Thursday 28 July 2016

The Book Club review

A book club: where everyone has great intentions to read the book but, for some reason, never seem to have the time. Either that, or the meeting itself turns out to be an opportunity to talk about everything - but the novel. In The Book Club, middle-class suburban housewife, Deb Martin seems to have found the perfect literary social club, but a few indiscretions and a blurring of fact and fiction begin to create some interesting moments for Deb. 

Amanda Muggleton is completely at ease with the demands of this production which, in her case, is portraying every single character – male and female – and relying on nothing but her facial expressions, body language and voice for differentiation. Her comedy timing and physicality is spot on and while she plays these characters as “big”, Muggleton still manages to retain an honesty and authenticity to them all.

Saturday 23 July 2016

Neal Portenza review

What's in a name? It certainly doesn't matter in Joshua Ladgrove’s Neal Portenza Neal Portenza Neal Portenza Neal Portenza Neal Portenza Neal Portenza Neal Portenza. Tracey, but it is a clear indication of the type of show this is. It is 60 minutes of comedy that will have you snorting with laughter, squirming in your seat and wondering what goes on inside Neal Portenza’s – and Ladgrove’s - head, all at the same time.

As with his previous shows, this is a combination of scripted absurdist comedy with many opportunities for improvisation and off-the-cuff humour, with much of this born from Ladgrove's interactions with his audience. A running joke on the night I attended was based around two people working in the medical profession and Ladgrove attempting to explain things in medical terms so that they would understand.

Wednesday 13 July 2016

House of Dreams review

William Robert Johnston was a Melbourne based antique dealer and a collector of beautiful things, and he wanted to share these unusual and visually arresting items with the public. Upon his death in 1986, the not-for-profit museum, The Johnston Collection was established.

The Collection has had a rotation of guest curators including The Australian Ballet's Artistic Director David McAllister, milliner Richard Nylon and design studio Hecker Guthrie, who were given the opportunity to explore, regard and share the curiosities within the collection.

With its current exhibition, House of Dreams, guest curators Barking Spider Visual Theatre - a Melbourne-based multi-art form company – have spent the last 18 months designing the nine spaces to create a highly evocative and imaginative environment to be experienced. Led by Artistic Director Penelope Bartlau, the theatre company is known for its exemplary productions and varied methods of creating and sharing stories with audiences.

Sunday 10 July 2016

Titanic the Musical review

It has been over 100 years since the Titanic sunk, killing more than half its passengers and crews on board. While this famous tragedy is a well-documented and discussed event, Stage Art's production of the Australian premiere of  Titanic: The Musical breathes new life into the story, creating a gloriously entertaining show that should not be missed.

The cast of 20 is flawless and all the actors take on their numerous roles with much gusto, achieving character changes effortlessly and at times, instantly. The production is meticulously directed by James Cutler, and from the opening scene, the hustle and bustle and the excitement felt from everyone on board is perfectly encapsulated as the latter is replicated in the audience.

Desire Under The Elms review

Written in 1924 by Eugene O'Neill, Desire Under the Elms, is a story that explores profound human connections and the depths that people will go to have what they desire. Inspired by the myth of Phaedra, Hippolytus and Theseus, O'Neill's story is set in New England where patriarch Ephraim (Darren Mort) returns to his home in New England with new wife, Abbie (Diana Brumen). This does not bode well with his three sons (Garikai Jani, Timothy Smith and Sam Lavery) as the tension builds to a devastating end.

Lavery perfectly encapsulates youngest son's Eben's resentment towards his father and the rage that burns inside him, yet at the same time brings to the surface the tenderness and love that he can also feel. His scenes with Brumen are gripping and you're never quite sure which way their story is going to go, even if it is based on a Greek tragedy. Brumen's manipulative and scheming Abbie is convincing, but it is during her horrific and tragic final scenes that she is able to channel everything Abbie has been experiencing until that moment.

Friday 1 July 2016

4:48 Psychosis review

Playwright Sarah Kane suffered from severe depression and it was at 4:48am when she would often wake up. Kane's final play 4:48 Psychosis, is an experimental show that has no characters, nor a number of actors required, no clear narrative and upon viewing it, feels more like a piece of poetry rather than theatre text.

Director and actor, Kendall-Jane Rundle is in the challenging role of the 'protagonist' in this production. Unfortunately, a stronger emotional connection to the material and work was needed to build on the subtleties required for a person experiencing the emotions described. Jeff Wortman does well in predominantly a role that attempts to keep Rundle's character safe and not listen to the fear and anxiety enveloping her. Alisha Eddy and Jessica Stevens complete the cast, and together are a  Greek chorus of two, often commenting on what is happening on stage or adding to the emotional tension.