Ask Audrey Ask Audrey
View:
Review
Review

Significant Other

"salvos of tart observation and whip-smart repartee ..."

Audrey review: New Theatre is on a hot streak of quality presentations this year. Significant Other continues the trend.

Text size
Text size
Category: Theatre
Company: New Theatre
Book Now
Add to favourites

Significant Other

Date: 6 Jun 2021

New Theatre is on a hot streak of quality presentations this year. Significant Other continues the trend.

Written by Joshua Harmon – his follow up to his career-making Bad JewsSignificant Other is a bittersweet comedy exploring that phase of life when the close-knit friendships of college or the workplace begin to drift apart as people partner up, adopt more sedate social lives and start families.

Jordan (played here by Tom Rodgers, and quite brilliantly) finds himself in the thick of it, though as a bystander.

Pushing 30, his romantic life is on hold. The object of affection, office newbie Will, is oblivious to his worshipful admiration. Worse still, his closest gal pals – Kiki, Laura and Vanessa – are serially falling to proposals of marriage.

At best, Joshua feels like an outlier. At worst, he’s suicidal. There are only so many bachelorette parties you can show up for, only so many wedding night karaoke power ballads you can sing.

The story is established with salvos of tart observation and whip-smart repartee. Harmon wins you over very quickly. Soon though, the play’s serious side emerges and Significant Other glides away from sassy sitcom and toward piercing observation of the fleeting nature of friendship and the tailspinning effect of loneliness and the loss of hope.

In one of the darker scenes, Jordan attempts to reach out to his besties by phone, only to leave rambling messages on their voicemails. In another, Laura’s husband-to-be – the unfailingly nice Tony – makes it clear (in the nicest possible way) that Jordan is yesterday’s hero: “Thank you for taking such good care of her all these years. She’s in good hands.” Ouch.

Significant Others generates a lot of laughs but several in the audience were smiling through tears at the end.

Hayden Tonazzi directs a great-looking, sharply paced production (his New Theatre debut) staged on an arresting set of paper panels in wooden frames designed by Hamish Elliot and deeply lit by Morgan Moroney, who imparted a similarly vivid look to the New’s 2019 queer comedy This Bitter Earth). Costume designer Kate Beere has a cruel eye for wedding fashions.

Dominique Purdue (Vanessa), Isabella Williams (Kiki) and Laura McInnes (Laura) sparkle as the gal pals. Williams is very adept at playing Kiki’s particular brand of self-absorption. McInnes shines in a poignantly angry scene in which a despairing Jordan rails against her out-of-town wedding plans.

Matthew McDonald provides nuanced support in several roles, ranging from swishy office colleague to the enigmatic hunk Will. Helen Tonkin brings subtlety and warmth to the role of Helene, Jordan’s grandmother.

Rodgers, who played a small but energising role in the recent production of John Donnelly’s The Pass at the Seymour Centre, is a newcomer but he occupies centre stage exceptionally well, deftly carrying the play’s comic, tragic and musical loads. He’s one to watch.

Content
Once
Add to favourites
MusicalEternity Playhouse, Darlinghurst, Sydney 4 Jun - 18 Jul 2021

Once

Audrey review: Once is a rare bird of a musical, one that wears its heart entirely on its sleeve.

Happy Days
Add to favourites
TheatreOld Fitzroy Theatre, Woolloomooloo, Sydney 10 Jun - 3 Jul 2021

Happy Days

Audrey review: Fixed in a small theatre close-up, a radiant Belinda Giblin makes light work of one of the most demanding texts ever foisted upon an actor.

The Woman in Black
Add to favourites
TheatreEnsemble Theatre, Kirrbilli, Sydney 11 Jun - 24 Jul 2021

The Woman in Black

Audrey review: This Gothic yarn is a twofold celebration: first, of the healing power of storytelling; second of the magic of rough theatre.

See More

More to see

View All
Wherever She Wanders
Add to favourites
TheatreSBW Stables Theatre, Kings Cross, Sydney 9 Jul - 14 Aug 2021

Wherever She Wanders

At one of Australia’s oldest residential colleges, scandal is rare. Behind closed mahogany doors, there’s always quiet money to mop up the mess.

Triple X
Add to favourites
TheatreSydney Theatre Company Wharf 1, Walsh Bay, Sydney 1 Jul - 14 Aug 2021

Triple X

A deep dive into the unknowable contours of attraction from two-time Griffin Award-winner Glace Chase.

The Spook
Add to favourites
TheatreNew Theatre. Newtown, Sydney 6 - 31 Jul 2021

The Spook

Inspired by a true story, Melissa Reeves creates a whimsical satire of small-town Australia, Cold War fear-mongering, friendship and betrayal.

Cry-Baby
Add to favourites
MusicalDrama Theatre, Sydney Opera House 22 Jul - 15 Aug 2021

Cry-Baby

It's 1954. Everyone likes Ike, nobody likes communism and Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker is the coolest boy in Baltimore.

Top