The Holy City of Godface : built by gods, ruled by gods, populated by gods.
Seventy minutes, the length of this play, may not seem like a long time to spend on stage, but for the five cast members of
GODFACE, it must have seemed like an eternity. Not only do they have to play many human characters, they must also bring a myriad of puppet characters to life. The four male actors who work the puppets have to embody several different animals – supplying the voices while controlling their entire body movements. Continue reading MATRIARK THEATRE PRESENTS GODFACE @ 107 PROJECTS Inc REDFERN→
SMUDGE gave me a headache. I love that! Not a … “the music’s too loud” headache or a “there’s too much haze” pounding or the very scary “God this is boring, let me out” pulsing. As I pottered down the stairs after the show I realised that I had a head- tilt headache. When creatively engaged my neck cranes to the left, opposite side of the brain and all that. But SMUDGE was definitely a right-tilt situation. The work is so thought provoking and intellectually challenging that I had obviously been using my logical left brain through big chunks of the show.
It is a very difficult work. Written by Rachel Axler who won two Emmy awards as part of the writing team for ‘The Daily Show’ and who is best known as a TV writer, the play was savaged and lauded by turns when it first appeared off Broadway in 2010. I think part of my headache was to do with how impressed I was with the King’s Fools pulling this off. They have created a perfect mix of drama, dark comedy and existential musings.Continue reading THE KING’S FOOLS IN ASSOCIATION WITH KXT PRESENT SMUDGE @ KINGS CROSS THEATRE→
TEACUP IN A STORM is an original production by The Q, a theatre program that operates out of The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith. It tells the stories of carers, drawn from a series of interviews with these carers from the local community. It is an engrossing piece of theatre. The stories are well presented and engaging.
The two excellent performers, Therese Cook and Marie Chanel, cover numerous roles ranging from carers, to those in need of care and to those in bureaucracy. There is no plot or classical dramatic structure. We are treated to a series of vignettes from the lives of ordinary people, who respond in a various ways to the situations they are in.
There is a mother of an autistic child who says that on a good day her child is wonderful and a delight to be with, but at other times you just do the best you can. She spends a lot of time explaining to this to other people and trying to educate them about the condition.
Another character talks about how her childhood was ruined by “her ugly sister Ruth” and her inexplicable tantrums and screaming, and how she spent as much time away from the family when she was young and then finally left home as soon as she was old enough. As other family members passed away she was left to reluctantly deal with Ruth, which again ruined the relatively normal life she had built for herself.
All these carers have immense difficulty dealing with bureaucrats. They are told that the person they need to deal with is not available or another department will deal with their situation or there is another hurdle to overcome before moving to the next stage of the process.
There are some warm and inspiring characters talking about their foster children or their partner with dementia. Love and affection are recurring themes, as is the drinking cups of tea.
The production is very impressive in the way it has woven fairy tales and a recurring use of buckets into the drama. A lot of the drama is constructed by very clever use of sound, light and the different components of the fixed set. In this regard, there is excellent work by designer Jonathon Hindmarsh, sound designer Danielle O’Keefe and lighting designer Liam O’Keefe.
Creators Nick Atkins, Noëlle Janaczewska, Therese Cook and Marie Chanel are to be congratulated for taking what could be a good and worthy and hand wringing topic and turning it into an excellent piece of theatre with a strong message. It deserves a wider audience.
This production played at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre between the 25th and the 27th February.
Birdie Productions bring the world of politics with a punch back to the charisma-starved electorate with its revival of Casey Bennetto’s KEATING! THE MUSICAL (2005). This revival is titled: KEATING! THE MUSICAL WE HAD TO HAVE.
The five piece band on stage led by Philip Eames give good support to the singers and action through pop music styles various from decades past. In the absence of true sets or props, there is something of a mixed-gig feel as each character adds to the show. This production is tight through the changes on stage, and the necessary pace is preserved. Continue reading KEATING! The Musical We Had To Have @ Bryan Brown Theatre Bankstown→
In her new play THE PLOT, Greek playwright Evdokia Katahanas’ follows the challenging journey of nursing home manager, Lily.
By the close of Katahanas’ play I had all the empathy in the world for Lily, who director Sophie Kelly so poetically described as being, ‘the rib cage protecting her patients’ .
What a tough gig she has! On one hand she has all the dramas involved in caring for her many and often difficult patients. On the other hand, she has to contend with the demands of corrupt, cantankerous, insensitive managers.
Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd: he served a dark and vengeful God!” After a visit to the New Theatre’s website advertising their current production of Stephen Sondheim’s SWEENEY TODD, with its graphic image of a throat being cut and a viewing of the teaser video with its huge blood splash finale, one might be forgiven for thinking a dark evening is in store. In lesser hands perhaps the show could float in gore like the 2007 movie. This production, however, focuses on an exploration of what it takes to make a monster. It seems that answer is … love!
Benjamin Barker arrives back on the docks of Victorian London. He is accompanied by his shipboard companion, Anthony Hope. Anthony knows this man as Sweeney Todd. He rescued Sweeney from a mysterious shipwreck and honours his vow not to ask questions even after a mysterious beggar woman confronts them both. Sweeney’s past is revealed as he revisits his old haunts and meets up with Mrs Lovett who recognises him at once as the man she adored from afar. She has even saved his silver razors and offers him her upstairs room as a barber shop. Continue reading Sweeney Todd @ The New→
Staging theatre in a pub is a good fit. Drama and bars complement each other well and the performance of John Patrick Shanley’s 30 year old New York play DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA in the Roxbury Hotel, St John’s Road, Glebe, works exceptionally well. The first act is set in a bar and initially the audience is not quite sure if Danny (excellent performance from Wade Doolan) is an actor or a drunken patron.
Danny’s banter with the play’s only other character, Roberta (skilfully realised by Karli Evans), soon assures us that is in fact theatre and we can enjoy the ebb and flow of the drama. The characters’ tones and attitudes oscillate between disinterest, antagonism, affection and amusement and following the variations in these states is very engrossing.