Written by: Reihana and Karla Haronga
Directed by: Reihana and Karla Haronga
Running at Circa Theatre until 17th Nov 2018
Reviewed by: Madelaine Empson
Sam runs the Saleyards Café in Feilding. A local institution, his customers are the very definition of regulars. Always first to arrive are Walter and his dog, Jack, who would rather sit inside thank you very much. Next is the fast-talking, clueless farmer Joseph, who couldn’t fix a fence or cook a roast to save himself. And let’s not forget the lovely lady who likes to sit at the café with a cup of tea and wait for her husband – even if his “I’ll be back in one hour dear” always means three.
Craig Geenty plays all these characters and more in this one-man show that strides the seasons – a metaphor beautifully expressed in the action of the play. In just 45 minutes, we traverse a year in the lives of the Saleyards folk.
Reihana and Karla Haronga wrote Friday’s Flock about the real Saleyards Café in Feilding, where it has been performed countless times for the patrons who inspired it. The authenticity of this process shines through, not just in the crafting of such genuine, believable, and lovable characters, but in the staging of the work as a whole.
The set (constructed by Blair Ryan) resembles a small-town café to a tee. No detail has been overlooked; it even boasts a real pie warmer stocked with pea pie pud (townies like me might be baffled by this one). In this replica Saleyards interior, the audience becomes completely immersed in the world of the play.
Geenty energetically switches from one character to the next, his transitions seamless and his characterisation clear. I’m never confused about who he is playing when, and each portrayal starts off strong. However, after the initial tableau, Geenty occasionally drifts back into his natural demeanour. Nevertheless, his performance is passionate and considered.
Friday’s Flock is a tender, poetic, and sensitive work that will warm the cockles of your heart. Plus, it’s worth seeing just for Geenty’s hilarious embodiment of a dog.