In the time-honoured tradition of the best children’s stories this is a very adorable and delightful adaptation of the children’s classic by Margery Williams first published in 1922.
With the show’s catchy singing and dancing this was perfect school holiday fare. Darina Vassiliev and The book has been updated- for instance, it now includes Elvis and a toy racing car adaptation, (the stage adaptation includes new characters including Elvis and a toy racing car), and co-direction of the piece works extremely well as does the original music by Elen Rapoport with lyrics by Vassiliev.
For those unfamiliar with the book the plot is as follows: A stuffed rabbit made from velveteen is given as a Christmas present to a small boy. The Velveteen Rabbit, after being introduced into the nursery, and at first finding it difficult to fit in, asks one of the wisest toys, his friend the Skin Horse, what being real means.”Real isn’t how you’re made,” replies the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real. It doesn’t happen all at once. You become …” And so begins the Velveteen Rabbit’s poignant story. Continue reading THE VELVETEEN RABBIT @ ST ANDREWS CATHEDRAL SCHOOL→
The Sydney premiere of this originally Tasmanian play went off with a bang and was hugely enjoyable, cast and audience having a delightful time. Whovians can spend hours gleefully noting all the Doctor Who allusions and in-jokes – the play is littered with them.
Director Kyle Stephens and his small cast have done a sterling job in bringing this fun play to life. The script is very cleverly written and in some ways structured like a two part story from the early years of the Doctor. There is a major cliffhanger at interval .
Originally premiered in 2009, McIntyre set himself the task of using a quote from every single Doctor Who story and it is great fun. The play has several NSW and local references, – it would be interesting to compare with the Canadian version that has just been completed.
Part of the Sydney Fringe, SLUTTERATI by Michael Gottsche has been developed with the assistance of the New Theatre where it is currently being performed. Under Louise Fischer’s sure direction, the excellent cast bring to life the biting, satirical script (which – warning – has lots of strong language) .The narrative is told clearly and the plot structure is quite strong.
SLUTTERATI lampoons the narcissistic obsessiveness of the age of ‘celebrity’ and with a dark twist reveals a delicate personal story hidden underneath the superficial world of vanity and ambition. Who (if anyone) can you really trust? It is about the continual rise of gossip as ‘news’ and its insidious omnipresence in today’s society, how ‘news’ is not simple reportage of major events but in synch with commercial sponsorship.
The set is quite sparse, – a sofa, several TVs, a desk and chairs. The scene changes, and there are lots of quick scene changes, are handled very smoothly, and in a quite cinematic way.
Very handsome Matt Charleston gives a strong performance as Dan Paul Newman, a TV presenter who is caught in a world of rather inane TV programs, B Grade celebrity colleagues and boring parties. In the lead up to the Olympics, Newman wants to remind people he once was a top Olympic swimmer. But in a wave of a series of embarrassing scandals he discovers how quickly and easily his reputation can be smashed and his career crashes badly.
It is all about ‘face’ and manipulation of the media as organised through Clark, his manager. Can the situation be saved? There is a sharp, almost Brechtian ‘nightmare’ scene, very well presented, where everything in Newman’s world comes crashing down.
Stephen Wilkinson as Clark, Newman’s likable yet seedy, quite shady manager with a criminal background, gives the play some of its tensest moments. He brings a feeling of urgency to the story and makes us believe that the stakes are very high.
Others in the cast include Rebecca Clay who plays Talia-Jayne, an early-evening commercial television presenter colleague of Newman’s, who regards herself as a serious journalist. With a toothy smile she certainly confidently looks the part, yet underneath is constantly aware of her superficiality .Her elegant, blow-waved, narcissistic self importance is underlined with a hint of caring phoniness.
As Angela, his harassed first agent, Jorjia Gillis was terrific. The cleaner, Lily, who gets to know Dan Paul quite intimately, yet at the same time not at all, was well played by Kate Skinner. The theoretical division between Personal and Professional lives and confidentiality was stressed .And Amy Fisher was terrific as Amy Dunn, whose kiss and tell TV interview, sparks a crisis.
A timely, very cutting analysis and critique of current media issues. Running time 75 minutes straight through.
Michel Gottsche’s SLUTTERATI ran at the New Theatre, King Street, Newtown between September 19 and 23, 2013.
The new play at the inner city Genesian Theatre Company is a revival of DANGEROUS CORNER (1932), by the great British writer, J.B. Priestly, better known for his classic 1946 play, AN INSPECTOR CALLS.
Described in the publicity as, ‘part whodunit, part thriller’, the play’s artful premise comes across clearly;- Live a superficial life, a life of appearances, and you stand a fair chance of leading a good life. When you start digging under the surface of things, watch out…You never know where it can lead, and what darkness and turmoil you will find… One thing can lead to another, and you can end up with a disaster on your hands!
Priestly’s main characters are Freda and Robert Caplan, a happy, hospitable, middle-aged couple who are enjoying life at their pleasing country retreat. The play starts with them hosting a soiree for their colleagues, and partners, who work with them at a transatlantic publishing company. Everything is just going dandy until… Freda questions one of her guests Olwen about a casual remark she made that has ramifications for her brother-in-law Martin’s sudden death… Freda wants to know the truth. The thing is that when you start probing for the truth, it’s like going around a dangerous corner at high speed…
Secret longings, intrigues, scandals come tumbling out at a rate of knots. As one character remarks to her partner, ‘it’s a wonder that we have any secrets left at all’. Her comment brought to mind the old 1972 Carly Simon song ‘We Have No Secrets’- ‘and though we know each other better than we explore/Sometimes I wish/Often I wish/That I never knew some of those secrets of yours’.
The play tends to melodrama at times and is a little dated in some of the dialogue such as when a character casually refers to assaulting his wife.
Peter Lavelle’s revival serves Priestly’s play well and he provides with very clear direction. His set, designed with Debbie Smith, plants the audience firmly in bourgeois London 1930’s with its art deco gold and black arches, two low level, plush sofas, a radiogram with a veneered console, an art nouveau onyx statue featuring a naked woman holding an orb, and a King George 5th coin enlargement hanging on the back wall. The costumes, by Peter Henson, were plush and elegant, a highlight being Olwen’s backless black gown.
The cast put in authentic performances playing Priestly’s well-drawn characters.
Tom Massey and Elinor Portch played party hosts, Robert and Freda Caplan. Massey convincingly conveyed how his characters’ sunny, trusting nature steadily lost its gloss. Portch depicted well how Freda remained the genteel host, keen to offer sandwiches even in the heat of conflict.
John Willis-Richards and Amy Fisher, showing a strong stage presence, played the other couple, Gordon and his not so angelic wife young wife, Betty.
Elizabeth McGregor played the central character of Olwyn Peel whose of-hand remark at the play’s beginning was the catalyst for the dynamic set of revelations.
John Grinston played Charles Trevor Stanton whose good character quickly comes under scrutiny. Kirsty Jordan played the circumspect novelist, Maud Mockridge.
A satisfying revival of Priestly’s engaging, substantial drama, Peter Lavelle’s production of DANGEROUS CORNER opened at the Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent Street, Sydney on July 6 and plays until August 10, 2013.
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