Tag Archives: Allan Walpole

BROADWAY BOUND @ THE NEW THEATRE

Broadway Bound is a semi-autobiographical play by the late great American Jewish playwright Neil Simon. It is the last chapter in his Eugene trilogy, following Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues.

I am  very partial to this kind of autobiographical play because of its structure. By this I mean that the play had a main character narrator who gives us a greater insight into the characters which I find particularly satisfying. It is a complex thing to do but Simon carries it out triumphantly. It creates a feeling of intimacy that draws you irresistibly closer to the play’s heartbeat.

The play works by way of a narrator who is Eugene, the Neil Simon character. He shares us with us the dramatic goings on within his family. The play starts with the time that Eugene and his brother Stanley are starting to make inroads in their writing careers, writing skits for CBS radio.

There are so many good moments. The interactions between mother and son especially the closing scenes…the moment when Kate polishes her beloved dining room table which the play ends on…

The interplay between the two brothers as they work on their comedy script to submit to CBS radio effectively conveys to the audience their rising level of excitement which is quite infectious.

The play was well directed by Rosane McNamara. Her love of the play shone through, infusing her enthusiasm into the lively performances of the actors.

The consistency and quality of the New York accents enunciated by the actors gave this play an authenticity which transported one to a working class suburb in New York in the late 40’s after his left the Army(Biloxi Blues was set in his army days).

Patrick Holman gave a well judged, very engaging performance in the main role of Eugene (the Neil Simon character).

Simon Lee gave a really energy charged performance as Eugene’s enterprising brother, Stanley.

Suzann James was very convincing as Kate, a typical conservative, over protective jewish mother.

Brett Heath gave a very sound performance as the boys father, Jack Jerome. Jack’s marriage to Kate is on the rocks and the boys can sense trouble ahead. Heath also played the role of a radio host.

Les Asmussen plays the boys warm hearted, socialist grandfather, Ben Epstein who plays a big part in their lives.

Susan Jordan plays Ben’s sister, Blanche, who tries to convince Ben to join his wife in the sunshine of Florida. Blanche has married into wealth and is in a position to help her brother out. Susan also plays the role of mrs Pitkin and a radio host.

Nick Curnow and Jesse Shore played voice parts (from the CBS radio program coming out of a vintage old radio) and weren’t seen on stage. 

A lovely set was designed by Allan Walpole featuring a family living room where most of the action takes place and then behind the family room are the boys two bedrooms. Further back is a little hallway leading to the bedrooms of the mother and grandfather.

If you want a rewarding night’s entertainment make sure that you are Newtown bound. BROADWAY BOUND is playing the New Theatre 542 King Street, Newtown until 15 December 2018.

www.mewtheatre.com.au

 

The Diary Of Anne Frank @ The New Theatre

Anne Frank- inset
Inset plc- father- James Bean and daughter- Justina Ward try to get through the hell of Nazi Germany in The Diary Of Anne Frank . Featured pic- A cast shot. Production photos by Matthias Engesser

This is Anne Frank’s story, told through her diaries. It makes for tough reading, or more to the point tough viewing, in the current New Theatre production of the 1955 stage adaptation by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.

Sam Thomas’ eloquent revival brings her painful and sad story to life. Tragically, Anne lived her last few years with her family in hiding, never knowing if, in the next moment, they will be discovered and transferred to a death camp.

Continue reading The Diary Of Anne Frank @ The New Theatre

Wolf Lullaby

Peter McAllum as Sgt Armstrong interrogates disturbed teenager Lizzie charged with murder in Hilary Bell’s WOLF LULLABY. Pic Bob Seary

WOLF LULLABY by Hillary Bell considers the themes of parental guilt and responsibility and the nature of evil in children.

In this powerful and emotional play there are no winners, just hard choices each with its own dire consequences.

The play opens in a small Tasmanian country town where nine year old Lizzie’s parents, Warren and Angela, are preparing Christmas celebrations. Lizzie is arrested for shoplifting, later a little child is murdered and suspicion falls on her. Continue reading Wolf Lullaby

ROMEO AND JULIET

R+J Promo09-001
Dan Webber and Rainee Lyleson play the star crossed lovers

It’s the weekend. You are looking through the entertainment guide for something to do. You check out the theatre section. There’s not much that takes your fancy. And then you spot something. A company, the Impulse Theatre Company, is doing the Bard’s Romeo and Juliet but they’re giving it a contemporary setting, resetting it at the time of the Cronulla Race Riots that took place in December 2005. The show’s promo line,-‘Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Cronulla’….It sounds interesting…Let’s do it!

Clever concepts don’t always convert. This is the case with this re-imagining of the Bard’s classic in the setting of the Cronulla riots. It may well have been a good pitch but it doesn’t make for a great fit.

The Cronulla riots were the result of tension, over a long period of time, between local residents and people from a Middle Eastern background, mainly from the Western suburbs, who were coming into the area on weekends. The riots had nothing to do with warring families nor was the racial conflict the breeding ground of a romance for the ages….

Thankfully, Wallace only gives this angle to the narrative a very light brush! He starts strongly with the replaying of old video footage from the riots, and then the staging of the  Cronulla beach scene where a local Aussie woman is sunbaking and being harassed by Lebanese guys however by play’s end titles flash across the back wall saying that we are now in Mantua. From Cronulla to Mantua in  a flash….

All is not lost! Impulse’s production proves to still be worth catching, as the result of a very  committed cast  and some good really good performances, particularly from the supporting cast. Bryan Hajduczoh as Mercutio and Alex Bryan-Smith as Tybalt impress as the impulsive foes. Lisa Peers, the real-life mother of Rainee Lyleson who played Juliet, gave, for me, the performance of the night, playing Juliet’s Nurse as well as Lady Montague (quite indiscernible in this role). Alan Faulkner impressed in multiple roles as well as delivering Shakespeare’s wonderful prologue.

Impulse Theatre Company’s production of ROMEO AND JULIET opened at the King Street Theatre, corner King Street and Bray Street, Newtown on Wednesday 31 July and plays until Saturday 24 August, 2013.