Great Performers Failed Due to Disappointing Script
“Mono”, written and directed by Angus FitzSimons, Bunbury Productions, The Playhouse, Canberra Theater Centre, February 13 Reviewed by LEN POWER.
SUBTITLE “a three-way one-man show”, the comedy “Mono” is an opportunity to see three of Australia’s most beloved comedians perform live on stage.
Noeline Brown is a household name on stage and on television in this country. She appeared in the Phillip Street Revues in Sydney in the 1960s and later took part in the famous “The Mavis Bramston Show” on television. ‘The Naked Vicar Show’ followed and she had numerous stage and film roles over a 60-year career.
Max Gillies became a national sensation with his television performances in “The Gillies Report” in 1983. He had been a major performing artist long before that and performed with most major theater companies in Australia. He continues to enjoy a busy career on stage, in film and on television.
John Wood rose to TV stardom in “Power Without Glory”, “Rafferty’s Rules”, and “Blue Heelers”. He also had a busy stage career prior to these successes and continues to be one of Australia’s most recognizable actors.
In “Mono,” the performers take turns in nine solo scenes and a short, wordless finale in which they all come together. There’s the nagging headmistress, a bad Bush poet, a baffled policeman, a meandering minister, a chaotic conductor, a mindless “mindfulness” teacher, a surreal Sotheby’s auctioneer, and a mother of the bride. very, very drunk.
There’s a definite feeling of having seen it all before and none of the scenes are more than mildly amusing. Some of the sketches seemed laborious despite their short duration. Only two sequences stood out from the rest and that was due to Max Gillies. As a conductor in “Guide” and a visitor to an art gallery in “Perspective”, Gillies showed off his remarkable comedic skills without saying a word.
Audiences had a chuckle throughout it all, but these three performers are more than capable of rolling you down the aisles. It’s a shame they were limited by an Angus FitzSimons script that didn’t give them that opportunity. It was a pleasure to see these iconic performers on stage, but the play itself was a disappointment.
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Ian Meikle, editor