Friday, March 27, 2015

Theatre: Not Me… (★★★)

Gap II
Devised and directed by Hermione Gehle
Set design by Jamie Davies
Music by Tim Newhouse
Lighting and sound by Desne Smallberger
Devised and performed by Ashana Murphy, Adam Droppert, Angela Mahlatjie, Emma Harvey, Jordan Holloway, Justin Gray, Nicholas Allen, Quaid Kirshner, and Danen Englenberg
Subiaco Arts Centre Studio
March 26-28, then in schools

Theatre-in-education is a tricky business. You’re either putting established work in front of an understandably wary audience, or the lives of school-aged students on stage for people that know those lives – their own lives – much better than you do.
Not Me… is an example of the latter, and, happily, it makes a more than decent fist of it.
The story of a cohort of high school kids, mostly years 11 and 12, a couple a year or two younger, whose lives and relationships are dominated, then upturned, by social media, has been fashioned by the director Hermione Gehle and a cast of nine students at The Actor’s Hub’s Gap II course into a tightly-realised cautionary tale that I’m confident will pass the cringe test of high school audiences.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Theatre: Dinner (★★½)

Black Swan State Theatre Company
Written by Moira Buffini
Directed by Kate Cherry
Set and lighting designed by Trent Suidgeest
Sound designer and composer Ash Gibson Greig
With Rebecca Davis, Stuart Halusz, Greg McNeill, Kenneth Ransom, Steve Turner, Alison van Reeken and Tasma Walton

Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre
Until 29 March 

There’s a line in Moira Buffini’s 2002 play, Dinner, when a woman, overhearing an ex-soldier’s stories of his violent exploits in Liberia, exclaims “You killed a LIBRARIAN??”. Boom-Tish!
Make of that gag what you will, but we can assume those involved in Dinner aren’t approaching the undertaking too seriously. Or at least they shouldn’t be.

Dinner is professionally prepared and well served. It’s just hard to fathom why anyone bothered to reheat it.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

Friday, March 20, 2015

Theatre: From the Rubble (★★★½)

Perth Theatre Company
Conceived and directed by Melissa Cantwell
From stories by Sophie McNeill
Visual design by Fleur Elise Noble
Composed by Joe Lui and Mei Saraswati
Sound design by Joe Lui
Audiovisual technician Mia Holton
Performed by Mei Saraswati, Tina Torabi and Mikala Westall
PICA 16 – 28 March  

Mei Saraswati
The work of the remarkable young WA journalist Sophie McNeill has taken her deep into the world’s rubble. The stories she has brought back from it are largely of the dead and wounded, the innocent and unarmed, mothers and their children, the old and defenceless.
Inspired by McNeill and her stories from Afghanistan, Perth Theatre Company’s Melissa Cantwell has devised an artistically ambitious and generally impressive production that is as much about the universal as any particular.
From the Rubble is tough, uncompromising work (don’t look for even the darkest of black humour here) and will not be for everyone’s taste or stomach. It is, however, the bearer of some grim truths, and, for that alone, it merits your attention.        

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

Friday, March 6, 2015

Theatre: Black Diggers (★★★★½)

Queensland Theatre Company
Written by Tom Wright
Directed by Wesley Enoch
Designed by Stephen Curtis
Cast: George Bostock, Luke Carroll, Shaka Cook, Trevor Jamieson, Kirk Page, Guy Simon, Colin Smith, Eliah Watego and Tibian Wyles
Heath Ledger Theatre
Until 7 March

Late in Tom Wright’s Black Diggers, a returned WWI serviceman begins bleeding under the arm, and a piece of shrapnel, buried in his body for decades – a “bit of left-over war” – comes to the surface.
It’s an apt metaphor for the work done by this magnificent piece of storytelling.
Something like 800 indigenous Australian men sidestepped regulations that barred them – as non-European non-citizens – from enlisting in the 1st AIF. They fought at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front, and gained respect and comradeship in the trenches, where mud and blood covers all colours of skin, and killing and dying come alike to all races.
For many, though, their homecoming was appalling, their service largely ignored by a country unprepared to afford them the dignity and opportunities of being an Australian, let alone one of its returning heroes.