Tag Archives: Les Solomon


Valerie Bader, one of Australia’s finest actors

Lambert House Enterprises (who have given us so many successful productions in the last two years (Jasper Jones, The Credeaux Canvas, The Shape of Things plus a slew of on-line and live benefit performances during lockdown) have announced that KID STAKES will be performed live streamed on Saturday evening 25 September. 2021.

Following the success of their Zoom reading of Nick Enright’s St James Infirmary and their earlier live Anzac Day rendering of Alan Seymour’s The One Day of the Year – both to aid the Actors Benevolent Fund – the company returns with a new fund-raising rehearsed reading of a great Australian play to support actors in financial trouble… especially those caught in NSW and unable to return to their home states after big productions shut down due to Covid restrictions.

This time they present Ray Lawler’s classic play KID STAKES the first of the iconic DOLL TRILOGY also in honour of the playwright’s 100th birthday! The play was written as a ‘prequel’ many years after the internationally acclaimed Summer of the 17th Doll and focuses on the central characters of Roo, Barney, Olive and Nancy as they meet up for the first time and begin the alliance that follows for seventeen summers. Continue reading ONLINE READING OF LAWLER CLASSIC IN AID OF ACTOR’S BENEVOLENT FUND


Olivia Hall Smith, Tayman Jamae, Georgia Brindley and Samson Alston in. ‘The Shape Of Things’. Pic by David Hooley

American playwright Neil LaBute’s ‘The Shape Of Things’ is a formidable play. It is reminiscent of the play ‘Oleanna’ by fellow American playwright David Mamet. Both plays are like lightning bolts. Both pivot around a fierce, vindictive, savvy female protagonist.  

In ‘Oleanna’ the protagonist is Carol, a university student who goes to see her Professor, John in his faculty room in the hope that she will get a better mark for the paper she has submitted. Their meeting starts in a convivial way but then becomes more heated, ending up spiralling out of control and encompassing subjects far broader than one single essay.

In Neil Labute’s ‘The Shape Of Things’ the protagonist is Evelyn, a  feisty, radical young woman doing her Masters degree in Visual Arts. Evelyn sets her sights on timid, conservative Adam who is an arts undergraduate.  

They meet at an art gallery. Evelyn has come to the gallery with a spray can, intending to deface a painting. Adam, the security guard on duty, catches her before she has had a chance to begin. They start chatting. Adam has a laid back attitude to her unruly behaviour, and  is oddly drawn to it. 

Sparks fly between them. Adam summons up the courage to ask for her phone number. Evelyn replies by spray canning her phone number on the inside of his corduroy jacket.

For Adam it is the beginning of an exciting adventure. Evelyn starts turning his life around, organising new clothes, new haircut, new glasses. From being something of a schmuck Adam is transformed into a confident young man.  

Adam can’t wait to introduce Evelyn to his best friends, a couple, the high spirited Phillip and the delicate Jenny. It is so important to Adam that they like her. At first they are impressed by Evelyn and how she is changing Adam but soon express their concern that Evelyn is too domineering. 

The current revival of Labute’s 2001 play has been co-directed by Les Solomon and Rachel Marley.  Their production does the play justice. They also ensure that the play’s dark humour comes through.

The staging is impressive, especially the play’s climactic scenes. The set is fluid with stagehands deftly making set changes, with a darkly lit stage, after every scene. Larry Kelly’s lighting design is very effective.There’s an atmospheric soundscape, uncredited, which underscores the action well. Hanging white curtains hide the theatre’s two black painted back walls.  

Solomon and Marley win good performances from the cast whose passion for the play is clearly discernible. 

Georgia Brindley portrays Evelyn as an icy, narcissistic, cruel woman who suffers from tunnel vision and only cares about her own path.

Samson Alston plays Adam as a man in a kind of paralysis, not knowing which way to go. Does he dive further into the new identity that has been created or does he jump off whilst he still has vestiges of his original self to claim?!

Tayman Jamae’s Phillip is high spirited, overbearing, temperamental and astute.

Olivia Hall Smith’s Jenny is very emotional and delicate, fraying at the edges as the play gets ever darker.

‘The Shape Of Things’ is a rich, immersive experience. One is left with so many talking points. To name but a few…How much of our identity is of our own creation and how much is how people see us? What qualifies as art and what is  self indulgence? The interplay of life and art and how unhealthy it can become when common sense vanishes.  

I left the theatre with the Irish band The Corrs song ‘Everybody Hurts’ in mind.

“When your day is long 

And the night 

The night is yours alone

When you’re sure you’ve had enough of life

Well hang on 


Don’t let yourself go 

Cause everybody hurts 

And everybody hurts


Yes, the play is about hurt, but this is a  portrait of inconsolable hurt

Well worth a visit, Lambert House Enterprises production of Neil Labute’s ‘The Shape Of Things’ is playing the Flight Path Theatre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville until Sunday January 31.. Performance times Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm plus Saturdays at 2pm. and Sundays at 6pm. http://www.trybooking.com/BMUXN

Featured image Georgia Brindley as Evelyn in Neil Labute’s ‘The Shape Of Things’.

Production Photography by David Hooley


Samson Alston

Samson was in New York early last year and by a series of circumstances found himself in a one-off class with Sheila Gray, one of NYC’s top theatre and film coaches. Sheila singled him out for special attention and he joined several of her classes with some of America’s top young actors. Upon returning to Australia, Samson began regular online classes with her including many with the cast of “Riverdale”.  

Following this, Sheila invited Samson to join (without audition) a small, select group of America’s top young performers to take two weeks of classes with Tony Greco. Greco is something of a legend in America as he is the main proponent  today of the Lee Strasberg technique. Greco also was the principal coach of Phillip Seymour Hoffman who worked with Tony for all of his acting life. Samson was all set for the classes in August of this year, 2020.

Of course, everything changed with the onset of Covid-19. However, well-known local acting agent and director Les Solomon saw some of Samson’s work and invited him to be part of Zoom readings during lockdown. From this came a rehearsed online reading of then play: “The Credeaux Canvas” with Samson taking the leading role. 

The great success of these readings evolved into a full, live season of the show – the first professional theatre production to open in Sydney after the initial lockdown. Credeaux ran for 11 weeks and 53 performances and garnered extraordinary rave reviews for the show and for Samson.

As a result of his success in the show, Samson was cast in a leading guest role in the Channel 7 TV series “RFDS” (Royal Flying Doctor Service), landed key roles in five commercials and has now been cast again by Solomon as one of the leads in “The Shape of Things”.  

Samson has also just had two sell-out concerts in Sydney and two sell out concerts in Tweed Heads of his cabaret show “Times are Hard for Dreamers”.

 He says “It shows you that when one door closes another opens. What has happened to my career as a result of Covid has been very different from what I expected would happen in 2020. But the end result has been phenomenal”

 Samson Alston can next be seen in the lead role in Lambert House Enterprises production. of Neil LaBute’s ‘The Shape Of Things’ at the Flight Path Theatre in Marrickville.

 ‘The Shape of Things’ a brilliant play by Neil LaBute has five week season at the Flight Path Theatre starting with previews on the 8th and 9th January and is playing Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm plus Saturday 2pm and Sunday 6pm up until January 31, 2021.

The Flight Path Theatre is located at 142 Addison Road, Marrickville.

Tickets $45/$35 conc. Previews all tickets $25. 






The current production of RELATIVE MERITS is a play about football that everyone should see.  Set in 1989, and first produced at the Stables Theatre in 1993, this twentieth anniversary revival explores homophobia, AIDS and family values at a time when many Australians were first coming to grips with these important issues. However, while this production is clearly set in 1989, the play still speaks loudly and clearly to a contemporary audience. While we have certainly come a long way since 1989, RELATIVE MERITS still has a compelling message for an audience in 2013; surely the current strident opposition to marriage equality is indicative of how many of these attitudes remain unchanged.

This production, starring Jeff Teale as Adam, the homosexual football hero and James Wright as his confused, homophobic brother Clay, explores the very close relationship between the two brothers and brings deep understanding of how their heavily Catholic background has influenced them. Their mother, who never appears on stage, is a powerful representation of the bigotry which still exists in many organised religions, and contributes to our understanding of Adam’s public denial of his homosexuality as well as Clay’s homophobia. Adam’s mourning for his partner is very moving, and Clay’s growing understanding that his love for his brother transcends his earlier prejudice is life affirming.

This production takes place on a very small stage, but the staging choices made by director, Les Solomon, are very effective. Both actors move easily through the audience, thus breaking the fourth wall, which immediately forges a closer connection between the audience and the characters. Clay’s anguish in the hospital scene is powerful, and his unrestrained joy at Mardi Gras is infectious. The fight scene between Adam and Clay is very well executed given the limited space available.

Barry Lowe has written an excellent play which still speaks convincingly to a contemporary audience. This is a didactic piece, but it works so well because it challenges stereotypes and requires the audience to engage with the characters in a very personal way, so that we become intensely involved in their story. Don’t miss this excellent production!

RELATIVE MERITS is playing at the King Street Theatre, corner King and Bray Streets, Newtown for a strictly limited season, Friday and Saturday nights at 10pm and Sundays at 7pm.