Judith is a Sydney theatre worker who was ‘born in a trunk’. With a lifelong passion for all performing arts, she has turned her hand to many jobs in film, TV and live theatre. Ranging from earning pocket money for trimming the back legs off tables, so they sat flat on raked stages to owning her own touring theatre company. A lighting designer by trade, Judith experiences performances with a technical eye and an understanding of the jobbing actor and the theatrical bedrock which supports them.
Timely doesn’t really do justice to the prescience of FIERCE. It’s almost impossible to watch the show, from Red Line productions playing at the Old Fitz, without that gut punch of ‘this is happening’. A woman is a woman is a woman after all and there is a female centre to the story. But this is hardly a narrative play, it is shaped to weave and duck and fly high above the mere telling of her fierceness.
Suzie Flack is an AFL star but has a real, unexplained, issue about joining a woman’s team. Never known for missing a chance, the powers that be eventually put her in a men’s team. No gender norming for Suzie: even the same dressing room as the men, with an initial shush on swearing, for her. Familiarity breeds the contempt of these men and whether the bad behaviour that quickly appears is worse or normal we don’t know. And then there’s the WAGs. Continue reading FIERCE. RED LINE PRODUCTIONS AT OLD FITZ THEATRE→
NOLI ME TANGERE is a new Australian musical based on the novel, of the same name, by iconic Filipino nationalist and hero Dr. José Rizal, that inspired a nation during the tail end of the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines. ‘The Noli’ (as it is called in the Philippines) was the “first major artistic expression of Asian defiance to European colonialism” and is now widely known as the great novel of the Philippines.
As we are at Riverside Theatres quite often and have been watching how many people pick up the flyer for the show to discuss it with curiosity and interest we wanted to bring our readers some insights into a new grand musical. The Guide had the chance to put some questions to Miguel Castro who plays Ibarra and Susana Downes, playing Maria Clara. Continue reading NOLI ME TANGERE – INTERVIEW WITH ‘IBARRA’ AND ‘MARIA CLARA’→
As they watch for us to enter there’s an electricity between the two figures eagerly waiting in the sand by the swings as the sea swells quietly in the background. Jess and Joe are ready. They have rehearsed their presentation, have worked hard on what they will show us and “in this moment” they will share a beautiful, soul-soothing story to lift the spirits of anyone who is there. JESS AND JOE FOREVER by Zoe Cooper is a sand gem of a production which shines and glimmers in the tuck of the basement at Belvoir Street Theatre.
Jess and Joe have a burning desire to tell their story. Of how they met at approximately 9 ¾ and where their tween love takes them. She has an au pair and a holiday home in Italy, he is a bit of a battler on his Dad’s farm. She is a bit tubby and he is physically shy, too. He is practical and she poetic; she chats and he reacts. For our benefit they will act out how they met, became friends, and the individual tales that happened away from each other that made their time together so important. Continue reading JESS AND JOE FOREVER – SOUL SOOTHING THEATRE→
1985 won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival this year and what an emotional, realistic and moving film it is. Schedule a dinner after you see the film because there are discussions to be had, judgments to confront and, sadly, lost people and times to remember. Shot with great heart and a political will to “connect with those who are still experiencing any type of discrimination or resistance in 2018” according to filmmaker, Yen Tan, 1985 deals with religion, coming out, truth to self and the early catastrophe of HIV.
We meet Adrian. It’s 1985 and he is home for Christmas from New York. Small town, Bible-Belt home. Over the few days he is there, Adrian will have none of the conversations which would make for manipulatively dramatic watching. Rather, much is unsaid. Though, much is understood but little is spoken between he and his peacemaker Mom, head of family carapaced Dad and a little brother who needs a particular kind of reassurance from him. A tragedy has propelled him there and Adrian is a boy lost. His reconnection with a close female friend, Carly, from his school days gives him some release from the fearful times in which he lives. Continue reading 1985. TIMES PAST RESONATE WITH CONTEMPORARY RELEVANCE→
RABBIT HOLE by David Lindsay-Abaire, is a delicate and intimate work. For Exit Game Productions, Christie Koppe directs this 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama.
RABBIT HOLE which tells the heart-breaking story of Becca and Howie Corbett who have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. RABBIT HOLE charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places and for a path that will lead them back into the light of day.
RABBIT HOLE from Exit Game Productions plays at Chippen Street Theatre April 18-27. Tickets here.
With thanks to EXIT GAME PRODUCTIONS Sydney Arts Guide has a double pass giveaway for either Thu April 18 or Fri April 19.
To be in the running, email (email@example.com)
with RABBIT_HOLE as the subject AND the performance you wish to attend.
Competition closes Midnight on Friday March 22, 2019 when the winner will be drawn. Only the winners will be notified and the pass will be available at the Box Office on the night.
This is the provocative question at the heart of Jane e Thompson’s play FIERCE which tracks the career of Suzie Flack, an extraordinarily talented Australian Rules Football player who achieves her lifelong dream of being drafted to play alongside her male counterparts in the AFL. This raw but imaginative play explores the impact of this success on Flack and on her family, her relationships, her team and the sport as a whole.
The Guide had the opportunity to ask some questions of Lauren Richardson who plays Suzie.
SAG: So were you fierce before you started work on the role? Is that drew you into the project or have you had to learn fierceness in some way?
LAUREN: I don’t think I would have described myself as Fierce before starting this role. I don’t think women are encouraged socially or culturally to take up space, stand their ground, or be heard fully without apology.
So it has definitely been a learning process. Finding the character’s physicality really helped, the ease with which she takes up space. And training and getting physically really fit and strong makes you feel like a bad ass too so that helps.
SAG: I gather it’s been a very physically demanding rehearsal period with boxing and AFL included, what new skills have you been working on?
LAUREN: Yes, boxing has been the main one as we see Suzie boxing in the play, so I thought I better work out what I’m doing. I’ve got a brilliant coach and to my own surprise I’ve fallen completely in love with it. Who knows maybe next I’ll be getting in the ring?
We also train together as a cast at Spectrum Fitness who sponsor us and absolutely flog us in our sessions. It’s been great bonding for us because nothing builds camaraderie quicker that sweating it up and suffering through a tough session. Then the boys and I usually go for a kick before rehearsals.
SAG: Your character must be extremely emotionally resilient too, where does that strength in her come from?
LAUREN: The biggest influence in Suzie’s life is her Dad. He was once an accomplished footballer himself so footy is in her blood and it was her Dad that first taught her to kick out in the backyard at 3 years old. So Suzie’s love of the game is one of the ways her connection with her Father manifests.
But her single mindedness to achieve her dream, has meant her life is all about training and playing and not much else. So the way she interacts with others and the world more broadly beyond football has definitely been compromised. Despite everything she goes through she never gives up fighting and that trait most definitely comes from her Dad.
SAG: The Old Fitz is a pretty intimate venue if male aggression is disconcerting should the front rows be avoided? How full on is it?
LAUREN: Front row is great! Up close to all the action. The lovely thing about the play is there’s wonderful contrast, so there are scenes that are physically dynamic, violent or fast. But then also more quiet, intimate, still moments so the audience will get the chance to breathe.
SAG: Do you think there will be a gendered take-away in the audiences or are you expecting some kind of solidarity of response?
LAUREN: Not really, I feel like the play prompts questions for the audience and I feel like there will be a multitude of responses to it.
But however they feel, we want the audience to experience some of the passion and thrill you get at the footy so I hope we manage to excite them. We very much intend to!
That sounds like front rows and a beer for me. Best wishes for a successful season and I am really looking forward to the show.
It’s a bit like the heyday of the drive-in. Moonlight Cinemas gives you the freedom to eat and drink and relax in a seat of your choice or the comfy bean bag sofas you can hire. But the biggest advantage is being able to check in with your companion about the plot details.
Very useful for a film such as DESTROYER which has a time structure that requires constant attention from the audience to site the narrative as the threads weave together toward the slow burn climax.
The narrative eddies around the plodding, broken character of Erin Bell who staggers into frame with hangover and rumple, having slept in her car. A banger is dead and Erin knows how and why … and who killed him. A past is catching up with her as she hangs on by a liquid filament to her job as an LA Detective with a violent backstory, including an undercover operation that brings her to standing over a dead and dumped body. Continue reading DESTROYER AT MOONLIGHT CINEMA. LIKE THE DRIVE-IN ONLY BETTER.→
Sugary Rum Productions is about to present the Australian Premiere of JESS AND JOE FOREVER as part of 25a at Belvoir Downstairs.
Meet Jess and Joe. They want to tell you their story. Joe is Norfolk born and bred and wears wellies. Jess holidays there with her au pair and likes to sneak Spam behind the bus stop. This is a story of growing up, fitting in (or not), boys, girls, secrets, and maybe even love, but most of all, it’s about friendship. Spanning several summer holidays, Jess and Joe Forever is an unusual coming of age tale that explores what it means to belong somewhere, if you can really belong anywhere.
The Guide had the chance to speak with director Shaun Rennie as his cast and crew head into bump-in and production week.
SAG: Very excited to see this play … so it’s country boy meets city girl? How does this story unfold?
SHAUN: Why I love this play is because it sets up binaries. It sets up storytelling tropes that we all know: boy meets girl; country kid meets city kid; rich kid-poor kid. Jess and Joe both meet each over a series of summers in Norfolk where Jess is on her holidays and Joe lives there full time. So they develop this friendship over the course of their ‘tweens’, their adolescence essentially.
Eishan Ensemble defies neat labels. Variously described as Persian Chamber Jazz and Middle Eastern Jazz Fusion, Eishan is a vehicle for the original music of acclaimed Iranian-Australian multi-instrumentalist and composer, Hamed Sadeghi.
After a successful debut album release late last year, Eishan emerge in 2019 with new material, blurring the lines that define genre even further, to create something that is stand alone.
Hamlet is dead. What next? APPROPRIATION, written by Paul Gilchrist, tells the imagined story of Fortinbras, a rash hothead who learns from his politically gifted wife when to wield a sword and when to weave a story. Raw, poetic and darkly funny, the performance is a surgical assault on how we use stories to establish power and gain prestige.
Fledgling Theatre Company are an international theatre company that explore raw and visceral new writing through a distinctly physical approach to theatre making. They are dedicated to creating theatre that excites and challenges audiences, utilising stage combat skills coupled with dynamic movement sequences to create confronting imagery. Since their inception in 2014, FTC have produced six new works including a UK tour, a critically acclaimed Edinburgh run, as well as residencies in London and Sydney. Continue reading APPROPRIATION FROM FLEDGLING THEATRE COMPANY. GIVEAWAY.→
In SWIMMING WITH MEN Rob Brydon stars alongside a talented British cast in a comedy that tips its (swimming) cap at beloved British comedies such as The Full Monty and Calendar Girls.
Inspired by the Dylan Williams 2010 documentary, Men Who Swim, SWIMMING WITH MEN tells the story of a man (Brydon) who is suffering a mid-life crisis and eventually finds new meaning to his life as part of an all-male, middle-aged, amateur synchronised swimming team. Together they make a bid to compete at the unofficial Male Sync-Swimming World Championships, and no doubt a shot at personal redemption along the way. Continue reading SWIMMING WITH MEN. GIVEAWAY TO THE FUN, MALE-SYNCED COMEDY.→
SYDNEY REVIEWS Screen + Stage + Performing Arts + Literary Arts + Visual Arts + Cinema + Theatre