JESUS WANTS ME FOR A SUNBEAM is an extraordinarily moving night at the theatre, with performances emotionally pitched to the narrative movements of the work, accessible writing which strikes at the heart and a multilayered thematic examination of a very difficult subject. But there is an underlying reality to this National Theatre of Parramatta production: it’s not about what happens in the room. It is about issues that will haunt the watcher’s sleeping and it’s about what the play begs of us, empathy inside the judgements and assumptions when a story hits the headlines.
In one room in a family home we meet the Pollards, a tight knit somewhat unusual family. They have been so, we understand, from the time Linda and Rick met. With the perfect family unit of an older boy, Ben, and a younger daughter, Emma known as Wol, the parents are very aware of the perils in life. In a presumption of protectiveness they have closed themselves off without withdrawing completely. Especially not from Linda’s parents, and Grandma and Grandpa are frequent visitors. And witnesses.
Because something has happened here and Ben, now grown, is trying to work out why. Through his eyes and the reminiscences of his father, the audience is slowly made aware of what has been sacrificed in the name of the children. It is never as it seems, this play, and such is quality of the writing from Steve Rodgers (adapted from the Peter Goldsworthy novella) that the narrative carries consistency of line yet is unpretentiously mysterious. The characters are completely understandable and the moral questions are enriched by this engagement. Continue reading JESUS WANTS ME FOR A SUNBEAM. GO.→
Phillip Ridley’s harrowing play of grief and the impact of post traumatic stress is given the full on, in your face treatment, under Claudia Barrie’s direction. The play opens with loud heavy guitar sounds before a stark, all white room is suddenly and intensely illuminated. A single figure is screaming and begging for his life. The stage goes black. Continue reading Shivered @ The Pact Theatre→
A friend of mine recommended this show after I spilled to her that I was a big Tarantino fan. This provided me with certain expectations and with a name like A BUTCHER OF DISTINCTION, how could you go wrong?!
Rob Hayes new work, currently showing at the Old 505 in Surry Hills, is a compelling piece about twin brothers. Hugo (Liam Nunan) and Hartley (Heath Ivey-Law) find themselves in London, cleaning up their Father’s secret alternate lifestyle after a terrible family tragedy. Their predicament progressively worsens as Teddy (Paul Hooper), one of his fathers’ acquaintances barges into their apartment demanding a large sum of money owing to him. The play travels along a somewhat bewildering line with its focus initially on the boys’ plight, and then shifting without warning to a bizarre revelation of the boys’ alter-egos, a butcher and a goatherd.
The show is hinged on the relationship between the two brothers and their upbringing on a secluded country estate; director, James Dalton works nicely to tie the loose ends of the script together to form a convincing progression from realism to absurdism. Hooper’s performance as the malevolent brothel owner is a standout and he brings a great consistency to the work.
The play doesn’t take itself too seriously and embraces the theatricality of the script and characters, as long as you’re not too squeamish this show will give you a lot of laughs. For an engaging and bizarre night at the theatre that will leave you with a lot of questions. Go and check it out.
A WE DO NOT UNHAPPEN and Old 505 Theatre co-production, A BUTCHER OF DISTINCTION opened at the Old 505 Theatre in Surry Hills on Wednesday 8th May and runs until May 26, playing from Wednesdays to Sundays.
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