As if sharks, snakes and spiders weren’t enough to make Australia a dangerous place to live, the legend of the bunyip brought turgidly to life in RED BILLABONG makes the continent downright uninhabitable.
This cannibalised creature feature stolen from Dreamtime mythology plays like an episode of Home and Away with creaky dialogue, pat characterisation, and generic cliché.
In the pre title sequence, Col Elliott, the blue comedian, plays Grandpa, a crypto zoologist. No laughs, which for a comedian, is death, and so Grandpa is dispatched.
He had the good grace to leave his property to the local indigenous people, but his grandsons are the executors of his estate and an American realtor is keen to buy the country. Continue reading RED BILLABONG→
David Williamson has gone for clever comedy, with a touch of the macabre, for his latest play, CRUISE CONTROL. Australia’s premiere playwright draws on a cauldron style scenario: Throw a group of very different people together, have it so that they can’t get away from each other, and then see how things play out.
The hothouse environment is on the cruise ship, Queen Mary 11, which is doing a seven night crossing from London to New York. Three very different couples come together each night in the main dining room and become increasingly entangled with each other. There are plenty of surprises in store for audiences with an intricately woven plot.
The Australian Theatre for Young People’s (ATYP) enterprising Artistic Director Fraser Corfield has chosen well in presenting, and in this case directing, British playwright Anya Reiss’s debut play SPUR OF THE MOMENT, written when she was just seventeen years old. The play premiered at London’s Royal Court in 2010, directed by Jeremy Herrin, and is now having its Australian premiere season. Reiss, brought out by ATYP, was in the audience for opening night.
The talented young playwright throws in plenty of fuel to get her play firing. We are taken into the world of a struggling middle class family at a very tense time. Wife Vicky has just found out that her husband Nick has been having an affair with her work boss and is on the war path.
The Evans family are having trouble meeting their mortgage repayments. For this reason they have installed a lodger in the house, 21 year old University student Daniel. Their precocious daughter Delilah is about to turn thirteen, and is a handful. Even more so, she is showing signs that she quite fancies Daniel….
Corfield’s production is strong all round. Adrienn Lord’s set is cleverly set up with its open plan view. We- the audience-see into the main rooms in the family home, all well detailed,- the kitchen, the living room and Daniel and Delilah’s bedrooms. Whilst the main action takes place in one room, we get to see what other characters are doing- in their own time, so to speak…
The show features an impressive cast who each inhabit their characters well.
The talented young ATYP trained actors are aided by having two very experienced actors in the senior roles, including Felix Williamson, himself ATYP trained. as father Nick. Williamson delivers a relaxed, confident performance as the straightlaced, awkward, goofy, Nick. Zoe Carides plays his fraught, highly strung, hyper wife, Vicki.
Holly Fraser gives a strong performance in the main role as their precocious daughter Delilah, who is attempting to jump the transition from childhood to womanhood. Holly’s scenes with Joshua Brennan, impressive as lodger Daniel, represent some of the play’s highlights, at times very funny and at other times tender and sad.
Lucy Coleman impresses as Daniel’s girlfriend, Leonie, who flies in to stay with Daniel for a while, and is like the meat in the sandwich, caught up in the crossfire between Holly and Daniel.
Simone Cheuanghane as Emma G, Madeleine Clunies-Ross as Naomi and Antonio Lewin as Emma M are great fun as Holly’s high spirited, zany girlfriends.
Even if you just go to see this show on the spur of the moment, you won’t be disappointed. Recommended, Anya Reiss’s debut play opened at the ATYP Studio 1, Pier 4/5, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay on Friday August 30 and is playing until Saturday September 14, 2013.
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