Tag Archives: Abe Mitchell


ONCE is a story about a guy and a girl who connect through music. The audience can connect with the story as it is real, touches us with its humanity, and is enlivened by wonderful singing, highly skilful musicians and warm and soulful songs.

The show is based on Ken Carney’s 2007 Irish film of the same name and features the music from the film plus a couple of additional songs by the original songwriters, Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard.

Set in Dublin, Ireland, the play starts with heartbroken Guy busking and meeting a Czech immigrant, Girl, who takes him to a piano shop where she is allowed to play piano. Guy and Girl sing and play his songs together in the piano shop. Girl feels he should use his songs to win back the girlfriend who abandoned him and went to New York. This leads to Guy meeting other members of the Czech community and regaining his interest in music. The story plays out from there with humour, passion and lots of energy.

The singing and playing of lead actors Stefanie Caccamo and Toby Francis is impressive as are the performances of the whole cast. A variety of instruments are seamlessly woven into the story. The cast play numerous guitars, fiddles, piano accordions, a cello, a piano, a mandolin plus a few percussion instruments.

Slick choreography from movement director Amy Campbell adds to the performance.

For those that are generally repulsed by musicals you can be assured this is unlike a typical over-produced musical in the vein of a Disney or Andrew Lloyd Webber vehicle.

This is a story about the transcendent power of love, the intrinsic power of community and how the joyfulness and emotion of music has its own special potency, and it is backed by music on acoustic instruments, sensitively amplified, that gives it a lovely warmth and immediacy.

Director Richard Carroll is to be congratulated on his work with the fabulous cast. The talented cast that tells this intense story also sing the songs and are the musicians playing the score. They are Toby Francis, Stefanie Caccamo, Ruby Clark, Deirdre Khoo, Pavan Kumar Hari, Jay Laga’aia, Drew Livingston, Abe Mitchell, Emma Price, Rubert Reid, Patrick Schnur and Alec Steedman.

The rest of the crew is to be congratulated including musical director, Victoria Falconer, production designer Hugh O’Connor, lighting designer Peter Rubie and sound designer Dylan Robinson.

A Dralinghurst Theatre Company production, ONCE is at the Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst until 31st July and is highly recommended.


This image: Adel Querol
Featured image: Terry Karabelas
Production images: by Seiya Taguchi

THE WARS OF THE ROSES is the second of Sport for Jove’s Shakespeare Histories compendium, ROSE RIOT.  It brings the audience from Henry VI, through Joan of Arc to Richard III with a boldness and bravado of accessible imagining and uniformly excellent performances.  Performed, as is its sister show THE HOLLOW CROWN (SAG Review), in the openness of Bella Vista Farm, the production is a visceral experience when close to the cast in the slatted shed and a considerable exercise of intellect when royal evil is aired on an outdoor stage after interval. Continue reading THE WARS OF THE ROSES: SPORT FOR JOVE’S STUNNING SHAKESPEARE SEASON


Production photographs: Jasmin Simmons

So desperate was I to see IRONBOUND that I wheedled and cajoled An Assorted Few to let me attend a preview on the one night I have off this week.  Letting reviewers into a preview is a huge leap of faith and rarely done, and I thought that it would be close enough to ready that I could see what was what.  But damn… if they get any better the earth will move beneath the Kings Cross Theatre and the iron of the building will shake and fold into itself. It is a production with four terrific performances, a production which challenges the viewer to listen and understand the beneath, a production which brings a life not our own, into blurred existence for our considered focus.

We meet Darja.  A 42 year old Polish immigrant waiting on a bus stop in Jersey where she is in sight of the crumbling factory that once afforded her a kind of living and she is in a fluorescent lit place that draws her in crisis.  Over the course of the play we will meet Darja over 20 years, from now when her boyfriend of convenience, Tommy, is with her in his own way, to her youth.  Back then we will observe affecting love but also the tensions of unassailable difference between she and her husband, Maks, who is convinced that music is the way out of poverty.  One other male will enter her world here in this barren place, Vic.  The conundrum in him will bring into focus a societal rending of class and circumstance. Continue reading IRONBOUND: RAILS AGAINST THE GOING NOWHERE OF POVERTY


Call me a philistine and throw me to the Chekhovians.  I don’t get. Maybe I started too young.  Us drama types try and immerse in the canon early.  I get Strindberg, I get Ibsen. Can’t blame it on my parents, can’t blame it on Chekhov.  I mean other people get it. Do I need to get it? Probably not!

Imagine my surprise then.  That in a place as strange as Marrickville, with thundering aircraft low overhead and armed with coke and chips because its going to be a sodding 2 hours long. Imagine my surprise to thoroughly enjoy what I might have called in a text to a friend beforehand… Fucking Chekhov.                 Continue reading THE SEAGULL: SOARING WORK BY SECRET HOUSE THEATRE


Inset pic- Terry Serio as Keith Richards. Featured pic- Terry Serio and Abe Mitchell. Production photography by Ross Waldron.
Inset pic- Terry Serio as Keith Richards. Featured pic- Terry Serio and Abe Mitchell. Production photography by Ross Waldron.

Keith Richard is my uncle. We call him Bullswool.

Keith Richards is a founding member of The Rolling Stones, guitar guru, songwriter, consumer of cocaine, and wild man of rock n roll. Playwright Benito Di Fonzo calls him Keef. And swirling around his wonderful new play, A RIFF ON KEEF: THE HUMAN MYTH, there’s a lot of Bullswool.

The truth, like the man, is out there, but the mantle of myth, layered over decades, fudges flesh with fable.  Di Fonzo has fashioned a palimpsest biograph that spans seventy years taking useful information to fire his imagination and his work succeeds a great deal of theatrical satisfaction. Continue reading A RIFF ON KEEF: THE HUMAN MYTH @ SBW STABLES THEATRE