Theatre

DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A RESPECTFUL MODERN TAKE

Despite the evident time of year, A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a play cleverly out of joint.  First impressions provide an audience with context.  There are Christmas pines upside down, rope lit with electric white.  Yet, darkly at the head of the stage, the gloomy mirror dims their reflection.

This A CHRISTMAS CAROL is modern yet classic, contemporaneous yet true to its literary historical roots.  In addition, it has a wide appeal.  Both for those who revel in the season and those, like me, who try and avoid it.  It’s seriously comic is places and serious in others.  Thematically it enriches the watcher and touches the heart and I can enjoy that whatever the milieu and whenever the time of year. Continue reading DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A RESPECTFUL MODERN TAKE

2018 SANDRA BATES DIRECTOR’S AWARD RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED

Image above: MORNINGS WITH SANDRA . Part of Ensemble Theatre’s 2018 season.
Banner Image: Mark Kilmurry, Liz Arday, Felicity Nicol, Sandra Bates at the announcement

Ensemble Theatre’s Artistic Director Mark Kilmurry recently announced the two recipients of the 2018 SANDRA BATES DIRECTOR’S AWARDS, proudly supported by the Seaborn, Broughton & Walford Foundation.

This year’s successful applicants are Liz Arday and Felicity Nicol, both emerging theatre directors with a wealth of experience directing youth and independent theatre productions both in Australia and overseas. Continue reading 2018 SANDRA BATES DIRECTOR’S AWARD RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED

‘SEANCE’ ON THE 13TH: GIANT DWARF AND HARRISON MILAS

THE SEANCE: Giant Dwarf Theatre in Cleveland Street, Redfern.

Harrison Milas is putting on a seance to spook your socks off!

Using every magical and theatrical tool at his disposal, he will create a terrifying world of spirits and possessions, summonings and demons. The show will be completely faked, however please be advised that it will contain moments of strong shock, so viewers of a nervous disposition should seriously consider before booking.

WARNING: This show deals with simulated images of self harm and could be distressing to some viewers. Discretion is advised.

Harrison Milas is a Fake Psychic, offering palm readings, fortune telling and prophecies.  For Harry, magic is a way to communicate a message. It’s a way to share joy, passion and creativity with an audience of any size and any age. And Harry has performed for of all of them. He has entertained thousands all the way down to just one person.

For more information about the Seance at Giant Dwarf visit:

https://giantdwarf.com.au/events/seance/

 

PYT/FAIRFIELD ANNOUNCE FOR 2018

 

Above: TRIBUNAL interrogates Australia’s refugee policy. Banner: The PYT Ensemble program

After a critically acclaimed program in 2017 which saw PYT | Fairfield win Western Sydney’s first Helpmann Award (Best Presentation for Children, PYT and Force Majeure, JUMP FIRST, ASK LATER) the company announce their 2018 Program.

Now considered one of the most exciting arts companies in the country, in 2018 their work will be presented in Carriageworks for Sydney Festival, Sydney Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art and sites across Western Sydney including the local pool and a garden created by refugees to support the settlement of asylum seekers. Continue reading PYT/FAIRFIELD ANNOUNCE FOR 2018

THE SEAGULL: SOARING WORK BY SECRET HOUSE THEATRE

Call me a philistine and throw me to the Chekhovians.  I don’t get. Maybe I started too young.  Us drama types try and immerse in the canon early.  I get Strindberg, I get Ibsen. Can’t blame it on my parents, can’t blame it on Chekhov.  I mean other people get it. Do I need to get it? Probably not!

Imagine my surprise then.  That in a place as strange as Marrickville, with thundering aircraft low overhead and armed with coke and chips because its going to be a sodding 2 hours long. Imagine my surprise to thoroughly enjoy what I might have called in a text to a friend beforehand… Fucking Chekhov.                 Continue reading THE SEAGULL: SOARING WORK BY SECRET HOUSE THEATRE

A VERY KRANSKY CHRISTMAS @ THE SEYMOUR CENTRE

For the third year in a row one of Australia’s most well known female comedy acts, the Kransky Sisters, all the way from the quiet town of Esk in the middle of south east Queensland, have been travelling the country with their Christmas show.

The show has proved to be a  hit with audiences with its very reliable recipe. Their deadpan banter and  droll anecdotes are mixed with a range of musical numbers which showcase their very fine and sometimes quirky musicianship,  with instruments including a tuba and a fascinating musical saw.

The show felt a little too ‘contained’ to begin but once the ladies got going they started interacting with the audience and the show became  warmer and more entertaining. Continue reading A VERY KRANSKY CHRISTMAS @ THE SEYMOUR CENTRE

BROTHERS KARAMAZOV: DOSTOEVSKY’S MASTERPIECE UNSOILED

Production photography: Clare Hawley

BROTHERS KARAMAZOV is Arrive. Devise. Repeat’s latest production. It is seductive in the scale of its ambition and engrossing in its elevated commitment to the exploration of Dostoevsky’s 900-page narrative defence of rationalism.  But it’s a tough sell. Continue reading BROTHERS KARAMAZOV: DOSTOEVSKY’S MASTERPIECE UNSOILED

ANDREW HENRY’S ‘VERTICAL DREAMING’ @ THE OLD FITZ

VERTICAL DREAMING is the last performance piece for the year at the Old Fitz. It is a work by the boss, Artistic Director Andrew Henry.

This is a very personal work. Early in the year Henry spent some time in a mental health facility. It was a very tough time. As he described, ‘His mobile phone was taken away from him, his bags were checked, and he was fitted with the customary blue socks.’

Whilst in the facility he came across an old scrapbook that had been compiled by a previous inpatient. It contained some favourite poems by contemporary poets. The poems gave him a lot of comfort at  a very difficult time. He then started adding poems that he knew that had a special significance for him to the scrapbook collection. Continue reading ANDREW HENRY’S ‘VERTICAL DREAMING’ @ THE OLD FITZ

KEN LUDWIG’S ‘MOON OVER BUFFALO’ @ HUNTERS HILL TOWN HALL

With the silly season kicking in, Hunters Hill Theatre Company has made an astute choice for its final production of the year. The Company is currently running a revival of American playwright Ken Ludwig’s fast and frothy farce, MOON OVER BUFFALO (1995). Many will know this playwright for his better known work,  ‘Lend Me A Tenor’.

This Ludwig play is set back in 1953 and takes place, mainly, on stage and backstage at the Erlanger Theatre in Buffalo. The short story to the narrative is that the main characters, acting couple George and Charlotte Hay, run a travelling theatre company. The play starts with them touring  with two shows in rep, ‘Private Lives’ and ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ (a one nostril version).   Continue reading KEN LUDWIG’S ‘MOON OVER BUFFALO’ @ HUNTERS HILL TOWN HALL

BARBARA AND THE CAMP DOGS:SUPERLATIVES FAIL

 

Elaine Crombie and Ursula Yovich           Production Images: Brett Boardman

So … I went a few years ago to visit my friend who lives alternatively  in the bush.  Her life is subsistent but she makes a bit of cash as a feral pig hunter.  She is surrounded by dogs of all kinds.  Many of them scarred and scary.  Her advice to me, should I ever need it.  If there is a pack of dogs causing trouble, in the middle there will be a little one who is meanest, fiercest and smartest.  That one started the fight. This brings me to Barbara of BARBARA AND THE CAMP DOGS.

This play is written with that kind of gritty truthfulness.  Lived experience and unspoken lives collide in an explosive whipcrack over the heads of those who wonder and those who know. Continue reading BARBARA AND THE CAMP DOGS:SUPERLATIVES FAIL

NT LIVE:PETER PAN IS STRIKING AND ORIGINAL

Bold , striking and original this is a sensational reworking of JM Barrie’s PETER PAN as part of the NT Live series .It was a co-production with the Bristol Old Vic , as directed by Sally Cookson. It is enchanting and is at times childlike and playful, vibrant and colourful, at others quite melancholy ,or dark and sinister . The ending is extremely moving . There is a haunting sense of loss and of the wearing away of innocence.  Continue reading NT LIVE:PETER PAN IS STRIKING AND ORIGINAL

OLD FITZ THEATRE ANNOUNCES FOR 2018

What’s at the Old Fitz Theatre in 2018?

 The 2018 season contains:

3 World Premieres (including a musical)
3 Australian Premiers
2 Sydney Premieres
2 Of the great contemporary love stories
Plus the Launch of Red Line UNDERGROUND, Monday Night extravaganzas: including Burlesque with Hannah Raven
Just The Two Of Us with Scott Witt
Bang Bang Rodeo with Jane Watt

Continue reading OLD FITZ THEATRE ANNOUNCES FOR 2018

VIRGINS AND COWBOYS @ THE STABLES THEATRE

There is nothing quite like the start to an opening night at the Stables Theatre. The buzz in the foyer. Then the bell ringing. The Artistic Director Lee Lewis giving her brief, always chirpy welcome. The audience slowly making its way to the narrow entrance into the theatre and filling it up to more than capacity as people are squeezed in tightly next to each other.

We take our seats in the theatre to see three dudes, seated at different angles to the audience, looking out at us rather nonchalantly. The play, running at just under ninety minutes straight through, sees us follow their very different journeys.

The three dudes, the Cowboys of the rather ironic title, Sam, Kieran and  Dale, are regular sort of guys who work together at a local Subway store. We presume that their chat is taking place during a lunch break. Their conversation revolves around Sam’s resolve, that at this stage of his life, his goal is to be the dude, the cowboy who wants to break in a virgin. He wants to feel, to take in on every level, the intense experience that this will be.

Sam has his eye on two Virgins from amongst their friends and acquaintances; 29 year old Steph and 19 year old Lane.  Kieran and Dale egg him on. This is the starting point for a play which takes off in many different tangents.

My best description of the show…Its an authentic, humorous, very theatrical and sometimes touching exploration of the contemporary singles scene with its complex landscape.   Continue reading VIRGINS AND COWBOYS @ THE STABLES THEATRE

TAKING STEPS @ THE ENSEMBLE

In 1979, award-winning British playwright, Sir Alan Ayckbourn, wrote TAKING STEPS, which he describes as “the only true farce I’ve ever written”.  In a decade where English humour was making huge waves, particularly in Australia, with ‘Monty Python’ and ‘Fawlty Towers’, TAKING STEPS has the same impact, offering eccentric, flawed characters and tantalising dialogue.

The play is set in an old, dilapidated Victorian mansion called The Pines.  It is reputedly a former bordello and said to be haunted by a deceased prostitute.  Enhancing the play’s farcical humour, the three storeys of the run-down house become one storey on stage.  Two sets of banisters mark two imaginary staircases on which the actors frantically or cautiously prance up and down.  It’s a wonderful theatrical technique by Ayckbourn and works beautifully. Continue reading TAKING STEPS @ THE ENSEMBLE

WASTED: KATE TEMPEST’S WORK DELIVERED WITH EXCELLENCE

 

Production Image: Robert Catto

Kate Tempest is a phenomenon.  The front page of her website has Musician, Poet, Novelist, Playwright in large block lettering but this artist is much more than that.  Ground-breaking doesn’t do her work justice either.  Her spoken word album Everybody Down (Big Dada) was nominated for the 2014 Mercury Prize and she was shortlisted last year with Let Them Eat Chaos.  She has been the recipient of the Ted Hughes award.  Her work is bold, challenging and exhilarating.

And very much associated with the poet herself.  In the many available videos on YouTube, her East London accent is an integral factor in the music of the works.  But WASTED is her first play, it’s from 2013.  Has it travelled well and will it translate?

Yep.  WASTED as presented by The King’s Collective is bold, challenging and exhilarating.  I do have one gripe but more of that later. Continue reading WASTED: KATE TEMPEST’S WORK DELIVERED WITH EXCELLENCE

MAD MARCH HARE ANNOUNCES FOR 2018

MAD MARCH HARE Theatre has announced their work for 2018.

“In 2018 we aim to continue our mission to tell stories with strong female protagonists, challenging themes, outstanding production values and basically well…to just provide a damn good night at the theatre! “

The company  will be returning to two renowned and well-loved independent theatre venues: Kings Cross Theatre (KXT) and The Old Fitz.

Two productions have been  announced for 2018: Continue reading MAD MARCH HARE ANNOUNCES FOR 2018

bAKEHOUSE THEATRE COMPANY:WHAT’S AT KXT 2018

Image:http://ymtdesigns.wixsite.com/ymtdesigns
Banner photo credit : Natasha Narula

Since its launch as an exciting new theatre space in 2015, KXT – Kings Cross Theatre has been renowned for showcasing new, risky and exceptional theatre. In 2018, the dynamic theatre company behind the programming for KXT, bAKEHOUSE, will continue their commitment to presenting works driven by diversity, gender equity and exciting collaboration.

2018 is KXT’s year of theatre for change. The season has been carefully curated to showcase some of the city’s most accomplished independent theatre makers while also featuring the work of our most promising directors. It includes five world-premieres, nine Australian premieres, five new works from Australian writers, and the development of new works by nine writers. bAKEHOUSE continues its radical community engagement with two major social justice programs developed from community collaborations working in partnership with two NGOs.

Continue reading bAKEHOUSE THEATRE COMPANY:WHAT’S AT KXT 2018

HAROLD PINTER’S ‘THE CARETAKER’ @ THE PLAYHOUSE, THE ACTORS PULSE

It is very evident that Courtney Powell and her trio of actors have put in a lot of time and taken a lot of care in  putting together this revival of one of Pinter’s masterworks. Their efforts are well rewarded as they have come up with a strong, memorable  production.

The show’s uncompromising tone is put in place straight away. We walk into the theatre to be greeted by a set depicting a very run down, decrepit apartment I have seen. Stuff is thrown everywhere, the roof is leaking with a bucket ‘thrown’ underneath to catch a few of the many drops. There are two very lonely single beds looking particularly grotty. The only window looking out is broken with the winter draught coming through.

We soon learn that this is Aston’s apartment – chaotic and emblematic of his disordered mind, the result of a nervous breakdown and ensuing shock treatment.  

Pinter’s story pivots around Aston’s decision to share his digs with Davies, a homeless man he befriends at the local pub. Aston soon finds out that Davies is not as grateful as he should be. This is a view that is shared by his older brother, Mick, who actually owns the apartment. Tensions between Davies and the two brothers escalate leading to an inevitable, distressing resolution.  Continue reading HAROLD PINTER’S ‘THE CARETAKER’ @ THE PLAYHOUSE, THE ACTORS PULSE

SONDHEIM’S MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG

 

From Little Triangle’s production of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE

After debuting with a critically acclaimed sell-out production of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, Little Triangle will present
MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG with emerging Australian performers this coming March (7-14th March 2018) for a limited 3-week season as part of The
Depot Theatre‘s 2018 line-up.

It’s our time, breathe it in; worlds to change and worlds to win
Franklin Shepard, a successful songwriter and movie producer in his late thirties, reviews his life, both professional and personal, especially his relationships with his best friends, Mary Flynn and Charley Kringas (his song-writing collaborator), and his two wives, Beth and Gussie.

The action moves backward in time from 1976 to 1957, from the disappointments of adulthood, to the hopeful idealism of youth.

MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG has been ‘long regarded as one of the beautiful and damned misfits of the Sondheim canon’ and
yet remains ‘emotionally resonant’, bringing out the ‘sharpness in the showbiz satire’ following this ‘friendship under siege’
(Ben Brantley, The New York Times).

Sydney Arts Guide reviewed Little Triangle’s first production in 2017.

http://www.sydneyartsguide.com.au/sunday-in-the-park-with-george-little-triangle-present-a-memorable-production/

For more information about Little Triangle and MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG visit:

https://www.littletriangle.com.au/

CARRIAGEWORKS: 2018 PROGRAM AND 1.2 MILLION VISITORS IN 2017

This image: THE HORSE TROTTED ANOTHER COUPLE OF METRES, THEN IT STOPPED (Katharina Grosse )
Banner Image: Thelma Plum, Solid Ground artist-in-residence for 2018. Image: Cole Benetts

Carriageworks today announced 1.2 million visitors will engage with the Carriageworks Program in 2017 whilst unveiling a dynamic program for 2018 spanning contemporary art, dance, performance, music, screen, food and ideas. In 2018 the Artistic Program will support 690 artists and will present 70 projects, including 10 world premieres, 17 international works and 17 new Australian commissions.

Highlights include three large-scale, site-specific exhibitions by international contemporary artists Katharina Grosse (Germany), Ryoji Ikeda (Japan) and Nick Cave (USA), as well as three world premiere works by Carriageworks Resident Companies: Sydney Chamber Opera, Marrugeku and Force Majeure, and the presentation of leading cultural events including the 21st Biennale of Sydney, the 2018 Sydney Writers’ Festival and Sydney Contemporary 2018.

In 2018 Carriageworks will continue to be home to eight artists in supported studios in the Clothing Store in partnership with UrbanGrowth NSW. From January Carriageworks will introduce 10 new food events, including masterclasses, live cooking demonstrations and continue The Night Market series presenting Australia’s very best chef’s and producers.

Carriageworks Director Lisa Havilah said: “We are excited to be bringing an extraordinary Program of international works, new commissions and large scale works to Sydney. ”  Continue reading CARRIAGEWORKS: 2018 PROGRAM AND 1.2 MILLION VISITORS IN 2017

CHEKHOV CLASSIC COMES TO THE DEPOT THEATRE

 

Secret House Theatre brings THE SEAGULL  to the Depot Theatre.

A bunch of bohemians gather on a country estate to talk about art and love and fishing. Relationships crisscross and unravel, and regardless of how messy things get, no one seems to get what they want. Yet love and the burning need to create drive them all to keep on striving.

In a letter to his friend, the publisher Alexie Suvorin, Chekhov wrote that he was flagrantly disregarding the basic tenets of the stage to write a play that has four female roles, six male roles, four acts, a view of a lake, much conversation about literature, little action and five tons of love.

Seagull is Chekhov’s celebration of art and love and life.

Directed by Anthony Skuse with Jane Angharad, Matt Bartlett, Charmaine Bingwa, Matthew Cheetham, Alan Faulkner, Deborah Galanos, Tony Goh, Leilani Loau, Abe Mitchell, James Smithers and Shan-Ree Tan.

Founded in 2015, Secret House is a Sydney based theatre company. Our focus is the language of performance. They collaborate to create a shared experience, exploring the relationship between artist and audience.

For information about Secret House or THE SEAGULL visit:

https://www.secrethouse.com.au/the-seagull

Reviews of other Secret House productions 
THE WINTER'S TALE 
SECRET HOUSE PRESENTS ‘THE WINTER’S TALE’ @ THE DEPOT THEATRE
​CYMBELINE http://www.sydneyartsguide.com.au/secret-house-presents-cymbeline-depot-theatre-marrickville/ ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA http://www.sydneyartsguide.com.au/secret-house-presents-antony-and-cleopatra-at-depot-theatre/