Category Archives: #theatre

Truth, what is truth?

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REVIEW

George Orwell’s 1984 , adapted by Robert Icke & Duncan Macmillan, is currently playing at the Comedy Theatre.

‘You don’t have to be an expert to know that Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year.”

Unwriting people, removing words, controlling thoughts was Orwell’s dismal view of the future. The play explores the tragic demise of the human spirit with brutal clarity.

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Tom Conroy as Winston

Winston played by Tom Conroy, is man of fear that falls prey to the Party machinery by daring to hope. His Partner in crime, the fierce and splendid Julia (Ursula Mills) is a vision that bursts into his life to set it ablaze for a brief moment.

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O’Brien (Terrence Crawford) Winston (Tom Conroy) & Julia (Ursula Mills)

The wooden interiors and costumes seem reminiscent of the 50’s when the book was written, a generation looking through the keyhole of the condition of the world in 1984. There are no clumsy cream PC’s or the continuous screening of the Iran- Iraq war that dominated our tv’s, in the 80’s. In its essence, the rich nostalgic settings creates a longing for something personal and contrasts the horror of The Ministry of Love.

The acting,direction and effects are flawless. Fiona Press as Mrs Parsons is formidable, by merely stirring a caldron, she captivates a mood that seeps onto the stage.

The Lighting (Natasha Chivers), Sound (Tom Gibbons) and Video Designer (Tim Reid) are major players in the production and carry the full power and might of Big Brother. It’s a beautifully crafted masterpiece, the sets have amazing attention to detail and border on the sublime.

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Paul Blackwell , Terence Crawford & Tom Conroy

Audience response:

“Nothing is believable, everything is manipulated, it’s unfortunate for humanity”

Do you think the play has any relevance to you? MP

“Which agencies are believable and which aren’t , its awful and in the end all you have is your own soul and that’s ripped apart as well.”

So what did you think about the play?

“It’s done amazingly well , there is nothing held back”

Would you recommend it?

“Very much , I want the world to see it”.

Some audience members had to leave midway in the final act, it is confronting.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY SHANE REID

MELBOURNE
Comedy Theatre
until June 10

 

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The play that created a storm

‘It’s foul weather in us all, good soul’

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Melbourne Sky

Ironically, it is a storm that opens the tale of The Tempest, but here on the banks of the Maribyrnong River it is a brewing storm that ends it. Melbourne’s fickle weather has once again cast its cold spell on an outdoor event. It has ‘undid’, subverted and prevented the ambition of this ‘goodly’ play. The stunning performance that was on Friday and Saturday was ‘naught’ on Sunday.

What could have been is; Prospero, performed by Brendon Ewing, dark with revenge and drawing his past into the currents of his macabre island home, seeking familiar company with unkindly aims, that give way to kindness sway. This tale untold, due to weather, it had to fold, so the cast did the next best thing, they sang.

 

Sly Rat Theatre Co.’s artistic directors Alan Chambers and Andy Harmsen have created a unique vision for The Tempest, inspired by science-fiction classics. The Pipework’s Natural Museum is a beautiful outdoor space, rich in atmosphere and a perfect setting for a summer picnic, weather permitting.

 

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“It’s a Rock and Roll version of Shakespeare, it’s very loud and very big” Director Andy Harmsen

Within the warm hub of the group, a buzz with laughter, singing and the smell of burnt sausage, it is easy to forget that the cancellation of a show could be disappointing, they are taking it so well. It’s a chance to catch up with some of the actors and chat about their role’s, the few that aren’t belting out a tune.

First up is Todd Levi

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“We like to push the boundaries but still tell a great story.. it’s Shakespeare, how he would like it done today…Its bawdy, its real and it is entertainment first and foremost. Prospero has been marooned on a magical island, betrayed by his sister and he’s been there for 12 years. He spies the evildoers sailing by and raises a tempest, a storm that shipwrecks them on the island where he prepares to take his revenge. It’s the search for redemption the final words of the play are; ‘As you from crimes would pardon’d be, let you indulgence set me free’

What made you choose this venue? MP

 “It’s a magical place, it’s a place where the community comes and we played here last year to over 2000 people … most of them had not seen live theatre before, let alone Shakespeare, and playing to an audience like that and seeing them fall in love with it”

Did you factor in the weather? MP

“You don’t expect to have nine shows of good weather every-time, hopefully this is our one and only cancellation.”

Next up is Tara Hauton 

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“Steph and I play the clowns, technically it’s the Court Jester but Andy and Alan have re-invented it to be two women who have been to the races all day long and have arrived at the play. We exist outside the world of the play and that’s where the comedy of the role happens…we are very drunk.

and Ty Holdsworth

 

It’s a play about weather, most Melbournians can relate to that.

 

Fri,Sat & Sunday nights at 6.30 until March 5

Pipework’s Natural Museum Park on the banks of the Maribrynong River

 

 

by April Forward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black is a psychological thriller with a mystery at the heart of it. It takes the audience on an imaginative tour, where their own thoughts interplay with the drama before them.

“they saw things that didn’t happen in the show” Justin Stephens, Director.

Stephens is drawing upon 25 years of theatre experience to present this production with two key actors, Chris McLean and Kieran Tracey, that are ‘on top of their game.’The Woman in Black” is a horror novella written in 1983 by Susan Hill. The play has startled audiences around the world.

Don’t expect to be spoon-fed, its a subtle work with confounding possibilities. Flawless acting, clever direction and trick lighting; engage the minds of the playgoer. The ‘not seeing’ creates the atmospheric conditions of strangeness.

“Creating a vision of actors on a journey” Stephens.

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Ironically, Stephen’s acting career began in an effort to combat an early speech problem. Many successful artists have grown from adversity into major success stories;such as Warhol,Beethoven, Einstein and Dali, just to name a few.

“The power of theatre and how it can transform” Stephens

The drama explores tragedy, the coping and non-coping elements, of the human experience. All those memories that haunt and prevent us from a full recovery, are confronted in a dire straits situation, where he/we must face our fears.

“Even the most rational minds can play tricks in the dark” from James Watkins 2012 film version.

The Review

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A menacing and sinister fog welcomes the audience into a Gothic drama that explores the space between life and death.  It’s a well written play,  beautifully executed by the actors with atmospheric effects that conjure an unsettling mood. There is a lavish opulence of poetry and theatrics in thick layers. It is theatre at its best, it is a work of Art.

I did it my way

Simon Taylor does a ‘bunch of cool stuff’ at the Butterfly Club on a crisp winters night. His CV sums up the order of things.

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  • Born
  • 5 years old: Elvis impersonator    
  • 12 years old: break dancer
  • 18 years old: rapper
  • 19 years old: poet
  • 20 years old: magician
  • 21 years old: improviser
  • 22 years old: comedian
  • 27 years old: singer
  • Present: all of the above

No-one can look so sorted in a suit without a stylist to flat lay his wardrobe.

“A lot of my craft as an entertainer came from doing shows at The Butterfly Club. It’s where I learned to connect with an audience. It’s where I learned to present myself as a showman. It’s where I learned to be grateful to the people who helped make the show possible. It’s where I learned to be humble. It’s also where I discovered that I look AMAZING in a suit.”

He is a gentleman comedian who can pull ‘a’ Dove out of thin air. A warmth emanates throughout the performance, a romantic with an edge.

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What are your thoughts on the medium of comedy, is it to carry a deeper exploration of society or do you prefer the wacky? MP

“Neither. I just like to induce the chemicals in people’s brains that make them feel happy.”

This is what Simon does. In a cynical world he is not; so much.

Simon is a ‘stand-up’ that takes the audience into the intimacy of his daily life. Simon is a singer with a great voice. Simon is a very clever magician. Simon is a poet hoping to evoke. I don’t think Simon can rap or breakdance as it wasn’t in the show, but Simon said he could.

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Paperless Office

“The whole of life is an artwork, we are just going through the stages of it.”  Coleman  

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Xan Coleman is the Director of a Durational Action Artwork that is currently being held at the Meat Market in North Melbourne.

“We are digitizing and destroying the entire company archives of A is for Atlas, as it turns 10 at the end of this week. We are reflecting..” Coleman

When MP arrived Coleman was shredding the play ‘No Exit’ that was staged in 2012.It is a 1944 existentialist French play by Jean-Paul Sartre. It consists of three characters that bring out the worse in each other and are doomed to spend eternity together, this is their hell. Ironically, the play was held in an underground space, next to the Vic Market that has since been entombed under concrete, hindering it without an exit.

Theatre chairs are in place, if you want to grab a coffee and view the work of Yuhui Ng-Rodriguez as she scans, or Coleman as he shreds. Toni Main’s sewing machine creates a ‘musical’ background as Julie Renton creates soft furniture on the floor. The public are invited to participate in the making of soft office toys that will be given away at the end of the week.

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The mundane in this Happening, becomes the intersection of destruction and transformation,  public are generally invited to such rites of passage. For ‘A is for Atlas’ the cultural past has been kept in storage for a decade. In this installation the past is physically destroyed and sent into a cloud.

Ritual, regardless of its simplicity, marks change and unity. A marriage is more than a couple ‘hooking up’; eating fish on Good Friday or kissing strangers on New Years Eve, marks a profound event or change. The shredding of the emotional and creative achievement’s of this company, is significant.

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Childs drawing saved from the shredder

Each of the players have rewarding discoveries in the sorting; Coleman saved some children’s drawings and mounted them on the wall, Ng-Rodriguez connected with some architectural drawings of the Powerhouse; Main found it exhilarating to cut into an old animal print costume and Renton, left only with the shreds, creates soft furniture.

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On Friday night the bar is open, the musicians arrive and the ‘post-it’ party begins to cap off the week.

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Ends July 29

Article by A Forward

Psychosis, the lonely poet

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Sarah Kane wrote the play 4:48 Psychosis as she plummeted deeper into her despair. This is her final curtain fall, the finale of her creative life. Ironically she digs her lonely days of dirt with words that are crafted with epic beauty.

‘Love keeps me a slave in a cage of tears’

Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar or Shakespeare’s Othello are fitting comparisons to a raw but majestic construction of words. Kane is a natural poet capable of building a visual palace out off the darkest recesses of her mind.  Director Kendall-Jane Rundle chose a naked space to adorn the language.

Kane is terrified of banality.

‘Don’t shut off my mind’

‘Theres not a drug on Earth that can make this life meaningful’

The drug that Kane aches for is Hope.

‘I am charging toward my death.’

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Despite the dark subject matter, it is a strong script, tailored direction and an absorbing performance.

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Kendall-Jane Rundle

The Director and principle Actor Kendall-Jane Rundle responded to the tiredness of Kane by using furniture that was muted rather than white to create the worn-out feel that the writer expresses. She toned down the delivery to create a realistic feel to the drama. On Thursday night an audience that suffered the affliction viewed the performance and claimed that it was an accurate portrayal of the condition.

Jeff Wortman played the Doctor and love interest of Kane’s character. In the performance his professional position kept him aloof from the desperation of his patient, she tries to pull him in and he tries to pull away. As an actor it was just as difficult to ‘turn off’ to the confronting content.

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Jeff Wortman

Without wanting to take her pain

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Shane Grant

Shane Grant created the lighting for the episodic depiction of Kane; rather than being a light that shines from above his lights chase her through the darkness and allows the audience to fold into the deeper layers of the script.

Overall it was perfectly complete.

“At the end she was calm” Rundle

 

 

Review & Photography by A Forward

A Suspicious Mind

Class Act theatre updates an ancient play, The Winters Tale, by dressing the actors within a modern context. The audience are informed of the rank and occupation of the players through chiffon gowns,well cut suits and the Louis Vuitton luggage of the privileged class. The Mariner and shepherds are more roughly attired.

Katherine Innes role as Hermoine morphs her lines into this century with an Aussie twang and everyday gestures, which translates the material with natural ease. The strong cast dig into the tragedy, of a leader who has fallen victim to his own mind. The repercussions of his suspicions, spiels  the leading class into the task of damage control.It takes fate to heal the wounds and bring back order.

MP spoke to The Designer, Jaz Wickson and The Director , Stephen Lee before the show.

Jaz Wickson     

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Jaz Wickson Designer

“The show has wonderful feminist undertones. The three main women are Paulina (Angelique Malcom) the wise woman; Hermione (Katharinne Innes) who is the mother figure and goes through a terrible time,losing her daughter, her son,and then her own life; and there is Perdita (Ivy Latimer). There are many men but the women are stars.”

“With this production we’ve tried to keep it timeless. Think fairytale today, an Australian Fairytale. We have a very Australian Bohemia when we go there, with all of the accents.Design wise,its very ‘man from snowy river’ and the Court are dressed like they’re at a wedding, as this doesn’t change much.

With the set; Northcote Town Hall is an interesting space, its not a black box theatre, it has a hardwood floor so we integrated it.  We used chiffon drapes, that the actors walk in and out of, we’re not hiding the space but rather enhancing it.For the centre piece, it’s a tree, with changes of season.”

How did you get involved with the program? MP

“I’ve been a designer for a few years now, I work with Class Act theatre, they have just moved their base from Perth to Melbourne, I do the costumes and set.”

Is it a traditional Shakespeare script?

“Yes, Our Director Steven Lee has directed over 30 Shakespeare plays.”

Stephen Lee

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Stephen Lee Director

“This is probably my 35th Shakespeare play”

Where does that passion come from? MP

“When I was 18, I saw my first Shakespeare play and I was so captivated, it was nothing like I had done at school.”

What play was that? MP

“That was King Lear, it was with Donald Sinden, an actor people don’t know anymore. It was such a magical experience and I was transported. That was 40 odd years ago. I’ve probably directed a couple of hundred productions.”

What’s the shape of theatre in Australia? MP

“Theatre around the world is thin, it’s been overtaken by so many other forms of entertainment. Cinema is still hanging in there but television, video and the internet ….”

Why should people go to theatre? MP

“All these other forms of entertainment may be fine, but there is no immediacy like a direct performance for you. …That night is performed just for you and it will never be the same on any other night.

It’s a special one-off thing just for that audience. It’s incredible, you’re  joining with the actors , sharing in a unique experience.”

Tell me about Winters Tale. MP

” It’s about two Kings and one King starts to suspect the other  of having an affair with his wife. It’s totally ungrounded as they have grown up together, since they were kids. Suddenly he believes he is being cheated on.

He tries to bring down the other King, that fails, then he tries to put his wife on trial for adultery… It gets blacker and blacker and blacker and in the second half, the time and place switches into a mood of redemption and reconciliation. It becomes funny, heart-warming and it has one of the most moving endings, of any Shakespeare play.”

How does this relate to modern times? MP

” We wear different clothes and talk slightly differently but we are still driven by the same things and ideas, feeling jealous or insecure, not trusting other people is the same now as it was four Centuries ago.”

 

 

Until June 11

at Northcote Town Hall (a Licensed Venue)

 

 

Photography & review by A Forward

Flesh Eating Tiger

Flesh Eating Tiger by Amy Tofte

with brilliant performances by Amy Gubana and Marcus Molneux.

“I hate this f-king play”the actor roars; chaotic in self hate and desire. Its a vicious cycle, a play within a play.

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“I love you” she pleads, imagining her only reflection is through his eyes.

The stench of sweat and loves final battle breaks out in front of the audience that stare like children, watching the horror of substance fueled passion. Despite the abstract fury of the torn lovers, the play is built on a tight structure and examines the cult of alcoholism.

It is a brutal contemporary play, with a brilliant script and prize acting, the direction has an expanding boundary, webbed together with invisible threads.

Its not serious.

Its just physical.

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I can end it whenever I want.

WRONG!

“I want out!”

He is addicted to alcohol, and she is addicted to rejection.They want to be abused. They don’t want surface beauty, they want to wrestle the beast beneath.

“I heard about stupid people like this I didn’t know, I would be one.”

Love without a boundary, is life without rest.

This drama explores complex emotional themes that are part of the contemporary fabric of human life. It explores desire and it’s not pretty.

 

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The Owl and the Pussycat is the go to place for  serious artistic exploration.

imageThe Director Gabrielle Savrone, explains her involvement with the production.

“Flesh eating tiger is a bit of a beast, it’s an abstract art piece. I’m an Abstract painter so I see the play like that. There’s the words,the actors and the design…the concept is how things bleed between life and art. You create what you live and its a part of who you are.

She’s addicted to him and he’s addicted to alcohol.Its a tangled mess. What we are watching is their relationship, the play that they are creating about their relationship within a play. It’s quite fun.Essentially it’s a love story, a tragedy.”

How did you get involved in the project? MP 

“I met Amy (Tofte)at a conference in Alaska three years ago,we were room buddies. I went to watch her play reading, it was this and I fell in love with it. When I took over the theatre, nearly two years ago,  this was the first play we put on.”Savrone

Actor Braydon Lewtas extends himself to assist in the Direction of the production.

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Assistant Director Braydon Lewtas

“The Artistic Director, Thomas Doyle cast me in the two previous plays that were shown at the theatre; Paper and Boys Club. I always wanted to be a Director, so I expressed that to the owner of the theatre, Gabrielle”Lewtas

“I’d like to write and direct and put on my own play in the future.”

The small bohemian venue is a hub of creativity, the friendly barman is Doyle, the Artistic Director and struggling play writer. He wrote the script for Paper which took a stab at modern media and corrupt journalists. His play Riot went to The Last Frontier Conference in Alaska.

“I like provocative material, work that provokes people and is also entertaining. I wrote my first play when I was eight. I thought I wanted to be an actor but then I realised that playwriter’s have all the power. ” Doyle

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Artistic Director Braydon Lewtas

 Amy Tofte Playwriter of Flesh Eating Tiger

Amy was recently recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting. Her plays have been semi-finalists for the nuVoices Festival (Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte), Kitchen Dog Theatre’s New Works Festival, The Source Festival and The Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship. Flesh Eating Tiger premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and in Melbourne in 2015. Tiger was remounted at the Hollywood Fringe where it was named “Best of Fringe” and nominated for Best Play. Tofte is a founding member of the play development company Fierce Backbone in LA and is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild.

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Until June 4 at

The Owl and the Pussycat

Swan St.  Richmond

 

Review & photography by April Forward

 

 

 

 

I (honestly) love you.

I (honestly) Love You at The National 

REVIEW

Have you ever been on a date from Hell and loved it?

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There are three members in this relationship, him her and the ‘vicious truth’. The great accident of love has a few battles to get through, before the home run. The first awkward encounter is to meet the parents and then the friends. 

The show digs into the trenches, of love for the long-term, despite its personal cost. 

“She plays netball …I have to go to every F******* game”

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The play explores the sharp cut of truth in a dishonest world. How can we hold down a relationship or job, if the real shatters our delusions? It’s a clever script that breaks down the comfort zones, with large slaps of humour.

“It was very entertaining, the humour was quite witty and unpredictable….I laughed most of the way through it” John (audience)

“I loved the energy that the actors had, the sound effects, audience involvement and the six part bit.” Gilly (audience)  

“An interesting insight into relationships and how hard we try to make everyone around us happy when in doing so it actually makes everyone, including ourselves unhappy ……interesting.” Alannah (audience)


Interview with Damon Lockwood.

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“I wondered if being able to tell the truth to your partner at all times would be the answer to the perfect relationship, and this play is the result.”

What keeps you honest (honestly)? MP

‘The new app that allows my partner to know where I am at all times, by where my phone is at. Once again, thank you technology.’

Why did you choose this show? What’s the story behind it?

‘I didn’t go to the best of schools as a child, so when I ran into an old school friend and he reminded me of a truly filthy joke we used to tell each other in Grade 4, something about Pinocchio being honest in the toy box, the idea for the play sprang into my head and the script flowed out of me. Crappy education has given me so much…’

What is your main talent? MP

‘I keep striving to make my main talent writing …you can’t polish a turd’… delightful, but so apt when it comes to creating great theatre. So I am saying I would like writing to be my main talent but it really is a life-long path.

Also, I make a seriously good omelette.

What are the ingredients to a great show?

A good script helps a lot, like, a lot. For me, a show that deeply considers the audience’s enjoyment and not just their ‘luck’ at witnessing some supposed brilliance on stage I feel is also important. Great actors don’t hurt either, and did I say a great script I think is really important?’

What impressed you about the Edinburgh Festival?

‘The sheer scale of the thing was redonkulous, but the Perth Fringe Guide is beginning to have eerily similar weight and look to it as the Edinburgh one.

The energy on the back streets is electrifying. The main press event was hilarious, where you line up for an hour and a half to speak to a journalist for three minutes who already has tickets to La Soiree on the one night they might have been able to come to your show.

It’s true, Scottish people truly are waterproof – they can stand in the rain and simply not get wet! Survival mutation born from centuries of damp weather, I guess.

What do you imagine your future to be? MP

Man, that is a heck of a question! Seeing as there are no jobs in the theatre in Perth … then I’m pretty excited about a long career in bus driving. And I’ll always write, I think, I do love the endless bloody tangle with the blank page and those concrete words that sometimes glow.

What keeps you motivated? MP

‘I think the joy I receive creating work that allows audiences to witness other great actors ply their trade is very rewarding. There are so many talented actors out there who through bad timing or sheer dire fate don’t get the opportunities they deserve. At least this way I am able to give them an impressive 11% cut of the door takings’

What are the ingredients for a great relationship?

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‘… in all extreme  likelihood I will never be a relationships counsellor, I would say… who knows?

Maybe a couple that complement each other perhaps, so that between the two of you there’s a fighting chance you may have all the aspects of this life thing somewhat covered (like I do all the cooking and cleaning and gardening and my partner can answer the door when there’s some delivery guy there that I can’t handle making small talk with)?

And great sex. Oh, and honesty! Of course, yes, honesty, on all things… some things… on some most things… … … sometimes…’

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I (honestly) Love You has played at Edinburgh Fringe and New York Fringe achieving great reviews. The show has Melbourne actors, Jimmy James Eaton and George Gayler in the lead roles with Damon Lockwood is the playwright and director (his show HorseHead was on at La Mama in 2014).

Venue: The National Theatre

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13 – 16 April 2016
7.30pm
Tickets: $25
Bookings: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.au

 

 

 

 

 

A Night with the Magician

The Mystica

David Stewart is the gentle observer looking into the mystic, the place outside of us. It’s a blend of science and intuition. He tunes into the mind waves of the audience and has a high success rate of accuracy.

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The highlight of the show was when he asked three people to sit down if his was able to decipher the words they held and projected with their minds. They all sat down.

Before the show at the Butterfly Club, Melbourne Press talked to Stewart next to an ornamental bar in a corridor. As we chatted a line started to form and people were handing over tickets. As a joke we collected the tickets, and then handed them back. It was an uncanny display of perception.

It was the death of a family member that sparked his interest in the unknown. Many can move on, but others linger and wonder. Stewart attends many festivals, once for some alone time,  he ventured up a hill and was confronted with the spirit of the person he was missing. This reassured him that his life was on the right path.

“Do you trust me?” he asks an audience member.

Why should we trust you? MP
‘Knowing what makes other people tick, you probably shouldn’t… But hopefully my honesty is trustworthy’. Stewart.

Trust is not easily won but when authenticity is involved, the guard does drop. Stewart is on tour from England, he is interested in the ground work of Ancient Mediums and adds Psychology and Hypnosis into the mix.

“Dreams are extremely significant it’s where we spend eight hours of our waking life, we’re still conscious in our dream state and they tell us valuable lessons, where we are supposed to go in the future and even predict our future and give us guidance….Its more than writing them down, it’s taking an active role, being part of themStewart

Stewart emphasises the need to be an active participant in your creation of life. Each of us is given a blank canvas and its up to us what we create. It begins in our subconscious, it requires all our roaring energy (don’t subdued it with alcohol or drugs), think it, believe it, push your energy forward and ‘hickory dock’ “POW! Here comes your manifestation, your future!

What are your dreams? MP
‘I want to see the world; creating, making, everywhere I go’ Stewart

Life is an important place to explore; get on with it.

 

For those born in the 80’s, Annie’s time warp.

PEE STICK, performed at the Butterfly Club

REVIEW

Annie is 50% pregnant, she is in the marginal world of maybe and maybe not. There is nothing to do but wait the 45 minutes for the Pee Stick verdict. The audience waits with her.

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It is the human drama that most women have had to consider. Am I pregnant?

For a single girl in the 80’s, it’s a scandal; a proactive modern girls entitlement; a workplace misfit or life on the park bench. Annie chooses to rise above the difficulties and doubts. There is no going home. This timid soul  is about to embark on a life journey.

Carly Milroy handles the subject matter in a comic but gracious performance. The little girl attitude of the young woman she plays, fits the 80’s mould of women, that have gained meagre progress, and ‘bit off more than they can chew’.

The Artist tackles a historic piece and succeeds in capturing a time before she was born. The working woman, that time juggles children in the our modern climate, and takes up kick boxing; is a far cry away from the 80’s girl, that protested for basic rights.

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“There is nothing I wont get right as a parent ….. I have no idea what I am doing …. but we’ll work it out.”

It was a fun journey, and she has a beautiful singing voice.

The Dressmaker

Have you seen the Dressmaker?

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“Yes, it reminded me of Daylesford when we were kids, it gave me the shivers.”

Have you seen the Dressmaker?

“Yes, isn’t Liam Hemsworth gorgeous?”

Have you seen the dressmaker?

“Yes, wasn’t the interaction between Judy Davis and Kate Winset amazing, they must have had heaps of fun.”

Have you seen Dressmaker?

“No, but country towns always have their secrets.”

Have you seen the dressmaker?

“Yes, I Loved it.”

Kate Winset sets fire to the screen, in a cathartic survival movie. The very chic Tilly (Winset) returns to her childhood home in the dead of night, to clean up and overcome her troubled past. Armed with a sewing machine she manifests as the fairy godmother with a cutting edge. The film explores ‘the heart of darkness’ in rural Australia, within a playful drama about frocks.

It’s definitely a film to be enjoyed on the big screen.

Kate Winset
Kate Winset

Costume designer Margot Wilson, runs up a series of ‘show stoppers’ for Winslet to flaunt. Marion Boyce is the ‘muse’ of Tilly’s designs.

“In particular, for this film the costume is everything, most incredible dresses in my career, we start off with a palette of brown, grey and dull…’she’ (Tilly played by Kate Winslet) brings in the wealth of colour”  Boyce

Judy Davies wrings out every essence of her character in her performance, as a tormented shrew.She is brilliant.

 

Shoot from the Hip

‘The concept was so fascinating and unexpected.’

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Set up like an ‘old school’ radio show, Shoot from the Hip is an original work with actors playing multiple characters and reading directly from scripts. It was like sitting in a radio station and watching the show as it goes to air. It even included a band and advertisements from sponsors, sung like jingles.

‘The voice is an actor’s greatest tool and these three definitely used theirs to the best of their ability! Very impressive to witness!’

The actors did a fabulous job, playing multiple characters and using a range of voices. These weren’t subtle alterations, there were sex changes, smooth accents and rich tonal textures. The talent and work required to manipulate the voice in such a way is highly impressive.

‘They reached a large and varied audience with great success’

An age range from 13 to 40+enjoyed the show, it was great to see teenagers laughing at sophisticated jokes .

‘It just goes to show how great the writing and performances were.’ 

Starring: Ivy Latimer, Charlie Sturgeon and Cassie Vagliviello
Written by Justin Cheek
Designed by Sarah Tulloch
Songs composed by Ashleigh Southam
Directed by Jeremy Rice

REVIEW BY Alannah Woods

A Snippet of the Fringe

Three Artists, three stages, 3 fabulous hours

‘Existentialism the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one’s acts.’

THE PERFORMANCE

SAUCE

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Simon Godfrey’s Dadaistic comedy is a complex ,high energy, minimalist work, marked by the absurd.

“Let us take the rest of Ukraine”

There are over a dozen characters in Simon Godfrey’s ‘Sauce’, each distinctive and brilliantly performed, in his one-man show. He needs nothing more than his imagination to bewitch. Godfrey turns a condiment into a high stakes adventure. He is a force.

 GENDER SPANNER

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If you can fix a pipe are you an old man or a little girl? Jessica McKerlie ‘throws a spanner’ into gender prejudice. What defines our sexuality, is it our body or our mind? Can a woman who believes she is a man become a transsexual? McKerlie challenges the status quo of being, in a solo show. It’s an exploration into our humanity, told with tricks and slips.

“Don’t confuse my sex with my gender”

Her eyes flash into the souls of the audience as she keeps them tittering on the edge.

“Thank you for letting me label you.”

DEAR DIARY

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Andi Snelling got a standing applause for her solo performance, as a girl growing through the banal experiences that ‘rocked her world’. The witty script compounded a couple of decades with multi-media and song, whist exploring the philosophy of time and self. Snelling mocked the self-indulgence of the autobiography, that the audience related to, with bursts of laughter.

“Guess what? I found four dollars at Timezone!”

It was a beautifully crafted work, packed with clever charm and brilliant timing.

Songs & Legends

27 Club

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Five minutes into the 27 Club and pure pleasure has melted the cold and tired, of the winter night. Zack Anthony Curran, Keane Fletcher and Andrew Kroenert are a trio of unearthly talent. Each rising star is gifted with a voice that resonates with the complexities unique to Joplin, Winehouse, Cobain, Hendrix and Morrison. Even ‘Jimi’ plays a mean guitar.

IMG_3802The lighting is low to blur the division of space and time. Music greats are resurrected for a final concert at the Butterfly Club. The full audience cheer through the dark atmosphere and there is a vitality within the gloom of deaths dreary fate.

We are taken on a tour into the past through layers of visual and sound texture. The vocal range is staggering and those privileged to see the show were treated to a fully packed hour of entertainment. Although the songs showcased their voices, it seemed that there was still ‘more in the tank’.

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Mackenzie Spencer & Andrew Strano

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“I’m a story junkie, I think it’s the way that we communicate our experience as humans.”

Before heading to London, Australian songwriters  Strano and  McKenzie Spencer showcased their concert at Chapel off Chapel with a line up of singers including, Fem Belling (West End) , Mike McLeish (Keating) and backing musicians.

Next stop is The Edinburgh Fringe to perform and then onto clown school at École de Gaulier in Paris. As a writer and lyricist  Andrew Strano did a cabaret double act for a few years, parodying existing musical theatre numbers.

“He churned them out about once a week for a year for a live TV spot. That his boot camp”.

Strano enjoys the feed back of a team. His contemporary style of slapping down the lyrics with artistic haste and intuition before polishing it, into a tight, clear honest work allows him to play writer and editor.IMG_3832

“People only get to hear a lyrics once. It’s not like poetry, where you can take another sip of your cognac and swill the words around in your mouth as you read and re-read them. They have to be understood on the first listen.”

The audience chuckle and giggle, the line up and presentation would appear formal and professional, if the sound was turned off one would imagine the audience to be listening to the classics. In truth, it’s a tale about a cheap ticket on Tiger Airlines that comes with unlimited complications, all of them hysterical and relatable.

‘There is no need to join the mile high club because they will f### you right here, on the ground’ (sung beautifully)

“My favourite bit of writing is that initial rush after having the idea where you beat out the song, knowing where it starts and where you want to finish, placing the building blocks. Where you put the puzzle in place – plotting all of the boxes running down and across. After that, you start building up the clues for your crossword puzzle – brainstorming. Every single idea should go down on paper free and easy with no desire for perfection.IMG_3827

The hard bit comes after that. The nitty-gritty of actually fitting the clues you brainstormed into the structure you created

I go nuts for the structure! I love it!”

The show is a tasty serve of life told with heart and humour, very Monty Python,

‘Always look on the bright side of Life’.

Legends

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‘Legends is a rolling comedy medley, juxtaposing traditional themes and stories with modern day realities, highlighting the irony that is human behaviour and beliefs.It was an eclectic performance that perfectly suited its venue with a smooth transition from skit to skit, character to character”

Jess Terry

‘Lets find 50 reasons to stay with your lover.

Do you support each other? Laugh at eachothers jokes? Create children? Enjoy a gourmet breakfast? (very Melbourne) Borrow a kidney? Co-write books?

Not enough you need 50!’

The show is a wacky look and our beliefs and myths in everyday life through playful comic interactions that are clever and insightful.

An interview with the creator Harley H Hefford

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“Earlier this year, a few different people expressed interest to me about making a sketch show and I realized that I knew enough talented people to put a show together. I called my friend Carly Milroy, with whom I’ve done several comedy shows and know I will have a great time making theatre with. Carly and I called an official meeting of comedians! It was quite a serious meeting.

From there, we ended up capturing the interest of Chris, Tom and Elliot three other enthusiastic comic minds. From the beginning, one of the exciting things about this show is that all five of us bring quite a different perspective and skill set to the table.

We began by working out what united us, and that was probably a desire to create sketches which put character first .The audience forms a relationship with the characters and learns about their motivation and worldview, rather than them just being vessels for a premise or punchline.

On the other hand, it’s been a nice compromise between some of us with more avant-garde ideals and some with more presentational comic backgrounds. I sincerely feel that we’ve ended up with the best of both worlds, the intrigue of the former and the presence of the latter.The theme is myths and legends, yet the show has a contemporary flavour and touches upon the current climate of the world.

Insomnia, A play by Natasha Moszenin

The Insomnia Project

The Insomnia Project by composer, writer and director, Natasha Moszenin, is a dramatic piece on the troublesome disorder of insomnia brought to life on the stage.

1 in 3 Australians suffer mild to extreme sleep deprivation and in our 24/7 lives we are increasingly becoming a ‘sleep-sick’ society. Insomnia and up to 70 other diagnosable sleep disorders underlie up to 70% of visits to GPs in Australia.

Natasha has been living with insomnia since she was a teenager. Having tried psychotherapy, herbs, restrictive diets, and meditation, she decided to create a music-theatre work about sleeplessness and the related conditions that surround it; anxiety and depression.

“ When a night can feel like a lifetime”

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The play can be best understood by night stalkers that wait for day with both anxiety and relief. Anxiety because sleep deprivation undermines ones ability to function and relief because the long lonely hours are over. 

“However vast the darkness we must supply our own light” Stanley Kubrick

Four actors shared the stage but remained in isolation. In a Kubrick style, the crowd were dragged through the condition and if they didn’t understand what insomniacs go through, they were not paying attention.

The Director and the Writer Natasha Moszenin provided the score, she played the piano as she watched the actors lumber, sleepless through the night. For insomniacs in the full audience it was a bonding into a community, when they thought they were alone.

The menagerie of hope, work and desire

IMG_2947THE EXONERATED

To be a victim of crime is a long road to recovery. To return to the just world and hang on dearly to the laws that make our society safe, is a tonic. How hard is it for the innocent to be destroyed and murdered by the Law. Where do they go to recover, if they can?

Ironically it is the free that are in danger of incarceration, the hippy, the ‘happy go lucky negro’, the hillbilly; bohemian to some, misfits to others, and ironically these trapped and injured souls bring beauty and faith to death row in Texas. IMG_2950 It’s a difficult topic to portray, un-fair executions of innocent people in a play.

They succeeded. They warmed the audience, and brought them thoughtfully through the menagerie of  tortured innocence, without bombarding them. This tight-rope of entertainment and serious consideration, was handled remarkably well. The audience smiled and laughed, as their empathy rose to the occasion.

“I wish you a long and happy life” the murdered girl from Peter Jackson’s movie, Lonely Bones claims sweetly.

It’s the sentiment of this beautiful play, I have suffered (so much) but I wish you well. There is a faith within the heart of the wrongfully accused, who are marked for death. IMG_2962The full attendance at the Chapel off Chapel clapped with vigour at the closing scene. Dig deep, life is not a luxury or an accessory it is the road to the infinite.

Performance Management

IMG_2787According to the Ringmaster Scott Hollingsworth there are four key worker traits; the acrobat who is the worker that jumps from task to task, the juggler often known as the multi-tasker, the CEO who takes charge and an appendage known as the clown. IMG_2806 The diplomatic play between manager and clown is a slippery slope of comic proportions, trying to work the unworkable in a PC office. Comedian Hollingsworth has the answer; it’s a whip and a little tune.

It’s a Brilliant performance. The Artists day job is ballooned into a seriously funny show at the Butterfly Club,it’s a must see.

IMG_2815How does a manager cope with the unmovable employee suffering from chronic hypochondria and tennis elbow from endless handballing?

“It wasn’t my fault alright” the clown proclaims.

The recruiting phase is a Mr Hyde and Dr Jekyll routine where what you see is all you wont get. The resume, the training, and availability LIES LIES and more LIES. Ode to the trainer, glory to the paid untrained. As in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one has to weed out the brats. It’s a fabulously funny show,

Lady Liberty

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Amelia Ryan packs a case full of neurosis, hope and sex, which she unloads, by exploding into song. She has been searching for Liberty from Vegas to Adelaide.

“Who feels Alive?”

She is busting at the seams with life. Her show is sexy, smart and warm; the audience is charmed by her Bombo glam.

“Express yourself bitches!’

Amelia stares down controversy, to her Lady Liberty is a brave bold leader.

It’s a musical affair with Matthew Carey gracing the piano, as Amelia spouts cutting edge rhetoric, with a superb voice.IMG_3262

“Every time I hit the high notes an Angel falls”

She gels firmly with her audience singing pop songs that she has rewritten into comic lyrics. They  sing along with happiness that she has poked and evoked.

She wants to abandon her wild ways and find peace, it’s hard work so she succumbs to the weekend binge that spirals into guilt and remorse. She is fighting for truth, with all of her shadows. She wants it all and she wants it now !

Beau Heartbreaker

She’s a really nice bloke.

IMG_3446Selina Jenkins animates her character through expression, tales and song.

There is no fire, but it feels like there should be, there is an intimacy. The strumming guitar and heart-felt tunes told in a beautiful voice add to an outback ambiance. The audience laughter is triggered by subtle and poignant lyrics, we could be here for days.

There is a happy balance of country logic and wacky nuances. He is country through and through and she is cutting edge.

“Certainty is…I’m not quite sure anymore”

IMG_3439Beau takes us through the world with new eyes. It is an intelligent conversation with the audience with endless trap-doors of humour. The laughter is contagious, it spreads and spares no-one.

Turn off computers, the phones, T.Vs and radio, then come to the fireside and listen to yarns told by Beau Heartbreaker a dairy farmer.