“Travels with my Aunt” is the latest production by The Pymble Players. Adapted from the novel by Graham Greene, Travels with my Aunt follows Henry Pulling, a retired bank manager, on a journey of discovery as he gets to know his eccentric Aunt Augusta as they travel through Europe and further afield.
Directed by Carla Moore, the play is set in 1970 starting in England where Henry meets his aunt at the funeral of his mother.
Carla Moore has a strong commitment to community theatrical productions and has directed more than 35 pieces. According to Moore, ‘Greene wrote Travels not as a novel but as “an entertainment”, however the book reflects more than that, dealing with the moral and spiritual struggles within individuals and the inevitable approach of death”.
The play takes place on a single set and by the use of props whisks us from England in to Europe and eventually across the globe.
Henry Pulling is played cleverly by two actors; Errol Henderson plays the on-stage character and Keith Potten plays the reflective Henry and narrates much of the play. The narration technique is a very effective way to bring out Henry’s inner workings.
Errol Henderson credits include Waiting for Godot, The Crucible, And Then There Were None among a list of many plays as well as roles in film (The Rage in Placid Lake) and television. Errol carries off the role of Henry well, bringing a great sense of the English Bank Manager that has never looked very far beyond his narrow horizons and his awakening to a broader and more exciting world.
Keith Potten, as the older, reflective voice of Henry spends much of his time perched to the side of the stage, highlighting the thoughts of Henry as he questions himself. Keith has been an actor and director in Sydney theatre for many years and brings a confident and deeper air to Henry.
To me, the stand-out performance is given by Michael Arvitis who plays many parts including the love interests for Aunt Augusta, a priest, man on the train and many butlers and helpers. He knits the play together with his roles and carries each one off superbly. That is no small achievement as Michael was brought in to the production at late notice. For me, his cameo on the train was wonderful.
Supported by Martin Bell (Influence, Measure for Measure, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Loves Labours Lost and Much Ado About Nothing) and Emma Gillespie (Woman of No Importance, The Crucible, Assassins) who do a brilliant job moving from police inspectors to train inspectors, wealthy socialites and even a dog – that snippet was really funny.
The season commences on May 7th and runs until May 31st, tickets are $25 ($22 concession). This is a play well worth watching.
Pymble Players is one of Sydney’s leading community theatre groups, with its 84 seat theatre at Bromley Avenue in Pymble (Cnr Mona Vale Road) Pymble Players stage four theatrical productions and one pantomime each year.
(Images courtesy Pymble Players Inc. Thank you to Kang, photographer)