Tag Archives: Benjamin Brockman

SPLINTER : A TENSE DRAMA @ THE STABLES

Undoubtedly, the worst thing that could happen to any parent is to have their 4 year-old-child kidnapped from their bed during the night.

Hilary Bell’s play ‘SPLINTER’ begins with a happy ending, the return by the police of their now five-year-old daughter, Laura, after a nine month disappearance.  They are understandably over-joyed. The kind of elation that is so extreme they seem fragile, over-compensating and emotionally lost.

As they try to re-connect with Laura, not knowing what has happened to her or where she’s been, they both feel they should take her to their happiest place, their holiday beach house.

Unlike the first production of ‘SPLINTER’ at the Sydney Theatre Co. in 2012, where Laura was a puppet, the second production at the Griffin, directed by Lee Lewis, has an invisible Laura, who’s presence is mimed by her mother (Lucy Bell) and father (Simon Gleeson) – known in the program notes as simply ‘woman’ and ‘man’.  Imagining Laura is harder work for the actors and audience, but adds an interesting dynamic which has us focusing more on her parents and their anxiety. Continue reading SPLINTER : A TENSE DRAMA @ THE STABLES

OMAR AND DAWN @ THE KINGS X THEATRE

80 year-old Dawn, (Maggie Blinco), is a remarkable woman, the kind who should be awarded an OA for her services to the homeless and destitute.  She volunteers at St Vincents Hospital by day and shelters and fosters destitute teenagers by night. She gradually convinces the reluctant Omar, (Antony Makhlouf), a street boy alienated by his Lebanese family for being gay, to be placed with her and learn some practical, life-affirming skills from Dawn’s mechanic brother, Darren, (Lex Marinos), who works from a garage at their house.

Omar is hard work, but Maggie is persistent..and tough.  She temporarily holds back her house keys from Omar, who is fond of swearing and far from respectful, and imposes a curfew on him.  Darren is not happy with his sister’s domestic arrangements and, although there is love between them, he keeps suggesting she move into a retirement home.  Of course she refuses and we find out later that Darren has other motives. Continue reading OMAR AND DAWN @ THE KINGS X THEATRE

THE LADEN TABLE : A BIG ISSUE PLAY @ THE INTIMATE KINGS X THEATRE

Dinner is waiting. Come with an open heart and mind to the resplendent, heavily laden table. This production by bAKEHOUSE Theatre company is superb, beautifully crafted, written and acted by a largish, strong cast of twelve and is sensitively directed by Suzanne Millar.

Be warned, this production is quite intense and divisive and features explosive inter-generational and racist remarks and quarrels.

THE LADEN TABLE is set in Sydney, right now, and is extremely timely, making us question our own faiths, principles and beliefs. From ‘both sides’ we  hear a plea for understanding. Continue reading THE LADEN TABLE : A BIG ISSUE PLAY @ THE INTIMATE KINGS X THEATRE

THAT EYE, THE SKY @ NEW THEATRE NEWTOWN

Sky2

 

THAT EYE, THE SKY has been lovingly adapted from the Tim Winton novel and brought to the stage by Richard Roxburgh and Justin Monjo and directed by David Burrowes. It is beautifully, eloquently written and the show is extremely polished with an incredibly talented cast but the work is mostly cerebal and we feel distanced observers. The play asks the big questions about the nature of religion and the meaning of Life and Death.

Continue reading THAT EYE, THE SKY @ NEW THEATRE NEWTOWN

Dark Vanilla Jungle @ The Old 505 Theatre

Prosuction Stills
Production photography by Daina Marie Photography

Andrea is stung by a wasp in the neck and her mother tells her this is the wasp’s way of telling her she loves her. This is an early drama in Andrea’s life and one of many lies that Andrea is told by her mother, by other relatives, by her friends and by her lovers.

Andrea, played brilliantly by Claudia Barrie, tells her story in a harshly lit cell to the two cameras that constantly monitor her. We very quickly pick up that Andrea is an excellent storyteller. Continue reading Dark Vanilla Jungle @ The Old 505 Theatre

When The Rain Stops Falling @ The New

Rain 10
Production photos by Bob Seary

I loved this show. One of my favourites this year so far, in fact. But there is a secret to enjoying it. Luckily I had a crony with me who had seen it earlier in the week and he let me in on the trick just as I will clue you in. It’s a brilliant script but you have to buy into the story, the characters and the style… immediately. From the first umbrella ballet to when the rain stops falling. Do this and you will take it away with you. Myself, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

The story revolves around a series of characters who are obviously from different time periods and who must be somehow connected to Gabriel York who we meet in the first monologue. Gabriel left his wife and son many years ago. “The boy had a better chance without me.” He has just been contacted by Andrew who wants answers from his abandoning father. Continue reading When The Rain Stops Falling @ The New

COUGH

Images by Benjamin Brockman
The games children play in Emily Calder’s COUGH. Images by Lucy Parakhina

Emily Calder’s play commences with three children, represented by children’s toy dolls, playing in a sandpit. These dolls are manipulated by three actors who also adopt children’s voices for the dialogue, initially about an insignificant playground struggle. A patronising offstage childcare voice (Sandra the centre manager) reprimands the children about their squabble.

The three actors manipulating the dolls then step back from the sandpit and play the parents of Jess, Isla and Finlay. The parents, Julie (Melissa Brownlow), Isabelle (Vanessa Cole) and Clive (Tim Reuben), wonderfully represent the parents of young children. They discuss the behaviour of their fantastic children, the good and bad aspects of the other parents and all the usual topics of schoolyard discussion.

Continue reading COUGH