I Ought to Be in Pictures
Newcastle Theatre Company
NTC Theatre, Lambton
Ends February 3
RENOWNED American comedy playwright Neil Simon gave a more down-to-earth nature to this 1980 work and this production shows how well he did it, with audience members’ reactions moving between jovial laughter and engaged silence as they observe changes in the relationships of the three characters.
The story begins with a 19-year-old girl, Libby (Maddy Clare Lardner), dressed in travel garb that includes cut-back denim shorts and carrying a large back-pack, knocking on the door of the rented Hollywood home of a screenplay writer, Herb Tucker (Mark Lidbury), to be greeted by elegantly dressed Steffy Blondell (Renee Thomas), a film make-up artist who shares Herb’s bed once a week.
He’s asleep, and while they wait for him to wake, Libby reveals she is the daughter Herb left in New York when he deserted his family to head to Hollywood to work on films.
Libby was just three at the time. Now a young adult, she has headed west to seek his help in getting screen roles.
The acting trio, directed by David Murray, do an excellent job in revealing the lifestyles and histories of the three people, with amusing references to people including Jane Fonda and Marlon Brando.
And the impressive set, showing the main rooms of the house and a tree-lined yard, adds to the reality, with decorations added to the interior by Libby as the story develops underlining her belief in living in the best possible world.