Monthly Archives: September 2012

Review: Storm in a D Cup – part of the Sydney Fringe Festival

by Erica Brennan

Amelia Ryan is a Storm In a D Cup

A one woman show, all-singing, all-standup; a warm and fuzzy story of being comfortable with the storms and uncertainties of life performed to an adoring crowd at the Supper Lounge in Oxford St.

Amelia Ryan announces on her Sydney Fringe page that she is the winner the Sydney Fringe SpringBoard Mentorship (http://2012.sydneyfringe.com/springboard) and boy is it easy to see why! It’s wonderfully tight show and was playing to an appreciative full house. The show as a whole was not really my cup of tea (cup of D?) but the crowd at The Oxford Hotel’s Supper Room was positively loving it. Calling out, erupting into applause at the end of each reworked song (some favourites by Rodger and Hammerstein, Tim Minchin, 4 Non Blonds) and some friendly cat calling.

Amelia humorously, and with many a musical number, relays to us her rather tragic/comedic life as an actor figuring out love, life and how to be at peace with that fickle mistress that is the theatre. Now this subject matter gets my hackles up quite easily. Maybe because it’s too close to the bone for me but also because I rebel against the idea of thinking that being an actor or artist is something you can fail at. I don’t like thinking of it as a career, like if I fail I won’t do it anymore. Despite personal baggage I might be bringing to the performance I found the stories funny, a little bit gross and pitched perfectly to the Oxford St crowd. In one number she even formed an impromptu band with three audience members in a rendition of ‘Cell Block Tango’. I cannot fault the piece at all – only perhaps finding a venue that had a more open view of the performance for more of the audience.

I have seen quite a few Sydney fringe shows this year and am absolutely delighted that the number of highly skilled performers taking matters into their own hands to create shows that really let them shine. It makes for very enthusiastic performances and puts skill and dedication centre stage, making me very proud to be a theatre junkie.

As for Amelia, well, as a performer, storyteller and singer she is one hell of a storm. She may harbour desires to spirit herself away to Broadway but if we can persuade her to stick around with Storm In a D Cup a bit longer, I am sure will continue to delight audiences across Aus.

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Theatre Junkies welcomes Epicentre Theatre Company

Theatre Junkies would like to welcome Epicentre Theatre Company, who join Blacktown Theatre Company as the second group to partner with Theatre Junkies for reciprocal advertising and promotional support.

Links for both of these companies can be found in the ‘Theatre Companies’ page (find the permanent link above our banner graphic) and you can find all advertisements relevant to each company by clicking on the respective company name in the categories menu on the left of the page.

Thanks again to the committees of these companies for coming on board and helping to build Theatre Junkies as an advertising and media site for community theatre groups.

If you are part of a community theatre company that would benefit from increase exposure on Theatre Junkies, click the advertising and reviews link at the top of the page, or email enquiries to cameron@theatrejunkiesaustralia.com.

Disney’s HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL by Blacktown Theatre Company

Blacktown RSL Proudly Presents:
DISNEY’S HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL ONSTAGE
A Blacktown Theatre Company Production

Get ya head in the game and come out to Blacktown to see this energetic spectacular!

Performance Dates:

September
Friday 28th – 8pm
Saturday 29th – 2pm & 8pm
Sunday 30th – 2pm

October
Wednesday 3rd – 8pm
Friday 5th – 8pm
Saturday 6th – 2pm & 8pm

Venue:
Fifth Avenue Theatre
Blacktown Boys and Girls High Schools
Fifth Avenue, Blacktown NSW 2148

Tickets:
Adult $30.00
Concession $25.00

Online Bookings:
https://btco.iwannaticket.com.au

Phone Bookings:
John 0432 477 777

WORLD PREMIERE: THE HOTEL HIBISCUS BY ROBERT COCKBURN ZENITH THEATRE, CHATSWOOD 19-27 OCTOBER

WORLD PREMIERE: THE HOTEL HIBISCUS BY ROBERT COCKBURN ZENITH THEATRE, CHATSWOOD 19-27 OCTOBER

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Who would believe that the Australian Government had an involvement in the death of 15,000 innocent people? Robert Cockburn’s The Hotel Hibiscus is an Australian political thriller that questions our complicity and silence in a war crime that occurred just 20 years ago.

Sent secretly to a Pacific island off Papua New Guinea to run a dirty war for an Australian gold mine, Colonel Chris Baulkham falls in love with Dr Patty Carmichael, a 30 year-old academic woman whom he fools into providing his cover.

As Patty clears up her late father’s hotel, the Colonel is cleaning up the war crimes of his foreign minister’s failed war. Colonel Baulkham plays the puppeteer, juggling his and Patty’s worlds as she and her staff risk their lives unknowingly in aid of his work. Politics becomes dangerously personal and the strings begin to tangle as Patty uncovers the inconceivable truth.

The play was inspired by conflict in the 1990s surrounding the control of an Australian mine on Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville Island, in which an astonishing 15,000 civilians – or nearly 10% of the population – were killed. By uncovering the misuse of soldiers for political and corporate greed, Cockburn’s work reveals how decent people can become complicit in crimes against humanity.

Robert Cockburn reported on this conflict for The Times, the BBC, the ABC and to Amnesty International after investigating the army’s murder of a young bus driver. Hauntingly, within weeks of Epicentre’s decision to perform the play, the United States Supreme Court gave survivors of the conflict in Bougainville permission to bring an unprecedented action for ‘genocide’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ against mining giant Rio Tinto Zinc.

As The Hotel Hibiscus goes on stage, difficult questions are being asked of RTZ and those in power in Australia who turned a blind eye to the people of Bougainville, choosing to stay silent while thousands died.

Hotel Hibiscus is directed by Greg Friend and stars Dominic McDonald, Amanda Jermyn, Billy McPherson, Colin Huxley, Sopa Enari, Charlotte Hazzard and Sudanese refugee Mandela Mathia in his stage debut.

Epicentre Theatre Company presents
THE HOTEL HIBISCUS by Robert Cockburn
18-27 October Zenith Theatre, Chatswood
Railway and McIntosh Streets Chatswood (near Chatswood Station)
Performances: Fri 19th 8pm, Sat 20th 8pm, Sun 21st 5pm, Thu 25th 8pm, Fri 26th 8pm, Sat 27th 2pm and 8pm.

Tickets $28 / $20 conc. Bookings ??? or online http://www.epicentretheatre.org.au

Media: for more information, interviews, images, cast details etc, contact Geoff Sirmai
Watchdog Communications (02) 9345 0360 mob: 0412 669 272 geoff@watchdog.com.au

Review: 100 Years of Lizards – part of the Sydney Fringe Festival

By Erica Brennan

100 Years of Lizards at King Street Theatre

Walking into the New Theatre I was transfixed by the beautifully crafted set. Jess Tran has created a design that is at once both sophisticated and childlike. The punctured holes and watery blue lighting on draped sheets suggested lizard skin and the inside of an attractively worn out field tent. It was simply stunning. I felt very grateful indeed for those first few hushed minutes as other patrons found their seats to just sink and admire the world I was about to. A world of ancient lizard overlords, lovesick rangers and Disney-esque villains – if Disney was okay with brutal animal consumption for the purposes of everlasting beauty.

I was aware that ‘100 Years of Lizards’ had been through a various developments and a season of work at the Adelaide Fringe festival, and it shows. Without a hint of clunkiness this show runs like a dream. A bizarre yet strangely alluring dream that will have you dance in your seat; no really, you dance like lizards. I’m not one for audience participation but I was sticking my tongue out and trotting from left to right on demand. The performers Kim Parrish, Alex Williams, Stephen Jones are unashamedly committed to the weird and wonderful world they have created with writer Patrick Lenton and move effortlessly between brilliant character acting and great sweeping electro songs. I’m still humming the theme music (thank you keyboard lizard Parick Weland-Smith for the live tunes) and chuckling over Lenton’s imaginatively false lizard facts.

All three performers are incredibly grounded in their craft and Director Ngaire O’Leary has brought each of their eclectic mix of skills to the forefront for one a crazy ride. Think a roller coaster between Monty Python style drama, belting musical numbers, solid character acting and seedy drag shows. It’s a sightly offbeat and wrong style of comedy, but its strong and very much an established style. This play is so indulgent, silly and there should be more work like it! It is a performance that showcases the excellent skill of its creators, is impossibly wacky and refuses to settle into a recognisable rhythm. It leaves you delightfully bewildered and I say bravo.

One thing that put a frown on my face was an alarming moment when a character’s throat was cut. Although no blood or gore it felt very real, very graphic and seemed entirely out of place it took me a few moments after to reconnect with the play.

But mostly a huge KUDOS to The Sexy Comedy collective. A mostly gentle, but often brutal poking fun at language and facts so effortless you could feel the faith and joy all involved took in the work.

Review: Zoe – part of the Sydney Fringe festival.

By Erica Brennan

The program notes of Zoe ask ‘how do you mourn someone who never existed? How do you stop’ I was immediately intrigued by the concept and extremely glad I’m so much of a nerd that I read the program notes obsessively before a show.

The story: Emma is going through a divorce and trying to cope with not only the breakdown of the marriage but the loss of her most desired future, a planned child whom they have already named Zoe. Almost by fate Emma meets an elusive and beautiful fire twirler on the beach who introduces herself as Zoe. Emma becomes obsessed with her fantasising that she is Zoe’s mum. Emma’s Mum Donna and her best friend Chris try and support her through her bizarre behaviour before becoming fed up. Emma follows her on face book goes to all her gigs tells people that she has become like a mum to the poor destitute girl. Finally she once again approaches Zoe and the fragile world she has created crashes down. Zoe is baffled by Emma’s familiarity and then demands she stop stalking before storming away. This dilemma of letting go of something that never existed was definitely the thing that carried the play for me. It is strong enquiry to build a play around and I thought the story had all the touch stones to be something really fantastic. I applauded writer/director Jean Gordon for her choice of material.

For a fringe show with all the restrictions created by venue sharing and short runs, it was a seamlessly put together production with some truly inspiring touches. The original Score by Michael Pearce was the right amount of ominous and whimsical. Not too overpowering for a subject that is very difficult to comprehend but transporting you to the driving melancholy that Emma must have been consumed by.

The cast seemed at ease with the writing and seemed very comfortable in this tricky situation. Jen Mealing as Donna, Emma’s mum was one of the stronger performers with other cast members finding moments to really shine. Zoe, played by professional fire twirler Hanna Donnelley, is mesmerising. Never leaving the stage and in an almost zen like fashion twirls glow poi throughout all the scenes. It gives one a beautiful awareness that there are some things that haunt us and may never actually come into being. A lovely metaphor for the subject of Emma’s mourning.

Elements of the script and the staging were a bit hit and miss, and I’d love to see a dramaturge attached to it because I really thought the story and idea were fascinating. At times dialogue was truly striking and other times a bit clunky and lacking subtext. I was also craving a few more adventurous directing decisions, growing fatigued at similar choices made throughout. However this was a very easy production to watch and I very much hope that Gordon keeps writing and creating work. Her interest and care for her subject and characters shines through in the production and I was quite enamoured with the gentle exuberance the cast seemed to emanate. Even though the season is finished keep an eye out for future work.

As a side note this was my first visit to the King Street Theatre since its name change (formerly Newtown Theatre) and new interior. It’s a beautifully welcoming place and it was great to see the foyer filled with happily chatting patrons. If the chance comes up to visit it dear Theatre Goers please do!

ROOM: the critics are raving… last chances Thur,Fri,Sat

ROOM – Written by Pete Malicki, directed by Alison Albany
The Italian Forum Cultural Centre, 23 Norton St Leichhardt

Last performances!

Thu 27 Sep, 6:00 PM
Fri 28 Sep, 9:00 PM
Sat 29 Sep, 6:00 PM

“Five people wake up in a room. The only way to escape is to escape reality.”

sydneyfringe.com/event/theatre/room

Don’t miss one of the acknowledged highlights of Sydney Fringe 2012!

Just a headsup that ROOM by Pete Malicki (Short+Sweet Festival Director and writer of a swag of hit plays) is in its final week at the gorgeous Forum Theatre, Leichhardt.

"[Room] will have you on the edge of your seat… you leave the theatre with a tingling spine, hoping that such madness will never happen to you. Any chance of Saw appearing on Broadway? Someone call Pete Malicki." – Chelsea Deeley, City Hub

"This play explores human reactions to ridiculous circumstances and poses questions as to what might arouse within us if we had no choice. A scary thought. Go and see it and be prepared to lose sleep over it." – Lana Hilton, What’s On Sydney

"Room combines innovation and imagination, while skilfully meshing an old idea with a very new conception of it… Vivid, exploratory and very watchable." – Emily Garrett, Australian Stage

"This is a very accessible piece of theatre that is bound to attract large audiences. Get along to it if you can. You’ll have a great time, find yourself thinking about the play for days and chatting about its premise for hours after." – Lisa Thatcher, theatreblog

sydneyfringe.com/event/theatre/room