“I’ve loved to put people in the same room who are obliged to be together, but shouldn’t be together and don’t want to be together”, wrote David Williamson in his program notes for ‘FAMILY VALUES’, adding, “Humans being humans, this inevitably results in drama and comedy.”
This has been Williamson’s recipe for success over 50 years as a playwright, ‘FAMILY VALUES’ being one of his most enjoyable. This play, Williamson says, will be his last, along with, ‘Crunch Time’, which will play at the Ensemble Theatre in February.
Compliant and conservative retired judge, Roger (Andrew McFarlane), is turning 70. He and wife Sue (Belinda Giblin), have decided to throw a party and invite immediate family members. Roger grapples with his party balloons blowing and tying them up in nervous anticipation of the chaos about to unfold. All he wants is to reminisce. Sue keeps him in line, totally in control. She has spent time as a social worker, thus experiencing a very different view of the world than her husband. A more empathetic one.Continue reading FAMILY VALUES @ THE STABLES THEATRE→
First things first. A caveat. This is a very long piece. Three and a half hours with two intervals.
JOHN is a four hander. Elias and Jenny stop off at a bed and breakfast in famous Gettysburg. They arrive late and are greeted by the eccentric manageress/host, Mertis.
They are shown their lodging for the night. The walls are paper thin. The couple bicker and Mertis picks up on the tension between them and tries to be a calming influence
It isn’t long into their stay that Mertis introduces Jenny to her good friend the blind, eccentric Genevieve,
Through the play we closely follow the interactions between these unusual characters.
My take on the play. There is a haunting, spooky darkly comic quality that emanates from this work. The Bed and Breakfast place with its assortment of dolls and accoutrements has this sense about it. Mertis talks often of her husband George who is supposed to be living with her but we never do see him. We wonder what the real story is?!
Then there’s Genevieve who believes her husband still lives inside of her though they parted a long time ago. In the living room Jenny finds the exact same doll that she had when she was a child. The doll had very lifelike qualities for her growing up and she is now reminded of them.
Gettysburg is of-course the town where President Lincoln delivered his famous address during the American Civil War. It is one of the reasons that Elias and Jenny have stopped the night there. Elias goes off exploring the town and its rich history whilst the women spend time together.
Craig Baldwin sensitively directs Baker’s gothic play. He wins good performances from the cast. Belinda Giblin gives a evocative performance as the kindly manageress/host, Mertis.
Shuang Hu played the easily rattled Jenny. with James Bell playing her very guarded partner Elias who feels ‘the pinch’ of being surrounded by a house of women.
Maggie Blinco revels in playing the weird, wacky Genevieve.
Mention has to be made of Jeremy Allen’s intricately detailed set and impressive costume design.
The stage was well lit by Veronique Benett.
Verdict. It has to be said I wan’t a big fan of this gothic piece. Over to you…..,
An Outhouse Theatre Co and Seymour Centre production, Annie Baker’s JOHN is playing the Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre until Saturday 12th October, 2019.
Echoes of school? Of P&F meetings where a quick scan of the agenda sees the acronym STEM leap at you and you know, you just know, that the Arts are going to get screwed. Not here. EAR TO THE EDGE OF TIME is STEAM storytelling, meticulously researched, rigorously interrogated and crafted with a Whovian blend of art and science and contemporary philosophy. With a narrative inspired by real events and gender inequality in the hardsciences as the imperative, Sport for Jove, director Nadia Tass and writer Alana Valentine have constructed an engrossing and relevant treatise about humanity’s relationship to the scholarship of factual and creative disciplines.
Martina is a PhD candidate working in the field of neutron star physics. Enter Daniel, a poet. These two have been buffeted together by invisible forces. They have separately accepted an offer to collaborate on a poem for a collection inspired by the sciences. The project is driven by Physicist Prof Geraldine Kell-Cantrell and Daniel has travelled to Parkes and Ubered out to the dish to meet with Martina. Making first contact is not going to be easy as she squawks her reluctance to leave her work in the dark: a revelatory discovery is within her grasp and her supervisor, Steven, is not one to interfere. Not actively anyway. Continue reading EAR TO THE EDGE OF TIME: HUMANITY IN THE SPACE BETWEEN THE DATA→
Given the choice, would you save your family and yourself from persecution or condemn others to certain death?
BLONDE POISON is a remarkable one-woman play about beauty, treachery and the high price of survival, starring Best Actress Nominee at the 2015 Sydney Theatre Awards, Belinda Giblin. Back by popular demand for a strictly limited season, see one of Australia’s leading actresses like you’ve never seen her before at the Studio theatre, Sydney Opera House from 28 April. Tickets are on sale from 22 February. Continue reading BLONDE POISON @ STUDIO THEATRE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE→
The real life subject of South African born playwright Gail Louw’s play very confronting play is a notorious figure from the Second World War, Berlin Jewess Stella Goldschlag (1922-1994).
Goldschlag was nicknamed Blonde Poison for good reason. She was a beautiful, young blonde haired woman who school colleagues had compared to Marilyn Monroe. After being captured and interred by the Nazis, Goldschlag became a catcher- the German name for it was Greifer- for them by revealing the location of many of her Jewish compatriots in hiding to the Gestapo, sealing their fate.
In return for her efforts, the Nazis guaranteed her own safety and that of her parents. Goldschlag did survive the war, her parents were not so lucky- the Nazis broke their promise to her and they were deported to a concentration camp where they perished. She went into hiding at the end of the war but was found and arrested by the Soviets in October 1945 and sentenced to ten years’ camp detention. Continue reading Blonde Poison @ The Old Fitz→
The starting point to Nick Enright’s DAYLIGHT SAVING is unexceptional. A forties something North Shore married couple, Tom and Felicity, are struggling to find time together. Tom, a high profile sports agent, is always travelling overseas to cater to the whims of his clients. He is about to head off again and Felicity- nicknamed Flick- chides him, once more, with feeling.
Enright packs in plenty of ‘red herrings’, interesting plot lines, farcical situations, quirky characters and zingy one liners to keep audiences well entertained to a very neat finishing line.
This latest revival of one of Enright’s most popular works, first performed at Kirribilli’s Ensemble theatre in 1989, is given a warm, polished, vibrant production by Adam Cook who was a close friend of the late, master Australian playwright. Continue reading Daylight Saving→
With his new play DARK VOYAGER local playwright John Misto taps into something pretty much universal, the passion, more to the point obsession that people have with everything to do with celebrity.
Misto piques our interest with this tantalising scenario:-
We are in Hollywood. It’s 1962. Right wing gossip columnist Hedda Hopper sure has a lively sense of wanting to live dangerously. Hedda invites the two leading ladies, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, over for supper in her swanky Beverly Hills apartment.
The duo had just completed their latest film, ‘Whatever happened to Baby Jane?’ and word from the set is that the co-stars had been fighting like cat and dog through the film’s entirety and that the film had not turned out well.
Both the women arrive true to form. First Bette arrives and is so rattled by Skip, Bette’s house boy, not recognising her, that she gets into the whisky very early on…Then Joan strolls in, in a resplendent blue dress, having managed to get through her crowd of fans. Continue reading Dark Voyager→
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