Tag Archives: Christopher Page

THE GOOD DOCTOR @ THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE

Chloe-Bayliss-and-Nathan-Wilson-in-THE-GOOD-DOCTOR-photo-by-Clare-Hawley-5.jpg
Chloe-Bayliss-and-Nathan-Wilson-in-THE-GOOD-DOCTOR-production photos-by-Clare-Hawley.

A night filled with quirky characters and situations generating plenty of humour is in store for you if make your way across to see the current Ensemble show.

With THE GOOD DOCTOR, Neil Simon mines the work of Anton Chekhov and comes up with  a collection  of appealing vignettes, tinged with absurdism.

The pieces are excellent ‘vehicles’ for actors, representing good opportunities for the cast of five to show their range and flair. And with the  assist of  Bates’ astute direction, that’s just what they do.

In A Defenceless CreatureKate Raison was on fire as an uptight ‘madwoman’ harassing a conservative, frazzled banker for some money for her ailing husband. As  the gruff banker who soon loses his patience, David Lynch’s stolid manner was a great counterpoint to Raison’s bluster.

In Surgery, Nathan Wilson was wonderfully manic as an earnest dentist using some very old, large, menacing instruments and doing more damage than good to his patient.

In The Seduction, Adriano Cappelletta (who has temporarily stepped in to the main role as the narrator/Chekhov figure as well as a number of other roles at close to the last moment whilst Glenn Hazeldine recovers from a car accident)  was  suitably charismatic and creepy as a compulsive seducer of married woman,  with Chloe Bayliss equally convincing as his latest demure, coy victim.

In the more reflective Too Late For Happiness, David Lynch and Kate Raison poignantly play out a hopeful meeting between a lonely older man and woman.

The least convincing piece was The Audition  in which Chloe Bayliss plays an actress who has walked  four days from Odessa to Moscow to audition for a new play by her favourite playwright (Chekhov) and is more than a little starstruck.  The audition sees her recite passages from The Three Sisters. This piece felt a little out of place and heavy, and came across a bit flat.

The current production represents a milestone for the Company. It is the last production that Bates is directing whilst in the position of Artistic Director (for a few years now jointly with Mark Kilmurry, who takes over solo in 2016), a position she has served for thirty years. During her time, Bates has set the set bar high; theatre patrons have had the expectation  when they go to the Ensemble that they will see entertaining and often thought provoking plays that will be given worthy productions. Hopefully the high standard will continue as Kilmurry takes over full reigns.

Recommended, Sandra  Bates’ production of Neil  Simon’s THE GOOD DOCTOR opened at the Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli on Wednesday 2nd December and is playing until Sunday 17th January. The production then travels to Belrose’s Glen Street theatre where it will play for one week between the 19th to the 24th January 2016.

 

Ghost Stories @ The Drama Theatre Sydney Opera House

Ghost Stories- inset
Get ready for some thrills and chills with Prince Moo’s production of GHOST STORIES. Production photography by Liam O’Keefe.

GHOST STORIES  is a spooky play  written by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson which has come direct from the West End. A note from the director Peter J. Snee states that, “Our biggest fear is that horror is lurking somewhere out there…it is lurking inside you right now, simply waiting for the opportunity to break free when you are least expecting it and are at your most vulnerable.”

The audience is greeted by the eerie, haunting and unsettling sounds of howling winds emanating from the theatre to the foyer which sets the tone and mood of the  intriguing performance. Continue reading Ghost Stories @ The Drama Theatre Sydney Opera House

Blue/Orange

Sean Taylor, Ian Meadows and Darian Nkono in Joe Penhall's BLUE ORANGE
Sean Taylor, Ian Meadows and Darian Nkono in Joe Penhall’s BLUE ORANGE. Pics Clare Hawley

Psychiatry is surely the most nebulous and volatile of all the chosen medical careers and the gravity of the profession played a substantial part in the extensive media coverage during our recent Mental Health Week.

English playwright Joe Penhall takes an adventurous leap into the complexities of psychiatry and mental health in his multi-award winning play, BLUE/ORANGE.

The underlying seriousness of the play is counterpointed by Penhall’s clever humour, – his ability to use razor-sharp wit and exotic ideas to keep one step ahead of his audience.

Director Anna Crawford, (with the help of assistant director Jo-Anne Cahill, a wonderful production team and outstanding cast of actors), has created an energetic and balanced production, containing all the elements of raw emotion, perplexity, humour and neuroses, enabling the audience to ponder, – who’s mad and who’s sane? Continue reading Blue/Orange

Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES

the-witches-2_674
Guy Edmunds delivers a brilliant comic performance in WITCHES. Pics Brett Boardman

Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES is the much loved childrens’ classic book, which tells a twisted yet endearing fairy tale, all about defeating a coven of evil witches.

Dahl’s story was originally adapted for the stage by David Woods and has since been reimagined by Lucas Jervies.

The current Stables production showcases a clever one man tour-de-force performance by Guy Edmonds (A Moody Christmas) as the master storyteller.

Continue reading Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES

TWO ROOMS

Michael (Nick Dale), Ellen (Caroline Bywater),and  Lainie (Laura Huxley). Pic Peter Love
Michael (Nick Dale), Ellen (Caroline Bywater),and Lainie (Laura Huxley). Pic Peter Love

TWO ROOMS by Lee Blessing is set in the 1980s in two rooms, one in Washington and one in Beruit. The themes the play explores, however, are just as relevant today as they were then – perhaps showing how little interactions amongst political expediency, media, and personal tragedy have changed.

One room is a windowless cubicle in which the character Michael, played by Nick Dale, is held hostage by Arab terrorists. Back in Washington, Michael’s wife Lainie, played by Laura Huxley, has stripped his home office, covered the windows, and has a small carpet on the floor. Lainie and Michael speak to each other across a void of space and time until finally they are, in a sense, reunited.

Their personal love story, movingly portrayed by the actors is powerfully contrasted with the cold impersonal “work” motives of the other two characters.

The government official Ellen, played very coolly by Coralie Bywater, claims she is personally concerned with Laine. However, complete with false grin and platitudes of hope, she then states that the greater good – as decided by the government – is paramount. The journalist Walker (Eli King), whilst seemingly concerned with exposing the truth is also finally detached from the unfolding of the personal struggles of Michael and Lainie. Even the clothes that they wear, Michael’s outfits slowly deteriorating, contrasting with the elegant business outfits of Ellen, reinforce the difference in their status.

The artistic assistant Jeremy Hastings, lighting designer Christopher Page and assistant stage manager Gabriel Yakub have worked together with the director/designer Duncan Maurice to create a dim, often desolate atmosphere on stage enhancing the actors’ moods and thoughts. Evocative background music and the sparse use of projected images add to the portrayal of the story.

TWO ROOMS plays at the Tap Gallery until August 4, a worthwhile play which will continue to be as relevant as long as the Middle East situation remains volatile.