Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Theatre: Fat Pig

By Neil La Bute
Red Ryder Productions
Directed by Emily McLean
Designed by Fiona Bruce
Sound and lighting design by Joe Lui
with Alicia Osyka, Brendan Ewing, Georgia King and Will O’Mahony
The Blue Room
Until June 8

A man and a woman find themselves side-by-side at a lunch counter. Tom (Brendan Ewing) is tall and handsome; Helen (Alicia Osyka) is short and dumpy. Click. It’s pretty much a love at first sight. But can it survive?
Fat Pig, the American playwright Neil La Bute’s 2004 hit about one of the most pernicious of society’s prejudices, that thin is better than fat, is a success, if not an unmitigated one.
Helen is a smart, eccentric, and very forthright, librarian. We’d call her bubbly. Tom is a rising young executive in a colleagues-with-benefits relationship with Jeannie (Georgia King), a sharp, self-assured accountant at his firm.
Tom’s workmate Carter (Will O’Mahoney) has organised office drinks on Friday night, but when Tom begs out because he’s having dinner with “the Sydney office guys”, Carter is curious, and Jeannie suspicious.
Ewing is an actor who consistently finds a way to integrate the characters he plays with his own unmistakeable personality, while O’Mahoney has an ability to find the instantly recognisable in his. They are both terrific in this.
I’ve got the utmost regard for both King and Osyka, but felt they were a little less convincing here. Despite this, Fat Pig is a production with a lot to recommend it and important things to say.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cinema: Win Tickets to Luna's National Theatre Live series

Once again this year, our good friends at Luna Palace cinemas are offering Turnstiles readers a chance to win double passes to their very limited screenings of live performances from the National Theatre's 2013 season. As a rule, they arrive on our screens around a month after the live performance at the National.
Helen Mirren
These immaculately produced films capture live stage performance in a way I didn't think possible; the screening of One Man, Two Guvnors last year was both among the funniest movies, and stage shows, I've ever seen. So forget any notions you've had of live theatre on screen - this is as good as seeing these shows live from the best seat in the house.
Here's the last show in the 2013 season:

THE AUDIENCE: A new play by Peter Morgan, directed by Stephen Daldry with Helen Mirren in her Olivier Award-winning role.
Saturday July 6 and Sunday July 7 at 1.00pm

Link here to Luna Palace Cinema's special events page and scroll down for more information. 

For a chance to win a double pass to The Audience, simply email with the name of the character Helen Mirren plays in The Audience.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Theatre: Playhouse Creatures

By April de Angelis
Her Infinite Variety Ensemble
Directed by Helen Doig
Performed by Tiffany Barton, Rhoda Lopez, Angelique Malcolm, Claire Munday and Summer Williams
The Guild Studio
Until June 8

Tiffany Barton, Angelique Malcolm
and Summer Williams
The British playwright April de Angelis’s Playhouse Creatures is the best kind of historical drama. Firmly based on, but not bound by, real events and characters, it illuminates an era without either lecturing or tutoring.
It's a perfect choice for the all-female Her Infinite Variety Ensemble (HIVE), whose charter is to create opportunities for women in theatre. Beyond its obvious advantages – five strong roles for actresses – it deals with the most elemental opportunity for women in the theatre; the right to be in it at all, which, on the English stage at least, only came a few years before, in 1660. 
To their credit, they’ve had the initiative to turn a disused room in the old Equity Guild building in Claisebrook into a pop-up theatre. It’s fairly rough and ready, and only seats forty, but this instructive and richly entertaining production deserves to fill them. 

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian         

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Theatre: Robots Vs. Art

By Travis Cotton
Directed by Phil Moilin
Performed by Damon Lockwood, Sean Walsh, Renee Newman Storen and Ben Mortley
The Blue Room
Until June 1

The pivot of Travis Cotton’s futurist fable of a world run by robots comes when Giles (Damon Lockwood), a former playwright and director now a slave worker in the conqueror’s zinc mines, has to decide whether to stage a play for his psychopathic overlord Master Bot (Sean Walsh) or be chain-whipped to death. Chances are, given his hideous lifestyle and complete absence of hope, he’d choose the latter, but for one complication: he’s the last living human.
Giles ultimately has a victory of sorts, but it’s a pyrrhic one. Mankind has forfeited its rights and betrayed its stewardship of the Earth, and the robots have no interest in being like him.
Robots will never rule the world, but the message of Cotton’s provocative play is that things very like them have tried, and will try again, to do so. 

Link here to the complete version of this review in The West Australian       

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Perth International Comedy Festival 2013

This year's festival consolidated the runaway success of 2012, without adding anything particularly new to the mix (not that it matters overmuch). Once again it was gamely curated by Jo Marsh, and its management and marketing were outstanding. The festival could really use a 3/400 capacity room to fill the gap between the main hall at the Astor and its next biggest venue, at the Mt Lawley Bowling Club, but that might be a hard ask unless they can get their hands on, say, one of Artrage’s spiegeltents, or go further afield from the Beaufort and Walcott precinct,and that would be a great shame.
For me Paul Foot's extraordinary performance at the opening gala and the legendary Bob Downe's glorious Mother's Day show were the great highlights of the festival, and Lawrence Mooney, Jim Jefferies, Jimmy McGhie, Joel Creasey and the festival’s surprise packet, Josie Long, who took out the Best of the Fest award, were acts you’d go a long way to see. It’s great that we now don’t need to.
I've mentioned before the impressive roster of Asian/Australian performers at the festival, and should also recognise the roster of local acts that more than held their own with their imported colleagues. Congratulations to Sami Shah (who is in both categories), a well-deserved winner of the Best Local Act award.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Theatre: Death of a Salesman

By Arthur Miller
Black Swan State Theatre Company
Directed by Adam Mitchell
Designed by Trent Suidgeest
Sound design by Ben Collins
Featuring Austin Castiglione, Adriane Daff, Eden Falk, Luke Hewitt, Talei Howell-Price, Josh McConville, Caroline McKenzie, Jo Morris, Ben O’Toole, Igor Sas and John Stanton
Heath Ledger Theatre
Until May 25

Trent Suidgeest
The published text of Arthur Miller’s familiar tragedy of the salesman Willy Loman begins with a description, in unprecedented detail, of its setting. The way the play looks, and what its look says, was clearly important to the writer.
The director of this solid, but only partly satisfying, revival for Black Swan, Adam Mitchell, and his designers, Alicia Clements and Trent Suidgeest, also intend for us to read much, and many things, into their interpretation.
Their vast, grim, set is, at once, a dilapidated industrial space with its grimy central pillar, sparse furniture and gigantic outlet fan, or a neglected railway station concourse, a Mean Central Station, its rows of darkened doors leading to unknown, just as neglected, destinations.
The doors, with their concrete stoops, could be the Loman’s Brooklyn neighborhood, the “solid vault of apartment houses around (Willy’s) small, fragile home” Miller described, but, just as easily, they could be the recesses of Willy’s mind, the holes in his past he escapes to and from that dominate the play.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian