All posts by Anna Gambrill

Anna has a passion for the creative arts with experience across performance, production, event management and writing. Anna's interest in musical theatre and jazz singing led her to study a Bachelor of Communication in Theatre/Media through Charles Sturt University, Bathurst. Here she explored theatre across the ages and discovered a love of theatre for young people as well as an appreciation for physical comedy, clowning and masked theatre. Anna performs across Sydney in cabarets, a Spice Girls tribute band and as a jazz singer.

MADDIE PARKER – PLUS ONE : PART OF SYDNEY FRINGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

 

As part of Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival, Maddie Parker took to The Terminal stage with Plus One guest Kate Coates to deliver a two-man improv bonanza. First stop was the Tropic of Capricorn, a wildcard location suggested by an audience member and warmly embraced by the duo.

The improv adventure took performers all the way across the globe, trekking to the Tropic of Capricorn in order to have a very serious meeting about overdue rent – the illogical demands of a controlling and pedantic housemate, alas, we’ve all been there.

Without the help of further audience suggestions, the duo improvised a full 40-minute show from spontaneous scenes of pretentious smoothie-drinking hipsters through to plotting geriatrics who will stop at nothing to get to the godly chocolate mousse on the nursing home menu. If ‘smashing your face in’ with a walking stick guarantees chocolate mousse forevermore, then it’s a small price to pay, right? Continue reading MADDIE PARKER – PLUS ONE : PART OF SYDNEY FRINGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

IMPRO AUSTRALIA’S CELEBRITY THEATRESPORTS : A Can Teen FUNDRAISER @ THE ENMORE THEATRE

CanTeen’s mission is to support, develop and empower young people living with cancer. The charity engages 12 – 25 year olds who have had cancer or supported sick loved ones to offer counselling, peer support programs, information and resources. It’s no wonder a night of big stars and big laughs was the perfect event!

Fun and naughtiness was rife from the get go as the Umbilical Brothers emerged from behind the curtain, kicking off the show with an imagined fight between George W Bush and Kim Jong-un. With ‘slaps’ and ‘biiffss’ thrown left, right and centre, the duo warmed up the crowd to set the giggle-meter on high.

Hosted by Playschool’s lovable Jay Laga’aia and vivacious Australian actress Monique Dykstra, Impro Australia’s family friendly fundraiser welcomed six teams of celebrity improvisers to battle for impro glory and the coveted Theatresports Celebrity Cup. Team Fake News featured presenter and comedian Adam Spencer and Australian actor Rob Carlton. Comedian and social worker Jioji Ravulo alongside John Knowles contributed to the strong lineup of team Raiders of The Lost Laugh.

The stakes were high as seasoned acting professionals Lyn Pierse, Genevieve Lemon and the hilarious Kitty Flanagan sat amongst audience members as the official impro judges. From jousting cheetahs to an angry yoga class conflict performed as a ballet, impro games and spontaneous topics pulled out of a hat (Jay Laga’aia’s stylish upside down fez) provided highly entertaining storytelling.

CanTeen members got in on the fun, sharing the stage to instruct performers to improvise the conflict that arises when you catch your sister wearing your shirt – without asking!

Throughout the night the hosts spoke of CanTeen’s important initiatives, promoting generous raffles and prize giveaways to raise money for the cause. From large scale National Bandanna Day initiatives through to personalised counselling support services, CanTeen helps young people explore and deal with their feelings about cancer to build resilience.

As the home of theatresports, Impro Australia has been running for over 30 years and offers fun and challenging courses to improve creativity, public speaking skills and provide a supportive team environment. The annual Celebrity Theatresports event which took place this year on Sunday August 13 is a fantastic opportunity to raise money for CanTeen and remind us of the healing power of laughter.

 

 

QUEEN : IT’S A KINDA MAGIC @ THE STATE THEATRE

It is no easy task to recreate legendary British rock band Queen, led by the uniquely quirky and charismatic Freddie Mercury on lead vocals and piano. The four piece tribute act showcased a selection of Queen’s best known and lesser known songs capturing the distinct fusion of progressive rock and operatic parody with elements of heavy metal.

A large crowd of fans gathered around the glimmering State Theatre entrance doors, made up of die hard Queen fans of the 70’s and 80’s through to whole families of second and third generation Queen fanatics. The ornate and majestic State Theatre was transformed into a rock concert hall featuring a grungy, stripped-back stage with elevated drum kit platform centre stage.  

Starring the energetic Giles Taylor as Freddie Mercury, audience members were invited to stand up, clap and dance from the get go but took a while to warm up; it seemed that the formality of the venue didn’t lend itself so well to the participatory, laidback style of a rock concert. Fortunately the band’s excellent musicianship alongside dramatic lighting design and Giles’ wonderfully camp costumes, made for an engaging and impressive show. Continue reading QUEEN : IT’S A KINDA MAGIC @ THE STATE THEATRE

CONFETTI GUN @ MINI THEATRE, BONDI FEAST

From first bang, when the troupe popped out from behind the Mini Theatre’s blue velvet curtains, it was clear that the audience was in for a high-energy and spirited performance.

With true class, improvised introductions answered ‘who are you?’, relaxing the crowd into the intimate Bondi Pavilion theatre space whilst giving insight into the unique style and quirks of each performer.

The chemistry of CONFETTI GUN literally explodes on stage with quick wit and seamless popular culture references fired from all angles. Having rehearsed together for almost a year now, the troupe’s undying trust and boldness is evident when even an unplanned backward stage stack is hilariously transformed into a ‘get out of the hole in the kitchen, Brian!’. Continue reading CONFETTI GUN @ MINI THEATRE, BONDI FEAST

SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM’S INAUGURAL INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL

Featured image – The Phil Slater Band

As one of the most prestigious and longest-running music schools in Australia, it is only fitting that the Sydney Conservatorium of Music open its doors to the public, as it did last Sunday, in an event which united International jazz artists with students, to deliver an elite and diverse lineup.

In its inaugural year the program presented a plethora of musicians to represent both popular or traditional jazz and a more highbrow, experimental jazz. Enhanced by the stunning Sydney Harbour location, the Conservatorium of Music is only five minutes walk from Circular Quay; it’s castle-like trusses grandly fill the sky as you enter the through the main entrance. During the week, ‘the Con’ is a home to music students but on this day it became a magical and revered space for the public to share in. Continue reading SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM’S INAUGURAL INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL

THE GLITTA SUPERNOVA EXPERIENCE – BODY MAP @ THE GIANT DWARF

“As I have not yet been appropriated, normalised or groomed into shame you’ll be accepting some risk of objectionable, offensive, unlawful, deceptive or harmful content to be known hereon as an authentic human experience”.

Prefaced with a content warning, the Glitta Supernova Experience – Body Map promises to deliver an original, provocative and honest human adventure. For those who like their cabaret a bit bizarre and entirely stripped-back (in the literal sense), Glitta’s one-woman show is an entertaining fusion of social commentary, personal anecdote and unbridled dance breaks.

The unruly terrain of the body map is bumpy, bushy and unapologetic, navigated by a fairdinkum tour guide adorned with an akubra of dangling glittery tampons instead of corks. Glitta reprimands the controlling consumerist gardener of society who perpetually tries to tighten, lift and snip the body of all it’s natural beauty. Live body art accompanies a depressing monologue where heavy chains are placed around Glitta’s neck, weighing down the body with labels such as “saggy tits” and “too fat”. Continue reading THE GLITTA SUPERNOVA EXPERIENCE – BODY MAP @ THE GIANT DWARF

TERRY JOHNSON’S ‘HYSTERIA’ @ ETERNITY PLAYHOUSE DARLINGHURST

Jo Turner plays Dr Sigmund Freud in Terry Johnson’s quirky play, HYSTERIA. Production photography by Robert Catto.

 ‘The past goes deeper than cancer’, Sigmund        Freud

When the consequences of Freud’s past turn up in the form of a manic young woman in his very own Hampstead home in 1938, he is forced to question the integrity of his work and the darkness from his past.

It is a stormy night when Jessica barges in, adamant to be ‘analysed’ by Freud even threatening to cut her own wrists if she is removed.

Miranda Daughtry’s strong performance, an emotional rollercoaster of desperation, mania and later rage, represents a frustrated daughter’s search for answers and justice around her mother’s perhaps avoidable death.

We eventually learn that Jessica’s mother was a patient of Freud, receiving treatment for ill mental health with symptoms including anorexia, physical tics and debilitating phobias. Through a private diary, it emerges that Jessica’s mother was repeatedly sexually abused by her father.

She had told Freud. He had diagnosed it, attributing it to a hysteria and a feminine Oedipus attitude; the Electra Complex.

Shifting between a “realistic history play and surrealist fiction”, the tool of English face enables ‘the exploration of complex and uncomfortable content’ (Wald, 2007).

The Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s performance cleverly uses film and projection to capture the blurring of lines between truth and the imagined, the conscious and the subconscious, the present and our past experience. True to farce, events within Freud’s Hampstead office become increasingly absurd and outrageous, equally as strange as the projection content.

Jo Turner’s skilful physical performance as Freud captures the frailty of a cancer-ridden old man, haunted by his past whilst desperately searching for peace. With conflicted ethical and professional agendas, Freud’s integrity as a physician is compromised by his apparent complicity when treating sexually abused patients. How does one respond to epidemic proportions of familial sexual abuse amongst the upper classes? Bring the perpetrators to justice through public confrontation or blame it on the victim?

With the recent and ongoing Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Susanna Dowling’s direction of HYSTERIA is a timely performance, reminding audiences that familial sexual abuse is equally prevalent and catastrophic. The audience learns of the long-lasting devastation of abuse and trauma, particularly when disregarded or improperly treated.

The production is lightened by the entertaining and narcissistic interjections of Salvador Dalí, played by the exuberant Michael McStay.

HYSTERIA played the Eternity Playhouse Theatre between March 31 and April 30.