Tag Archives: Bondi Pavilion Theatre

Waves @ Bondi Pav

Inset- Waves
Inset- Alice Mary Cooper in her one woman show WAVES. Featured- The inventor of the butterfly stroke, Aussie swimmer, Elizabeth Moncello

Sipping a pre-show drink on the deck, watching the surfers while you wait to take your seat you realise the Bondi Pavilion Theatre is the perfect venue for a show called WAVES about a swimmer by a swimmer. In performance Ms Cooper’s affinity for the subject, (“So, you’re a swimmer?”) becomes an obvious asset as she begins to weave a spell over her audience on this delightful journey from her recent past.

WAVES  is the story of Elizabeth Moncello: and her youth spent growing up on a small Australian island in the 1920’s and how she came to be the unofficial inventor of the butterfly stroke, by copying the fish, penguins and dolphins, as told to the writer/performer. Ms Cooper’s  eloquent retelling using occasional mime, regular vocal gymnastics and humour, but always very apparent love for her subject swept us up in her warm tale. Continue reading Waves @ Bondi Pav

The Way Things Work

Nicholas Papademetriou and Ashley Lyons in Aidan Fennessy's THE WAY THINGS WORK. Pic Zak Kaczmarek
Nicholas Papademetriou and Ashley Lyons in Aidan Fennessy’s THE WAY THINGS WORK. Pic Zak Kaczmarek

With one great shot of a furious Nicholas Papademteriou as the Minister, a copy of the national paper in his hand and with his senior public servant concernedly looking on, photographer Zak Kacmarek tells us the story to Aussie playwright Aidan Fennessy’s THE WAY THINGS WORK.

Fennessy takes us deeply into the world of incompetence, criminal activity and corruption in the public sector which through a public enquiry have come out in the open, causing the usual furore. Continue reading The Way Things Work

Punk Rock At The Bondi Pav

The cast and creatives behind ACTT's graduating  class production of Simon Stephens Punk Rock
The cast and creatives behind ACTT’s graduating class production of Simon Stephens Punk Rock. Second from right in front row director John O’Hare. Pics by Wendy McDougall

With his  play PUNK ROCK Belfast playwright Simon Stephens places his players at a delicate time in their lives,- they are on the verge of completing their school years, and are about to take that tough plunge into adult lives. There is an intensity to everything: their sexuality, their hopes/ideas/dreams for the future,  the pressure coming from peers/parents, and so much more….

It represents fertile ground for engaging, provocative  drama.  And Stephens makes the most of this  by filling the stage with an eclectic group of characters and featuring intriguing dynamics taking place between them.  A perfect foundation for very experienced director John O’Hare  (one of three directors of the acclaimed O’Punksky Theatre Company) and his graduating students to work from. Continue reading Punk Rock At The Bondi Pav

THE PRIDE

It's a lion's life. Side Pony productions THE PRIDE at the Bondi Pavilion. Pic Skye Sobejko
It’s a lion’s life. Side Pony productions THE PRIDE at the Bondi Pavilion. Pic Skye Sobejko

Side Pony Productions presentation of the Sydney premiere of their show THE PRIDE is  the Tamarama Rock Surfers (TRS) first play for the year.

THE PRIDE comes to Sydney highly regarded having received productions at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and with the Western Australian State Theatre Company.

In this quirky play,  Bruce is a lion who is weighed down by his impressive mane,and  is struggling with the pressure of renovations and taking care of his pride. He knows that time is limited  when James, his stronger, more handsome neighbour, starts peering through the windows admiring his home and his family. Such is the life of a lion.

Continue reading THE PRIDE

WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT

There are so many qualities about young Iranian playwright Nassim Solaimanpour’s WHITE RABBIT that I admired. The play’s brashness, quirkiness, innovativeness, to name just a few. And yet, in the end, it failed to satisfy.

The show starts radically and this sets the tone for the evening. A guy bounds onto the stage, carrying a large sealed envelope. He tells the audience that the show’s script is in the envelope and that it is to be performed by an actor, who has never laid eyes on it before. He then proceeds to call Alan Flower, from out of the audience, to perform the piece.

For the next sixty minutes or so the stage is Alan’s as he reads and performs Nassim’s play with the occasional help from members of the audience who are called up on stage.

The play comes across like a statement, a letter to the audience, with the playwright communicating from the Edge, the edge being contemporary, troubled Iran. Nassim tells us that he is a prisoner in his own country, with the government refusing to grant him a visa. It is through the medium of theatre that he has found a way to reach the outside world with his thoughts, and portrays a world subsumed with choiceless choices.

Where the piece fails is in its implausible dramatic premise. Early on in the play Flower walks across to a small table on top of which are two glasses, both filled with water. Into one of the glasses Flower empties a mixture which contains poison. Through the play, the glasses are changed around, and a tension is intended to be generated as to whether Flower will end up drinking from the wrong glass and collapse on stage, in front of our very eyes.

Seriously, is a sophisticated modern audience, even for just one moment, expected to believe this premise? Isn’t the play pushing the suspension of disbelief request just too far?! More to the point, why did Nassim believe his play required such a ‘heavy hand’?!

WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT was performed over four nights, between the 4th and 7th December at the Bondi Pavilion, each night with a different actor. It was great to see Alan Flower, TRS’s original Artistic Director, be the first to perform the work. Flower gave a clear, confident performance in what was obviously a difficult gig, having to perform such a complex piece, sight unseen, before a live audience.

ANACONDA

Leanna Walsman plays Bivva Bray in Sarah Doyle's ANACONDA. Pic Damon Wilder
Leanna Walsman plays a middle class wife fearful of losing everything in Sarah Doyle’s ANACONDA.
Pic Damon Wilder

Writer/director Sarah Doyle sets the confronting tone of her play ANACONDA with the play’s very first action. With an axe the main character Phil Walker smashes his way through the back wall onto the stage proper.

Tough subjects need to be tackled in an uncompromising way. Doyle’s play stems from the sexual abuse and extreme bullying scandal that engulfed Sydney’s Trinity Grammar School back in 2000. In one of the more horrendous, perverse aspects of the scandal, students watched on as fellow students were violently sexually abused.

Years late, one of these assaults comes back to haunt the victim, the perpetrator and one of the spectators. In blind rage, the victim murders the perpetrator in a brutal knife attack. The victim- Phil Walker- is in jail, ready to plead guilty and face a long custodial sentence.

One day, whilst he is sitting in his jail cell, Walker gets an unexpected visitor. It is one of Sydney’s leading barristers, Matty Buttiker. He wants Walker to change his plea to not guilty, and run a self defence case. Buttiker has a special interest in the case. He was one of the students who looked on, all those years ago, as Walker was assaulted….

ANACONDA plays out as a four hander, featuring a strong cast. Simon Lyndon, who many in the audience will recognize from his extensive film work including BLACKROCK and CHOPPER is well cast as Walker.

Damian de Montemas plays barrister Buttiker. His journey is the most compelling as he tries to allay his feelings of guilt and seeks redemption for his appalling past actions.

Leanna Walsman was compelling as Buttiker’s wife Bivva Bray. Walsman, who made the international scene with her role as bounty hunter Zam Wesell in George Lucas’  STAR WARS: EPISODE 3, remains one of  our finest actresses with her strong stage presence and distinctive voice. Walsman plays a woman who had fought hard for her middle class lifestyle.  She fights Buttiker all the way to try and ensure that he does not get too involved in Walker’s case.

Rounding out the cast is Martin Broome as Tove Hegharty, a gay bar attendant who was a fellow student of both Buttiker’s and Walker’s, whom Buttiker seeks out for some counsel.

 A strong drama, well performed and directed, ANACONDA plays the Bondi Pavilion Theatre until Saturday November 23, 2013.

 

 

ROBOTS VS ART

Simon Maiden gives a strong performance as Exec Bot
Simon Maiden gives a strong performance as Exec Bot

In his program notes, playwright Travis Cotton shares that he came up with the idea of writing ROBOTS VS ART after reading a newspaper article about a  play performed in Japan that featured robots as the actors…

Yes, news like that  does get the old brain box ticking over…With the way technology is expanding and consuming us, which way is human civilisation heading, let alone the world of the performing arts?!

Cotton has chosen to tackle this subject/ contemporary dilemma in a highly whimsical, comical way.  In Cotton’s world the robots have taken over and running things pretty efficiently- thank you very much. There’s the odd human being left- but they work deep under the earth in coal mines. Chief robot- named Exec Bot-  is determined that he can come up with a working formula for Art.  For him to come up with this formula, he realises that he has to understand Art and feel what it is trying to say. It is in this guise that Exec Bot grabs Giles, one of the few human beings left, out of the mines  and has a one to one meeting with him. He has heard that Giles has experience as a theatre director and gives him an ultimatum. Giles is to direct a play that he has written and if during the play he can get him to feel something then Giles will be able to live and reproduce with a robot. If Exec Bot goes through the play unmoved then Giles will be executed pronto.

It’s a bit of a rambly, convoluted scenario…Cotton, who also directs the piece, fleshes it out into a fast paced production. There’s a lot to keep the audience interested- will the Robots learn to feel?, how good are they at learning their lines- especially when Claw Bot can’t even hold onto a pencil to write down notes from his director- yes there are plenty of acting/theatre in-jokes.

The performances are in the main good. Simon Maiden is great as the fastidious Exec Bot, as is Daniel Fredriksen  as the angst ridden Giles. Natasha Jacobs was a lot of fun as  Fem Bot. I had problems with Paul Goddard’s performance as Claw Bot- yes, he was funny but  his performance needed to be pulled back.

Also not so satisfying was the romance that the playwright put into the mix- felt a little cringy and out of place. A bit of a contest as to whether it really worked.

ROBOTS VS ART opened at the Bondi Pavilion Theatre on Wednesday 19 June and runs until July 6, 2013.

 

 

 

 

THE REMOVALISTS

THE REMOVALISTS-001
Marital disharmony in Williamson’s classic play

Last night at the Bondi Pavilion Theatre was a classic night of Australian theatre with the benefit of current skills and finesse that has come from forty years of experience and maturing in theatre production. I’m sure the Williamson’s enjoyed, as we did, the masterful interpretation, presentation and performance of this timeless piece.

Director Leland Kean says in his program note that his challenge to himself was to “approach the work from as fresh a perspective as possible.” and “…a lot of the issues that he (Williamson) was discussing in 1971 are as relevant if not more relevant today.” David Williamson, in the Press release, was “…very relieved that the play is being presented as happening in the seventies.”

Continue reading THE REMOVALISTS

JUDITH

Luisa Hastings Edge as Judith lashes out. Pic Heidrun Lohr

“If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well It were done quickly:” opines Macbeth over the assassination of Duncan. And yet he procrastinates.

Such hesitation over homicide afflicts “the heroine” of Howard Barker’s play JUDITH –A Parting of the Body, a widow-woman who achieved warrior status in ancient Israel for despatching by decapitation the enemy general, Holofernes.

On the eve of his planned annihilation of the Jews, Holofernes, muses on mass murder, philosophises on warfare, and concludes that the meaning of life is to fuck and to fight.

Continue reading JUDITH