Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica
by David Williamson
Director: Mark Kilmurry
Cast: Georgie Parker and Glenn Hazeldine
Ensemble Theatre until April 29
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
It was a delight to find out that a David Williamson play that I hadn't seen would be playing at Sydney's Ensemble Theatre.
Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica is a two-hander featuring the substantial talents of Georgie Parker and Glenn Hazeldine.
Monica, a feministic, former Sydney Symphony Orchestra classical violinist engages the services of a tradie to install an IKEA kitchen. Gary only listens to country music. Both are lonely and are set in their ways. What could possibly happen?
Monica had to retire from the work that she loved, her only love, because of tendonitis in her shoulder. She seems to resent that fate stole her passion, and every day she remembers the feeing of playing with the orchestra, the traveling and the ecstasy of being in the zone during a performance.
Gary has some knowledge of music but is more an enthusiast than a performer, and with a mentally disadvantaged son, has resigned himself to being “an architectural consultant”. He also hosts a country music radio programme. He is a habitual liar who overstates his musical accomplishments, perhaps not so much to impress Monica, but to reassure himself about what could have been.
With a two-handed play the actors can’t afford to lose the moment even for a second, and director Mark Kilmurry cast experienced and skilled performers to maximise the effect of Williamson’s words.
Until the 1970s, actors in Australian plays and films contrived pseudo-English accents. British and American actors were brought over here to play Australian characters. Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum, John Mills, Angela Lansbury, Anne Baxter and Ernest Borgnine brought out their best cockney accents. It was like Hollywood casting Swedish, Irish, Hungarian and Jewish actors as Asians.
Then came David Williamson who gave actors Australian voices and unashamedly tapped into the Australian culture and sense of humour. Having written almost sixty stage plays, he will never be equaled.
Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica, even though it’s a love story, is quintessentially Williamson, and the masterful direction of Mark Kilmurry ensures that you have a thoroughly enjoyable theatrical experience in which you’ll be totally engaged.