Thursday, January 30, 2014

Theatre: Gym & Tonic

Written and performed by Roz Hammond
The Blue Room Theatre
Until February 1

There’s a case that the most genuine stage hit of the last year was the awkwardly titled 51 Shades of Maggie Muff at the Subiaco Arts Centre. It was extended at least twice, drawing ebullient crowds almost entirely comprised of women.
Call it what you will, but this genre of middle-brow theatre (Amanda Muggleton’s various projects are the brand leaders) clearly strikes a chord with women who identify strongly with the stories, the humour and, importantly, each other – hence an almost conspiratorial connection between the performer and audience.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

Monday, January 27, 2014

Theatre: Diva and The Vaudevillians

By Tiffany Barton
Directed by Helen Doig
Performed by Tiffany Barton

The Vaudevillians
Jerick Hoffer (Jinkx Monsoon) and Richard Andriessen (Major Scales)

In Tiffany Barton’s small triumph of that name, the diva is June, a faded opera singer living out a scratchy, frustrated retirement with her costumes, her wigs, her pills and her lurid memories.
It’s beautifully constructed, and sets you up for an absolute zinger of a climax, a seemingly inevitable ending that doesn’t so much fail as get rejected outright, an affirmation of life, with all its heartbreak, darkness and obscenity.
Barton is simply great as June. She has an impeccable collaborator in Helen Doig, a director with all Barton’s courage who keeps June’s unruly story firmly on the straight and narrow. 

Jerick Hoffer’s celebrated character Jinkx Monsoon is far and away the most convincing, and authentically talented drag artist I’ve ever seen. With the gifted Major Scales (Richard Andriessen) alongside her, and the brilliant conceit of the show, it’s a fantastic set-up, but it ended up leaving me cold.

Link here to the complete reviews in The West Australian

Theatre: The Epicene Butcher

By Jemma Kahn and Gwydion Beynon
Director: John Trengove
Performed by Jemma Kahn and Glen Biderman-Pam
Perth Fringe
Until Feb 2

The last two Perth Fringes have been electrified by the South Africans: 2011’s …miskien and last year’s Dirt and The Three Little Pigs re-introduced us to the talent and savage theatrical insight of our mighty Indian Ocean neighbour we first saw here 40 years ago in The Island and Sizwe Banzi is Dead, Athol Fugard’s brilliant, excoriating attacks on apartheid.
That power and nerve is here again with Jemma Kahn and Gwydion Beynon’s 
The Epicene Butcher, but it comes in an exotic form – the venerable Japanese story-telling art of Kamishibai, literally “paper drama”.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

Friday, January 24, 2014

Theatre: Flood

Black Swan State Theatre Company
Written by Chris Isaacs
Directed by Adam Mitchell
Set and costume design by India Mehta
Lighting designer Chris Donelly
Sound designer and composer Ben Collins
With Joshua Brennan, Adriane Daff, Samuel Delich, Will O’Mahony, Whitney Richards and Rose Riley
Heath Ledger Theatre
Until February 2

Chris Isaacs’ Flood is the story of six 20-something Perth friends who reunite for a camping trip into the North-West outback organised by Mike (Joshua Brennan).
Steve (Samuel Delich) and the reluctant Vanessa (Whitney Richards) are a couple; Sal (Will O’Mahony), though, has left his girlfriend behind in Melbourne, where he lives, to join his buddies on the adventure. Their mates, Frankie (Adriane Daff) and Elizabeth (Rose Riley), complete the expedition.
They’re city kids, packed into Mike’s mum and dad’s Tarago, and unprepared for the isolation and dangers of the remote place they’re visiting. When a stranger appears out of the bush while the friends are skinny-dipping in a waterhole, surprise turns to fear, confrontation to violence, and disaster to tragedy.
It’s impossible not to recall Raymond Carver’s short story, So Much Water So Close to Home, and especially its Australian film adaptation, Jindabyne, with its added layer of racism. Isaacs’ story is more, and a fair bit less, than those excruciating parables of guilt and its consequences.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Theatre: Twelfth Night

by William Shakespeare
Directed by Paige Newmark
Designed by Jake Newby and Ingrid Proos
Featuring Nick Candy, James Hagan, Stephen Lee, David Davies, George Allen, Hannah Day, Gracie Gilbert, Andrew Kocsis, Nick Maclaine and Angelique Malcolm
King’s Park
Until February 1

King’s Park on a starlit January night, in the still hours between the sea breeze and the easterly. So motionless the leaves hang helpless like sleeping bats and even our bloodthirsty mossies seem to swoon, drunk, like us, on the perfume of gums.
If Shakespeare ever wrote a play for this time and place, it’s Twelfth Night. Not as free as A Midsummer Night’s Dream or as perfect as As You Like It, perhaps, but funnier than both of them.