Tag Archives: Douglas Hansell

THE WHARF REVUE @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE

It’s great to have the Wharf Revue team back again at this time a much larger venue, the Roslyn Packer Theatre, as a result of the current refurbishment taking place at the Wharf complex

The jokes kept coming as did most of our favourite characters. Malcolm Turnbull and the coup, with all the main players portrayed, was the first political skit.  Turnbull saying, ‘Should  I take the Lodge. You mean downsize!’

There was a skit with allusions to ‘Stomp’ about the way plastic has taken over our lives.

Our premier Gladys Berejiklian got her own skit which could have been a little tougher!

The Harvey Norman stores received a serve with their absolutely no interest campaigns-don’t miss this opportunity campaigns!

Barnaby Joyce made an appearance singing a country and western song saying he doesn’t do private interviews for free….

Drew Forsythe came on as a neatly coiffured Pauline Hanson with a bright pink jacket  promoting her book ‘Pauline Hanson In Her Own Words’’. Forsythe had the audience in stitches as she addressed her concerns about Muslims conjugating everywhere, as well as her sideswipe at David Oldfield- ‘he is a much bigger fraud than I am!’

The Greens got a look in with a manic Sarah Hanson-Young making an appearance with the inimitable Bob Brown  saying the Greens leader Richard Di Natale looks like a Wiggle!

Jonathan Biggins turn as former Prime Minister Paul Keating was a big highlight and again had the audience in stitches. Plenty of razor sharp observations followed. ‘Australians don’t know what a real leader looks like any more…You shouldn’t say Scott Morrison and leader in the same sentence.’ ‘Tony Abbott is the only man in history to bring down four governments, including the one he led!’ ‘Bill Shorten is as popular as  diarrhoea’.

After this, it wasn’t long before Biggins came back, transformed into President Donald Trump. There was byplay about Trump’s sacking of his national security advisors. Trump’s obsession with Twitter was well portrayed. Drew Forsythe came on stage and joined him in various guises playing sparring partners, Silvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Putin and even the Queen. There was a bit of serious satire thrown in with the Queen all about ruling with dignity whilst Trump was all about ego and roughshod leadership..

There was even some byplay between the Queen and Prince Philip thrown in with an aside  by the Queen about her husband (off-stage) ‘I’ve been trying to balance his medications for fifty years now’ which brought laughter.

These were just some of the highlights from this year’s Wharf Revue, an annual treat on the Sydney theatre scene. It was sad that Phil Scott is no longer part of the team. His absence was felt but the Revue team is still going strong. Biggins and Forsythe were in great form, their impersonations were spot on, the makeup, wigs and costumes were all good, and the pacing was excellent. They were supported by a trio of fine performers, Douglas Hansell, Andrew Worboys and Rachael Beck who helped with portraying other characters as well as contributing some flashy show/cabaret numbers.

The clowns are in good form. Try and catch the show if you can. The Wharf Revue is playing at the Roslyn Packer Theatre until 15 December 2018.

 

WHARF REVUE 2018: DÉJÀ REVUE

They ask nothing of us.  No requirement for any depth of domestic political knowledge, no necessity to immerse in the Sturm und Drang of geopolitical border drawing and you don’t really even need to have a sense of humour either.  They do it for you, all of it…  THE WHARF REVUE 2018: DÉJÀ REVUE is an exercise in melding the patently obvious with the precisely targeted.  And it begins with some spectacular scarlet pantos and a very early “there’s always a fucken smartarse!

Despite his stunning velveteen fairy-tale-time suit, Buttons is a seriously cranky-pants host who knows his audience and is not afraid to insult them…  An hilarious beginning to tell the story of a Turnbullella who has lost his way until he drops something important at the ball.  The show will continue in panto mode, peppered with locals, for a while.  That is until a ripper of a scene change when a whole wide world of lampoon opens up to our embrace. Continue reading WHARF REVUE 2018: DÉJÀ REVUE

A DOLL’S HOUSE

Douglas Hansall as Torvald ties valiantly to hold onto his darling Nora, memorably played by Matilda Ridgway. Pic Seiya Taguchi
Douglas Hansall as Torvald ties valiantly to hold onto his darling Nora, memorably played by Matilda Ridgway. Pic Seiya Taguchi

In stark, and it has to be said refreshing contrast to the recent radical approach by other directors to classic works, Adam Cook plays his Doll’s House with a very straight bat. The play is performed in its time period and the plot-lines are strictly adhered to in his concise adaptation. His creative team, designer Hugh O’Connor, and lighting man Gavan Swift bring the play’s world vividly to life.

The hallmark of this production is how strongly the bold, cathartic nature of Nora’s journey is conveyed. Leading a uniformly strong cast, Matilda Ridgway as Nora takes the audience all the way with her to her chilling epiphany. It is then when Nora realises that she has spent her entire playing roles, being the dutiful child, the sweet wife, the doting mother and it is now time for her to throw off all her roles and find her own way in the world.

Iconclastic Nora exits stage left, leaving Torvald transfixed, and the other characters left to play out their roles, secure in their insecurities. Torvald (Douglas Henshall) will continue to be the straightlaced bank manager. Nils Krogstad (Anthony Gooley) will remain a shifty character, trying to get the best deal. Nora’s childhood friend Kristen Linde (Francesca Savige) will live in a compromised life with Krogstad so that she can keep the debtors from her door. Ever dutiful family friend Dr Rank (Barry French) has decided to face his final days alone, a proud man to the very end. The maid Helen (Annie Byron) will continue to be the good natured maid and carer to the two children.

Another strong showing by Sport for Jove, A DOLL’S HOUSE opened at the Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre on Saturday July 18 and plays until Saturday August 2..

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH

Bill Young (Rod) and Brian Meegan (Martin) in NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH. Pic Natalie Boog
Bill Young (Rod) and Brian Meegan (Martin) in NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH. Pic Natalie Boog

“It is in everyone’s nature to try and protect yourself and the people you love, but I think taken to the absolute extreme, that can be quite isolating, counterproductive and even dangerous. Ayckbourn has done a brilliant job in exploring that theme in a hilarious play. It is so funny and so dry and I think it’s one of his best works.” Anna Crawford, Director, NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH

A well crafted cautionary tale which catches audiences ‘on the hop’, often not knowing whether to laugh or to cry, awaits theatre patrons who make their way across you to Kirribilli’s waterfront Ensemble Theatre.

It is one thing for brother and sister pair Martin and Hilda to start up a Neighbourhood Watch group after an unpleasant incident takes place shortly after they move in to the plush new Bluebell Hill housing estate which is unfortunately situated close to a Council estate, populated by some less than charming individuals.

It is something altogether more bizarre, after tensions escalate between the group and riff raff from the council estate, that a mere fortnight after the Neighbourhood Watch group’s first meeting, Bluebill Hill has become a full-on gated community with security fences and armed patrols. The committee members, no longer believing in the ability of the police to enforce security, have taken the matter into their own hands and become their own erstwhile vigilante group.

It is a dark world that Ayckbourn shows us, where people’s small mindedness and pettiness dominate. Anna Crawford’s production, (the play had its world premiere in Scarborough in the UK in September, 2011),serves this incisive play well. Designer Amanda McNamara and lighting man Peter Neufeld set up the play’s world well, and Crawford wins strong performances from a good cast.

Brian Meegan and Fiona Press play the leads, Martin and Hilda, a rather precious, conservative pairing who get rattled far too easily.

Bill Young and Jamie Oxenbould have the most colourful roles ,playing ‘headcases’ former security guard Ron and unemployed engineer Gareth who almost take a para-military approach to the escalating conflict.

Douglas Hansell plays the menacing, volcanic Luther. Lizzie Mitchell gives a touching performance as Luther’s mistreated, fragile wife,  Magda.

Olivia Pigeot performs the role of the promiscuous, sharp witted Amy- unfaithful wife to Gareth- with verve, as does veteran performer Gillian Axtell who plays Bluebell Hill gossip queen, Dorothy.

Recommended, the Australian premiere production of NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH opened at the Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall Street, Kirribilli, on Wednesday 18th December and runs until Saturday 24th January, 2014.

FREUD’S LAST SESSION

FREUD'S LAST SESSION
Douglas Hansell as C.S.Lewis and Henri Szeps as Sigmund Freud in FREUD’S LAST SESSION

Andy Warhol famously pushed the envelope and his audience’s attention way too far when he made his 1963 film SLEEP which mercilessly showed a man sleeping for five hours not stop. Perhaps Warhol’s goal was to make the most boring movie ever made?! God only knows……

When the film MY DINNER WITH ANDRE was released in 1981 it sounded like co-creators Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn were trying to compete in the boredom stakes with the original Campbell Soup man. The film, with a running time of just under two hours, screened a dinner between the two thespians at a sophisticated New York restaurant, from entrée to port…

Amazingly the film, directed by legendary French film auteur Louise Malle, turned out to be far from uninteresting and went on to achieve cult status. Whole worlds seemed to open up as the two men put everything on the table,- their life experiences, how they perceived them, and saw one another’s. The trysts between them added that extra element, it was exhilarating watching the two very different personalities sparring,- Andre the dreamer, the visionary…..Wallace,- staid, pragmatic, urbane.

Mark St Germain’s FREUD ‘S LAST SESSION offers a very similar experience. The play documents a (fictional) meeting that takes place between Sigmund Freud and Professor C.S. Lewis at the legendary psychoanalyst’s home. Likewise, the two men put everything on the table,- their views on sex, love, God, the meaning of life… their clashes are passionate, intense, fiery…

St Germain raises the stakes by having the meeting between two of the greatest minds of the Twentieth Century take place on the day that England enters the Second World War.

Adam Cook’s production serves St Germain’s play well. Henri Szeps and Douglas Hansell are convincing in their portrayals of these two iconic figures. Mark Thomson’s set and costume design and Gavan Swift’s lighting design create the world of the late nineteen thirties well.

The examined life is worth living, especially when seen through the eyes of two of the world’s liveliest minds.

A co-production by Strange Duck Productions and Liberman Partnership, FREUD’S LAST SESSION is currently playing Sydney’s Theatre Royal.