The Secret Lives of Henry and Alice

Amateur production (Ipswich Little Theatre at the Incinerator Theatre)


Things have come to a pretty pass when you cant get laid even in your own fantasy.

And thats only one of Alices problems. The other is Henry, her husband, who is about as much use to her in bed as Orca the goldfish, on whom she lavishes all her frustrated mothering instincts. (Youll be glad to hear that Orca, who dies in the second act, isnt a real live specimen but, in deference to the RSPCA and animal liberationists, one of those artificial jobs from Silly Sollys.)

But back to Alice or Henry, if you like, but whats to like? Hes a boring slob who hates his job, refuses to help with the housework, messes up the house the minute he comes in, and is the reason for Alices necessary fantasies.

Mind you, this is a quid pro quo relationship, for she is about as responsive to him as the goldfish is, so he also needs his fantasies, which are a little more exotic than hers. As for Orcas fantasies well, lets just say that the sexual daydreams of any creature with a three-second memory span need not concern us here.

This is a very funny little play, where English playwright David Tristrams original script has been seamlessly adapted for an Ipswich audience, so that all the geographical references become immediately relevant. There are some great one-liners, but as I was sitting in the very front row, with my feet almost toe-to-toe with the actors, I wasnt able to write any of them down, so youll have to go and see the show for yourself.

Randell Hardy and Andrea Carne, who are quite clearly the backbone of the Ipswich Little Theatre, play Henry and Alice in all their real and imaginary manifestations, and they do it very well, apart from a certain monotony of tone from both and too many of the dreaded upward inflections from Hardy. But they slip in and out of the different roles with competence as well as confidence, and the two hours passed very pleasurably for all the audience, most of whom were middle-class couples who enjoyed the sexual titillation as much as I did.

The Secret Lives of Henry and Alice is not a play for the very young, who would quite understandingly regard jokes about rapid-suck vacuum cleaners and the length of their hoses as very Sixties, just a cut above Benny Hill, but even respectable middle-aged couples will enjoy the sexual innuendoes and the border-line smut that might cheer up their own fantasies or even their sex lives, if necessary.

A good choice of play from a game little theatre company that knows its audience, and a production that, in these days when the theatres in Brisbane are as dark as the mouth of hell, might even be worth the trip to Ipswich.

Playing Sat 29 January, Thursday 3 Feb and Sat 5 February

Running time: 2 hours including interval

Director Brett Williams
|  Back to Top

— Alison Cotes
(Performance seen: Tue 25th January 2005)