in Favour Said No! by Bernard Farrell.† The Irish Community Players
directed by Ian Phillips at the Canberra Irish Club, Weston,
††††† Watching this farcical Irish comedy about a strike caused by a demarcation dispute deliberately engineered by a new Max the Axe manager, performed by Irish accented players in an Irish club, written in 1981, reminded me of the good old days when Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (when he was still a stone hearted Easter Island god) locked teachers out of ACT schools with the CEEP Act.† No-one can remember what the dispute was about, or now knows what CEEP stood for.† It was just one more move in the everlasting union-employer chess game.
††††† Teachers are
about to go through it all again, I suspect, but not in the manner of this
play.† The Irish way is to divert
attention from the serious matter at hand by singing and telling stories, while
behind the scenes the bosses and union leaders do deals.† Daily life in the office is a fantastical
mayhem, while the machinery on the factory floor may or may not be switched on
according to which union the switcher unwittingly joins, while a ship waits in
the harbour to load product for
††††† A small audience on opening night got into the right laughing mood in the second half, when the players settled more confidently into action, timing and remembering lines, but in this close-knit community even potentially embarrassing pauses are accepted sympathetically and become part of the fun.† And there were some strong performances, particularly from Susan Murray as the managerís officious secretary Dee Kavanagh, and Joan Lindley as the possibly blind Miss Temple, who may or may not have murdered a Red Indian in Canada and bought off a Mountie a la the musical Rose Marie. You have to see the play to work this one out, but it may not be easy to compete with the Irish who book backwards.† Closing night is already full, but some places are available on Wednesday.
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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