Daylight Saving

10 Nov

Sometimes I wish I was one of those writers who confuse mean-spiritedness with wit, and word games with truth. If I was, I could have begun my response like this:

“Daylight savings; it’s so confusing! Do you gain an hour? Or do you lose an hour? See this production for the definitive answer. You lose two hours twenty.”

What critics forget, when they write this sort of nonsense, is that these jokes have no doubt already been made in the rehearsal room.

Daylight Saving by Nick Enright is simply a good bit of fun. And Adam Cook’s production is deliberately and delightfully daggy.

Photo by Helen White

Photo by Helen White

At the end of the show you do have to put your watch forward 25 years – because the play’s sensibly been left in its late eighties setting.

A light weight meditation on fidelity, loneliness and lost time, it’s peppered with crazy characters. A celebrity chef, a Wimbledon champion, a Stanford professor, and a host of others sit down to dinner around a table in Pittwater.

The cast have appropriate larks with all this. Rachel Gordon and Christopher Stollery get both laughs and sympathy as the troubled couple. Ian Stenlake is suitably charming and repulsive at turns as the visiting Yank. Belinda Giblin is a wonderfully audacious lady who lunches. (Diana Simmonds deserves a special mention as the voice of the interviewer. The ungenerous might say her performance was such that she was hardly present, but my tip is watch for her name at the next Sydney Theatre Awards.)

Enright’s play is conservatively structured, but shot through with giggle lines. And he gets the last playful laugh. Sitting in the middle of this (now) nostalgic extended sitcom is a thought-provoking exchange:

‘The play’s a crock of shit isn’t it?’

‘Yes. It’s a national classic.’

Veronica Kaye


Daylight Saving by Nick Enright

A Darlinghurst Theatre Production

Eternity Playhouse til 30 Nov

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