THAT'S AMORE: Seasoned performers Michelle Wallace, Greg Buist, Yvonne Berry-Porter and Mark Austin take to the stage for Woy Woy Little Theatre's Four Flat Whites in Italy.
THAT'S AMORE: Seasoned performers Michelle Wallace, Greg Buist, Yvonne Berry-Porter and Mark Austin take to the stage for Woy Woy Little Theatre's Four Flat Whites in Italy. Terry Collins

Mature-age brilliance in Four Flat Whites In Italy

WHEN you find a "very funny play with four beautiful principal roles for older actors" and a subject that all ages will relate to, it's pretty hard to go past.

That's why Terry Collins feels so fortunate to be directing Four Flat Whites in Italy for Woy Woy Little Theatre (WWLT) in August.

"There aren't many plays with really good, meaty roles for that age; they are more often supporting and character roles," Terry said.

"It's a real advantage to get so much experience on the stage... it's just seamless."

In this case, her major players are Michelle Wallace, Greg Buist, Yvonne Berry-Porter and Mark Austin, all well-known in Coast theatre.

Four Flat Whites in Italy is the intriguing story of two retired couples who, knowing very little about each other, are thrown together through circumstance on an Italian holiday.

The differences between the two couples' budgets, backgrounds, politics and attitudes to life in general are put to the test as they visit Venice, Rome and Tuscany.

By well-known New Zealand playwright Roger Hall, some changes have been made for an Australian audience, and Terry is confident it will strike a chord with everyone who gets the chance to see it.

"It's visually quite lovely and very funny, but with a nice pathos too as we follow the progress of these four people as they get to know each other," Terry said.

The sets, she said, were simple but with beautiful projected images of the places the tourists are visiting, including the canals of Venice, and a soundtrack of recognisable tunes including Dean Martin and Mario Lanza setting the scene.

The other two stars of the show are Rowan Cowley and Rosemary Parsons, who take on the roles of everyone the two couples encounter on their journey, from wait staff to a Centurion, and gondoliers to a count and his wife.

"Act one in particular is very frenetic for them," Terry said, with the pair playing about a dozen roles between them.

A relatively unknown play written in 2009, Terry said members had seen it performed in Sydney last year and put it forward among the 20 or so plays WWLT considers annually for presentation.

It was an instant standout.

Terry started with the company about 40 years ago and has directed about five productions, performing in many more, as well as being part of Gosford Players and Laycock Theatre productions.

Four Flat Whites in Italy opens on August 16, running 8pm and/or 2pm Fridays to Sundays until September 1.

For tickets ($25 seniors), go to woywoylt.com or phone (02) 4344 4737.


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