich moments and some pleasing performances, especially from our two leads, Drost and Barnes. Blackwell mentions there were light bulb moments during rehearsals and in an ideal world, we’d love to see even more time for these two to develop their chemistry because the potential for upping the tense nature of their conflict is immense. McCarthy delivered a deliberately bumbling performance as the hapless sidekick and also worthy of note was Hart’s portrayal of the twins with lightning fast costume changes as she dashed from entrance to entrance throughout the play.

There were subplots aplenty with lashings of misunderstanding that reaped a sound harvest of laughs from the audience.

Hats off, also, to the front of house personnel and the crew, for making another production run smoothly for appreciative patrons in the north-eastern suburbs!

October 13-23, 2021, Tea Tree Players Theatre