Venue: Bondi Pavilion (Bondi NSW), Oct 11 – 26, 2019
Playwright: Tony Laumberg
Director: Richard Cotter
Cast: Valentino Arico, Michael Arvithis, Jadie Bastow, David Evan Samuels, Tricia Youlden
Images by Lightbox Photography
Brad thinks himself an average lawyer at best, and when he has to fight a court case at short notice, we see him quite literally fall in a heap, overwhelmed by fear of failure. His client Frances however, has enough confidence for the both of them, and proceeds to be a formidable driving force that pushes Brad to do his very best work. Written by Tony Laumberg in 2009, based on personal experiences from the mid 90’s, Bondi Legal is an unremarkable narrative presented in an old-fashioned style, but its humour, although obvious, could certainly appeal to those with a taste for something traditional.
Directed by Richard Cotter, the production is appropriately rambunctious, and thankfully fast-paced. In the absence of an engaging story, Cotter aims to keep us invested by foregrounding some very broad comedy. Michael Arvithis demonstrates himself to be a reliable performer; skilful, agile and extremely energetic in the lead role. His determination to entertain, forms the anchor of the show, keeping things buoyant and amusing. Frances is played by Jadie Bastow, a prudent counterpart who provides steady, and generous, support to her irrepressible co-star.
Theatre is often more about how a story is told, than what the story actually is. The court case at the centre of Bondi Legal is unlikely to resonate with many, but the rowdy goings on make for a stage that holds our attention. When artists work together to assemble elements that could make large groups of people laugh as one, they are both reflecting and defining our culture. They identify who we are, and then have the opportunity to shape us into what we should be. Theatre can be regressive or progressive. It can hold us back, or move us forward, even if in the moment, all we can perceive is harmless laughter.