As they watch for us to enter there’s an electricity between the two figures eagerly waiting in the sand by the swings as the sea swells quietly in the background. Jess and Joe are ready. They have rehearsed their presentation, have worked hard on what they will show us and “in this moment” they will share a beautiful, soul-soothing story to lift the spirits of anyone who is there. JESS AND JOE FOREVER by Zoe Cooper is a sand gem of a production which shines and glimmers in the tuck of the basement at Belvoir Street Theatre.
Jess and Joe have a burning desire to tell their story. Of how they met at approximately 9 ¾ and where their tween love takes them. She has an au pair and a holiday home in Italy, he is a bit of a battler on his Dad’s farm. She is a bit tubby and he is physically shy, too. He is practical and she poetic; she chats and he reacts. For our benefit they will act out how they met, became friends, and the individual tales that happened away from each other that made their time together so important. Continue reading JESS AND JOE FOREVER – SOUL SOOTHING THEATRE→
Sugary Rum Productions is about to present the Australian Premiere of JESS AND JOE FOREVER as part of 25a at Belvoir Downstairs.
Meet Jess and Joe. They want to tell you their story. Joe is Norfolk born and bred and wears wellies. Jess holidays there with her au pair and likes to sneak Spam behind the bus stop. This is a story of growing up, fitting in (or not), boys, girls, secrets, and maybe even love, but most of all, it’s about friendship. Spanning several summer holidays, Jess and Joe Forever is an unusual coming of age tale that explores what it means to belong somewhere, if you can really belong anywhere.
The Guide had the chance to speak with director Shaun Rennie as his cast and crew head into bump-in and production week.
SAG: Very excited to see this play … so it’s country boy meets city girl? How does this story unfold?
SHAUN: Why I love this play is because it sets up binaries. It sets up storytelling tropes that we all know: boy meets girl; country kid meets city kid; rich kid-poor kid. Jess and Joe both meet each over a series of summers in Norfolk where Jess is on her holidays and Joe lives there full time. So they develop this friendship over the course of their ‘tweens’, their adolescence essentially.
Jim Cartwright wrote THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE in 1992 but the play seems to be set some years earlier, in the late sixties or seventies. A great play can over the decades be interpreted through the lens of that particular period.
In all likelihood the play was probably interpreted as yet another great kitchen sink drama where poverty and lack of status turns people into monsters.
Today it could be interpreted through the me too movement where women are ruthlessly exploited with the promise of love or fame. However it doesn’t matter because you can enjoy it simply as a night of great theatre.
Jim Cartwright calls this play a modern fairytale where Little Voice alone in her room (the tower) mourns for her recently departed father through listening to his old record collection comprising mainly of divas such as Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey and Marilyn Monroe. She must be rescued by a gentle prince in the unlikely form of a meek telephone technician. Below her room is a world of tumult with a drunken mother storming about irresponsibly with a manipulative beau both of whom are trying to exploit Little Voice’s freakish talent for mimicking great singers. Continue reading THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE : BIG HEARTED THEATRE→
UK playwright Jim Cartwright described his play as a contemporary fairytale where Little Voice retreats into her safe space similar to the fairytale tradition of the maiden in the tower.
LITTLE VOICE, as it is best known, was a huge success winning the Olivier award for Best Comedy and the Evening Standard award again for Best Comedy . It is a play that has had numerous productions all over the world including Australia and was made into a .film directed by Mark Herman in 1998. starring Jane Horrocks and Brenda Blethyn.
These are big shoes to fill and the Darlinghurst Theatre Company believes that it has the cast to split the seams of those shoes. Playing Marie the .boozy alcoholic mother of Little Voice is theatrical royalty Caroline O’Connor. She is thrilled to be in this production as she can throw off her musical theatre credentials and sink her teeth into a truely gritty role. Continue reading REHEARSAL CALL : THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE→
Non sequiturs abound, in so many ways, for CARMEN LIVE OR DEAD playing at the Hayes Theatre for a limited season. It’s not just “they have great coffee” in an odd moment, it is Carmen themselves who is out of joint. Person of appetite and excess, creation of wisdom and power this Carmen entertains, educates and elucidates the personal. Carmen’s rare account, rawly told, will stir the emotions and spur the intellect through song and story. It’s a fascinating work and a compelling telling. Continue reading CARMEN LIVE OR DEAD: BASTARD CHILD→
Playing during Mardi Gras and within walking distance of the Museum of Love and Protest, THE VIEW UpSTAIRS (Book, Music and Lyrics by Max Vernon) is set in a skilfully created seedy New Orleans drag bar of the 1970’s. Here the characters lead lives in fear of a persecution which new- to- the- 70’s Wes initially finds impossible to understand. But his awakening to the struggles past will waken in him resolutions toward the struggle both now and still to come. Continue reading A FLARE UP AT THE HAYES: THE VIEW UPSTAIRS→
Featured image-Carolyn Lowry, Mark Kilmurry, Francesca Savige, Sandra Bates, Shaun Rennie, John Clark.
All images by Ben Apfelbaum.
Ensemble Theatre’s Artistic Director Mark Kilmurry recently announced the two winners of the 2ndSandra Bates Director’s Awards supported by the Seaborn, Broughton & Walford Foundation at a function in the theatre’s waterfront foyer.
Francesca Savige and Shaun Rennie were thrilled to be the recipients of this prestigious award. Both will work as Assistant Director on two plays each in the Ensemble Theatre’s 2017 season. They will also direct a lunchtime play reading each as part of the theatre’s Boatshed events.
Theatre doesn’t get much better than this. The old Fitz theatre is currently home to a revival of American playwright Doug Wright’s play I AM MY OWN WIFE, first performed Off Broadway in 2003, and then went on to take the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in the following year.
With painstaking research Wright’s play brings vividly to the stage a remarkable character by the name of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (1926-2000).
Charlotte was a flamboyant gay transsexual who lived her colourful life out on the streets of Berlin. She wrote a best selling autobiography, and became a figure of great folklore in the great German city.
In bringing his play together, Wright conducted several lengthy interviews with Charlotte from 1992 to 1994. The playwright also took into account newspaper accounts of her life, Charlotte’s interactions with key people in her life, and he also sighted the controversial Stasi file held by the East German Secret Police. Continue reading DOUG WRIGHT’S ‘I AM MY OWN WIFE’ @ THE OLD FITZ THEATRE→
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.
LOVE BITES at the Hayes Theatre at the moment. Well, sometimes it bites, taking a large chunk out of your heart but at other times it just nibbles your ear and makes you love it. Toe tappers and heartbreak songs sit well together in this deceptively cabaret outing from Wooden Horse Productions.
Act One of the show opens with ‘Falling in Love’ and this is reprised in bookends at interval and the finale. The quartet (Kirby Burgess, Tyran Parke, Adele Parkinson and Shaun Rennie) make it very clear that there is to be no judgement about where the human heart will love. The final tableau of this intro gently reinforces to the audience that they are about to run the gamut of desire. Continue reading Love Bites at the Hayes Theatre→
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