Showing posts with label Darlinghurst Theatre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Darlinghurst Theatre. Show all posts

Friday, 2 May 2014

The Gigli Concert - Review

Review originally posted at
Venue: Eternity Playhouse (Darlinghurst NSW), Apr 4 – May 4, 2014
Playwright: Tom Murphy
Director: John O’Hare
Actors: Patrick Dickson, Kim Lewis, Maeliosa Stafford
Image by Wendy McDougall

Theatre review
O’Punksky’s Theatre’s current production of The Gigli Concert at the Eternity Playhouse is the company’s fourth staging of the Tom Murphy work. Over the course of 16 years, their relationship with the play has developed into something remarkably complex and outstanding in its sophistication. This is a story about the madness that we encounter in our lives, its varying manifestations, and the degrees at which it rears its head. It is also about opera.

Expression through music is used in the production in a fascinating and original way. Director John O’Hare plays with the relationship between music and personal spirituality, and works with it as an instrument of salvation for the play’s characters, and in his staging, a mechanism for storytelling. O’Hare explores bravely, the effects of and experiential reactions to operatic music, almost as an antithesis of the spoken word. Psychoanalysis is a central theme in The Gigli Concert, but it experiments with a departure from incessant talking, and creates a space of meaning with music that reaches beyond everyday language.

O’Hare’s creation is multi-layered, and thick with ideas and intelligence. The show runs the risk of being too intellectually dense in parts, but it is a show that is careful to hold its connection with its audience. It goes on various imaginative flights of fancies, but O’Hare always intends on bringing us along. Along with his actors, he has created a show that is keen to challenge and also to entertain.

Maeliosa Stafford brings with him extraordinary presence, and a brilliant sense of theatricality. We almost expect him to break into arias at each appearance, with a fascinating and dominant energy, keeping us on the edge of our seats for what he wishes to unleash in every scene. His characterisation is consistently strong but also unpredictable, resulting in a portrayal that is full of colour and charm.

JPW King is played by Patrick Dickson whose work is detailed and solid. There is a thoroughness that can only come from extensive study and deep understanding, and Dickson’s performance is infallible. When an actor is in complete control, we get swept away in his confidence, open to all that he wishes to share. There is also an air of whimsy to the leading man that keeps us endeared, and keeps the play effervescent in spite of its frequent darkness.

The Gigli Concert shows us two men and their individual madness. We see them dealing with issues from different perspectives, but the universality of their stories keeps us engaged, and we understand them through the knowledge of our selves, and through the prism of our own madnesses. We achieve a greater understanding of life, and of the nature of human navigation through this incredible and absurd landscape.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Tinderbox - Review

Written by Alana Valentine, presented by Tredwood Productions 
Darlinghurst St Theatre, 4th-27th January, tickets from $33.00
Reviewed by Lana Hilton

Tinderbox is an amazing production which follows the intertwined lives of three very different people, connected by their contact with a physical and metaphoric fire. Through scenes and monologues Alana Valentine allows us to see the parallels between a burning, raging fire, and our own lives and relationships. Both can be burnt and damaged by accident, or on purpose.
Throughout the play the audience is confronted with the unfortunate tales of three characters who live in rural NSW. Each hastheir problems and is quite unusual. Alongside each story we are presented with historical facts about bushfires in Australia, and we learn the sad statistics of lives and property lost and the effect this has had on the land. This contrasting storyline forces you to consider your life and relationships, and note whether or not they too follow the patterns of fire.
The set design is sparse, uncomfortable and coupled with eerie spotlights and a soft glow against a smoky background, it as if you are thrust into a fire yourself, never quite knowing how to become untangled. Darlinghurst St Theatre is the perfect location for such a production, offering an intimate atmosphere for plays that project heavy emotion and leave the audience feeling breathless.
The three actors – Nastassja Djalog, Benjamin Ross and Alan Lovell - were undoubtedly 100% committed to their roles and at times I was gulping back tears as monologues conjured powerful, disturbing images in my mind. Each actor was focused, well-projected and utterly mesmerising. The vivid script made it a welcome piece to enjoy and I am sure the actors found it challenging enough to incite their brilliant performances.
The release of this production couldn’t have come at a better time, with our great, barren land currently being ravaged by fire and thousands of people being scarred emotionally and physically as each blaze takes its toll. Tinderbox is thought provoking in this sense, making you realise that the brutality of nature exists off the stage as well as on. And within and outside of ourselves.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer By Tim Watts

What can I say, Tim? Your performance, idea and production was flawless.
Tim has brought to Darlinghurst Theatre a multimedia performance that everybody will enjoy whatever age.  The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik is a story of a man who sadly looses his wife and the world needs a hero to save it as the waters rise due to global warming. Alvin volunteers to be this hero as he believes his wives spirit is in the sea and this is where, if the Earth is to be saved, it can be found.
Tim is multi-talented, he is a story teller, musician, puppeteer, cartoon artist, actor, I have probably missed some but he brings it all to the stage. His timing is precise which must have taken quite a bit of practice. The story is fairly simple, there are undertones of the seriousness of the ice caps melting, however the constant changes of media brings the stage alive and makes it very entertaining. This is paired with the odd moment of humour to make a very enjoyable 55 minutes.
Be quick and book now, (02) 8356 9987, this production will close on 11 June.

We asked Tim to tell us a little more!

Monday, 16 May 2011

I Only Came to Use the Phone

I only came to use the phone; based on several short stories by Gabriel García Márquez’s takes you on a journey of nightmarish proportions.
The soft and spellbinding tones of flamenco guitarist Damien Wright fills the room as we are introduced to Maria, a vivacious Mexican woman whose car has broken down on a bleak and baron highway. Desperate to contact her husband and let him know she will be late she accepts a ride on a ramshackle bus with the promise of being able to use a phone.
Unfortunately for our female lead she is accidently transported to a mental hospital and mistakenly admitted among a throng of new arrivals. Her voice echoes across the stage pointlessly pleading with those around her that ‘she only came to use the phone’. It is over the next 90 minutes that we watch as her unbelievably believable nightmare unfolds.
The play is undeniably a drama but smatterings of humour and romance offer the audience light reliefs. The ensemble cast of Julia Billington, David Hansen, Fayssal Bazzi and director Netta Yashcin are excellent as they change effortlessly between various characters of children, French tourists, prostitutes and fellow inmates. Bazzi, who had less than a week to prepare for the show, is particularly memorable as the murderous matron Herculina.
The standout of the entire play is Annabelle Stephenson who is captivating as the frantic Maria. Stephenson is haunting as the audience watches the once passionate and colourful character fade to nothing more than a mere shadow on stage.
Djore Swallow’s portrayal as Saturno, the jealous and fiery husband of Maria is extremely convincing, so too is their irrefutable chemistry.
The story is brought to life by Charlotte Lanes dilapidated, decrepit set, darkly lit by Rachel Smith.
Yashcin’s ability to not only direct this devastating play but offer an excellent performance as the chilling and foreboding  night matron is one of the many reasons this show is a must see.
Performances run Tuesday – Sunday 8pm.
Reviewed by Morgan Reardon