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THEATRE: 7 FEBRUARY 2015

By GERALDINE WORTHINGTON

Dream Home, by David Williamson | Directed by David Williamson

Ensemble Theatre | Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli, Sydney | Until 28 March

There is no doubt about it. Sydney’s house-price growth continues to outpace all other cities. It is almost as if there is a divide between the Sydney property market and everywhere else. So, no one can accuse the prolific playwright David Williamson of not hitting the mark in his latest satirical comedy.  Set in a block of units in Bondi, the plot revolves around Dana (Haiha Le) and Paul (Guy Edmonds), both young and successful in their careers, expecting their first child, and first-time home buyers.

Sadly, stereotyping abounds in Williamson’s latest offering, and further, little credence is lent to the contemporary nature of the topic. Instead the play is peopled with larger-than-life, two-dimensional caricatures —a Lebanese petrol-head with a soft centre (Justin Stewart Cotta); a middle-aged kleptomaniac, Wilma (Katrina Foster), continuously attempting to steal a jade Buddha; Cynthia (Olivia Pigeot), a bronzed, leggy, trolley dolly, and Colette (Libby Munro) who knew Paul in a previous life. All the actors, but in particular Justin Stewart Cotta as Sam, submit fine performances which attempt and mostly manage to transcend the limitations of their written caricatures.

But the central male character, Paul, provides the dramatic heart and soul of the piece. Paul is both well written and perfectly performed. Edmonds charismatically endears himself to the audience as well as carefully counteracting any stray elements of superficiality.

It must be said that this is not Williamson the playwright at his best. The dramatic gears do grind at times. However, Williamson the director deftly establishes a fast farcical-style pace which entertains via the many different exits and entrances of the many characters who gravitate towards Paul’s flat to engage in a confessional-box-style dialogue.

Whatever its strengths and weaknesses, Williamson’s play does reflect the current property boom and the subject matter may be of interest to baby boomers, whose children could be struggling to enter the property market,  but sadly Dream Home is void of any larger social or political message.

Haiha Le and Guy Edmonds. All images: Clare Hawley.

Justin Stewart Cotta.

Guy Edmonds and Libby Munro.