The Mistakes Madeline Made (review)

Madeline_photo by Pia JohnsonFor the record, the Abbotsford Convent has eluded my attention for a number of years. So it was with intrigue I ventured out on a slightly damp Friday night to see The Honeytrap’s presentation of Elizabeth Meriwether’s The Mistakes Madeline Made.

The Mistakes Madeline Made tells the story of Edna, who develops a fear of bathing following the death of her war correspondent brother, Buddy.

Struggling with a soul-crushing job as a personal assistant, Edna’s smell starts to overwhelm her co-workers (and many casual flings), she wages a war against all things complacent, pampered and clean, to find love and support in the unlikely of places.

Meriwether has established herself as a writer with recent success of the American sitcom New Girl. Written in 2006, The Mistakes Madeline Made is quite light-weight and shows a number of flaws in her early years as a script writer.

The situational nature of the play is slightly absurd and filled with seemingly unrelated elements that go nowhere, including the title of play – a throw-away reference to celebrity psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers’ book What Every Woman Ought to Know about Love and Marriage. The play’s themes also tends to gloss over the more serious nature of mental illness and the effect it has on individuals.

Director Debbie Zukerman has delivered a breezy production that is well cast and engaging. And despite the scripts flaws, presented a production full of surprises, hilarity, pathos, and drama.

Standout performances are given by Celeste Markwell as Edna and Liam O’Kane as the lovable geek and co-worker, Wilson. They are ably supported by Loren DeJong as Beth, James Deeth as a menacing Buddy and Josh Futcher as the various one night stands.

The production was well served by Casey Scott-Corless’s design of two distinct playing areas that featured a bath in the rear and a foreground office environment complete with a plethora of binders suspended by fluorescent rope divided by a large translucent curtain, effectively enhanced by Jarrod Factor’s lighting.

While I have misgivings about the script, all in all, The Mistakes Madeline Made was a soundly enjoyable evening of theatre.

Director: Debbie Zukerman  Cast: Loren de Jong, James Deeth, Josh Futcher, Celeste Markwell, Liam O’Kane  Dramaturg: Joanne Redfearn  Set and Costume Design: Casey Scott-Corless  Lighting and Sound Design: Jarrod Factor

The Mistakes Madeline Made
Abbotsford Convent: The Industrial School – 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford
Performance: Friday 23 August 2013
Season continues to 8 September 2013
Bookings: www.thehoneytrap.net.au  or at the door (subject to availability)

For more information, visit: www.thehoneytrap.net.au for details.

Review: Rohan Shearn Image: Celeste Markwell and Liam O’Kane by Pia Johnson

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