Theatre

THIS BITTER EARTH @ THE NEW

Production photography by Bob Seary

Firstly, let me quote from the NewTheatre’s own website, which describes the play accurately: 

 “Being a 20-something queer is hard. Being a 20-something queer living in Sydney is… something else.

“Dating apps, capitalist nightmares, a rental market we’re not invited to and a semi-constant state of existential terror – look, we’ve only got 12 years until climate catastrophe; might as well flail around in a spin class and buy a reusable straw.

“An unstitched patchwork of queer lives in queer times, THIS BITTER EARTH  looks at how we fight, bitch, love, confront despair and try to connect, all through the mess and the muck and the might of everyday queer existence. Continue reading THIS BITTER EARTH @ THE NEW

TRUE WEST @ THE FACTORY THEATRE Marickville

Dark comedy and very effective dialogue driven play, with two unhinged constantly feuding brothers. Beautifully constructed dithyrambic drama and savage tale of the weak good versus the strong bad. Unending sibling rivalry, despite five years since they were last together, the happily married younger brother is still the submissive victim of his dominant brother’s constant dangerous threats. Fortunately director Dimity Raftos has chosen the perfect cast for the two brothers, to deliver vividly believable performances, always showcasing all the highs and lows of brothers, who have taken very different paths since leaving home.                    Continue reading TRUE WEST @ THE FACTORY THEATRE Marickville

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL @ THE EVEREST THEATRE

This is the next best thing to actually attending an Evening with Paul Keating. As Jonathon Biggins says in the program, “I like to think of this show as the first three dimensional autobiography written by someone else.”

Through the show there is the use of a slide show with pics of his early life and then notable politicians and events in his life. This adds intimacy to the evening.

I found the show both very informative and highly entertaining. There are just so many stories, it is almost overwhelming with Biggins  talking in a rapid fire fashion. At one time he says to the audience, “come on people, keep up. There’s  going to be a test at the end”.

Did you know that Paul Keating is an avid Tom Jones fan and that they shared a bit of a friendship?! This  is one of the times that Biggins bursts into song singing ‘Why, why Delilah”.  I enjoyed the times when, during the show,  he burst into song. It lightened up the evening.

As did the many witticisms, some of which were Keating gems, others Biggins’ own rapier like wit. Keating had a healthy ego such as his remark, ‘this was the greatest achievement of my career. Then again why narrow it down.” As against Biggins own witty remark, ‘She’s a NIDA graduate. There goes another HECS debt that won’t be paid back.”

There’s a lot of did you know’s through the show. I knew that Keating is a big classical music fan. His parents soundproofed his room so that they didn’t have to heart the music blaring. He was also a rock music fan and a bit of a rock entrepreneur, trying to get bands good contracts before he changed direction and started to get involved in politics.

Biggins covers so much territory. Keating is a big Jack Lang fan and the great Labor man generously gave him his time. Lang told him, “You will never be a leader unless you have a host of enemies.”

There  are plenty of references to Keating’s economic reforms, some of which went over my head, and I am sure others in the audience.

Other Keating quotes. “I’ve always been drawn to beautiful things”, which accounts for Keating’s love of  beautiful suits and watches.

“I went off giving State Funerals.  When I gave one to Kerry Packer, it took the gloss off it.

We learn of Keating’s fondness for political colleagues Bill Hayden, Lionel Bowen and Bill Kelty, who was instrumental in getting our current superannuation laws. And Keating was a good hater. “Being a fan of Andrew  Peacock is like being thrashed with raw tofu.” And  Reg Withers, “I am not a proctologist, but I know an arsehole when I see one.”

There are reference to Keating’s view on indigenous issues and his famous speech  in Redfern. And there’s reference to Bob Hawke reneging on his handover of power deal with Keating. It’s all there in this show!

The show has been well directed by Aarne Neeme with stage design of Keating’s apartment by Mark Thompson, lighting by Verity Hampson and sound and video design by David Bergman.

So much to take in! Go and see the show for yourself and take away your own favourite memories.  THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL is playing the Everest Theatre at the Seymour Centre until Saturday August 3, 2019. Mondays to Saturdays at 7.30pm and there are also matinees on Saturdays at 2pm.

http://www.seymourcentre.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COOL POOL PARTY @ BONDI PAV

This is the scenario. A pool party for eight (four boys, four girls) takes place while 16-year-old Mindy’s parents are absent. Mindy like-likes Cam. Cam like-likes Mindy. Izzy like-likes Cam and Cam also like-likes Izzy. What else could happen? Will we find out who Mindy’s secret next door neighbour is? Will the kiss ever come?!

It sounds like a typical teenage drama but this was anything but a conventional night in the theatre. We, the audience,  come into the theatre to see all the performers sitting on chairs on the stage together with the writer and director. One of the performers stands up and ushers us in to the theatre and makes us sit in the middle to keep things nice and cosy.  The screen behind the performers states that there is going to be a pre performance discussion about the show. This was the first sign that things were a bit odd. I’m familiar with a panel discussion after a play is performed but before…

Anyhow we settled into our seats. and the discussion started, It was ‘chaired’ by one of the playwrights and the director. They said that they were going to talk about how the play came about and the process of development. It sounded interesting. Continue reading COOL POOL PARTY @ BONDI PAV

TABLE : AN INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR KIM HARDWICK

There’s a fascinating play that is coming on soon at the Reginald Theatre in the Seymour Centre. The work is British playwright Tanya Ronder’s play TABLE. 

The play’s title refers to a handcrafted table that was built by a master craftsman Mr Best  for his new bride in 1898. The table is passed on from one generation of the Best family to the next generation over the space of some 115 years. As one can imagine a lot of changes take place over this long span of time.

From the time that she first read the play director Kim Hardwick has wanted to stage the work  and she is very excited about the upcoming production. “TABLE is an epic piece, epic in time and in emotion. We are witness to many different conversations that take place around the table.” Continue reading TABLE : AN INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR KIM HARDWICK

THE PENNY COOK BAR @ THE STABLES THEATRE

Last week with a small group of friends and family gathered, Poppy Lynch turned on the switch that lit up the new sign naming the bar in the Griffin foyer ‘The Penny Cook Bar’ in honour of her mother. Her dad, David, had just given a beautiful speech recalling how he had met the love of his life at that very bar (prior to the renovations of course!) and hoping that, in a theatre full of ghosts, we may now hear her extraordinary laugh when we come here for a pre-show drink. The sign is pink and the glow lights up everyone in the foyer very attractively, which you’ll be happy to see next time you are here.

The naming of the bar in her honour was an idea dreamed up by Peter Lowry of the SBW Foundation and Diana Simmonds, as a way of publicly remembering that without Penny, Griffin would not be standing where it is today.  Continue reading THE PENNY COOK BAR @ THE STABLES THEATRE

THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN @ THE OLD FITZ

I loved this show. Like the best theatre it was as if I was cast under a spell in the intimate space that is the Old Fitz.

We are transported to the going on in Inishmaan, a small country town in Ireland. It’s a sleepy old town where nothing much happens, kind of like Porpoise Spit in Muriel’s Wedding, There are the two women who run a small corner shop which everyone visits. My favourite character is an old guy who is the town gossip, who comes in all the time telling them the latest news. Most of his news items are plain dead boring and the women tease him about it. 

Then one day the guy bursts through the door with some news that is actually newsworthy. An American film company are coming to the town to shoot a film. Here is a chance for a bit of fame. Who had the nerve to say that no-one wants to know about Inishmaan?! Continue reading THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN @ THE OLD FITZ

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK A ‘GIANT’ FAMILY MUSICAL SPECTACULAR PANTO @ THE STATE THEATRE

Bonnie Lythgoe Productions presents Jack and the Beanstalk – a “Giant” 3D Family Musical Spectacular Panto. Directed by Bonnie Lythgoe, this colourful and family friendly production is full of audience participation, hilarious caricatures, and the most satisfying of corny dad jokes and slapstick comedy. The witty script, written by Christopher Wood, also contains a surprisingly titillating and cheeky streak of adult humour to keep the 18+ ‘kids’ engaged and entertained. Cultural references abound including a random guest appearance of dancing “Minions” (from the movie “Despicable Me”) in the second act.

Opening with disco ball laser effects that reach out across the large auditorium, the curtain rises on Christopher Wood’s colourful, fluorescent painted set of orange, green and hot pink. This glow in the dark design extends throughout the many flown set changes and the ensembles costumes.  Continue reading JACK AND THE BEANSTALK A ‘GIANT’ FAMILY MUSICAL SPECTACULAR PANTO @ THE STATE THEATRE

MONKEY BAA THEATRE PRESENTS HITLER’S DAUGHTER @ ARA DARLING QUARTER THEATRE

Above : author of  the book, ‘Hitler’s Daughter’, Jackie French.

Since 1997, children and adults of all ages have enjoyed adaptations of books at Monkey Baa Theatre performances, Here,  social and literary concepts and comments have been brought to colourful and dynamic life.

One such phenomenal success of storytelling to provoke thought and emotions during this time has been Hitler’s Daughter, based on the 1999 book by Jackie French. The original reworking of this material by Monkey Baa creatives in 2006 won its presentation a Helpmann Award amongst other accolades.

Watching this piece in its electrifyingly effective 2019 revival guise it is easy to appreciate why it was a well-deserved recipient of awards and enjoys continued audience praise. Sandra Eldridge’s joyous and sensitive directing shines once more. A strong design and acting team now bring this accessible gem to us, more penetrating in its swoop than ever.

The storytelling nature of this adaptation receives tremendous impetus through the flexibility of Imogen Ross’ flexible set  to quickly and smoothly shift from questioning minds of youth in Australia to the tension and misguided allegiance of a young girl caught up in a tense world with the Führer as Vater.

Lighting designed by Luiz Pampolha shifts fluidly to accompany the alternation between worlds. Alongside some well-structured and contrasted sound from Jed Silver, the current day musings and wartime horrors are vividly evoked. Fear and propaganda during the time of air raids and ethnic cleansing are presented with believable sensory depth.

A tremendously effective way to learn challenging history is through re-enactment. Comedy, caricature and crisis can be juxtaposed to assist with the pace of exposure also. In this play these elements work well in the ebb and flow.

The comic scenes here, often relating to domestic family routine or familiar school bus and bus stop confrontations are riotously funny moments with superb unison or ensemble comic timing.

Toby Blome’s portrayal of the character Mark, eager to pump his friend Anna for information on the plight of the perhaps daughter of Hitler,  is passionate. It bounces with relentless freshness from the stage. His super-keen thirst for detail and questioning of new information is genuinely presented. It drips with relentless curiosity and clear delivery.

This character’s role in both the book and on stage canvasses the quick changes in attitude, location and era as he darts around the versatile. Blome is superbly successful as a direct mouthpiece of the target age groups for this play. His engaging clarity makes the play’s questioning of leadership and dangerous attitudes very easy for us to relate to.

War and peace, questionable political leadership and the need for re-examining history is personified in the many characters played with chameleon-like dexterity by Joel Horwood. His awesome quick costume, stature, gender and dialect changes are impressive.

Emma Wright is exquisitely tentative and cautious as schoolgirl Anna, regaling her schoolmates in fragments of history pertaining to her maybe connection to Hitler.

Watching this actor’s range and range of characters explode then retreat back to a wistful sentimental position of schoolgirl  memory is a treat.

Her depiction of Mark’s mother is a priceless, recogniseable quotidian  school-mum fare, with subtle facts and figures about the Holocaust easy to access .

Luminous on the stage from the outset to the end is Romy Watson, stunningly suited to the characters of schoolgirl Tracey and German girl Heidi, the daughter of Hitler.

When switching to Heidi, our limping guide through the war scenes and talk of Jews, camps, the Aryan race and other assorted unbelievable concepts, she is chillingly vulnerable.

Hitler’s Daughter is a provocative, evocative morsel of theatre for audience members of any age. In its compelling revival production with foyer information panels and the chance for schools to also visitthe Sydney Jewish Museum for even more information it is a touching method of education.

History and humanity have never been so attractively packaged, responsibly treated or importantly questioned, as they are in this entertaining  production.

New bookings for primary and secondary school shows and museum experiences in Sydney are now open for early September.

 

FROM BROADWAY TO LA SCALA @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE : TWO DOUBLE PASSES

FROM BROADWAY TO LA SCALA returns with a bigger and even more exciting line up. Six of Australia’s finest voices – Teddy Tahu Rhodes, David Hobson, Caroline O’Connor, Emma Matthews, Alexander Lewis and Genevieve Kingsford – come together to perform 34 of the greatest songs of all time across opera and musical theatre. From Puccini to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Bizet to Gershwin, Verdi to Cole Porter, Bernstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber, this bi-annual concert event is renowned for its world-class presentation of the greatest songs, arias and duets of the last two centuries. 

Soaring with the exuberance of the great stage musicals and enriched with the passion of grand opera, FROM BROADWAY TO LA SCALA has become one of the most popular orchestral concerts on the entertainment calendar.  Continue reading FROM BROADWAY TO LA SCALA @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE : TWO DOUBLE PASSES

RELATIVE MERITS: FALLING FOUL OF FOLAU

Don’t expect to see Israel Folau in the audience of RELATIVE MERITS.

His loss, really, because it’s about a footy player, Adam Grant, who states that playing the game is the closest thing to heaven on earth, that putting on the boots and ploughing through the paddock is rapturous, tearing up the turf is tantamount to being in the company of angels.

What falls foul of and for Folau is that Adam is gay – a fairy, a faggot, a fruit and God knows how many other derogatory epithets homosexuals are damned and demonised by.

RELATIVE MERITS kicks off with dilemma as football hero, Adam, suddenly and mysteriously retires from the sport, while just as suddenly, his younger brother, Clay, lobs on his doorstep a decade after they last saw each other.

ADAM has hung up his boots in order to come out, something that does not sit well with his homophobic brother, whose fear of the feminine has been fuelled by his fanatically Catholic mother.

The play, set in 1993, is an historical reflection of the hysterical times when HIV and AIDS decimated communities and fanned homophobia into a frenzy.

As its press release states, RELATIVE MERITS is made timely again by the current controversy surrounding another footballer under different – but equally disturbing – circumstances, highlighting hateful homophobia.

The real timelessness of RELATIVE MERITS, however, is the enduring power of love, true brotherly love, literally illustrated here, but universally intended and implied in the play.

Committed and honest work by Samuel Welsh as Adam and Isaac Broadbent as Clay under the crisp direction of Porter James bring Barry Lowe’s dialogue to compelling life.

James’ craft as a choreographer is particularly evident in the fight scenes between the siblings, expertly staged in the confines of the intimate space.

Produced on a g string and the smell of an oily jockstrap, this production of RELATIVE MERITS more than merits your attendance.

Relative Merits by Barry Lowe
Directed by Porter James,
Starring Sam Welsh & Isaac Broadbent
10-25 July: Wed, Thurs, Sun 8.30pm
El Rocco Theatrette, 154 Brougham St Kings Cross
Tickets $25 / $20 concession
Bookings: www.trybooking.com/BDDTB