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Unqualified

What the critics say: The less glamorous side of an actor's life inspires a sparkling two-hander by Genevieve Hegney and Catherine Moore.

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Show: Unqualified
Company: Ensemble Theatre
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Unqualified

Date: 29 Jun 2018

Playing in rep with the British play Marjorie Prime, Genevieve Hegney and Catherine Moore’s self-written two-hander is inspired by the acting life – specifically those gigs you are compelled to do while “resting”.

Joanne (Hegney) hasn’t been having the best time of late. Her TV star husband has bolted to Bali with his new girlfriend and she’s certainly not going to keep running his real estate business.

When her life collides, quite literally, with the perennially optimistic butcher Felicity (Moore) in a Centrelink office, the two concoct a plan to open a temporary employment agency. The only problem is a lack of employees. But maybe, just maybe, they can stretch their own qualifications to fit…

Diana Simmonds caught the show’s opening night and liked what she saw.

“In 100 minutes of all action, all laughing, all bonkers dramedy (that could lose 10 to make it perfect) Hegney and Moore are directed deftly and imaginatively by Janine Watson to fill out their characters, the situations and the stage with non-stop out and out laughter, giggles, chortles, chuckles and other manifestations of total amusement … Unqualified is clever and hilarious; superficial and deeply felt. I loved it.”

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Joyce Morgan dished out four stars in her review. “It is a treat to see a new Australian comedy in which two women are centre stage in a witty, intelligent work they have also written,” she writes.

“At one level, this is a fish-out-of-water story in which much of the comedy comes from the range of menial, demeaning jobs they take on – from catering a bogan wedding and caring for a bunch of biting brats to dressing as Lotto balls.

Yet this is more than straight sitcom. Amid the laughs there’s a tale about gaining self-respect, honouring one’s own needs … Hegney and Moore could qualify as the most sparkling new double act this year.”

Suzy Wrong was there and concurs with the general feeling that the Ensemble has a little hit on its hands. She expressed some reservations (“Its general plot is insufficiently taut”), but praised the “speedy exchanges between the two designed to provide what seems an endless amount of very clever punchlines.”

“Moore is particularly delightful as the jovial Felicity, delivering a comic performance astonishing in its efficacy, precision and inventiveness. Director Janine Watson orchestrates the action so that there is plenty of colour and movement to occupy our attention. Even when the story stagnates, we find ourselves luxuriating in the laughs that come through incessantly, and effortlessly.”

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