As they watch for us to enter there’s an electricity between the two figures eagerly waiting in the sand by the swings as the sea swells quietly in the background. Jess and Joe are ready. They have rehearsed their presentation, have worked hard on what they will show us and “in this moment” they will share a beautiful, soul-soothing story to lift the spirits of anyone who is there. JESS AND JOE FOREVER by Zoe Cooper is a sand gem of a production which shines and glimmers in the tuck of the basement at Belvoir Street Theatre.
Jess and Joe have a burning desire to tell their story. Of how they met at approximately 9 ¾ and where their tween love takes them. She has an au pair and a holiday home in Italy, he is a bit of a battler on his Dad’s farm. She is a bit tubby and he is physically shy, too. He is practical and she poetic; she chats and he reacts. For our benefit they will act out how they met, became friends, and the individual tales that happened away from each other that made their time together so important. Continue reading JESS AND JOE FOREVER – SOUL SOOTHING THEATRE→
BLUEBERRY PLAY is a short run, late night offering at the Old Fitz Theatre and well worth the effort it might take to get there at 10pm or the special time of 7pm on Sunday. It offers a sweet story crafted with a lovely sense of fun by playwright Ang Collins, directed with a similar odd amusement by Sheridan Harbridge and performed with wide eyed comic excellence by solo performer Julia Robertson.
But there’s more going on in this second person, direct to audience, relation of events in an adolescent life than just the humour that’s squeezed into its compact 60 minutes… it’s bursting with the tartness of themes around child carers, adolescent sex, mental health, the power of female friendships in adversity and the inequities of class.
The girl is on her way to a party. There’s a private school boy she likes and she is dressed as a blueberry for the occasion. Her logic is sound about this choice and she seems confident in her shy and slightly cynical way. She’s got a bit else on her mind beside the nicely proportioned Johnno though. Dad isn’t well on a whole heap of fronts, Dave the old, fat Lab is coming to the end, Mum is harassed and coming to the end of her empathy tether. Add in a chili sauce issue and there’s a tussle going on inside the rotund velveteen fruit. Continue reading BLUEBERRY PLAY: SWEET, TART ENJOYMENT→
PINOCCHIO playing as part of the Sydney Fringe is the most marvellous worldbuilding. The production is artistically and intellectually rigorous, expressively expansive and technically perfect. It is having well deserved sold out houses, but get your hands on a ticket any way you can. Because this is a production so specifically created around its surroundings that one fears it will struggle to find a re-mount venue.
It begins as Geppetto is come home to his grey, brutalist, Bauhaus inspired, utilitarian, dirty-windowed workshop. Taking the photo of El Duce from the wall, Geppetto’s imagination fires and to the squeaks of his two clarinet-playing creations, the other three puppets will also come to life. For the next 40 minutes he will interact with love and with sadness and with surprise and with fear. Oh! the games they will play. Continue reading PINOCCHIO: GO, STAND, WAIT, BEG BUT GET A TICKET!→
You hear something rumbling and thundering in nearby alleyway. It’s getting closer, it seems to be… trumpeting. You could have sworn it was a person just a moment ago. It charges past you, large, raucous, grey. You jump out of the way, and watch it fade it into the distance. If it weren’t such a silly idea, you would have said it looked not unlike a Rhinoceros. No-one else seems to think so. But then again, everyone else is also a rhinoceros. What would they know?
Ready for a wild night out? Join the award-winning Jetpack Theatre Collective for a breathtaking night of Eugène Ionesco’s absurdist masterpiece.
With Jade Alex, Madeline Baghurst, Robert Boddington, Rebecca Day, Emilia Higgs, Johnathan Lo, Madeline Parker, Kay Pengelly, Alexander Richmond, Julia Robertson, Cheng Tang and Luke Tisher
Written by Eugène Ionesco
Directed by Jim Fishwick
Produced by Aaron Cornelius
Sound design by Bryce Halliday
Set design by Kirsty McGuire
Dramaturgy by Clemence Williams
$25 General Admission
$40 Rich Person
$15 Stampede! (Group tickets)
$15 Early Bird (Book by July 1)
7.30pm, 26-31 July 2016 at Kings Cross theatre, 244-248 William Street, Kings Cross.
I really enjoy student theatre. It can have energy and enthusiasm. Often there are new ideas and original perspectives. The best of it has a fresh approach to the mysterious art of pulling an audience into the characters’ world. Admittedly, I get to see some student shows that I just grit my teeth and suffer through silently, begging for it to end. But not always. Sometimes I encounter a little event that really makes my instincts tingle. WHEN GOOD MEN DO NOTHING by Sydney Uni Drama Society is such a work.
This show is essentially a series of 6 monologues, often overlapping, which according to the program, ‘explore an individual’s discovery and decision –making’. The monologues present a woman’s decisions after being accosted by a resident of ‘Suicide Towers’; a person with a racist boss; an umbrella fighter in the rain who obviously needs help; a personified building and a starfish just floating with the tide.
There are three performers, one of whom is standing in a white square in the foyer, boiling a jug when the audience arrives. In the performance space are 2 others who are on chairs in the corners. After the jug boiler arrives in the black box we are locked in.
This really is a black box, even the operators are hidden behind black. The director, Clemence Williams, has the seating placed facing either the black costumed character or the blue or the grey. And you can’t necessarily see each of the speakers. The small rostrum in the centre of the room has each second chair facing the opposite way to the first. Because of this, the audience hears rather than experiences at least one of the trio. That disembodied voice is a bit like a radio play.
Fortunately, the writing is good. Very good. “Don’t leave me with the racist boss, then I’ll look racist.” gets to the heart of the decision about jobs and standing up for the right thing. “I’m a good person, isn’t that enough?” goes without reply. I’m not sure the title clearly represents what playwright Sophia Roberts is hoping people take away but it is a catchy title and this is a skill in itself. Also a subtle unifying ‘something’ between the monologues might gently enhance the cohesiveness of the work without making it a traditional piece.
Roberts writes comedy really well too. There is lots of fun in this show. The instant noodle riff is hilarious in places and is written with that perfect kind of stoned insight into our acceptance of faults and flaws. Charlie O’Grady does a great job of bringing out the humour of this section. Charlie is a dynamic force but in the several shows I have seen this young artist in, sometimes struggles to adopt a character. It’s always a committed performance though.
Julia Robertson and Meg McLellan are the other sides of the triangle. Roberson is bold and unafraid in her performance but needs a little work on her diction. The director might need to help her reduce some of those pauses, too. She makes the emotion very, very clear but tries to travel it though silence, a technique which doesn’t work if used too frequently in a piece.
McLellan is the strongest of the three. She has considerable stage presence, handles business well and has a great voice which she uses in well-modulated ways. Her body language shows potential too especially in the limited space. Occasionally though, there was some lack of purpose evident in her head and eye movement. Since the characters talk at us, the director or the playwright might consider giving the audience a clearer understanding of who we are and why they are talking to us.
WHEN GOOD MEN DO NOTHING at the Cellar Theatre, Sydney University Campus, runs at less than 30 minutes and it fits neatly into that time frame, any more would just be padding. It’s a good work.
The show finishes its brief run tonight but I hope there is a remounting as I am keen to see how this show progresses. There is a lot to see from SUDS this year. Their season includes a work about mental illness and another about the body in artistic expression. Also, there is what reads as an exciting re-imagining of William Shakespeare’s Richard III and Henry VI Part 3.
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