Tag Archives: James Bell

ANNIE BAKER’S ‘JOHN’ @ THE SEYMOUR CENTRE

First things first. A caveat. This is a very long piece. Three and a half hours with two intervals.

JOHN is a four hander. Elias and Jenny stop off at a bed and breakfast in famous Gettysburg. They arrive late and are greeted by  the eccentric manageress/host, Mertis.

They are shown their lodging for the night. The walls are paper thin. The couple bicker and Mertis picks up on the tension between them and tries to be a calming influence

It isn’t long into their stay that Mertis introduces Jenny to her good friend the blind,  eccentric Genevieve,

Through the play we closely follow the interactions between these unusual characters.

My take on the play. There is a haunting, spooky darkly comic quality that emanates from this work. The Bed and Breakfast place with its assortment of dolls and accoutrements has this sense about it. Mertis talks often of her husband George who  is supposed to be living with her but we never do see him.  We wonder what the real story is?!

Then there’s Genevieve who believes her husband still lives inside of her though they parted a  long time ago. In the living room Jenny finds the exact same doll that she had when she was a child. The doll had very lifelike qualities for her growing up  and she is now reminded of them.

Gettysburg is of-course the town where President Lincoln  delivered his famous address during the American Civil War.  It is one of the reasons that Elias and Jenny have stopped the night there. Elias goes off exploring the town and its rich history whilst the women spend time together.

Craig Baldwin sensitively directs Baker’s gothic play.  He wins good performances from the cast.  Belinda Giblin gives a evocative performance as the kindly manageress/host, Mertis.

Shuang Hu played the easily rattled Jenny. with James Bell  playing her very guarded partner Elias who feels ‘the pinch’ of being surrounded by a house of women.

Maggie Blinco revels in playing the weird, wacky Genevieve.

Mention has to be made of Jeremy Allen’s intricately  detailed set and impressive costume design.

The stage was well lit by Veronique Benett.

Verdict.  It has to be said I wan’t a big fan of this gothic piece. Over to you…..,

An Outhouse Theatre Co and Seymour Centre production, Annie Baker’s JOHN is playing the Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre until Saturday 12th October, 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

THIRTY THREE @ THE OLD FITZ

 

oldfitz-1A good dose of theatre verite takes over the top tier of the Old Fitz pub as resident production company curate the first of a new series of performances, THIRTY THREE.

THIRTY THREE is not only the title of the play but the capacity of audience allocation as viewers sit along three walls and watch a dinner party thrown by Sas to celebrate her thirty-third birthday degenerate into a debauched debacle. Continue reading THIRTY THREE @ THE OLD FITZ

SPORT FOR JOVE PRESENTS MICHAEL GOW’S AWAY @ REGINALD THEATRE SEYMOUR CENTRE

Away-main

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the first production of this landmark Australian play. While Sport For Jove’s production, as co- directed by Damien Ryan and Samantha Young, has some terrific segments, it  a little uneven, mainly in the first half, where the acting, at times, seemed a little forced. 

The staging was excellent – Lucilla Smith’s set design was very impressive – lyrical and simple, featuring a stage partially raked and there was a very effective use of light drapes which were sometimes tied back.

Ben Brockman’s lighting was vibrantly atmospheric. The storm scene towards the end of the first act was very well done, and a little reminiscent of Philippe Genty in style.
Continue reading SPORT FOR JOVE PRESENTS MICHAEL GOW’S AWAY @ REGINALD THEATRE SEYMOUR CENTRE