Tag Archives: Elizabeth Gadsby

MOSQUITOES @ THE DRAMA THEATRE

In British playwright Lucy Kirkwood’s MOSQUITOES Alice is a scientist working towards an important new discovery. Jenny  is her sister, and believes any conspiracy she reads on the internet. They couldn’t be more different. So, when tragedy forces them together, the impact has unexpected consequences.

It’s 2008 and Alice’s team of physicists at the Large Hadron Collider are searching for the Higgs Boson, stitching together the fabric of the cosmos. But at home, Alice’s family is falling apart at the seams. ‘It’s a story of facts and feelings, of resilience and decay, of particle physics and sibling rivalry, that reaches to the edges of time and space without ever losing touch with its very human heart’.

This was a compelling night in the theatre,  ‘a perfectly focused family drama woven together with big questions about the universe and our very existence’.

Jessica Arthur’s direction is assured and the  performances were exceptional. Jacqueline McKenzie plays the highly cerebral and impatient Alice who is more than a little condescending to her sister Jenny. Mandy McElhinney plays the brash, very outspoken  Jenny who doesn’t trust anything and frequently clashes with people. She lost a child because she didn’t get it vaccinated. The clashes between McKenzie and McElhinney are alone worth the price of admission.

Charles Wu gives a very fine performance as Alice’s highly intelligent adolescent son Luke who feels neglected by his mother and wants to return to London and his friends. Luke goes missing for days one time causing his mother to fear for the worst. 

Luke’s volatility is charted throughout the play including his mobile phone  encounters with careless, playful Natalie that go awry. He also clashes a lot with his Aunty Jenny whose smoking irritates him no end and he doesn’t like her being around, though they do have a grudging respect for each other.

Annie Byron gives a good performance as Alice and Jenny’s ageing, cantankerous mother, Karen, who realises that her best days are behind her, and is fearful of the future. She talks sadly about her own brilliant career as a scientist and how her husband took most of the credit for her work.

Louis Seguier  plays Alice’s good natured, gentle, caring boyfriend Henri.  

Jason Chong plays the character of Boson, a narratorial role, (and a name pun on  the Higgs Boson particle that is essential to an understanding of the fundamental building blocks of the universe), focusing on the latest developments in physics  and what we can possibly expect going into the future as our understanding grows.

Angela Nica Sullen plays the character of Gavriella and a policewoman.

Elizabeth Gadsby’s  costume designs were revealing of character and her set design worked well with the stage area basically being kept free with all the props being brought in and off the stage. There was also the use of a revolve. 

Nick Schlieper’s lighting design was its usual high standard.

James Brown’s edgy, atmospheric soundscape was a highlight, a perfect backdrop to the action. 

Highly recommended. a Sydney Theatre Company production MOSQUITOES is playing the Drama Theatre at the Sydney Opera House until Saturday 18t May, 2019.

http://www,sydneytheatre.com.au

Featured photo- Jackie McKenzie and Mandy McElhinney in Lucy Kirkwood’s MOSQUITOES at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Production photo Daniel Boud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘a perfectly focused family drama woven together with big questions about the universe and our very existence’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A CHEERY SOUL @ THE DRAMA THEATRE

‘All the lonely people

Where do they all come from?

All the lonely people

Where do they all belong?’

Eleanor Rigby

Patrick White’s classic play A CHEERY SOUL is the Sydney Theatre Company current production at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. White has described this play, set in 1963 in the make believe suburb of Sarsparilla as ‘exploring the destructive power of good’.

Sarah Peirse is versatile but seamless as the ever cheerful but dreaded Miss Docker with her  obsessive, clumsy acts of Christian kindness. Her mania to do incessant good irritates all and sundry.  At the start of the play she is forced to leave home and must rely on the charity of those who know her. Mr and Mrs Custance welcome her into their home but she soon grates on their nerves. One scene has her making a humble cup of tea turn into a kitchen tornado experience. She spills three teaspoons of sugar, loose tea leaves and milk, and then offers to clean things up but actually doesn’t do it leaving Mrs Custance to clean up the mess, In the end, Mr and Mrs Custance ask her to leave because she is unbearable to live with.

In her main role Anita Hegh is wonderful as the very conservative, saccharine,  nervy Mrs Constance. Anthony Taufa, in his primary role, is her gruff, set upon husband.

Miss Docker’s next stop  is the Sundown Home for Old People- a very depressing nursing home. The patients have their cliques and Miss Docker’s reputation precedes her. She tries to ingratiate herself with one of the main women there, a  Mrs Lillie, well played by Tara Morice, whose husband has recently died. Mrs Lillie wants very little to do with Miss Docker, which is further indicated at her husband’s funeral. Miss Docker steps out of the car for a  brief time, and what follows is that the funeral car leaves her behind and she has to walk wearily home alone. Continue reading A CHEERY SOUL @ THE DRAMA THEATRE

BLACKIE BLACKIE BROWN : THE TRADITIONAL OWNER OF DEATH

Featured image – Ash Flanders and Megan Wilding in Lui’s new playProduction photography by Daniel Boud.

This is the new work by indigenous playwright Nakkiah Lui. It is a very different style of play to Black is the New White which was written in a  naturalistic style. BLACKIE BLACKIE BROWN : THE TRADITIONAL OWNER OF DEATH is a sort of  comic book come to life, a superhero revenge story which mixes live action theatre with stunning visuals and animation. The common feature to both plays is that Lui tackles serious subjects with a comic, satirical  touch.

The storyline follows Dr Jacqueline Black who is an Aboriginal archaeologist working on a dig somewhere in the Australian bush. Uncovering a mass grave, she picks up a skull and is suddenly seized by a transcendent power.

Dr Black’s great-great-grandmother speaks to her from beyond the veil. She speaks of the white men who brutally massacred her family. She speaks of that sin being passed down through the generations. Dr Black tasks Jacqueline with exacting revenge – she must kill all 400 descendants of the men who murdered her ancestors. A cold-blooded vigilante is born: Blackie Blackie Brown, the traditional owner of death. Continue reading BLACKIE BLACKIE BROWN : THE TRADITIONAL OWNER OF DEATH

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