Tag Archives: Amber McMahon


The vision splendid of Peter Carey’s novel BLISS is splendidly envisioned on stage by Tom Wright’s reverent and inventive adaptation.

The novel BLISS won the Miles Franklin Award. The film won AFI awards for Best Film, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It would be of no surprise that this adaptation, and, indeed, this production, also win awards.

Until then, it will harvest the plaudits of audiences as a rollicking, pin-pricking entertainment.

Tom Wright’s stage adaptation feels like the book, quite successfully plumbing the nuances and layers of meaning, the manic energy of the narrative infusing kinetically with the robust, ribald and rambunctious energy of the performers. It has the ongoing effect of energising the audience, ensuring Never a Dull Moment in almost three hours of theatre. Continue reading BLISS : PURE THEATRICAL BLISS



Nina Raine
Playwright Nina Raine
Ana Maria Belo and Genevieve Lemon. Pic Clare Hawley
Amber McMahon
Amber McMahon. Photo- Clare Hawley

Featured photo- The cast- left to right- Amber McMahon, Luke Watts, Sean O’Shea, Genevieve Lemon (obscured) and Garth Holcombe. Pic by Clare Hawley.

Fellow theatre lovers, try  your best to get to see this show. With her play  Nina Raine has come up with something special.

TRIBES tells an old story…A person who has been repressed, and lived under the thumb, comes out from under, and stands up and asserts themselves, much to the disbelief, and then the admiration of those around them.

Billy is deaf and has grown up in an all hearing, middle class,  well established family.  Parents Christopher (Sean O’Shea) and Beth (Genevieve Lemon) choose to raise Billy  by treating him like any other child- and having as little attention drawn to his disability as possible.

Then, one day,  as a young adult, at a party, Billy meets a young woman, Sylvia, who he falls in love with. Syvia, who is also hearing impaired, offers to teach Billy sign language which Billy accepts.

Billy’s parents are enraged- their beloved, youngest ‘baby’ suddenly using sign  language and being identified as one with a disability. The battle lines are drawn, and to the surprise of everybody, including Billy’s older sister Ruth (Amber McMahon) and brother Daniel (Garth Holcombe), Billy is ready to fight for his right to live his life his way.

Director Susanna Dowling guides the action assuredly, and wins strong performances from an impressive cast. The stand-outs are Ana Maria Belo as Sylvia, Luke Watts as Billy and Sean O’Shea as Billy’s dad, Christopher.

Rita Carmody’s set and costumes are spot on. Benjamin  Brookman, perhaps Sydney’s busiest lighting designers, lights the stage with his usual flair. Jeremy Silver’s soundscape underscores the action well. I enjoyed the use of ‘cuts’ of Janis Joplin music.

Particularly, when we left the theatre to the sounds of Joplin’s classic, rasping recording of Piece of My Heart. TRIBES sure took a good piece of my heart!

The Ensemble Theatre Company’s production of  Nina Raine’s play TRIBES is playing the Ensemble theatre, 78 McDougall Street, Kirribilli until Saturday 2 July.