Emma Wright‘s play HAIRWORM is playing as part of the Old 505 Theatre’s FreshWorksFemme Festival.
It is the story of a woman’s battle with her eating disorder.
Interestingly this is not a one woman show. We have the ill woman and then a chorus of nine who voice her thoughts and concerns. The play has been written in a stream of consciousness flow. The chorus works well within this frame as her jangled thoughts are passed around the different member of the chorus. Continue reading HAIRWORM : DARKNESS MADE VISIBLE→
Katie Pollock’s NORMAL is an intriguing nigh in the theatre.
The play is set in an unstated town where everyone is living ordinary lives then one day a young woman Polly develops tics and loses control of some of her body’s expressions and movements much like a person suffering from Tourette’s syndrome. She has medical tests which come back negative. Locals are distraught by what’s happening to her. By the end of the show other people in the town have developed a similar condition.
There’s a lot to ruminate over with this play. What is it really about? There is no tidy ending and the playwright leaves it up to each member of the audience to make up their own mind. My take is that the play is about young women who have problems expressing themselves and as a result they develop a Tourettes like condition, a sign of how repressed they are. They need to somehow free themselves, to develop their own identities. By the end of the play, Poppy has at least in some ways liberated herself, whilst her friends lag behind. Continue reading KATIE POLLOCK’S ‘NORMAL’ @ THE OLD 505→
MAGGOT is funny, silly, full of energy and definitely worth catching.
Performers Angela Fouhy, Elle Wootton and Freya Finch are playing characters that were ostensibly the international pop sensation The Baby Girls. They explain they are moving away from pop and into art, possibly to talk about the stock market but possibly to talk about themselves. MAGGOT is part comedy sketch show, part musical cabaret and part circus. The artists’ clowning background shows in their dance routines, fight scenes and being lost in the desert but surreal dialogue and eclectic music choices has the audience laughing, cheering and clapping. It is such a fun show that the audience eagerly participates when requested. Continue reading MAGGOT AT THE SYDNEY FRINGE FESTIVAL→
JACK DATA is a light play about a dark subject. Funny in places with thought provoking moments, it is a new Australian work with a welcome Aussie openness about the pressures on young women to match and hatch. The show is playing as part of the FRESHWORKS program at Old 505 Theatre, Newtown, a program which supports new Australian writing and performance. Continue reading JACK DATA: FRESHWORKS SEASON AT OLD 505→
FRESHWORKS short, sharp season of experimental and new works returns for the fifth year to Old 505 Theatre, Newtown. FRESHWORKS provides experienced artists an opportunity to test out new ideas and young artists an opportunity to work with 505. This year will present six one week seasons plus the new FRESHWORKSFEMME a season of feminist work, talks and readings by young theatre makers.
Above Sister Ursuline on the cello and performer Gerry Sont. Featured image performer Gerry Sont.
This intense, strange, challenging, at times, confronting but wild and wonderful production by Theatre Excentrique is the Australian premier of Garcia’s fast paced play that criticises and analyses society and its greedy norms and expectations. It is chance to see an example of Garcia’s powerful, political and at times violent , controversial and contentious style.
The premise of Garcia’s provocative play, here translated by William Gregory, is that, having withdrawn his life savings, a lone dissolute father who has reached rock bottom (played by Gerry Sont) has devised a master plan to educate his two young sons , so they ‘splash the cash’ in style doing something mad : after discussion with his sons ( who actually want to go to Disneyland Paris) he develops a plan – at night, to break into the Prado Museum to see Goya’s black paintings ( Los Caprichos) while eating chorizo, drinking scotch and sniffing coke.
As well, they fly in a trendy celebrity philosopher from Germany as their guide to further improve their education. Much is made of the commercialism of Disneyland and there are great discussions about combating depression, economics, the meaning of life, economic versus emotional stability, the sacred versus the banal , our reason for existence and the power of love, all blurring the barriers of dreams and reality.
After a critically acclaimed season in Adelaide, TRADE is back at the Old 505.
TRADE is a fast paced, irreverent piece of physical theatre that delves into the world of fictional Hedge Fund Delta 1. Hurrah Hurrah have been developing TRADE since an initial residency in late 2014. It has been performed as part of the Old 505 Theatre (Sydney) Freshworks season and in development at Site and Sound Festival (Sydney). Initially inspired by the fall of French rogue Trader Jerome Kevel, Hurrah Hurrah have pulled apart the elements of his enormous descent, and reformed it into an exploration of the complicity of us all in the world we live in. Continue reading TRADE→
In our older years, we sort of know most things about ourselves. I could tell you a lot of personal stuff if you asked me… and you held a psychiatrist’s licence. But last night I learned something new about my inner world. I’m a naysayer. I wouldn’t have thought that this is the case but there it is… Just hanging in the air of Old 505 theatre.
ALL THE DIFFERENCE is a play of choices. We meet Flik. Well. Felicity actually. The shortening of her name to make herself happy (get it?) enrages her mother. She’s young when we first meet her . She’s in a boat with her Dad. Dad time is precious. Continue reading ALL THE DIFFERENCE @ Old 505 Theatre→
Andrea is stung by a wasp in the neck and her mother tells her this is the wasp’s way of telling her she loves her. This is an early drama in Andrea’s life and one of many lies that Andrea is told by her mother, by other relatives, by her friends and by her lovers.
On their Facebook page, Two Peas, the production company behind EDMOND playing at Old 505 theatre, have called the Sydney independent theatre “you inconsistent thing you” and bemoan their current low ticket sales for the season. And they are right. You can build it but they still might not come. I am going to try encouraging you to go to this production, mainly because of what they have built.
The title character, Edmond has an unplanned encounter with a fortune teller who sees him as being in the wrong place. For some reason a series of inner workings begin to move inside him. He leaves his wife, ranges around the city in search of sex at the cheapest price, and assaults or kills almost everyone he meets. He is both driven and apathetic, and purposeful yet blown by circumstances. Edmond thinks that he is free because the middle aged businessman he was just up and left. Continue reading Two Peas Theatre Company presents David Mamet’s EDMOND @ Old 505 Theatre→
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
JENNIFER FOREVER perfectly suits this great venue, and is an intense and thought-provoking exploration of the complexity of sins and of learned habits within two un-married lifestyles, with some emphasis on the man’s evil fixation on young women, and this despicable taboo that is bad and unforgivable.
Brilliantly executed piece of provocative new theatre (for mature audiences), tackles by gleeful confrontations between the Man and the Girl, what is unfortunately an all too common evil in our modern society, and whilst initially misleading, but in this surreal reality, everything is not quite what you are expecting. They both choose to enter into a predatorial fight, but who is prey and who is predator? Continue reading JENNIFER FOREVER→
This little gem is a very original, rather absurd comedy, but with darker undertones of tragic lost love and a life spent ‘living in the past’.
The two actors Lisa Chappell as Esther, who also wrote the piece, and Sarah Hytner as Mavis, complement each other beautifully as two elderly characters trapped day and night in a futuristic call centre for Bad Day Insurance…waiting for ‘something’.
The play starts with a series of short calls by clients. The scenarios are extremely funny, and the audience can well relate to many of the injustices in life, plus there is some cruel advice given out as to how to avoid similar claims in future. Unlike most insurance companies the women go out of their way to ensure the client gets a payout for the unfortunate incidents, of their lives even if every claim receives the same payout. As they say to each client, “thank you for calling Bad Day Insurance where it pays to have a bad day.”
English-born writer/director Sean O’Riordan has returned to his London roots with APPLES AND PEARS, his fourteenth play since arriving in Australia.
Combining elements of absurdity and realism, as he puts it in the program notes, O’Riordan has created characters drawn from London’s rich criminal underworld that the viewer can readily relate to, allowing for a compelling, if at times flawed, viewing experience.
A heady combination of regret, revenge, chance and the best-laid plans of crims and their chess sets, the play takes place entirely in a squalid little apartment atop a rickety staircase, occupied by Max, the quintessential London geezer hiding from a crime gone horribly wrong 27 years ago that irrevocably changed his life, and the consequences of which he is still living with. After much soul-searching, he has decided to make peace with the past and come clean to those most affected by that incident. Or has he?
All four characters in APPLES AND PEARS are inextricably linked to each other, yet the cleverness of the writing does not make much of this immediately apparent, especially to the characters themselves, adding layers of intrigue to an otherwise seemingly straightforward narrative.
Geoff Sirmai’s Max is a bit of a slow burner, highly unlikeable initially, he becomes an increasingly sympathetic character, almost to the point of affability. Sirmai certainly captures the absurdity of his situation admirably, particularly in the scene where he makes a full recovery from involuntary dental surgery (courtesy of a pair of pliers), followed by the even more inexplicable enjoyment of a nice hot cup of tea almost immediately after said surgery.
Co-director Deborah Jones adds more than a touch of outlandish silliness to the pivotal role of Judy- wife, mother and betrayed lover with an agenda all of her own, due in no small part to the costume department, while Eleanor Ryan is more than adequate as Kristen, the daughter unwittingly dragged into the plans of her elders.
But it is O’Riordan himself, as Max’s menacing nemesis Les, who steals the show in the second half, wonderfully outfitted in an off pink 70s suit and channelling more than just a little of Ben Kingsley in SEXY BEAST.
This was a highly entertaining romp and, in the end, whilst it might pay not to dwell overly on some of the plot twists and turns, there are more than enough of them to keep the viewer totally enthralled for the entire duration of the play. APPLES AND PEARS is many things, but boring is definitely not one of them, and writer, cast and crew should be justifiably proud of this effort.
APPLES AND PEARS is playing the Old 505 Theatre, Suite 505, 342 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills until November 24, 2013.
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.
You can’t quite prepare yourself for your first visit to the Old 505 Theatre. It’s an adventure up a lift to level 5 and then through a labyrinth of what can best be described as 20th century Bronx architecture.
However, on arrival you are greeted by a small, intimate space where you just know raw talent is bursting to entertain you. Tonight’s fare is the Stephen Vagg penned SIDEKICKS billed as a romantic comedy about a couple told from their best friends’ point of view.