Thursday 13th July 2017, 7:30pm, New Theatre Newtown
Mystery and manipulation come together as the fight for the ‘crown jewels of stamp collecting’ plays out in Theresa Rebeck‘s MARUITIUS. Director Richard Cornally has created a compelling production of this comic thriller for New Theatre and Sure Foot Productions.
On Rhys William Nicholson’s detailed split level set, the fight for two incredibly rare stamps unfolds. The seemingly timid Jackie (Kitty Hopwood) wants to get the stamp collection, found in her late mother’s belongings, valued with the intent to sell them to pay off her mother’s debts. Whilst the world’s worst shopkeeper and stamp expert Philip (Andy Simpson) can’t be bothered to give her the time of day if she won’t pay the exorbitant fee for an appraisal, she’s peeked the interest of the mysterious Dennis’ (Peter-William Jamieson) and he discovers she could be sitting on a gold mine. Add to the mix Jackie’s horrid half sister Mary (Emma Louise) who believes she has a right to the stamps given that they were her grandfather’s collection and the decidedly dodgy collector Sterling (Brett Heath) who has a lethal temper to go with his back-alley mobster appearance and seemingly staid and nerdy pastime of philately becomes a lot more interesting.
Hopwood is endearing as the innocent little lamb, as Dennis believes Jackie to be, and the transformation to the cunning dealer once Mary has pushed her out of her shell and well over the edge is brilliant. She delivers a fabulously gutsy performance as the young woman who has finally had enough of being pushed around and getting screwed over by life. Cornally employs a lot of silence and stillness throughout and Hopwood delivers this with a control that ensures the audience can almost hear her thoughts ticking over in her head.
As Dennis, Jamieson is sufficiently oily as the con artist who thinks he can get the prized stamps for a steal but eventually softens to wanting to protect Jackie. His expression as the dodgy dealer trying to win an easy commission is convincing but nicely balanced by the protective instinct that evolves when he realises that the struggling, perpetually ‘unlucky’ Jackie. As Dennis ‘evolves’, Jamieson ensure that Dennis is eventually seen as one of the ‘good guys’ of…