Tag Archives: Sylvia Keays

BLIND TASTING

Sylvia Keays-001
Sylvia Keays gives a warm, well measured performance in BLIND TASTING

‘In wine there is truth and laughter’. So goes the promo line for local playwright Paul Gilchrist’s new play.  One can also add now, – out of wine one can also make a very appealing work of contemporary theatre. BLIND TASTING works well with its combination of lyrical writing by Gilchrist, and a lovely, well measured, and  warm performance by Sylvia Keays as the intrepid Sophie.

BLIND TASTING starts in a bright, winning way. Sophie walks out onto the stage blindfolded, a bright red mask covering her eyes, fumbling her way till she makes it to the centre of the stage, next to a wine barrel on top of which sit a couple of bottles of wine. She calls out for someone in the audience to lend her a hand and join her.

A willing volunteer raced on to the stage and starts things off by cracking open the first bottle of wine. Sophie begins her blind tasting, swigging the wine very enthusiastically, mouthing appropriate wine lingo, and then requesting refills. Clearly, this lady loves to drink.

When the volunteer summons up her courage and asks for a drop herself, Sophie quickly asks her to take her leave. She has no intention of sharing the good drop!

For the next hour Sophie entertains the audience with stories from her life. Wine tasting is one thing, but she talks about some of her experiences working as a telemarketer, of-course, for a wine company. Telemarketing is a hard call, and that’s exactly how Sophie tells it.

On a positive note though, the job gave her the bucks to go on a cruise that she goes on with her work colleague, Kirstie. For Sophie the highlight is a romance that ensues with the svelte smooth and super- organised Peter, which she tells us in vivid detail.

As well as being an avid wine drinker and raconteur, Sophie fancies herself as something of a philosopher. As her night of sharing comes to an end, she tells us that, in her life now, she is endeavouring to look beyond the labels on bottles of wine as well those labels that some may put on the people in her life.

A Subtlenuance Theatre Company production, BLIND TASTING has completed its season at the Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli, having played there for two nights only, on June 25 and July 30. BLIND TASTING has previously had runs in Adelaide, Melbourne and Los Angeles.

ROCKET MAN

Rocket Man-002Paul Gilchrist comes up with a clever situation for his new play ROCKET MAN.

Daniel Hunter and Sylvia Keays play two young, attractive single people, Neil and Veronica, who meet at a party and have a hot night of sex together at Veronica’s apartment (impressive set design by Rachel Scane). The play starts with them waking up the morning after, feeling great and still wanting more action. Maybe this could be the start of something beautiful, the relationship that both have been looking for?!

Not bloody likely- as George Bernard Shaw would have said- after the sexy strangers start finding out a bit about each other. Veronica jumps out of bed, apologising to Neil…she can’t lie in…she’s got an audition to go to… for the role of Lady Macbeth. Neil starts to mock her, he can’t stand actors and hates the theatre. Veronica is aghast. She then asks Neil what does he do. ‘I’m an astronaut’, he retorts. His answer throws Veronica..puts seeds of doubt into her mind…have I just spent the night with a loopy guy?! A match made in sexual heaven looks set for a short life span on planet earth.

No, the playwright does not end up delivering  a variation of the ‘Looking for Mr Goodbar’ scenario…We end up with a complicated, intense play, delving into the difficult lives young people lead these days. Gilchrist throws into the plot mix, Veronica’s flatmate, critical curse, Claudia, played by Alyssan  Russell, and her boyfriend, Justin, performed by Stephen Wilkinson, who just happens to have known Neil from high school days.

Gilchrist helms the play himself.  The show plays straight through and the cast perform well.

My verdict. I wanted to like ROCKET MAN more. The narrative felt like it petered off, with the black-out being a little welcome. Maybe as a short, sharp piece this play would have worked better. The one level in which ROCKET MAN worked well was as a dialogue, a debate, about theatre…the importance of…the relevance…the craft…There was humour..insight…insider references…perhaps a few of the jokes a little too snide and self indulgent.

Subtlenuance’s production of Paul Gilchrist’s ROCKET MAN opened at the Tap Gallery, 278 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst on Thursday July 4 and runs until Sunday July 14, 2013.