HAY FEVER, Sydney Theatre Company, Drama Theatre at the Sydney Opera House, 15 April-21May 2016. Photography by Lisa Tomasetti: above l-r: Heather Mitchell, Tom Conroy, Braille Clarke, Alan Dukes, Josh McConville, Helen Thomson and Tony Llewellyn-Jones; right: Heather Mitchell
Like all the best froth and bubble, Hay Fever has an invisible base in something deeper and darker. Whether that foundation proves to be solid and able to be built upon depends pretty much on two things: the actress playing “retired” actress Judith Bliss, and a director who understands and can navigate the perils of the bear trap otherwise known as comedy.
In this instance, Judith Bliss is brought to febrile and hilarious life by Heather Mitchell and the production is constructed, moment by intricate moment, by Imara Savage. Between them – and the rest of the fine cast – they achieve that rare and delicious thing: light-as-air comedic meringue with the vital chewy centre.
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