Welcome into the lives and rivalries of the screen heroines Joan Crawford and Bette Davis – and for good measure add Marilyn Monroe to the mix. The top-notch cast brought this delicious bitchy comedy-drama, not to the screen but to a most appreciate audience on opening night of Castle Hill Players latest production, Dark Voyager by John Misto. Continue reading DARK VOYAGER @ The Pavilion Theatre, Doran Drive, Castle Hill
In this beautifully lyrical tale of love and struggle against oppression a highly talented cast draws the audience into this tragic yet uplifting story set at the tail end of the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines. It is based on the Philippines’ national novel Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) by Dr Jose P Rizal. There are several themes intertwined through the musical – the love between a man and a woman, the patriotism of the Philippines, what people will do for their country and the controversy and power of the Church. Continue reading NOLI ME TANGERE (TOUCH ME NOT) : A NEW MUSICAL
Opening the 2019 season for Castle Hill Players is the clever and very funny BLOODY MURDER with more twists and turns in its plot than one would think possible. Written by Ed Sala this apparently typical British murder mystery begins like many others – a group of the usual suspects gather for a soirée at the isolated country estate of the rich Lady Somerset. Sandy Velini shines in the role of this character as she leads the way for her guests in this intriguing mystery that is definitely not what it seems. Continue reading BLOODY MURDER. TWISTING MURDEROUS ENTERTAINMENT.
THE CHAT. As the audience enters the theatre space we are directed to our seats by the performers, a mix of ex-offenders and actors, who chat amongst us till the sound of a shredding machine signifies the start of the show. Les Wiggins has breached parole and a paper copy of his criminal history is shredded as he is to be given an opportunity to show who he truly is and gain his freedom.
In this devised work led by theatre maker and former parole officer, J R Brennan, with writer-performer David Woods, performer Ashley Dye and input from former prisoners, questions around the justice system are raised. Who and how are decisions made around which offenders should be given parole, what happens if it goes wrong, how does a newly released inmate survive and go on to live a productive life and what supports are needed, are some of the areas considered. Continue reading THE CHAT. QUESTIONING THE SYSTEM
A bell tolls and Camille O’Sullivan steps from the audience onto the stage of the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent in a shimmering self-made midnight blue/black cat suit topped with a black cape. From that moment this consummate performer holds the audience in her hand as she present, what she describes as a love letter to two of her heroes of music Leonard Cohen and David Bowie with added material from a variety of artists such as Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and Jacques Brel. The show itself is named after one of Bowie’s final singles.
In this 80 minute show O’Sullivan an Irish/French singer and storyteller-in-song, and her highly talented three piece supporting band of Feargal Colm Murray on piano, Paul John Byrne on drums and Steven Fraser on guitar, ask “Where are We Now”, in this turbulent, changing world in distress. Her strong, clear and passionate voice consumes the cabaret type space of the Spiegeltent as she turns each song into a theatrical performance. Continue reading CAMILLE O’SULLIVAN – WHERE ARE WE NOW ?
DON’S PARTY, presented by Redfern Acting School, is a most entertaining revival of the classic 1971 David Williamson play. Set on the night of the 1969 federal election it is an unflinching picture of an uncouth Australian suburbia with drunkenness, sexism, jealousy, domestic arguments and revenge. It is also a comedy with some excellent one-liners and the actors definitely succeed in bringing out the laughs.
The production is well cast. Ben Hunter is impressive as Don, the party’s host, who had got lost somewhere between the high hopes of university with his dreams of writing and his present domestic situation. Rachel Slee plays his rather boring wife Kath on anti-depressants and bitter her marriage is not working. Continue reading DON’S PARTY: A CLASSIC WORTH VIEWING
This gorgeous production of Noel Coward’s 1930 comedy of manners PRIVATE LIVES is a fitting end to Castle Hill Players highly successful 2018 season. With an excellent cast who continuously try to outdo each other in wit, charm, hate, satire, bitterness and almost every other emotion the audience is engaged and laughing from start to finish.
The play concerns a divorced couple Elyot, played by Jeremy Johnson, and Amanda, played by Nicole Harwood, who were once unhappily married and are at first horrified to find themselves honeymooning with their new spouses in adjacent rooms at the same hotel. The chemistry between these two actors is electric as they bring out every nuisance of the wonderful script being powerfully attracted, yet also repulsed by each other. At one moment they are uttering sweet nothings and at the next hurling vicious putdowns. Continue reading PRIVATE LIVES: A GORGEOUS PRODUCTION FROM CASTLE HILL PLAYERS
Bankstown Theatre Company’s production of the musical OUR HOUSE is an entertaining, fun night at the theatre that has strong family values at its core. OUR HOUSE. features songs from British band Madness, who were prominent in the late 1970s and 80s, and through this the writer, Tim Firth explores love, family, growing up, responsibility and loss.
The musical follows the story of Camden lad Joe Casey who on his sixteenth birthday takes his dream girl Sarah on a date. Not all goes well and Joe faces a decision that will change his life. At this stage the story diverges into two parallel stories as we follow the fortunes of “good Joe” and “bad Joe” over the following seven years. Louis Vinciguerra is strong in this double role with subtle personality changes to portray the different characters and quick changes ensure the story flows freely from one side to the other. Tamana Rita with her sure, clear voice is delightful in the role of Sarah who skilfully reacts to the different versions of Joe. Continue reading OUR HOUSE. STRONG FAMILY VALUES FROM BANKSTOWN THEATRE CO
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH by Lally Katz takes place in the year between Kevin Rudd’s election as Australian Prime Minister and Barack Obama’s as US President. It is based around the development of an unlikely friendship between Ana, a battle hardened Hungarian immigrant, and Catherine, an out of work actor waiting for a better world.
Ana, played with great energy and enthusiasm by Margaret Olive, is a scratchy old woman stuck in her past, bitter about her experiences and often refusing to see the good in people. She meets her neighbour Catherine, played elegantly and with feeling by Jacqui Wilson, who is also stuck in her past as she cannot let go of her ex-boyfriend. Continue reading NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: STORY OF AUSTRALIAN SUBURBIA TOUCHES
THE GIRL/THE WOMAN playing at Riverside Theatres is an eclectic mixture of theatrical styles – words, movement, drama, pathos, laugh out loud humour and comic antics.
This exciting and absorbing production, written by Aanisa Vylet, who is also one of the actors, has been in development for 12 years. THE GIRL l has been previously staged and THE WOMAN, who is the girl’s mother, added as a companion piece helping fill out some of the background of the girl’s story. These stories are sometimes separate and sometimes weave and cross over. The play concentrates on the story of the girl played by Aanisa Vylet but the mother, played by Nisrine Amine, is integral to the success of the piece as they negotiate changing times and expectations. Continue reading THE GIRL/THE WOMAN: BELIEF IN A BETTER LIFE
Though AIR, the present production on at the Old 505 Theatre in Newtown, is written around the themes of death and grief there is much black comedy throughout the play to lighten the mood. The audience is absorbed in the different stories of how those who are dealing with the loss of loved ones cope and the consequences of these interactions on the central character Annabel.
The playwright Joanna Erskine uses a magical world within a realistic setting to cross the boundaries between the living and the dead. The inspiration for the play came from Erskine’s own experiences with death and grief and a small notice in a newspaper’s obituaries column, advertising a radio program that reads the death notices daily. The play is set in the community radio station 2RIP where Annabel, played with sincerity and ever changing emotions by Eloise Snape, wishes to be left alone in her grief as she reads the obituaries on the overnight shift. Continue reading AIR: FACING DEATH, LOSS AND BEYOND