Written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, Till Beth Do Us Part is an hilarious comedy about marriage, careers and someone coming in between. The play is set in America and tells the story of Suzannah and Gibby Hayden – an empty-test married couple. While Gibby is seemingly content with his gig as a local tv weatherman, his wife is wanting to finally develop her career. Struggling with her increased workload and her husband Gibby’s inability to help with basic household chores, Suzannah employs a personal assistant at the recommendation of her good friend. Beth’s southern charm and ability to organise everything is almost too good to be true – and that’s when the drama begins to unfold.
Experienced director Keith Hutton has delivered a wonderfully over-the-top comedy that had the audience in stitches. The show is well paced and the laughs come thick and fast. Despite the sense of mayhem happening on the stage, no lines were lost due to the audience laughter.
A stunning and intricately detailed set (designed by George Tranter) establishes the scene and gives some insight into the married couple and their interests. Although there is just the one set, the clever lighting design by David Ellis creates a sense of different locations. Wardrobe design by Val Mitchelmore and Jan Langford are well suited to the characters.
A fabulous experienced cast bring this story to life, all with excellent comedic timing and perfectly suited to their roles. Katie Macfie is delightful as Suzannah. She brings a certain softness to the career-focused business woman that makes her endearing to the audience and ensures her character arc is relatable. Playing opposite her is Rowan Francis in the role of Gibby, the local tv weatherman and Suzannah’s husband. Francis is charming and very likeable, with impeccable comedic timing.
Helen Ellis is fabulous as Beth. Her facial expressions are priceless and had the audience in fits of laughter. While I don’t want to give away any plot twists, Ellis cleverly portrays all the various aspects of Beth’s persona with ease.
Megan Coe and Edward Kennett play Margo James and Hank Russell, Suzannah and Gibby’s good friends who are now divorced and desperately in search of new love. Both have their own hilarious scene-stealing moments with comic brilliance.
Rounding out the cast is Leann Cairnduff who makes a small, but critical, appearance towards the end of the play, in the role of Mrs Carmichael.
There were a few minor hiccups in the performance but the cast recovered quickly and the audience didn’t seem to mind (or perhaps even notice?) This has all the makings of brilliant comedy that audiences of all ages will enjoy. It’s a night of silliness and fun that is guaranteed to have you laughing.
Till Beth Do Us Part is now playing at the 1812 Theatre in Upper Ferntree Gully.
For more information and tickets: www.1812theatre.com.au
Review by Allison Hilbig