Apr 24

THEATRE – Before The Party – Independent Theatre – 3.5K

By Peter Maddern

After the all-male casting of IT’s Ross last November, it is perhaps not surprising director Rob Croser has sought to re-establish gender balance in his productions with Rodney Ackland’s take on  this Somerset Maugham short story.

In post WWII Surrey, England, Aubrey Skinner (David Roach) is a few days away from being confirmed as the Conservative Party candidate for the district. What can go wrong as he and his family wait to head off to mix it with the important people at a garden party. Well, for a start his wife, Blanche (Bronwyn Ruciak) is a loose cannon, his middle daughter Kathleen (Laura Antoniazzi) has a loose tongue and there is a Nazi loose in his kitchen. Then, there is his oldest daughter Laura (Madeleine Herd).

You see, Laura refuses to sustain her public displays of mourning (for her dead husband) by preparing to wear pink to the party and she has a boyfriend, David (Will Cox) who is a travelling salesman with links to the black market and seemingly of ‘no fixed abode’.

It’s all a delightful romps as social conventions and constrictions of another era get challenged by the new world after the apocalypse of the years before. Madeleine Herd is the stand out with her committed air of detachment from the introspections of the rest of her family – of the same blood but from another place. Antoniazzi successfully sustains the portrayal of her character’s hideous inadequacies while Ruciak plays hers in an almost unhinged frenzy; perhaps a tad over the top.

Almost typecast in IT productions, David Roach nicely plays another exasperated and exhausted patriarch while Cox breezes in and out as his character requires with his usual talents on full show. Fortunately, some sanity is provided to the household by Nanny (Myra Waddell) and youngest daughter Susan, the excellent Jenna Bezuidenhout.

While full of the warmly received IT gloss for which Rob Croser and David Roach have long been renowned, Before The Party is not exactly their most challenging production of recent years with its messages less poignant than others. But a good night’s entertainment is assured.

Kryztoff Rating  3.5K

Apr 04

THEATRE – Long Tan – Brink – Space – 3K

longtan-900x600By Peter Maddern

Brink Productions has a proud history of producing new and challenging works in big bold styles. Long Tan is another of that ilk with its long narrow stage covered in rubber, impressive steam and smoke effects and an audience wired for sound. Unfortunately it doesn’t work well as theatre.

As repeated one-person shows at Fringe time at Holden Street (and elsewhere) show, less is sometimes more and this year’s offerings of Angel, Eleanor’s Story and The Girl Who Jumped From the Hollywood Sign are most recent examples where great stories are told in a minimalist style.

Verity Laughton’s work would well suit a re-enactment and interview style documentary on the History Channel but in this environment too many characters, too much military jargon and some poor castings make the whole thing somewhat soulless; the only soldier we can develop empathy for is that portrayed mid production by Nic Krieg but unfortunately by that time he is already dead.

Chris Petridis’s lighting is a highlight with Luke Smiles’s soundscape excellent as well. The aforementioned Krieg, Mémé Thorne and Chris Pitman do well but like battles and war themselves much of the others’ characters were lost in the fog.

Kryztoff Rating   3K

Mar 30

THEATRE – The Play That Goes Wrong – Her Majesty’s – 4K

the-play-that-goes-wrong-900-newBy Peter Maddern

Thanks to Agatha Christie and her Miss Maple and Hercule Poirot, for as good as 100 years we seen in theatres and on screens sleuths go about solving murders in the manors and castles of the well off, usually situated in isolated havens that seem to invariably attract bad weather. There characters sustain outward appearances of calm and resilience (at least until they get knocked off) while our heroes go about discerning the minutest of clues that open up the solution to the crimes.

“The Murder at Haversham Manor” by the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society is another in this line with Inspector Carter (Nick Simpson-Deeks) called in to solve the death of Charles Haversham (Darcy Brown). The big difference here is that anything that could go wrong with the production does; I mean the silly fools can’t even get the curtain to open properly at the start of the show.

This Australian production of somewhat of an English classic by three young writers Henrys Lewis and Shields and Jonathan Sayer is a masterpiece of comedy and slapstick. It is not often that the set is as much a star of the show as any of the players but Nigel Hook’s living room and upstairs library pops, burns, collapses and explodes in ways you thought possible only in big budget 3D movies.

The fact that much of the dialogue is hard to discern hardly matters as mayhem quickly descends and crew members get caught  on the stage, sometime helping out and at others just plain dangerous to themselves and others.

It’s all great fun for every age and it’s great seeing an Australian cast so seamlessly pulling off farce on this scale – size and invention – when usually it is the provenance  of our English cousins. But spare a thought for the stage manager who has put the set back together after each show.

Kryztoff Rating   4K

Mar 18

Glittery Clittery – GOUD – 4K

 

Tessa Waters, Rowena Hudson and Victoria Falconer-Pritchard have come together to deliver a all singing, all dancing spectacular.

This show is three very funny ladies talking about serious and important issues in a humorous way. That’s not to say they are making light of or belittling the significance of these issues. The core issue is always respected and the importance is highlighted, but a dose of comedy is added.

The audience involvement is beautiful. The crowd is dancing, singing, clapping and laughing throughout the hour long performance. Various prizes are used to great effect to lure audience members to the stage (including a consensual pash with Tessa Waters).

Victora Falconer-Pritchard brings her mastery of the keyboard and lyrics combined with the outrageous humour of both Tessa and Rowena, it is truly one of the funniest shows of this year’s fringe. The show has a particularly short run, so I would suggest that you buy tickets immediately!

Mar 16

Fringe Review – Anteworld – Holden St Theatres 4K

Anteworld is a unique and interesting play. A new work from Adelaide playwright, Mark Tripodi. The play focusses on the separation of Eurydice and Orpheus. Eurydice remains in Hades with Persephone, deciding whether it’s best to risk returning to her lover.

A dark and intriguing play which demonstrates not only the playwrights enjoyment of Greek Mythology but also his understanding of the human/demigod psyche. The writing is clear, sharp and pertinent.

The three performers are well suited and act marvellously on stage. Each commanding an entirely new and versatile persona. Persephone is cloudy and distant, all knowing and clearly manipulative. She commanded the stage, just as she would command the room in Hades. Fantastic performances by the other two, but Persephone was the star.

A wonderfully well written play exploring an often overlooked story in Mythology.

Anteworld has a short run, so I strongly encourage you to go and see it while you can!

Mar 16

Fringe Review – Cull – RCC 4K

Cull

Social media is ever present and ever at hand in the 21st century and Patrick Durnan Silva and Honor Wolff from The Very Good Looking Initiative bring this right to the front of mind.

Two good friends, deciding that their social media presence is overwhelming decide to cull some of their activities. As the show progresses the audience sees more and more intense dissection of online habits and content. The duo bring a fun and engaging dialogue to stage, incorporating classic comedy, song and dance to great effect.

With pop culture and media references that are on point, the duo dazzle and dance their way through the show. Combining painful (and hilarious) awkward silences with dazzling song and dance, Cull is a perfect medium for both Durnan Silva and Wolff.

If you’re after a show to make you get off your phone, you’ve found it! Cull is a great show, definitely one ready for gen y’s.

4K

Mar 16

FRINGE VISUAL ART – 1:1 – FELTspace – 2K

Courtesy of feltspace.org

Courtesy of feltspace.org

In 1:1, artist Sara Morawetz brings to life the essay “On the Impossibility of Drawing a Map of the Empire on a Scale of 1 to 1″ by Umberto Eco. The gallery space is minimalist, with a giant, crumpled fabric map in the centre, and a screen at the front of the room. In a looping video, the narrator outlines the conditions on which a 1:1 scale map can exist, as the artist attempts to recreate the narrator’s conditions. The piece is interesting, but is not entirely legible to the everyday viewer. The exhibit did not seem to have much depth for those who haven’t read the essay by Eco, making this piece niche and fairly inaccessible.

Kryztoff rating 2K

by Kai Niezgoda

Mar 15

FRINGE COMEDY – Anna Log – The Griffins Hotel – 3K

scaled_Anna_Log_online_guide_pic

If you like down to earth comedy drawn from everyday life, Anna Log is the comedian for you. She’s quite “underground,” so be warned, you’ll find yourself in a small audience and interacting directly with the artist. The show was more like a comedic conversation with a stranger than a show where the artist talks from the stage at the audience. If you have a soft spot for the underdog, check out this show and join Anna for a chat about the scam she fell for, her sister’s resting bitch face, and the irony of how we discuss vaginas. If you’re lucky, she’ll pull out the baby pictures.

Kryztoff rating 3K

by Kai Niezgoda

Mar 14

FRINGE 2017 – Trainspotting Live – 4K

Trainspotting_1200x720_orange

I’ve always had a mixed relationship with Trainspotting. Having seen the movie several times, I often waver between thinking that the film is either: a) a cult classic and searingly honest view into the life of addiction, and b) seeing it simply as a bunch of selfish people destroying their lives and the lives of those closest to them, whilst showing little remorse for the carnage left in their wake.

Heading into Trainspotting Live firmly on the fence, I can confirm that I finally fall into a new category: I finally connected with the characters and their journey through the highs (pardon the pun) and lows of heroin addiction.

Mark Renton is a heroin addict in Edinburgh’s 1980s party scene. Flanked by fellow addicts Simon “Sick Boy” Williamson and a dealer simply known as “Mother Superior”, as well as non-addicts Tommy and Begbie, Renton moves through life chasing one high after the next. Throughout the course of the show, the gang expereince terrible losses, are faced with their own mortality, and suffer under the weight of a terrible guilt that may be the kick up the arse to finally ditch the drugs for good.

The actors of the In Your Face Theatre Company are certainly that. They throw themselves body and soul into their characters. Their highs become your highs, and their lows will break your heart. I’ve never really connected with any of the characters in the Trainspotting movie, but the crew at IYFTC have managed to squeeze every emotion out of the cathartic climax. This kind of commitment is definitely something to be commended.

However, it does need to be advised that the rating of M15+ is, in this reviewer’s opinion, completely incorrect. Throughout the show, there is full frontal nudity right next to an audience member’s face; the actors will grab your beer and spit it over the crowd; and one patron had to leave the theatre during a scene featuring the abuse of a pregnant woman. Just bear in mind that even for someone who has seen the movie several times, I was shocked at some of the content of the show.

Also, wear clothes that you don’t mind getting wet – a certain famous scene involving a toilet definitely does appear. And, like the daring and talented theatre company that runs the show, it’s definitely in your face.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

Mar 14

FRINGE 2017 – We Live By The Sea – 5K

scaled_800sea-poster-A3-WITH-BLEED

If you’re looking for a unique, moving, and uplifting Fringe experience, then We Live By The Sea is the show for you.

Katy, a fifteen-year-old girl who is on the autism spectrum, is cared for by her elder sister, Hannah. Her only friend is Paul Williams, her imaginary dog, the only thing that manages to calm her down after her father’s death a year earlier. However, all that changes with the arrival of Ryan, a friend of the girls’ neighbour, who finds Katy refreshing and inspiring. Each of the characters grow, change, and see life a little more clearly after they are inspired by Katy’s everyday bravery in their own ways.

This simple yet moving story captivates from its musical beginning. The nuances of life with Autism are captured in creative and thought-provoking ways: sound is cleverly used to explore Katy’s sensory overload; lighting captures  a range of emotions from fear, to bravery, to happiness; and clever projections tell a story within a story of the story of Katy, Hannah, Ryan, and Paul. Katy addresses the crowd directly, telling her stories within stories within stories. The structure of the show is particularly clever, with on-stage montages, YouTube videos, and vignettes such as “Katy’s Morning” capturing life with autism in an informative and emotional way.

The show has had sold-out runs in London, Edinburgh, and New York, and it’s easy to see why; with a clever, visceral, and uplifting script, incredible performances from the entire cast, and clever staging, We Live By The Sea received its standing ovation for a reason. Be sure to check it out before the Fringe ends.

Kryztoff rating: 5K

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