comic dispute in St Ives
THE GREAT DIVIDE
Theatre, Newtown until September 14
by Peter Morrison
Newtown Theatre audience laughed long and hard at this Aussie
sitcom in the little upstairs Edge Theatre - one of three
stage venues surviving the years on King Street.
The others are the New Theatre and the Newtown Theatre.
At the Edge you will hopefully be amused by a young Greek
couple in heated dispute with their next-door neighbours -
a bulbous, ponderous, insensitive WASP and his liquor-swilling,
jagged but once attractive wife, who is ready to quit the
Like the Jewish author of the piece, Tony Laumberg, the WASP
is a busy and successful lawyer.
Otherwise they are diametrically different, significantly
in that Lamberg is an eastern suburbs resident - which makes
you wonder what his perception of life among the St Ives gum
trees is really like.
As a resident, this reviewer thinks the new neighbours should
have been South African or Oriental, rather than Greek.
But let that pass. Versimilitude in situation comedy, verging
on farce, doesn't matter.
Laumberg's title The Great Divide has a double meaning.
The divisions are in attitudes, personalities and backgrounds;
and the paling fence separating the two homes.
The Greek wants to replace it with a brick wall, which the
lawyer bitterly and irrationally opposes, just as he opposes
the parking of the Greek's Magna (hardly prestigious!) outside
The acting, from Mark McCann, Tricia Youlden, Many Katts,
Tula Tzoras and (in the lesser role of a magistrate) Peter
Demlakian, is up to the task set by Laumberg and director
Richard Cotter. They get plenty of laughs, although the performances
and staging (with a very minimalist set) are not exactly Sydney
Theatre Company standard.
The Great Divide is pretty basic comedy, not to be taken
or assessed too seriously.
Go for the fun, and take plenty of tolerance with you.
Friday 4 September 2003