Tag Archives: Bruce Spence

Sharpen your knives for ‘Dinner’ @ Sydney Theatre Company

Production images by Brett Boardman

What setting is best to poke fun at other’s misfortunes? Why, a three course dinner party, of course!

Moira Buffini’s contemporary play, Dinner, is wickedly comedic as it is tragic. Centring around host Paige Janssen, the night is to celebrate her husband’s successful new pop-philosophy book being published, entitled Beyond Belief. Guests include an artist, a scientist, a journalist, a politician who cannot attend, and one uninvited stranger. The party is lead by Paige through a series of strange meals, with conversations turning uncomfortably personal. There seems to be no pleasant way this night can end. Continue reading Sharpen your knives for ‘Dinner’ @ Sydney Theatre Company

Endgame @ Sydney Theatre

Endgame- inset
Sarah Peirse as Nell and Bruce Spence as Nagg in Samuel Beckett’s ENDGAME. Production pics by Lisa Tomasetti

A Samuel Beckett night at the theatre is like no other. One is just taken over by his bold, raw take on life. Even after all these years, one is still gobsmacked, stunned, by what one is taking place on stage. The experience is like being set upon by the coldest, bleakest wind.

So it is with Andrew Upton’s lucid, prescient production of one of Beckett’s greatest works, ENDGAME. Continue reading Endgame @ Sydney Theatre

A dazzling Cyrano

Inset Pic- Eryn Jean Norvill and Josh McConville. Featured Pic- Julia Zemiro and Richard Roxburgh. Pics Brett Boardman

French playwright Edmond Rostand’s CYRANO DE BERGERAC (1897) is one of the all time, great works of World Theatre. Prestigious theatre companies love to have a crack at it, and give audiences a night to remember.

The great plays have exacting standards,- the bar is raised to its highest level in all regards. Particularly, revivals require actors of the highest calibre to perform the main roles, otherwise the production will simply fall away and audiences will go away feeling shortchanged.

The good news is that the Sydney Theatre Company’s new production, directed by Artistic Director Andrew Upton, meets this absolute imperative with its quartet of four fine leading players, – Richard Roxburgh, Eryn Jean Norvill, Chris Ryan and Josh McConville

Richard Roxburgh steps into the coveted shoes of the great swordsman and poet, Cyrano with verve panache. He is every bit the passionate, charismatic, perfectionistic, deeply moralistic, heart-breaking swordsman and poet.

Eryn Jean Norvill plays the part of Cyrano’s flame and muse, Roxane. Eryn has a large arc to transverse through the play, from being a superficial girl-woman to a mature, more considerate woman.

Chris Ryan is convincing as Christian, a young, hedonistic man who thinks about things with much more depth after his friendship with Cyrano.

Josh McConville displays great stage presence as the prickly, cruel Count de Guiche who learns to be more humane as the play unfolds.

These main players are well supported by a cast that includes Bruce Spence and Julia  Zemiro.

The show is cleverly staged by director Andrew Upton along with his designers, Alice Babidge and Renee Mulder. Good use is made of the large Sydney Theatre stage.

The main stage is flanked stage left, right and rear with raised catwalk for the players to transverse, when needed. The area is used very flexibly,- with the use, for the first three Acts, of a raised stage, on wheels.

Act 1 features a  proscenium arched theatre with red curtains in the centre. (The play begins at the theatre in the Hotel Burgundy). In  Act 2, the stage is rotated about 45 degrees into the the patisserie setting. The third Act sees the raised stage being rotated some 180 degrees to become the famous balcony setting at Roxane’s home. In Act 4, the raised stage is removed, and the stage becomes the battlefield setting at Arras. Finally, in Act 5, we are at a convent outside Paris.

Babidge and Mulder’s great period costumes, Damien Cooper’s superb lighting, and Paul Charlier’s atmospheric soundscape, featuring short pieces of music, recorded sounds, and some chanting, work well.

A Sydney Theatre Company production, adapted and directed by Andrew Upton from the original translation by Marion Potts, Edmond Rostand’s CYRANO DE BERGERAC opened at the Sydney Theatre, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay on Saturday  15th November and is playing until Saturday 20th December, 2014.