By Emma Forsyth
An initial Blue Room Theatre Production, Toast written by Liz Newell is a beautifully compelling story of the surreal experience of loss. I tip my hat off to Liz Newell for creating such a beautiful piece of work of bittersweet memories that still manages to make you laugh. For everyone attempting to navigate through your 20s this play is a must see! It is always nice to see an LGBTQIA+ orientated story in the theatre and is one I hope to see more of at Black Swan.
A locally written story that explores the relatable topic of how we must operate within the family we’re given, not the one we choose for ourselves. The sudden death of their mother leaves Candice, Alex, and Sydney grappling with this loss and the accompanying grief unsuccessfully trying to support each other through it. They must say goodbye to their childhood home, putting it in the hands of a real estate agent seeking to pay off her credit card debts.
A succinct poetically written script is the first ingredient to producing a successful production, the second is a capable director. Emily Mclean is a force to be reckoned with who brings this beautiful script to life. For me, a true test of capability is what is done when a crisis hits. Two days before Toast was due to hit theatres, actress Anna Lindstedt was involved in an accident meaning swift action with Sam Nerida stepping into the role of Sydney and Teresa Jakovich stepping into the role of Gwen. The fact that you couldn’t even tell that they had switched is not only a testament to the incredible talent of the actors themselves but also the formidability of Emily Mclean herself.
To the audience, it almost appeared that Sam Nerida was born to play the role of Sydney as was Amy Mathews in the role of Alex and Alison van Reeken as Candice, truly compelling performances from the entire cast. Special shoutout to set and costume designer Sally Phillips for the clever set design with the decluttering of the stage seeming to be a metaphorical representation of the shedding of the family’s emotional baggage. Rachel Dease’s soundtrack of musical classics such as Journey brings a light-hearted sentimental feel to this production.
All in all, a superb production that I encourage you to go and see before its closing night on the 15th of May!