Monday, 20 January 2014

Hotel Sorrento by Hannie Rayson - Review

Hotel Sorrento is playing at the Genesian Theatre until 22 February.  The Genesian is a little gem of a theatre right in the heart of the city.
Hotel Sorrento is a simple story of three sisters who re-unite in the family home, Sorrento in Australia. One of the sisters Meg has just been nominated for the Booker Prize for her latest novel 'Melancholy'. She said it wasn't autobiographical but as we learn as the play goes on it does reflect her own life.  Meg, has been living in London with her English husband, Edwin. The conversations around the differences between the two countries certainly made huge sweeping and very generic statements. As an Bristish ex-pat I am sure some of them were put in the play just to have a dig at the Poms.  For instance, when Edwin goes to Australia, he is certainly portrayed as the pompous Brit.  The three sisters have a secret about Hilary's husband who was killed ten year's earlier, though as they never discuss his death, Hilary is unaware of the real truth. 
There is a tragedy at the end of Act 1, but what I didn't understand is why Hannie Rayson didn't make more of it in Act 2. When you see the sisters you would have thought that they would have been in mourning. I first thought that maybe a considerable amount of time had lapsed, but as the Act went on I realised it was only a week later!
The play has the theme of loyalty particularly to country, which does come across very strongly. There is a fair bit of humour in it too, which helps lighten the mood and keep the audience interested.

The play, I would image is quite a headache for the director (Shane Bates) as there are many very short scenes. The timing of this production was good and I can see how important it was to get this right. The set was kept fairly simple, making it easier for the scene changes. There were a few issues which could be easily improved upon. One was the kettle, it is an electric kettle but the sound effect was one you put on the stove! The plastic fish, I almost laughed out loud when I saw it and I don't think it was meant to be funny! Also, when Marge is painting if she actually had some paint it might help Lynn Turnbull Rose look like she is actually painting.
The three sisters - Meg (Melanie Robinson), Hiliary (Sarah Purdue), Pippa (Gemma Munro) were very strong in there roles as was Oliver Beard, 15 years old, who played Troy.
Go and see it, see what you think, to find out more go to -

(Photo: Mark Banks)

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