Tag Archives: Suzann James

A DELICATE BALANCE : MORE HARSH THAN DELICATE

This Albee play garnered Edward Albee the first of three Pulitzer Prize for Drama awards.

It isn’t long into this work that the delicate balance keeping the characters in a holding pattern totters over, and chaos and enmity ensue.

We are introduced first to Agnes and Tobias a middle-aged couple living in the suburbs. They have been long time married and  are reasonably comfortable with each other.  Agnes confides in Tobias her fear that she might lose her sanity and wonders whether he would be there for her if she did.

Next we are introduced to Agnes’ very difficult sister Claire who has been living with them for some time. Agnes and Tobias’ s frustration with Claire is that she won’t  be honest with herself. Even though she has been to countless AA meetings, she still tells them that she has control over her drinking and isn’t an alcoholic.  Meanwhile she takes another drink from their bar. Continue reading A DELICATE BALANCE : MORE HARSH THAN DELICATE

A DEAL by ZHU YI @ Chippen Street Theatre

The University of Sydney Union (USU) and Flying House Assembly present the Australian debut of A DEAL by ZHI YI China’s leading female playwright and directed by Shiya Lu.

This is a very fast-paced entertainingly fresh new take on immigration and the culture clash and the unresolved conflict between parents and daughter, and is a crystal clear reflection of a child who wants to be famous and achieve her prominent place on stage in the New World. Her burning all her bridges by fully denigrating her homeland, and her parents and and her government. Becoming an activist refugee, a press-hungry dissident apparently ready to be snatched of the street, and become another victim of extraordinary rendition and its controversial interrogation/torture techniques, whilst held at a black site without trial in a Laogai detention camp (Chinese equivalent of the Soviet Gulag).

Continue reading A DEAL by ZHU YI @ Chippen Street Theatre

THE REALISTIC JONESES @ LIMELIGHT ROOM @ Limelight on Oxford, 231 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

 

Sydney premiere. Starting at night on Jennifer and Bob Jones’s front porch, in a small mountain town, they meet and greet their brand new neighbours Pony and John Jones, who are now renting the house next door. Will Emo has carefully crafted a unique slow-burning and quite wistful play about two unrelated married couples absurdly both named Jones, who are getting to know each other, via highly eccentric and memorable Q and A.

Marriages under substantial stress, due to the constantly erratic but eclectic behaviour of both husbands. Praiseworthy direction by Julie Baz, and she has chosen an impeccable ensemble cast at the height of their craft, with each actor delivering earnest character-driven performances.

The two husbands, Bob Jones (Jeff Houston) and John Jones (David Jeffrey) are both dying, however they are keeping the exact same secret, that will be fully revealed in the Second Act. Discomfort easily generating laughter, their ever evolving back story, grows exponentially as multiple truths revealed.

John Jones displays assertive behaviour whilst delivering comedy immortal one-liners, with effective wordplay that sends the story forward in the most interesting and very entertaining ways, intentionally limiting and setting and respecting relationship boundaries.                               Continue reading THE REALISTIC JONESES @ LIMELIGHT ROOM @ Limelight on Oxford, 231 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

BROADWAY BOUND @ THE NEW THEATRE

Broadway Bound is a semi-autobiographical play by the late great American Jewish playwright Neil Simon. It is the last chapter in his Eugene trilogy, following Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues.

I am  very partial to this kind of autobiographical play because of its structure. By this I mean that the play had a main character narrator who gives us a greater insight into the characters which I find particularly satisfying. It is a complex thing to do but Simon carries it out triumphantly. It creates a feeling of intimacy that draws you irresistibly closer to the play’s heartbeat.

The play works by way of a narrator who is Eugene, the Neil Simon character. He shares us with us the dramatic goings on within his family. The play starts with the time that Eugene and his brother Stanley are starting to make inroads in their writing careers, writing skits for CBS radio.

There are so many good moments. The interactions between mother and son especially the closing scenes…the moment when Kate polishes her beloved dining room table which the play ends on…

The interplay between the two brothers as they work on their comedy script to submit to CBS radio effectively conveys to the audience their rising level of excitement which is quite infectious.

The play was well directed by Rosane McNamara. Her love of the play shone through, infusing her enthusiasm into the lively performances of the actors.

The consistency and quality of the New York accents enunciated by the actors gave this play an authenticity which transported one to a working class suburb in New York in the late 40’s after his left the Army(Biloxi Blues was set in his army days).

Patrick Holman gave a well judged, very engaging performance in the main role of Eugene (the Neil Simon character).

Simon Lee gave a really energy charged performance as Eugene’s enterprising brother, Stanley.

Suzann James was very convincing as Kate, a typical conservative, over protective jewish mother.

Brett Heath gave a very sound performance as the boys father, Jack Jerome. Jack’s marriage to Kate is on the rocks and the boys can sense trouble ahead. Heath also played the role of a radio host.

Les Asmussen plays the boys warm hearted, socialist grandfather, Ben Epstein who plays a big part in their lives.

Susan Jordan plays Ben’s sister, Blanche, who tries to convince Ben to join his wife in the sunshine of Florida. Blanche has married into wealth and is in a position to help her brother out. Susan also plays the role of mrs Pitkin and a radio host.

Nick Curnow and Jesse Shore played voice parts (from the CBS radio program coming out of a vintage old radio) and weren’t seen on stage. 

A lovely set was designed by Allan Walpole featuring a family living room where most of the action takes place and then behind the family room are the boys two bedrooms. Further back is a little hallway leading to the bedrooms of the mother and grandfather.

If you want a rewarding night’s entertainment make sure that you are Newtown bound. BROADWAY BOUND is playing the New Theatre 542 King Street, Newtown until 15 December 2018.

www.mewtheatre.com.au