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January 31, 2010 | by  | in Arts Theatre |
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William (Andrew Foster) formerly a starving actor now the toast of Hollywood has promised ninety minutes to Isabel (Michele Amas) an art restorer and his ex-wife. In a few short hours he is to jet off to Paris to marry his girlfriend. Over those ninety minutes, they reminisce on their past, on their relationship and by way of those things, how the world has changed around them much more than they have changed within it. Demons from the past are uncovered and an understanding grows between these two people who were so ready to be disconnected. And all in ninety minutes.

Ninety’s greatest strength is the two performances of its actors. Both Foster and Amas give Ninety_show_embed_largebrilliant and immaculate performances. Each finding a fundamental humanity within characters that could fall into pained gurning and whining. They are both totally watchable, holding the audience in the palm of their hands. They are so good in fact that they highlight some of the strengths weaknesses.

Ninety is a solid piece of writing by Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith. Inoffensive and possibly just a bit bland for some tastes. But there is nothing actively wrong with the middle of the road and the script only really falters under the scrutiny of such marvellous performances. Foster and Amas’s performances are so dedicated, so true, that they cannot help but underscore the multiple moments where the script gets a bit flabby and doesn’t take the characters as seriously as they deserve. Sharp flashes of comedy can brighten almost any show, but they shouldn’t, when you’re playing in the realist playground that Ninety is, come from the character seeming to lose their mind for a moment. Also, the timeline of the events discussed is just a bit too unclear for my taste.

Susan Wilson’s direction is strong, if occasionally workmanlike, taking very few risks. But she has a very clear understanding of the voice of the play and that shines through with never a moment out of tune with the rest.

While Ninety’s script is merely okay, that does not really matter when you have two performers as talented as Michele Amas and Andrew Foster. See it for them.

By Joanna Murray-Smith
Directed by Susan Wilson
With Michele Amas and Andrew Foster

At Circa Two
23 Jan – 20 Feb 2010
Booking details at

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About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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