Thursday 30 November 2017

Lost: 5 review

Australia playwright Daniel Keene has been writing for the theatre for almost 40 years and has a multitude of awards to his name. Presented as part of the Poppy Seed Festival, Ilumi-Nation Theatre's newest production, Lost: 5  takes five of Keene's monologues and weaves them together to share a variety of stories on homelessness set within the Melbourne CBD.

While not all monologues deal directly with the homeless and homelessness, director Michelle McNamara has chosen pieces that highlight human behaviour and how hopeless and alone people can feel. In some cases they shed light on why and how people find themselves without a home, particularly through Kaddish, where a man's grief of watching his partner die becomes all too overwhelming for him to accept and deal with.

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Rooman review

Our ability to connect with people and find deeper meaning in our relationships is what lays the foundations for finding happiness. Without building these relationships, life can be difficult and incredibly lonely. In Fleur Elise Noble's ROOMAN, we follow an unnamed protagonist stuck between living the monotony of the daily grind and living her dream and the choices she makes in trying to lead her best life.

Noble uses a variety of visual techniques to tell this story, predominantly through puppet work, illustration and projections onto a moving paper set. The detail in all these is incredibly intricate and adds arresting layers to the two worlds being presented on stage, from the black and white corporate world our protagonist is stuck in, to the more coloured and fantastical world of her imagination. With the only glimmer of happiness she finds is in her dreams, where she meets and falls in love with a ROOMAN (a half-man-half-kangaroo), she becomes more entranced by her fantasy life and begins to gradually slip away from reality.

Sunday 19 November 2017

NK: A Kazantzakian Montage review

Cretan writer and philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis is perhaps most well-known for his two novels Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ and epic poem The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel. However, Kazantzakis also led a life of adventure, passion and exploration and in Howard F. Dossor's NK: A Kazantzakian Montage, important and life changing moments from his personal story are presented and examined.

The story is told with the aid of a Greek Chorus that gives life to Kazantzakis' stories and allows the nine performers (
Elyssia Koulouris, Erin Marshall, Kostas Illias, Nicole Coombs, Paul Pellegrino, Sebastian Gunner, Tabitha Veness, Tania Knight and Will Atkinson) to easily switch in and out of the Chorus to become a person from Kazantzakis' life. Alex Tsitsopoulos as Kazantzakis displays a sound understanding of who this writer was and delivers a thoughtful performance. However, the production falls into the trap of having Kazantzakis explaining how certain experiences made him feel and what they meant to him, rather than showing us why these moments were important. This resulted in long monologues with less impact, particularly evident in the final scene with the Chorus that had the potential to be a climatic moment and bring this unique life's story full circle.

Saturday 18 November 2017

Romeo Is Not The Only Fruit review

In 2016, a recurring trend began to appear in tv shows and film. That trend was the death of one partner in a queer relationship and the subsequent pain and turmoil of the surviving partner. In order to counter that, Jean Tong takes a queer relationship and defies conventions through signing, dancing and Shakespeare in her new show, Romeo Is Not The Only Fruit.

A dead lesbian chorus (nicely performed by Nisha Joseph, Pallavi Waghmode and Sasha Chong) each wears a t-shirt emblazoned with the words 'sacrificed' 'stabbed' and 'strangled' on them. Representing the queer people who have been killed whenever they find love and happiness, they attempt to thwart the blossoming love between Juliet (Margot Tanjutco) and Darcy (Louisa Wall) in order to save them from the pain and death that awaits them. Despite their best efforts, everything they do seems to draw the two women closer together.

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Birdcage Thursdays review

A shelf filled with books or a wardrobe brimming with various shoes can bring lots of solace and comfort to people. Collecting things can often be a reminder of adventures and events in your life. However, this need to keep things can sometimes be a manifestation of fear and anxiety. Sandra Fiona Long's Birdcage Thursdays focuses on Helene, an aging mother whose need to hold on to everything and unable to throw things out has gotten so out of control she is now facing being evicted from her home. It's up to her daughter and a case manager to attempt to reason with her in culling possessions they perceive to be junk but to Helene are protecting her from her loneliness.

Genevieve Picot as Helene finds a good balance of determination and fear, particularly when it comes to avoiding her case manager, Kiera, who intends to help Helene learn how to let go of everything she's been holding on to. Her daughter Catherine, played by Sophia Constantine, displays the frustration at trying to help someone who doesn't realise they have a problem however there are times where she comes off as more aloof than caring and the relationship between mother and daughter does not feel as it has been fully fleshed out and established.