Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Theatre: The Wives of Hemingway and Birdboy

The best and brightest of Perth's young theatre artists are out and about in force at the Fringe and, even more than the touring acts rampaging through the festival, it's a chance for them to experiment and extend their range.
But, before you read on, remember that no matter how talented and inspired the people behind them are, not every experiment works, not every extension sticks, and that's as it should be. Just saying.

The Wives of Hemingway
Side Pony and Productions Weeping Spoon Productions
Directed by Zoe Pepper
Starring Adriane Daff, Josh Price and Tim Watts
North Perth Bowling Club
Until February 16.

Tim Watts, Josh Price and Adriane Daff
Tim Watts is the kid who wouldn't grow up, and he and his lost boys (and girls) play theatre like others play ultimate frisbee. It may not be theatre for kids, but it has many of the qualities of a game a bunch of them might play in their cubby.
Watts, director Zoe Pepper and the others have delivered some of the most justly admired and popular alternative Perth theatre in recent times (Alvin Sputnik, The Pride, It’s Dark Outside, Pollyanna) and they have earned some pretty major Get Out of Jail Free cards with their audience.
They’ll have to spend one of them this time, though. For all its audacity and smarts, Wives is seriously self-indulgent and more than a bit sloppy around its edges. They aren’t fatal flaws, by any means, and there are plenty of moments to savour, but most of the twists in the story are gratuitous, and there is no, repeat no, take away from the piece.
Link here to my complete review in The West Australian.

by Ian Sinclair
The Wet Weather Ensemble
Directed by Moya Thomas
With St John Cowcher, Alicia Osyka, Ian Sinclair and Moana Lutton
Until February 16

I could try to tell you what happens in Birdboy, but I have no idea whether it would represent its actual narrative or the intentions of the award-winning – and genuinely talented – collective, The Wet Weather Ensemble (The Bearskinner, Adam & Eve). You may come to an entirely different conclusion. As to any allegorical, metaphorical or cautionary purpose behind it all, your guess is as good as mine.

Birdboy is the result of an impressive development process, both here and in the US, but it feels like there’ve been too many cooks putting way too many ingredients into the broth. I’m sure the ensemble knows exactly what they are trying to prepare, but that’s not much help to us diners.
Link here to my complete review in The West Australian

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