Bed & Breakfast (Fairly Lucid Productions), at Chapel Off Chapel - 120 minutes, excluding interval
A dramatic comedy, Bed & Breakfast is a brilliantly written, outstandingly realised double hander with many parts.
The work of Canadian playwright Mark Crawford, this marks its international premiere.
Frankly, a work of this quality, containing such important subject matter, should be seen globally.
The action takes place in Melbourne, Ballarat and in a smaller regional setting, with Ben Noble and Alex Thew each playing multiple roles.
Photos by Cameron Grant, Parenthesy
Central among them are Brett (Noble), an interior designer, seen on television and Drew (Thew), a hotel worker, estranged from his family.
They have been a couple for eight years.
At 6am one Sunday morning Brett receives a phone call to say that his aunt Maggie, 56 (who we never meet), has died.
Growing up, Brett spent many a happy day with his aunt and the pair naturally attend her funeral.
Not all are tolerant of their same sex relationship, which leads to a tense interaction.
Brett and Drew have been trying to buy a house in Melbourne for some time, but seven times they have missed out, with money being an issue.
Now, Brett’s father drops the bombshell that Maggie has gifted him her home in the country.
It is in desperate need of some TLC and that’s when the couple decide to turn it into a bed and breakfast.
In so doing they become a part of the community, make new friendships and experience prejudice and fear.
While digging into Brett and Drew’s past, Bed & Breakfast is set over a one-year period.
Among the roles assumed by Noble and Thew are Brett’s parents who live in Ballarat, Brett’s older brother and his older brother’s son.
They also play a café owner and her partner, Brett’s former employer – a builder – and many more besides.
They switch personas with distinction, often literally within seconds. Both are credible and often laugh aloud funny.
Noble and Thew are wonderful, engaging and entertaining performers at the top of their game.
Huge plaudits to Mark Crawford and to the additional input from Tessa King and Noble for the light and shade they have infused into Bed & Breakfast.
With fine direction from Tom Healey, it is an amusing, powerful and affecting work, which explores tolerance and change.
It is playing at Chapel Off Chapel until 18th September, 2022, it deserves a wide audience and high praise.