Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica

As we arrived in the theatre foyer tonight, I noticed a small poster on the wall for Felicity Urquhart. Felicity is an Australian country music singer who I work with. So in addition to the slight buzz of seeing her poster on the wall, there was also a slight sense of confusion.

Minutes later I understood why, as she, Gina Jeffreys, Sara Storer and Beccy Cole are amongst a number of Australian country music singers who are mentioned, and whose works feature in the new David Williamson play, Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica.

The premise for the play is the apparent odd coupling of a country music loving tradesman and a classical music loving woman whose kitchen he is renovating.

Glen Hazeldine plays Rhinestone Rex, the tradie who used to be a country music performer, and who still appears on community radio. Georgie Parker plays MIss Monica, the classical musician forced to “retire” because of problems with her hands.

Publicity photograph for Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica
Publicity photograph for Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica

In the early part of the play, they trade barbs about country music and classical music which is all very amusing, and which had the theatre pretty much in stitches. That said, there’s a couple of quite funny “in jokes” about country music – such as how Beccy Cole got an entire album of songs from her divorce experience – which I seemed to be the only person in the theatre laughing at. David Williamson either KNOWS country music very well or at least has done his research very well.

As the play develops an obvious sexual tension develops between the two, despite their apparent “differences”. “So what do you reckon? Are they gonna do it?”, I said to my friend, fellow blogger/twitterer Tom 125 who came with me tonight, as we headed out for interval.

Unlike many plays these days which are far too long – and often laboured – this is about the right length. In fact, it ends quite suddenly, both Tom and I agreed as the play ended.

We also both agreed it was a really fun, lovely play. I’ve been a little bored with some of Williamson’s plays over the last ten years, as he has chronicled the life of Sydney’s middle class. He seems to have been writing for a while about people I really don’t care about: people with “first world problems” of little consequence.

Foyer photographs for Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica
Foyer photographs for Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica

In the grand scheme of things, this play “solves no problems”, provides no great commentary on modern life. But who cares? It’s bloody good theatre, jumps along at a nice pace, and provided an evening’s entertainment. I really liked it.

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