Monday, April 29, 2013

Theatre: Death in Bowengabbie and The Agony, The Ecstasy and I

Bryce Youngman (pic: Jacinta Lee)
Death in Bowengabbie
By Caleb Lewis
Directed by Matt Edgerton
Performed by Bryce Youngman
The Blue Room
Until May 11

The Agony, the Ecstasy and I
Tarryn Runkel and Laura Hopwood
Directed by Cara Phillips
The Blue Room
Until May 4

Oscar (the terrific Bryce Youngman) has gone back to Bowengabbie, his tiny Tasmanian home town, for a family funeral. The town has been dying since its jam factory closed down, but the identities of Oscar’s youth remain, marooned on their landlocked desert island.  
Trouble is, once one of them dies, they all start popping off. And Oscar keeps having to come back for their funerals.
Bowngabbie is a play that could sustain a cast of five or six, and it’s to the credit of everyone involved that they pull it off so well with only one.     

Tarryn Runkel and Laura Hopwood’s The Agony, the Ecstasy and I, takes on the cult of Apple and its relationship with the gigantic Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China.
Runkel, a dancer, and Hopwood, an actor, have devised a piece with director Cara Phillips that looks at the iconography of Apple and Daisey’s flawed investigation through movement and audio visual imagery, but the show falls between two stools, at times impenetrably obscure and at others in a rather too straightforward documentary style.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Theatre: A Number

Perth Theatre Company
Written by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Melissa Cantwell
Designer Bruce McKiven
Lighting designer Jon Buswell
Sound designer Peter Dawson
Featuring Kym Gyngell and Brent Hill
STC Studio until April 27

Kym Gyngell
There’s plenty of science fiction out there. In the Netherlands, in a re-created Palaeolithic ecosystem, scientists are reverse breeding to bring back extinct species like the auroch, the almost elephant-sized progenitor of modern cattle. From genetically modified harvests and barnyard clones to dinosaur DNA in glaciers, we are playing Dr Frankenstein with the matter that makes us. It seems more and more likely that the absurdly impossible is very possible indeed.
In Caryl Churchill’s A Number (first performed at the Royal Court in 2002 with Michael Gambon and Daniel Craig, and here revived by the Perth Theatre Company with Kym Gyngell and Brent Hill), a man approaching middle age discovers that he’s not alone in the world, that there are a number of hims out there.
A Number isn’t about the mechanics of cloning, or even its ethics per se, but the expectations parents and children have for each other, individual identity, the importance of trust for love and the mayhem that can erupt when it is shattered.
Be warned; this is no comedy, even of the blackest kind. A Number is a tough, testing story, made all the more confronting and thought provoking by the quality of its telling in this fine production. 

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian. My favourite reviewer in the whole world has also chimed in on A Number; link here and scroll down to page 64 for her take. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Theatre: Henry 4

By William Shakespeare
Adapted by John Bell
Bell Shakespeare
Director John Bell and Damien Ryan
Designer Stephen Curtis
Lighting designer Matt Scott
Composer Kelly Ryall
Featuring David Whitney, Matthew Moore, John Bell, Terry Bader, Jason Klarwein, Ben Wood, Nathan Lovejoy, Yalin Ozucelik, Felix Jozeps, Sean O’Shea, Arky Michael, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Wendy Strehlow and Matilda Ridgeway
Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre
Until April 13

Matthew Moore
It was a sad surprise to find, from conversations around the Heath Ledger foyer, that Shakespeare’s Henry IVs have become obscure.
In its time, Henry IV Part One was a runaway hit, its first part spawning three sequels, one, Henry V, for its putative hero, Prince Hal, and two, Henry IV Part Two and The Merry Wives of Windsor, for its genius, Falstaff. Such was the enthusiasm for Falstaff that Elizabethan audiences traditionally booed the hero king on his first entry in Henry V for having banished their favourite.
Shakespeare, too, had to banish Falstaff from Henry V, because the Fat Knight was bound to steal that show as surely as he had both its predecessors.
And, true to form, John Bell’s Falstaff sidles away with this merged adaptation of the two Henry IV’s tucked securely in his capacious pickpocket’s breeches.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian.