Tag Archives: Anthony Skuse

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

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/

SUZIE MILLER’S ‘SUNSET STRIP’ @ THE STABLES

 

Featured photo – Simon Lyndon and Georgina Symes. Pic Patrick Boland.

From time to time, a play comes along that fits perfectly well in the psyche – enabling us to relax, enjoy, compare, empathise, sympathise, laugh and brood.

SUNSET STRIP, Suzie Miller’s latest play, empowers its audience. We know that we are not alone and mutual hope is the elixir of well-being.

It is a play about challenge, hope and families struggling with their imperfections whilst maintaining a deep sense of belonging and an unbreakable bond

Miller says of her play, “I wanted it to reflect how we bumble through life with all sorts of challenges, some of which will never be fixed or cured, but which we take on board and battle along with. There are also many funny and darkly ironic moments that come about even when we live with ‘everything going wrong’. I wanted to celebrate this because it is something we have all known and have experienced.” Continue reading SUZIE MILLER’S ‘SUNSET STRIP’ @ THE STABLES

BETWEEN THE STREETLIGHT AND THE MOON @ KINGS CROSS THEATRE

 

Between is exactly how I would describe Mophead Theatre’s world premiere production of Melita Rowston’s BETWEEN THE STREETLIGHT AND THE MOON. The play is not quite sure of its identity and the cast are caught in the blurry light between natural beauty and mechanical glare. There is some fine work to be seen in the production, work which explores the complex ideas and does its best to elevate the overstatement.

Australian Academic Zadie works at King’s College, London. She is being pressured by the publish or perish mentality as she struggles to complete her PHD. She proposes that there is a letter somewhere that proves that Édouard Manet, despite his denials, was lover to his oft subject, and artist in her own right, Berthe Morisot. She is also supervising her effervescent French student, Dominique, and dealing with a younger, almost lover, Barry, who has come to London to display in a prestigious art competition. When she travels to Paris at the behest friend and Head of Department, Janet, she has random encounters with artistic provocateur Jeff. Continue reading BETWEEN THE STREETLIGHT AND THE MOON @ KINGS CROSS THEATRE

MICHAEL GOW’S SWEET PHOEBE : THE LATE SHOW @ THE OLD FITZ

Michael Gow’s play SWEET PHOEBE is the new late show at the Old Fitz.

This play features a young, very driven couple – Fraser in high finance and Helen – a graphic artist – living the hustle bustle city life. That is until their bestie friends go into couple therapy and Helen agrees to mind their dog, Phoebe. The reluctant bonding with Phoebe goes well until Phoebe escapes.

The trendy couple are mortified and turn their lives upside down in search of their missing mut. Their search is undertaken with the same zealousness as if they were searching for a missing person.   What follows is a journey into the wiley characters of the neighbourhood including the local public housing estates and features some hilarious insights into society. Continue reading MICHAEL GOW’S SWEET PHOEBE : THE LATE SHOW @ THE OLD FITZ

BLOOD BANK @ ENSEMBLE THEATRE

Inset pic- Tom Stokes and Gabrielle Scawthorn in  Christopher Harley's BLOOD BANK. Featured pic- Gabrielle Scawthorn and Meredith Penman. Production photography by Clare Hawley
Inset pic- Tom Stokes and Gabrielle Scawthorn in Christopher Harley’s BLOOD BANK. Featured pic- Gabrielle Scawthorn and Meredith Penman. Production photography by Clare Hawley

The randomness of life…matters of chance…that we are all living in a kind of fog….that we need to live in the moment.. to deal with the lousy stuff that life deals us as best we can, and make the very best of those  good moments/times when we do get them…not to hold on too tightly to things as they will pass…This was what  I felt Christopher Harley was saying with his eloquent, easy to relate to new play which is given an impressive first production by Antony Skuse and a very fine cast and production team.

Gabrielle Scawthorn plays the main character; a restless, kooky, feisty young woman, Abbey. Gabrielle is charismatic in the role, playing the kind of character that one could imagine a young Goldie Hawn playing. Abbey carries and drives the action of the play. My feeling was that she was the author’s voice in the play. Continue reading BLOOD BANK @ ENSEMBLE THEATRE

The House of Ramon Iglesia @ The Old Fitz

Production photos by Clare Hawley

In the opening sequence of THE HOUSE OF RAMON IGLESIA a mother lights the incense for the small, crowded, ever-present house altar. The audience has been warned about its use. The smell is strong and pungent. But the wafts rising from the well-used smoker soon dissipate. This is much the way I felt about the production. So many solid things about the enjoyable and well conceptualised show but little to take home.

This is a family drama. Ramon has brought his clan from Puerto Rico for the good life in America, landing in Long Island in the 1960s. It is now 1980. He has a disaffected wife who refuses to learn English and a janitorial job in a school which doesn’t help his alcoholism or his diabetes. He has three sons. They are different, yet all three have more aspiration and self-belief than he has. Continue reading The House of Ramon Iglesia @ The Old Fitz

Caress/Ache @ the SBW Stables Theatre

Caress-inset
One can’t help but be touched by this very fine Griffin theatre production

Suzie Miller’s play CARESS/ACHE, the  current production at the Stables theatre, is a very special night at the theatre.

To ID it for you, Miller’s work features inter-weaving stories in the tradition of works like the late Robert Altman’s film, SHORT CUTS. A central ‘umbrella’ theme runs through all the stories; the power of affection, of touch, of connection.

Miller fills the play with some very big journeys which fully Involve the audience. Here are just a few of these stories:-

Continue reading Caress/Ache @ the SBW Stables Theatre

Constellations

 

Sam O'Sullivan and Emma Palmer in Constellations. Pic Gez Xavier Mansfield
Sam O’Sullivan and Emma Palmer in Constellations. Pic Gez Xavier Mansfield

Reverence My Sanctuary is inscribed in the proscenium arch of the stage. It is not purpose built as the play’s set but a remnant of the old Baptist Tabernacle Church that now hosts the Eternity Playhouse, an apt space to perform CONSTELLATIONS, Nick Payne’s play about multiple possible universes.

Director Anthony Skuse, captivated by the building’s interior structure, “notions of time, mortality and faith are inscribed in the building’s markings and scars”, with his production designer Gez Xavier Mansfield, has brilliantly placed the action of the piece in a sort of palimpsest, utilising extant structure- the dome curvature of the back wall suggests a celestial observatory – and inscriptions while introducing an oblique plinth and a couple of chairs placed askew to cue the off kilter, non-linear form of the play. Continue reading Constellations

STOP KISS

A delicate dance is played out in Diana Son's STOP KISS. Pic Xavier Mansfield
A delicate dance is played out in Diana Son’s STOP KISS. Pic Xavier Mansfield

How good was that! As I was making my way out of the ATYP’s Studio 1 Theatre, this was my immediate and emphatic response to the ATYP’s current production, Anthony Skuse’s Australian premiere production of New York playwright Diana Son’s 1998 play STOP KISS.

From every angle one looks at, this show succeeds. The play is a wonderful piece of writing with intersecting storylines meeting to maximum impact.

Continue reading STOP KISS

BITE ME

Darcie Irwin-Simpson plays an obsessed schoolgirl in Emily Sheehan's EATING SUNSHINE. Pic Gez Xavier Mansfield
Darcie Irwin-Simpson plays an obsessed schoolgirl in Emily Sheehan’s EATING SUNSHINE.
Pic Gez Xavier Mansfield

ATYP (Australian Theatre For Young People) deserves praise and recognition for their ongoing support for our young writers and actors, giving them an annual showcase called “The Voices Project”, which was successfully launched in 2011.

Hundreds of young writers, aged between 18 and 26 submit their work.  Of these, 18 are chosen for a workshop at the Fresh Ink Writers’ Retreat at Bundanon.  Twelve of these monologues have been published by Currency Press and ten of these are performed at ATYP’s Studio Theatre Under the Wharf.

This year’s theme for the seven-minute monologues is food, aptly named BITE ME.  Accomplished director, Anthony Skuse, has given inspiration and life to these ten pieces, which blend into each other effortlessly, allowing the audience to save their applause until the end.  The occasional transition has the actors using their gymnastic skills for a bit too long, unrelated to the texts.  However, the use of the only real prop on stage, a table, is very effectively used – under it, on top of it, choreographed cleverly by Adele Jeffreys, movement coach.

Continue reading BITE ME

ON THE SHORE OF THE WIDE WORLD

Huw Higginson and Amanda Stephens-Lee in ON THE SHORE OF THE WIDE WORLD. PIc Rebecca Martin
Huw Higginson and Amanda Stephens-Lee in ON THE SHORE OF THE WIDE WORLD.
PIc Rebecca Martin

There’s a billboard for another show in Sydney that has the quote “if only every night in the theatre could be as good”. It’s a quote worth purloining for the Pantsguys Griffin Independent production of Simon Stephens’ ON THE SHORE OF THE WIDE WORLD.

Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2005, the decade long wait for the play to reach our shores has been worth it with a finely hewn, polished production that befits the finely hewn, polished writing.

A family saga set in Stockport strewn over a 9 month period, it spills and sprawls over three generations of the Holmes family, grandparents Charlie and Ellen, parents Peter and Alice, and their sons, Alex and Christopher.

Synchronised like Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, the pyrotechnic display starts with firecracker Christopher, the youngest of the family exploding with adolescent exuberance over the imminent sleepover of older brother Alex’s new girlfriend, Sarah, sanctioned by the boys’ parents whose only proviso is that they “be careful”.

Christopher is sex obsessed hoping to catch sounds of squeaky springs or any other noises of his sibling’s sexual encounter. On meeting Sarah, he becomes infatuated with her, borrowing a fiver from his grand-dad to buy her a present. Continue reading ON THE SHORE OF THE WIDE WORLD