IN DIFFERENCE, part of FORM Dance Projects ‘ 2017 and also linked to the current Mardi Gras festival, is a challenging, at times confronting work, dazzlingly danced by a tremendous cast, that challenges our thoughts and preconceptions in regards to LGBTI marriage and (in) equality.
Craig Bary, with his co-creators and performers Kristina Chan, Timothy Ohl and Joshua Thomson, has devised a show that represents two real life couples, one of heterosexual and the other of homosexual orientation.
This work, through a series of ordinary and extraordinary everyday life moments, explores how we interact and express ourselves no matter what our sexual orientation is.
The bleak scaffolding set is shifted and rotated by the cast, allowing for fluid scene changes .Karen Norris‘ lighting is often shadowy and ominous. Eden Mullholland‘s soundscape thrums, beeps and pulsates, and includes songs as well as voice overs of various incendiary speeches about LGBTI marriage and equality. Continue reading IN DIFFERENCE : DANCE ME TO THE EQUALITY OF LOVE→
Packemin’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious production of MARY POPPINS is currently wowing ecstatic, cheering full houses at Parramatta Riverside. Bright, bold and colourful, it is an absolute treat.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA , Lloyd-Webber’s musical based on the French novel by Gaston Leroux , opened in 1986 in London. By 2011 it had been seen by over 130 million people in 145 cities in 27 countries, and it is now one of the world’s most popular musicals. Most of the performances of this season at Parramatta are extremely heavily booked, if not already sold out.
Given that the definitive play about Sydney’s shallowness was first performed in 1987, audiences may well question the contemporary relevance of David Williamson’s EMERALD CITY.
And also ask how this intimate Griffin Theatre Company production works on the small screen as it were, seeing as this play is about the lengths to which people will go to bag a harbour view made its sparkling debut oh so appropriately all those years ago at the Sydney Opera House.
EMERALD CITY pits Melbourne against Sydney and values against cash in the shape of fortysomething Colin Rogers (Mitchell Butel) and his publisher wife Kate (Lucy Bell) who make the move from Melbourne to Sydney, the city that gives good hedonism and where vicious cocktail parties are a necessary evil. Continue reading Emerald City→
FOOD is a magnificent collaboration between Force Majeure and Belvoir St and was originally seen downstairs at Belvoir in 2012. The script has been devised by co director actor/playwright Steve Rodgers.(Warning there are at times lots of strong language) .The result is a glorious fusion of physical theatre, straight drama and dance.
Champion’s choreography includes everyday movement, and fragile, tender, intimate gestures incorporating orchestrated incidental movement in slow-mo: imagined vignettes; thoughts expressed, physically, aloud; gestures of tender, gentle touch the characters wish they could lavish on each other, if only it felt safe, permissible and possible to do so. Champion has gone for intense nuance rather than a theatrical-choreographic combination , yet she also features a small solo or interactive sequence in which the characters express their innermost authentic feelings, as they transcend the roles that they have been cast in.
This extraordinary, disturbing and challenging play storms defiantly onto the small stage of the Lennox at Parramatta. This play received its premiere production back at the inner city Belvoir theatre in 2007.
Playwright Alana Valentine has skillfully woven together true stories of women who were former inmates of the notorious Parramatta Girls Detention Centre.
Under the exceptional direction of Tanya Goldberg, and starring a galaxy of fabulous Australian actresses, this vibrant, confronting and sometimes quite witty and funny play enthralls and challenges whilst play exploring the defiance, endurance and psychological legacy of being labelled a ‘Home girl’.In Valentine’s play, eight former inmates return to the notorious Parramatta Girls Detention Centre for a reunion forty years after it was shut down. For the lucky few it’s a way to find healing, for others it’s a way to dispel the ghosts, for all of them it is a way to share the pain.
Tobhiyah Stone Feller‘s set is extremely effective, minimalist ‘Institution’- grey concrete rubble with smashed windows , heavy doors with rusty locks , cold, dangerous wire and the atmosphere of Jane Eyre’s Lowood.
The staging is also rather minimalistic, with a few tables /chairs/buckets as required which allows for the fluid ,cinematic scene and time shifts.Verity Hampson’s lighting is very atmospheric and effective with a wonderful use of shadows.
We discover both the physical and emotional/psychological scars that are at first glance hidden. Valentine’s play features some very powerful monologues and also includes story telling and songs. It is a tribute to the mischief and humour in the face of hardship suffered by countless girls, forgotten Australians who were victims of this harsh juvenile detention centre.
We hear some of the stories of abuse and neglect of the girls by the State and at the hands of the people officially appointed to look after them. There are nightmarish ‘play’ scenes where the inmates act out sentencing, pretend to be the Matron and the notorious ‘Doctor Fingers’.
We learn of the exhausting scrubbing punishment,the isolation cells and the semi-mythical ‘dungeons’. There is a coverall dingy grey uniform they wear when ‘inside’. It is an analysis of their struggle to survive and beat the system – if they can. Harsh, streetwise girls are mixed with naive far more innocent ones who do not understand ‘the system’ and haven’t a hope of survival. On this return visit , some crack and dissolve in tears , can’t face going back,some snap and scream ‘let me out’ ,– yet the door this time can be opened any time they wish.
The girl’s babies – if they had them – were removed at birth and placed for adoption. We learn about desperate attempts at abortion and other attempts to get into sick bay, to escape even temporarily…
We have Judi’s (delightfully played by Annie Byron) opening monologue about billycarting and her being self conscious about her bleeding elbows and the harsh treatment she received. (At one point the rest of the women wear elbow bandages in solidarity).
Christine Anu is excellent as feisty Coral,who has a delightful monologue about a group bus trip to Kings Cross among other things. Later it is revealed that she is illiterate and the case workers have badly written up her reports.We see Coral become one of the leaders of the riots for better conditions , an act that most unusually unites all the women in protest.
There’s Lynette’s (wonderful Vanessa Downing )’s mantra of self worth – she is NOT a ‘waste of space’.
A haunting, delicate performance was terrifically given by Holly Austin as ghostly, tragic Maree. In one very sad scene she is forced to rip the arm off her beloved teddy bear, becoming one who falls through the cracks in the system until it is too late.
Hard, streetwise and brash ‘bad girl’ Melanie is given a tremendous performance by Anni Finsterer. We learn that outside she becomes a mother with fierce love for her children.
Sharni McDermott and Tessa Rose as Kerry and Marlene enable us to follow the plight of the many indigenous girls who were inmates ,the racism in the system and how badly they were treated too.
Sandy Gore as Gayle gives a great performance , ending the play on an ironically rather hopeful note with her monologue about all the charity money she raised and winning a motherhood competition.
A shattering, disturbing play with a glorious cast that is highly recommended. There is a fascinating display as the audience enters about the history of the Institution and a wonderful eerily atmospheric exhibition by Heidrun Lohr.
Running time 2 hours 20 mins (approx) including one interval. PARRAMATTA GIRLS is playing at the Lennox at the Riverside Theatres until the 17th May.
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