Tag Archives: James Hartley


Atlas Adams and Tom Green in THIS MODERN COIL

Waiting for my friend to come back with the car (parking in Erskineville requires a canteen and hiking boots) I watched the company of Upper Crass destroy their set. They manhandled the cardboard out onto the pavement and set to ripping it into recyclable chunks. While appreciating the irony that the show was about 2 men who might be torn to pieces by landmines and ignoring how much fun they were having, it made me quite contemplative. Their obviously hard work was being shredded, a really terrific set was being destroyed and some of the metaphysical aspects of their show were floating discernibly in my consciousness.

THIS MODERN COIL certainly takes delight in destruction. It’s about death: accidental; yearned for; actively sought. But there is lightness and lyricism in the creation. Physically about 2 solders failing to successfully negotiate a minefield, the production shifts into parallel universes to consider the big question. Is death a rubber band, an energy field, a transition, water? Or, like this production, a craftily developed experiential experiment. Continue reading UPPER CRASS THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS ‘THIS MODERN COIL’ @ ERSKINEVILLE TOWN HALL


Packed Lunch 1

Talk only in euphemisms. That was one of the instructions in one of many funny scenarios created by James Hartley in his new show. Presented at the glorious Exchange Hotel, Balmain, the bright cast entertained and amused the crowd in scenarios involving swallowing an alien, a scientist testing levels of annoyance, and the many possibilities that arise as the result of a volatile love affair.

This production comprised a series of improvised skits in which a brief scenario is presented and some or all of the actors have to respond and present material. The scenarios presented were cheerfully disconcerting and the responses by the actors from the show’s troupe, The Upper Crass Players, were dramatic, sharp and witty. Continue reading PACKED LUNCH @ THE EXCHANGE HOTEL

A Midsummer Night’s Dream @ The Genesians

Jack McMahon as Demetrius and Catherine Davies as Helena. Photography by Mark Banks
Jack McMahon as Demetrius and Catherine Davies as Helena. Photography by Mark Banks

At first glance over the program and cast list for this production, the feint-hearted traditionalist could be excused for having some concerns. Shakespeare’s classic is now to be seen through Australian eyes, with ‘Beach Bums’ and ‘Hippies’ replacing the Players and Fairies.

However such fears are short lived. Any potential cringing is replaced with sheer enjoyment. Debbie Smith’s beautifully bright beach-to bush set and well-directed cast burst off the stage making us quickly at home. The reworking succeeds and the increased humour is performed with slick precision along the way. Continue reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream @ The Genesians


Second Image

CRASH TEST DRAMA SYDNEY is on each month, and is the most amazing live theatre event. You must experience this unusual form of live theatre, with eight to ten brand-new ten-minute plays, seen for the first time in Sydney. Done as moved readings of plays (script-in-hand) with the auditions, balloted casting and rehearsals all done in under two hours before showtime. Performed live in front of a play’s first audience from 7:30pm, and costs only $15.00 cash at the door, at New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown. Prizes are awarded at the end of the night, so you immediately know which actors/actresses and plays have won.

Continue reading CRASH TEST DRAMA SYDNEY April 2014