Saturday 27 May 2023

Crocodiles review

Written by Vidya Rajan, Crocodiles follows the aftermath of an incident at an aged care home that leaves a number of people contemplating their role in the matter and who should be taking responsibility, including a migrant aged care worker and a doctor.

The strength of this production lies with its cast, and the performances by Rachel Kamath and Marta Kaczmarek provide the finest results with their scenes together. Most compelling is when the two of them open up to each other as migrant worker Sandhya (Kamath) gives aged care resident Helen (Kaczmarek), a bath.

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Moth review

In Declan Greene's Moth, two teens narrate a chain of events that lead to a tragic outcome for a pair of high school outcasts that leaves one unconscious and one missing without explanation. It's a fast-paced two-hander that highlights themes around mental health and identity through the friendship of these two people and the shared - and individual - experiences they go through growing up together.

Admittedly, I had some trepidation of whether a play written in 2010 about two teenagers would be relevant in 2023 but fortunately Moth still feels fresh and innovative. Greene depicts the horrors of high school and the long-term impact these instances can have, through authentic teenage voices and one can only imagine the power of this work back when it was performed.

Friday 12 May 2023

Once review

Darlinghurst Theatre Company's Once has had three sold-out seasons over three years, and it is now Melbourne's turn to discover why this decade old musical is still a hit with audiences. The story centres on two lives that are drastically changed after a chance encounter between a struggling Irish musician and a Czech piano-player, both of whom are living in Dublin. What follows is a love story that gives them the confidence to take risks and grow, but whether that will be together remains to be seen.

A show like this relies heavily on the chemistry between its two leads so it's fortunate this production has Toby Francis and Stefanie Caccamo reprising their roles from previous seasons, as sparks fly from the second they appear on stage together. This repeat casting has allowed the two to really identify who these people are, and to be extremely comfortable and self-assured in understanding their character's vulnerability, drive and emotions.

Sunday 7 May 2023

Lé Nør [the rain] review

In the island nation of Sólset live a small group of people that has been experiencing a decade-long drought. However, that's not enough to dampen their spirits, particularly the residents of an apartment building, with each of them dealing with their own day-to-day problems of heartbreak, love, friendship and loneliness. But it is only a matter of time before the inevitable occurs and disaster strikes in this original climate change story conceived by Perth theatre company, The Last Great Hunt, Lé Nør [the rain].

This is a wonderful story full of suspense, drama and humour, and the cast take to it with such skill and commitment (with many playing multiple characters) that you easily form strong emotional connections to what is happening to the residents. To make it even more challenging for the ensemble (Gita Bezard, Adriane Daff, Jeffrey Jay Fowler, Arielle Gray, Chris Isaacs, Jo Morris and Tim Watts), the entire dialogue is spoken in the fictitious native Sólset language, with English surtitles displayed to the audience. And this is just the tip of the iceberg about what makes Lé Nør [the rain] an exciting piece of work.

Friday 5 May 2023

small metal objects review

It's been 13 years since Back to Back Theatre performed their acclaimed show small metal objects in Melbourne, one that straddles the line between voyeurism, suspense and contemplation. Taking place in the public area at Federation Square, audience members take their seat on a row of bleachers and are provided with a pair of headphones where we are privy to the conversations happening between four people.

We begin by hearing two friends, Steve and Gary, talking about things that friends talk about, such as eating roasts and updates on relationships. We scan the crowd to locate where these people are, looking for anyone acting strangely, as if they are being watched. There are so many false alarms in spotting the actors. Eventually we see them crossing the road and walking onto Fed Square.