Brisbane playwright Stephen Carleton was awarded the 2015 Griffin Award, with a prize of $10,000, supported by the Copyright Agency Limited, for his new work THE TURQUOISE ELEPHANT at the SBW Stables Theatre on Wednesday evening.
Sydney Arts Guide is a key part of stage and film culture, and exists to celebrate the art of performance, in theatres and cinemas.
2014 was a year of amazing diversity, and our twenty accredited specialist reviewers, were all spoiled for choice in the quality of the live theatre performances to be experienced in the City of Sydney, and the suburbs of Sydney.
As the old adage goes, “live theatre is not dead theatre, as there is a different performance to be experienced every night”. Our team of professional reviewers, have each nominated their personal preferences for both theatre and cinema. A small number of movies were nominated out of the hundreds of cinema films that were seen during the last twelve months.
At the end of another outstanding year for the arts in Sydney, on Wednesday 31st December 2014, Sydney Arts Guide announced its 2014 awards in these Stage and Screen categories:-
Given that the definitive play about Sydney’s shallowness was first performed in 1987, audiences may well question the contemporary relevance of David Williamson’s EMERALD CITY.
And also ask how this intimate Griffin Theatre Company production works on the small screen as it were, seeing as this play is about the lengths to which people will go to bag a harbour view made its sparkling debut oh so appropriately all those years ago at the Sydney Opera House.
EMERALD CITY pits Melbourne against Sydney and values against cash in the shape of fortysomething Colin Rogers (Mitchell Butel) and his publisher wife Kate (Lucy Bell) who make the move from Melbourne to Sydney, the city that gives good hedonism and where vicious cocktail parties are a necessary evil. Continue reading Emerald City→
In time for Mardi Gras, the Griffin Theatre presents Sydney playwright, Donna Abela’s award-winning play, Jump for Jordan. It is more than a ‘coming out’ play. It depicts the experience of being ‘caught between two cultures’ common to second-generation Australians.
An archaeology student, Sophie leaves home at 21 unmarried, shaming her traditional Jordanian mother. She moves in with fellow archaeology student, Sam, her Aussie girlfriend. Six years later, losing sleep, and petrified of the judgement of her visiting ‘mad Arab’ Aunty Azza, Sophie is forced to lie about her life, her career and the existence of Sam. She may be also lying to herself.
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→
Vivienne Walshe’s play THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE, the winner of the 2012 Griffin Award, tells an old story in a new way.
Two teenagers who go to the same school, Chris (Yalin Ozucelik) and Chloe (Ava Torch), come from very opposite sides of the track. Chris comes from a middle class family… Chloe is working class….Chris has been tutored in classic poetry, Chloe can’t read…High brow versus low brow….
They befriend each other…form a bond..become close.. they relate and communicate with each other in their own unique, poetic language…and yet it isn’t enough…
This is a night at the theatre that draws one in but leaves one, in the end, feeling unsatisfied. The play’s beginning is difficult, the audience is not orientated and is thrown right in the middle of the action, trying to second guess what’s happening. The tale is told in a too cerebral way which sees the emotional punch- even knockout- that is at the heart of this tale not coming through.
The performances by Ozucelik and Torch are great- both convincingly play a wide range of characters.
There’s a touching, special play within. With more work, the potential in THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE could yet be realised.
A Griffin Independent and Just Visiting production, THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE opened at the SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross on Friday 21 June and runs until Saturday 13 July, 2013.
The Stables Theatre’s triangular stage with its steeply raked and intimate audience space is the perfect vehicle for Van Badham’s latest play THE BULL, THE MOON AND THE CORONET OF STARS.
The unique style of this play sees the two actors move smoothly between narrative to the audience and dialogue with each other – a method that takes some adjusting to, but ultimately works very well.
Inspired by the mythological Greek characters of Ariadne, Theseus and Dionysis, this is the love story of Marion (Silvia Colloca) and the two men in her life, Michael and Mark (both played by Matt Zeremes). “The Greeks provided the framework for bold engagement with social catastrophe, but also for something as intricate and domestic as how a young woman learns to survive a broken heart”, says Badham.
Set loosely in modern day Australia, Marion – a visual artist – meets the married Michael – a publications officer – in the museum where they work and we are privy to their lustful thoughts through the narrative. Alone together, guarding the museum at night, where the rumour of a mysterious animal spirit lurks, they find themselves in a blackout. (This is the first time I’ve experienced a total blackout in a theatre and it was extremely atmospheric and made this scene triumphant). The animal becomes a symbol of their uncontrollable lust and the sexual tension is dynamic.
Marion is dumped by Michael, loses her boyfriend and is haunted by adultery-remorse and lost love. She cuts her hair off, takes a vow of celibacy and retreats to, not a nunnery, but a resort island where she teaches art to septuagenarian ladies.
Sommelier and disc jockey by night, Mark, sets the resort and the ladies on fire, all but Marion. Some scenes here are somewhat over graphic, especially with Mark’s references to sexual contact with 70 plus women, but it is overall very well written.
The play would not have worked as well without the brilliant performances of Silvia Colloca and Matt Zeremes. They played off each other with precision and warmed the audience with their playful subtext/narrative. Director Lee Lewis must be congratulated for her energetic and finely tuned input. I liked the way we didn’t need to see haircuts and extensive costume changes, focusing the audience on the storyline.
The set design by Anne Tregloan was very effective. It seemed at first odd to see just portable square and rectangular wooden frames on stage, but as they were moved around to adapt to different imaginary settings so gracefully, they became very functional. Likewise the lighting by Verity Hampson and sound by Steve Francis were great.
Van Badham’s play is imaginative and rich with sensuous and poetic language. Her style is bold and fresh.
THE BULL, THE MOON AND THE CORONET OF STARS opened at the SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross on Wednesday 8th May and runs until Saturday 8th June, 2013. The show will then tour to The Butter Factory Theatre in Wodonga, Victoria where it will play between the 13th and 22nd of June, 2013.
Inspired by events surrounding the disappearance and murder of multi-millionaire Herman Rockefeller in 2010, DREAMS IN WHITE is a powerful and emotionally draining new play by Duncan Graham that’s anchored by the murder of an obnoxious swinger Ray Wimple aka Michael Devine, played by Andrew McFarlane.