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→
BLUEBEARD; OR, THE MARRIAGE MISTAKES OF A NAMELESS BRIDE is playing as part of the Bondi Feast. The Feast, which is held at the Bondi Pavilion, has numerous venues and I have been to pretty much all of them these past 2 weeks. Until tonight. Curiosity drew me.
This production takes place in the male change room of the venerable 1920s building. The audience sit on the benches with the drama happening in front of them and around them and hidden in the next cubicle. Part radio play, part immersion, part spectator experience: the show begins with a ritual.
The solitude of a shower. Then the donning of clothes and of the self which is shown to the world. The actors look at us as if in a mirror and check that the prsona is all tidy, correct and at its best before taking it away from the intimacy of dressing.
THE BIG FUNK by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright John Patrick Shanley asks what will one choose, love & life over death and neurosis?! The play cuts through our human delusions, striping society to its core and holds up a mirror to the audience to reveal the inner mess and carnage.
Audiences meet each character through a series of monologues, beginning with the self-described “villain” Jill, played with poise by Alixandra Kupcik, a misguided young woman who constantly finds herself in dysfunctional romantic relationships.
Then we are introduced to Fifi, most sweetly portrayed by Jessica Loudon, the subservient wife of disgruntled knife thrower, Omar. Michael Drysdale plays Omar who is a wonderfully lost soul who must confront his own protective, paternal instincts when he learns that his wife is pregnant with twins.
Then there is the unemployed actor Austin, played by a very capable Jasper Garner-Gore, whose desire is to make a difference in the world by showing a little kindness.
Lastly there is Gregory, cleverly played by Bali Padda, a strange self-absorbed man whose main role is to rub vaseline over Jill.
The Bakehouse Theatre Company’s world premiere production of Melbourne playwright Ron Elisha’s LOVE FIELD makes for engrossing theatre.
Elisha sets his play around a highly charged dramatic situation. It is November 22, 1963, a dark day in American history- the day that President John F Kennedy was assassinated. Later that day, Airforce 1 leaves Love Field airport on its way back to Washington.
Airforce 1 carries the slain body of the President in the Presidential coffin. Also on board are Jackie Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ).
For Jackie, she is facing her worst nightmare. On the other hand, LBJ, who had holding the ceremonial Vice Presidential position, has just had his wildest and biggest dream realised. He has just been inaugurated as the next American President. It’s going to be one helluva ride back to Washington.
Such an emotional, intense play is well suited to being performed in an intimate, chamber theatre venue, such as downstairs at the Tap. Audiences can see every nuance in the performances.
Michael Dean directs well and Lizzie Schebesta and Ben Woods deliver strong, well-orchestrated performances. Schebesta arrives on stage in a blood spattered pink dress.
There are even blood traces/stains on her stockings. A stark, effective statement. LBJ is mixing bourbons and daiquiris, tense and wired, wondering whether he is up to being the President of the most powerful country in the world.
As the plane makes its way to Washington, confidences are revealed. So much is going on, you can’t look away. Both talk about their respective, less than ideal relationships. One of the areas that the play looks at, is how should men and women best treat each other.
Staging was simple and effective as befits a tiny stage. Plane portals against the back wall…simple seating…a hanger for LBJ’s coat…
This was a production full of atmosphere and resonances. Unfortunately, the current season is only a brief one, with LOVE FIELD only playing until this Saturday November 2. Show runs Wednesday to Saturday.