Tag Archives: Andrew McFarlane

MARY STUART : A POWERFUL ELIZABETHAN DRAMA

All the good scriptwriting theory says  that conflict is always at the heart of every good drama. Let it be said that there was plenty of conflict and heat in this production. This play explores one of history’s great rivalries. A battle of wits, blood and broken hearts, reinvented for the stage – the iconic tale of Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth 1 of England.

Following an uprising, Mary has fled Scotland, gone to England and has been imprisoned by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth. The Queen her Imprisoned because Mary is younger, more beloved, and has her own claim to the throne.

The play starts after Mary has been languishing in prison for some 19 years and has now been found guilty of treason. She is told that the Queen can now sign a warrant for her execution.   Continue reading MARY STUART : A POWERFUL ELIZABETHAN DRAMA

TRUTH

Cate Blanchett has a word in Robert Redford's ear in James Vanderbilt's political thriller TRUTH
Cate Blanchett has a word in Robert Redford’s ear in James Vanderbilt’s political thriller TRUTH

Truth, beauty and a picture of you is how the lyrics go, but it’s truth, duty and a picture of them that’s the crux of TRUTH, a story of journalism in the jingle jangle and mire of jingoism, conspiracy theories and the obsession of the scoop in the 24 hour news cycle.

Cate Blanchett plays veteran CBS News producer Mary Mapes who has painstakingly put together an investigative story, reported on-air by venerated newsman, Dan Rather, played with All The Presidents Men gravitas by Robert Redford.

The story purported to reveal new evidence proving that President George W. Bush had possibly shirked his duty during his service as a Texas Air National Guard pilot from 1968 to 1974. The piece asserted that George W. Bush had not only exploited family connections and political privilege to avoid the Vietnam War by joining the Texas Air National Guard, but he had failed for many months to fulfil his most basic Guard obligation – showing up on base. Continue reading TRUTH

Deathtrap @ Eternity Playhouse

photos by helen white
Production photos by Helen White

Devilishly dramatic and fiendishly funny, DEATHTRAP is a sure fire entertainment for those who like their fireside thrillers.

Written in the late Seventies by Ira Levin who should be quite apt at matters diabolical, being the author of Rosemary’s Baby, Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s production sets the situation in that era which gives it a cosy nostalgia, being the time of typewriters, carbon paper and Xerox machines.

DEATHTRAP is a play within a play and plays fast and close with the conventions of the mystery whodunit associated most immediately with Agatha Christie.

The very title alludes somewhat to the long running phenomenon that is The Mousetrap, although DEATHTRAP is a much more sophisticated example of the genre more akin to Anthony Schaffer’s Sleuth, which gets a mention, once or twice, in self-referential drollery.

This production headlines Andrew McFarlane as the playwright, Sidney Bruhl, a celebrated scribe on the brink of bankruptcy, both material and intellectual.

As a master of the mystery play, he is confronted by upstart new kid on the theatrical  blockbuster block, Clifford Anderson, played with dash by Timothy Dashwood, and the double temptation of perfect plagiarism facilitated by the perfect murder become palpable.

This applecart of chicanery is capsized by a clairvoyant from the land of clogs, a deliciously comedic turn from Georgina Symes.

Giving sensational support to this brio trio, is Sophie Gregg as Sidney’s slighted spouse and Drew Fairley as Sidney’s slippery solicitor.

Michael Hankin’s set is a triumph of Seventies chic, a stone den with flued fireplace and a trophy wall, a veritable arsenal of antique armaments.

Verity Hampson’s lighting design is adept and Katren Wood’s costume design nails the tans, beiges, and tawnies of the time.

Composer and sound designer Marty Jamieson totals the timbre and timing of the piece and the whole comic carnage caper is capped by Jo Turner’s cantering to a gallop direction.

Sharp shocks, twists and turns, GBH and ESP – this DEATHTRAP is worth getting caught in.

DEATHTRAP is  playing the Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst until the 10th May. Performance times Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 5pm.

DREAMS IN WHITE

Lucy Bell (Anne) and Andrew McFarlane (Michael). Pic Brett Boardman

Inspired by events surrounding the disappearance and murder of multi-millionaire Herman Rockefeller in 2010, DREAMS IN WHITE is a powerful and emotionally draining new play by Duncan Graham that’s anchored by the murder of an obnoxious swinger Ray Wimple aka Michael Devine, played by Andrew McFarlane.

Continue reading DREAMS IN WHITE