Tag Archives: Michael Cullen



This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the first production of this landmark Australian play. While Sport For Jove’s production, as co- directed by Damien Ryan and Samantha Young, has some terrific segments, it  a little uneven, mainly in the first half, where the acting, at times, seemed a little forced. 

The staging was excellent – Lucilla Smith’s set design was very impressive – lyrical and simple, featuring a stage partially raked and there was a very effective use of light drapes which were sometimes tied back.

Ben Brockman’s lighting was vibrantly atmospheric. The storm scene towards the end of the first act was very well done, and a little reminiscent of Philippe Genty in style.



Sport for Jove’s wonderful version of Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW is a delicious version of this quite challenging play that had the audience in stitches at times. It has been adapted and transposed by director Damien Ryan to Italy in the 1920’s in the silent film industry with sly digs at the Australian film industry of the time. It is full of exuberant energy and performed with enormous zest.

Damien Ryan’s direction leads to a thought provoking production which questions how the play can be read from a feminist perspective and is delicately aware and nuanced in its approaches to gender politics but doesn’t really provide answers as such , leaving the audience undecided .

Anna Gardiner’s set is rather sparse but with multiple small props and a ladder that is rolled in, out or reversed allowing for many fluid scene changes and retaining the feel of a film production  lot .With Sian James-Holland’s evocative lighting, and the use of projected, early cinema style film, the production is a visual feast.

The casting is superb with fine ensemble performances and wonderful work from the leads.

Seemingly the complete opposite to Katharine, Lizzie Schebesta shines as beautiful starlet Bianca who eventually reveals her hidden claws. On the surface, softer and far more the gracious , ideal woman she is as powerful as her sister. Schebesta impresses with her comic timing and graceful agility.

Danielle King as Katherina is brilliantly spitfire and spiky, at times almost feral, and , especially at first, rude and uncouth and delighting to annoy. She breaks convention and seeks to speak her mind and be independent in order to preserve her personal integrity but the dominant patriarchal society insists she does otherwise.

Angela Bauer is enchanting as the alluring Vincentia, prima donna movie star .

Baptista Minola here bossily, solidly played by Robert Alexander is a movie director with two eligible daughters: movie starlet Bianca (Lizzie Schebesta) and the fiery, explosive aviatrix Katharina (Danielle King). Baptista seems more concerned about his daughter’s financial security than their general well being.

The queue for Bianca’s hand includes matinee idols Gremio (Barry French) and Hortensio (Terry Karabelas) and, by proxy, a student, Lucentio (Christopher Stalley), who has his sister Tania (Eloise Winestock) impersonate him while he is in disguise as Bianca’s German governess.

Dashing Terry Karabelas as the vainglorious Hortensio is in fine form and revels in channeling his inner Errol Flynn.

Tall, blonde Christopher Stalley and Eloise Winestock have enormous fun as the scheming cross dressing siblings, Lucentio , (desperately in love with Bianca ) and Tania . Lucentio when in disguise as Bianca’s German governess Fraulein Gretchen is in the awkward situation of being the only character on stage who isn’t able to speak German!

James Lugton plays Petruchio, a dashing naval  officer who seeks to ensure his financial future by marrying Katherina. His cruel taming methods almost amount to torture but he is a generally reasonable man who has to use unreasonable methods to get what he wants. The horrendous honeymoon is played aboard Petruchio’s ship, which suffers much rolling!, and then on land.

I enjoyed the neat visual twist that Katharina wears elegant black at her wedding, and it is Petruchio who has the spectacular entrance with a train. In  a nice touch Petruchio enters shirtless, trailing a parachute.

The highly controversial speech by Katharina that ends the play, and that theoretically shows her vanquished spirit, is here presented with a troubled, questioning tone and laughs are orchestrated with the concluding projected film.

Petruchio’s servants here become his crew and sing a wonderful sea shanty and there is much fun with the rolling of the ship . Michael Cullen as Grumio , Petruchio’s valet and George Kemp as Biondello, in particular, show off their great comic timing and slapstick skills.

This Sport For Jove  production is full of exuberant, boisterous energy with plenty of slapstick and silent film melodrama thrown into the mix.

The jokes hurtle along and Ryan and the cast do a magnificent job of maintaining the blistering pace in this bold production.

Running time allow 3 hours 15 minutes including one interval.

Sport for Jove’s production of TAMING OF THE SHREW is playing the York Theatre, the  Seymour Centre until May 28.


Prehistoric Aquarium @ Carriageworks

Erth_Prehisoric Aquarium.Kronosaur + kids

Erth and their puppets are back! Having been several times to visit Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo, we were looking forward to the latest incarnation.

Our host Drew- casually interacts with his audience as they settle. The target group, the younger audience, are encouraged to sit on the carpet area at the front before a ‘live’ giant screen that takes us into the prehistoric aquarium world.

Drew disarms and makes new friends. He is brightly coloured and his demeanour of the informal is also linked to his lack of real knowledge. Then as the show begins he is interrupted by Catherine the resident marine biologist to secure the facts. This attempt at layering the information is quite effective. Continue reading Prehistoric Aquarium @ Carriageworks

Seeing Unseen @ The Old 505

Seeing Unseen-Inset

SEEING UNSEEN is a fascinating exploration of three days and nights in the lives of a trio of misfits who live primarily in their own world, and yet are also partly watching the outside world and also partly being watched  by it.

The unnamed woman, played by Kerri Glasscock, cannot face going into the world so she spends her days looking out the window and obsessively counting particular types of people and then panicking over their apparently growing numbers.

Her partner, an unnamed man, played by Michael Pigott, has his set routine as he leaves for work each morning to an unspecified job which then sees him returns in the evening.

Their unnamed protector, played by Michael Cullen, stays in the apartment observing them, taking notes and providing them with information and guidance on how to survive.

Created by Gareth Boylan, Michael Cullen, Kerri Glasscock and Michael Pigott this is the completed piece shown first as a work in progress last year.

The actors meld together wonderfully with some beautifully lyrical movement scenes between Glascock and Pigott.

The protector, awkward in his appearance, apparently has the answers for everything based on data, graphs and surveys. He seems to provide some sort of security in a chaotic world. Yet the half-forgotten past of the couple comes back as happy memories try to resurface.

Most effective use is made of the small space to provide areas both within the apartment and also scenes of memories from the past. Props are cleverly used, – a cut-out on an overhead projector creates a separate room. At another time a blue sheet transforms into a river.

This is a highly entertaining and inventive study of some big questions about life, relationships and contemporary society. There is great humour in the writing and clever interactions among the characters as the past and present, the world outside and the world of their thoughts, come together.

SEEING UNSEEN is playing until the 26th April at The Old 505 Theatre, Suite 505, 342 Elizabeth St Surry Hills. For further details contact Kerri Glascock at venue505@mac.co


Cat Martin and Michael Cullen star in this strong Australian drama

Cat Martin as She/Her and Michael Cullen as He/Him star in this strong Australian drama

Onstage as we enter, in everyday clothes, they break down the ‘fourth wall ‘ and portray a creative couple struggling to come to terms with the loss of their small son, Tom, by frenziedly burying themselves in work.