The Pavilion is one of those plays which manage to toe the line between comedy and pathos very well. It combines philosophy, moving characters and comedy brilliantly, leaving the audience with much to think about. The characters were well written and believable, and dealt with issues that probably go through everyone’s mind at some point – issues like true love, personal history, adultery, marriage, and even time and the universe all manage to make appearances. These more serious elements were contrasted with the humorous elements of the performance, which came in the form of the narrator, who also played every other character aside from the two leads. It is definitely worth the two hours it goes for.
From the outset, it was obvious that the performance was going to be fun. Narrator (Claire Pearson) begins with a monologue, which is simultaneously thought provoking and playful. From the get go, this dynamic was what made the show enjoyable. The push and pull between pathos and comedy, between the highly serious natures of the fractured relationship between two characters and the more upbeat, comedic lines of the narrator (and everyone else she played). The story was not overly complex; the complexity came with the complex, realistic characters. The characters were relatable: people who had made terrible mistakes in the past, filled with regrets, wondering what they should do with themselves, still clinging onto old hopes and loves, wondering how it came to this. The sign of a brilliantly written play for me is characters who are so realistic you can identify with them and think of them as real, living people, and Craig Wright achieved this in The Pavilion.
Speaking of characters, the actors who played them were amazing. First of all, hats off to maintaining convincing American accents throughout the performance. There was a brief moment when Peter (Tim Constantine) “put on” an Australian accent, reminding us how awfully grating our accent actually is.
Writing strong characters only goes so far if the actors cannot perform to the same standard, but fortunately the three actors all rose to the challenge admirably. They brought their characters to life and added zeal to their performance which made them very enjoyable to behold. Hopefully their careers take off and we see much more of them in the future. Byron Bache’s direction makes the entire show sparkle with humour and pathos.
If you at any point have pondered the “deeper” issues in life, or are after a fun night out, this is a way to indulge both cravings. With excellent actors, and strong characters, the performance is very enjoyable. True, it is a bit of a middle-class/middle-aged drama, but the issues can still be relevant to most people (I’m in my early 20s, and I found I could still relate to the people in question).
Definitely worth checking out, especially as you can drop by Lentil as Anything before for some dinner before heading to the play.
The Pavilion is playing at the Abbotsford Convent until the 14th November. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the webpage.