Once in a while a theatrical production surfaces which mesmerises audiences with such astonishing force that glowing smiles from audiences are not only successfully maintained throughout the play, but also evident as they joyfully exit the theatre. Folk has evoked such a reaction with the utmost of ease.
Sister Winnie (Genevieve Lemon) is not your conventional nun. She swears, smokes and enjoys a pint of beer, but don’t be fooled under the tough exterior she is kind-hearted, has a passion for folk music, is indisputably religious and honours the man in the sky.
Stephen (Gerard Carroll) is her socially awkward friend, also a lover of folk music who has a deep secret. When rebellious 15-year-old Kayleigh (Libby Asciak) enters their lives with ‘a bang’, a permanent bond develops between these three oddballs, which is mutually therapeutic and leads to Sister Winnie devising a plan to have them sing in the Easter Folk Night.
Award-winning Genevieve Lemon who has numerous theatre credits under her belt including roles in Billy Elliot and Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? is a natural as Sister Winnie. Audiences should warm to her deliciously cheeky portrayal of this large-hearted nun, a performance which will stay in their memories long after leaving the theatre.
A standout performance by charismatic young actress Libby Asciak redefines the word ‘standout’. Her acting prowess at such a youthful age and entrancing angelic singing voice have doubtlessly cemented a long and illustrious career in the theatre.
Written by playwright Tom Wells, Folk is set in Yorkshire and is delightfully riddled with witty lines. Amongst the comedy, darker universal themes are explored including death, teenage pregnancy, homosexuality, aging, and looming unemployment. This play which begs human connection is compassionate and gentle.
Folk is a remarkable night out at the theatre and enthused audiences will be merrily toe-tapping and even clapping to the equally balanced six vibrant breaks into Irish traditional folk music. (MMo)
Until Jun 1. Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall St, Kirribilli. $66-73+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.ensemble.com.au