Author Archive for Xanthe Coward

28
Jul
15

Helpmann Awards 2015

 

Helpmann Award Winners 2015

 

Congratulations to all 2015 Helpmann Award winners

 

Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) today congratulated all winners of the 2015 Helpmann Awards that were celebrated at a star-studded event in Sydney last night.

 

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said in particular he wanted to thank the partners who have worked with QPAC to achieve nominations and awards wins at this year’s Helpmanns.

 

Kotzas said, “The high standard of artistic achievement that can be accomplished via our partnerships with artistic visionaries Leo Schofield and Jarrod Carland for Brisbane Baroque, as well as closer to home companies such as Circa, Expressions Dance Company, Opera Queensland and Griffith University, along with our fellow Australian performing arts centres in Sydney, Melbourne Perth and Canberra has been proven by this year’s accolades. 

 

“Creating art is a collaborative process and this has underpinned our shared success at these Awards. Such partnerships have been cultivated throughout QPAC’s history of presenting live performance in Queensland and we have been celebrating these relationships throughout this, our 30th anniversary year”, said Mr Kotzas. 

 

camilleosullivan

 

CABARET

BEST CABARET PERFORMER
Camille O’Sullivan
Camille O’Sullivan – Changeling
Arts Centre Melbourne

COMEDY

BEST COMEDY PERFORMER
Judith Lucy
Judith Lucy – Ask No Questions of The Moth
Token Events

CONTEMPORARY MUSIC

BEST AUSTRALIAN CONTEMPORARY CONCERT
Chet Faker | National Tour 2015
Chet Faker, Frontier Touring, Artist Voice, Opulent, Future Classic & Perth International Arts Festival

BEST CONTEMPORARY MUSIC FESTIVAL
Vivid Live 2015
Destination NSW and Sydney Opera House

BEST INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY CONCERT
Ed Sheeran | X World Tour 2015
Ed Sheeran & Frontier Touring

 

frameofmind

 

DANCE AND PHYSICAL THEATRE

BEST BALLET OR DANCE WORK
Frame of Mind
Sydney Dance Company

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY IN A DANCE OR PHYSICAL THEATRE PRODUCTION
Rafael Bonachela
Frame of Mind
Sydney Dance Company

BEST FEMALE DANCER IN A DANCE OR PHYSICAL THEATRE PRODUCTION
Chloe Leong
William Forsythe’s Quintett
Sydney Dance Company

BEST MALE DANCER IN A DANCE OR PHYSICAL THEATRE PRODUCTION
Cass Mortimer Eipper
William Forsythe’s Quintett
Sydney Dance Company

BEST VISUAL AND/OR PHYSICAL THEATRE PRODUCTION
The Paper Architect
Davy and Kristin McGuire and Perth International Arts Festival

 

lesmis
MUSICALS

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY IN A MUSICAL
Andrew Hallsworth
Anything Goes
Opera Australia & John Frost

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
John Tiffany
ONCE
John Frost, Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart Jr, Patrick Milling Smith and Frederick Zollo in association with the Melbourne Theatre Company

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Kerrie Anne Greenland
Les Misérables
Cameron Mackintosh

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Caroline O’Connor
Anything Goes
Opera Australia & John Frost

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Alex Rathgeber
Anything Goes
Opera Australia & John Frost

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Simon Gleeson
Les Misérables
Cameron Mackintosh

BEST MUSICAL
Les Misérables
Cameron Mackintosh

 

faramondo
OPERA AND CLASSICAL MUSIC

BEST DIRECTION OF AN OPERA
Paul Curran
Faramondo
Brisbane Baroque in association with QPAC

BEST FEMALE PERFORMER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN AN OPERA
Anna Devin
Faramondo
Brisbane Baroque in association with QPAC

BEST FEMALE PERFORMER IN AN OPERA
Jennifer Rivera
Faramondo
Brisbane Baroque in association with QPAC

BEST MALE PERFORMER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN AN OPERA
Christopher Lowrey
Faramondo
Brisbane Baroque in association with QPAC

BEST MALE PERFORMER IN AN OPERA
Michael Fabiano
Faust
Opera Australia

BEST OPERA
Faramondo
Brisbane Baroque in association with QPAC

BEST CHAMBER AND/OR INSTRUMENTAL ENSEMBLE CONCERT
Les Arts Florissants and Le Jardin des Voix in Un Jardin à l’italienne
Melbourne Recital Centre, Sydney Opera House and Perth International Arts Festival

BEST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONCERT
Reflections on Gallipoli
Australian Chamber Orchestra

BEST INDIVIDUAL CLASSICAL MUSIC PERFORMANCE
William Christie
William Christie
Melbourne Recital Centre, Sydney Opera House and Perth International Arts Festival

 

REGIONAL TOURING AND CHILDREN’S PRESENTATION

BEST REGIONAL TOURING PRODUCTION
Festival of Circa
Circa

BEST PRESENTATION FOR CHILDREN
The Rabbits
An Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company co – production. In association with West Australian Opera. Commissioned by Perth International Arts Festival and Melbourne Festival

 

theglassmenagerie

THEATRE

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY
Kip Williams
Suddenly Last Summer
Sydney Theatre Company

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A PLAY
Helen Thomson
After Dinner
Sydney Theatre Company

BEST FEMALE ACTOR IN A PLAY
Pamela Rabe
The Glass Menagerie
Belvoir

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A PLAY
John Bell
As You Like It
Bell Shakespeare

BEST MALE ACTOR IN A PLAY
Hugo Weaving
Endgame
Sydney Theatre Company

BEST PLAY
The Glass Menagerie
Belvoir

 

therabbits
INDUSTRY AWARDS

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Gabriela Tylesova
The Rabbits
An Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company co- production. In association with West Australian Opera. Commissioned by Perth International Arts Festival and Melbourne Festival

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN
Paule Constable
Les Misérables
Cameron Mackintosh

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Kate Miller-Heidke with Iain Grandage
The Rabbits
An Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company co – production. In association with West Australian Opera. Commissioned by Perth International Arts Festival and Melbourne Festival

BEST MUSIC DIRECTION
Martin Lowe
ONCE
John Frost, Barbara Broccoli, John N. Hart Jr, Patrick Milling Smith and Frederick Zollo in association with the Melbourne Theatre Company

BEST SCENIC DESIGN
Geoff Cobham
Little Bird
State Theatre Company of South Australia in association with Adelaide Festival Centre

BEST SOUND DESIGN
Mick Potter
Les Misérables
Cameron Mackintosh

BEST NEW AUSTRALIAN WORK
Kate Miller-Heidke – composer, Lally Katz – librettist, and Iain Grandage – musical arrangements and additional music
The Rabbits
An Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company co – production. In association with West Australian Opera. Commissioned by Perth International Arts Festival and Melbourne Festival

 

journeyofthegiants

 

2015 HELPMANN AWARDS BESTOWED AWARD

BEST SPECIAL EVENT
ROYAL DE LUXE and PERTH INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL
The Incredible and Phenomenal Journey of the Giants to the Streets of Perth

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

SUE NATTRASS AWARD®
ERIC ROBINSON

JC WILLIAMSON AWARD®
PAUL KELLY

 

anythinggoes_cast

 

Be ready to get on board as the hilarious Helpmann Award winning musical Anything Goes officially opens tonight (Tuesday 28 July) at Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC).

 

The new John Frost/Opera Australia production of Anything Goes was presented with three Helpmann Awards during last night’s star-studded awards ceremony at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre hosted by Todd McKenney. Caroline O’Connor won Best Female Actor in a Musical, Alex Rathgeber won Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical, and Andrew Hallsworth won Best Choreography in a Musical.

 

Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini AM and leading Australian theatre producer John Frost AM were thrilled. “We are extremely proud of Anything Goes, and very happy for this well-deserved recognition for Caroline, Alex and Andrew,” they said. “The show was acclaimed by critics and audiences alike in Melbourne, and we can’t wait to open to Brisbane audiences tonight.”

 

28
Jul
15

Slammed

 

Slammed

Crosstown Artists

Brisbane Powerhouse Visy Theatre

July 23 – August 1 2015

 

Reviewed by Meredith Walker

 

BPH_Slammed_1_20151-1178x663

 

Creating a new work can be both joy and challenge and both of these aspects are evident in the realisation of Stefanie Brooke Harper’s Slammed on stage following its release as a text for school study. As a resource, it is a work that promises to explore “the life and hard times of everyone you know” through examination of thought-provoking themes and contemporary social issues, which is, of course commendable in intent, for exposure brings understanding and there are few vehicles for understanding more effective than the theatre. And in this regard, the theatrical fulfilment of the show certainly delivers what it promises on the page and a whole lot more; this is the problem.

 

The story begins in a fictitious but familiar contemporary Australian high school with a classroom scene of teacher trying to engage her Year 10 class, clearly featuring students of varying interest levels, in study of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. This is one of many engaging schoolroom scenes, whose exaggerated authenticity produce some genuinely funny moments. These also serve to showcase a naturalism in dialogue and realness of connection with audience members. However, the story of Slammed is about more than just the students, with teachers refreshingly given backstories alongside those of the teenage characters. This allows opportunity to explore a multitude of social issues which, unfortunately, is ultimately to the show’s detriment, as indicated by the increasingly restless audience as the show’s duration approached the 2.5 hour mark.

 

By adding backstory, the play moves beyond dramatic familiarity into the tragedy of real people’s lives, however, this is not used sparingly so works against itself. Minor and unnecessary scenes (such as the provision of an Act Two divorce backstory to an insignificant character, from a narrative perspective) seem only to have been included to ensure coverage of a wide variety of teenage experiences and parenting styles and actually detract from overall cohesion. However, while some of the narrative threads are a little stereotypical in this regard, they are well-written and powerfully acted, meaning that any initial cliché is easily overlooked.

 

The cast is a large one, of varying experience and abilities. Chris Kellett anchors the ensemble in his contrasting parental roles, but features so infrequently that his talents seem wasted. And newcomer Dane Brady, as protagonist Jake Ryan, neglected by his father and abandoned by his mother, is authentic in his conveyance of sullen teenager, to the impairment of vocal projection and audience engagement when so many of his Act One lines are delivered with back to the audience and his poetry slam moment is sans gesture as enhancement of message.

 

In contrast, Daniel Hurst delivers a memorable performance as bullying victim David Lawson, particularly in his poetry slam, which is delivered with an entertaining rhythm that sets it apart from the others, even if its environmental focus is quite superfluous to the central narrative. And as genuine, well-meaning teacher Fiona Finlay, Gabriella Flowers gives a measured, nuanced and natural performance that captures the cadence central to her character’s demeanour.

 

Staging is simple and functional, allowing audiences to look thorough the walls of people’s lives to see that all are slammed in some way. This versatile use of the Visy Theatre space is of particular credit to the show’s creatives, given that the work was originally devised for a standard proscenium stage. However, with scenes established so effectively, the use of technology to announce locations and time of day seems tokenistic.

 

With its fusion of thought-provoking ideas and contemporary, edgy elements, Slammed has much to offer audiences. It is full of moments of truth and connection, making it an easily accessible piece for young people and non-theatre goers. And its passion in dealing with so many important social issues is to be applauded, even if, in its current cluttered form it serves as illustration of the truth of the cliché that less is more.

 

BPH_Slammed_4_2015-1178x663

 

27
Jul
15

Happy Days

 

Happy Days

Queensland Theatre Company

Bille Brown Studio, The Greenhouse

July 18 – August 15 2015

 

Reviewed by Katelyn Panagiris

 

happydays3

 

 

Winnie has a brave heart first and foremost. We are all trying to make our way through life as best we can and Winnie uses all the resources that are available to her, wisely husbanded, to get through the day. This script is like a piece of music and you must let yourself feel it through to the end, and then consider the journey.

– Carol Burns

 

 

Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days centres on a woman in the autumn years of her life buried to her waist – and then neck – in a mound of earth.

 

Joined only by her quiet husband Willie, Winnie passes each “happy day” combing her hair, brushing her teeth and babbling away until the bell for sleep rings. Her plight is familiar – a common theme in Beckett’s work and the work of several other Absurdist playwrights where man (or in this case woman) tries to find meaning in a meaningless world.

 

happydays1

 

In this production, directed by Wesley Enoch, we are once again at the mercy of Beckett’s darkly humorous world. The isolated world of Happy Days is displayed as bleak but warm by Penny Challen’s design: a large rock structure is set against the unchanging backdrop of a sunset, and Ben Hughes’ lighting design evokes images of the scathing sun. These design elements remain true to Beckett’s assertion that the whole setting should present “a pathetic unsuccessful realism” as the backdrop is poorly hung and the stage is quite literally framed by a large golden border. With this we are constantly reminded of our position as a voyeur, hesitantly peering into Winnie’s monotonous life.

 

happydays2

 

Carol Burns’ performance in the demanding role of Winnie is simply phenomenal: she is engaging, versatile and expressive throughout the 90-minute monologue.

 

Her portrayal of the eternally optimistic Winnie is simultaneously heartwarming and harrowing, especially when all that remains of Winnie is her head above the earth. What is most remarkable about Burns’ performance is the meticulousness with which she treats every word, every syllable and every pause, thus unlocking the musicality of Beckett’s text.

 

happydays4

 

Despite the density of the text, Enoch ensures there is never a dull moment, carefully monitoring the ebb and flow of the play and foregrounding Happy Days’ funniest moments.

 

In particular, Steven Tandy’s performance as Willie is playful and humorous, and his presence is always felt even when words fail his character.

 

happydays5

 

Queensland Theatre Company’s Happy Days is an engaging and enjoyable production – and no doubt an authentic realisation of Beckett’s text – however I am left questioning its relevance in our modern age. Why this play now? One could argue the timelessness of Beckett’s exploration of existence, however fifty years on I am left wanting more: what else can be brought to the table? Where else can this play take us?

 

 

Production pics by Rob Maccoll

 

17
Jul
15

HOME

 

Home

QTC & Force of Circumstance

Diane Cilento Studio, The Greenhouse

July 14 – 25 2015

 

Reviewed by Katelyn Panagiris

 

home

 

 

Presented by Queensland Theatre Company and produced by Force of Circumstance, HOME is a rich, poignant and honest exploration of what home means. It has a pure intent to include the audience completely in this exploration, resulting in an experience that is evocative and deeply personal.

 

 

HOME is a journey across time and space that takes us to New York, Sydney, Brisbane, Texas and Egypt, encompassing everything from acceptance to growing up, family, love and ultimately, belonging. What emerges is a tapestry of stories from Margi Brown Ash’s own life that are intricately woven together by director Leah Mercer and powerfully performed by Margi Brown Ash and her son, Travis Ash.

 

We are told from the start of the performance that we are not one self but many across a lifetime. As a young person I find this prospect comforting and exciting, and I am reminded of George Bernard Shaw’s quote, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Over the course of the play, Margi Brown Ash recreates herself over and over again: we see ‘Margi the Teenager’, ‘Margi the Mother’, ‘Margi the Actor’ and so on. Her performance is honest and magnetic, quite literally drawing audience members on stage with her to assume several roles within the play. Travis Ash’s performance as a storyteller is equally kind and generous and he gives voice to those from across the world with a fundamentally different experience of home.

 

In fact, warmth permeates through every element of this production.

 

Bev Jensen’s design creates an open and malleable space that contains reminders of the comforts of home, and the combination of Ben Hughes’ lighting design and Travis Ash’s composition is highly evocative. Moreover, the interaction of AV, lighting, set and costume design allows for endless opportunities for clever play throughout the performance.

 

HOME is comprised of many playful, familiar moments – such as the chaotic dinner table with newly proclaimed vegetarian teenager – alongside moments that are unfamiliar and distant from my own life. In particular, the story of a Palestinian man whose home is destroyed by the Israeli military is insightful and a moving reminder that I belong not only to Australia, but to a global community responsible for the safety and belonging of all.

 

After all, “your story is my story”.

 

HOME is a unique and special experience that connects artist and audience; past, present and future, and the many homes that we inhabit throughout our lives. The true power of HOME lays in its ability to awaken individual stories so that it is almost impossible to talk about this performance without talking about one’s own sense of home. HOME plays at QTC’s newly named Diane Cilento Studio until July 25. It’s a performance not to be missed.

 

16
Jul
15

Larry Paradiseo and the Fabulous Dame Farrar

 

Larry Paradiseo and the Fabulous Dame Farrar

Judith Wright Centre & WIV 

Judith Wright Centre

July 15 – 18 2015

 

Reviewed by Katy Cotter 

 

dame-farrar

 

A soft amber light shone down upon a grand piano on stage, though when act one commenced, the star appeared from the back of the theatre, sauntering through the audience with a very large (wait, is there such a thing?) martini glass. The Fabulous Dame Farrar was adorned in pink – everything pink – except for her ebony curls and sequinned purse. Oh yes, the diva had well and truly arrived. She was fierce, highly intoxicated, and ready to belt out a few tunes.

 

Like any good showgirl, she had the gift of the gab and spun a few stories about her gloriously tragic life and many, many lovers. I was magically whisked back to my childhood birthday parties, when there was always that one family friend who had a few too many shanties and got rowdy.

 

I’m certain we all have a Dame Farrar in our lives and thank goodness we do, otherwise how boring life would be.

 

She’s naughty and says all the things we wish we could. Though, laying one’s cards out on the table leaves them susceptible to a myriad of pains.

 

As the Dame continued to drink and to sing, she slowly began to break down until she was howling in a heap on the floor. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Ugh, the lament of a broken heart! Even though she kept the audience laughing, there were brief moments of truth, of bitter sadness that made me want to run up on stage and give her a big hug. As they say, the show must go on, and it certainly did. Dame Farrar bared all…well, thankfully not all. She may be a beautifully tragic diva but no matter how many times she tripped over, not a drop of liquor was spilt. Now that’s a professional!

 

larry-paradiseo

 

Act two was all about the music-God, the ladies-man, the stud, Larry Paradiseo. He too cruised through the audience with winking eyes and wandering hands. The man had charm and charisma and he knew it all too well. It was as if the world had stopped spinning just for him and it was his sole purpose to woo every woman in the room.

 

Suddenly I was thinking about other male performers like Tom Jones, Robbie Williams and (unfortunately) Kanye West. There may be differing opinions on these men, but there is no denying the fact they know how to entertain; they have a certain persona that engages and attracts. They are so full of themselves that you can’t seem to tear your eyes away from them. Larry’s eyes were sometimes closed as he bent over fondling the microphone and was no doubt travelling to his inner core, his ego. Other times his eyes stared up at the heavens with his arms outstretched as if thanking the Gods for his extraordinary talents. But he always came back to Earth to lock eyes with another fair lady in the audience. It was when he sang, It’s Lonely at the Top, that there was a glimpse at the man behind the name Larry Paradiseo. It got me wondering how many celebrities are hiding behind their famous names. By the end of his act, it was obvious that Larry was done with hiding, and he threw his inhibitions (and clothes) to the wind!

 

Carita Farrer Spencer, the woman behind this deliciously wicked double-bill cabaret, is a truly outstanding performer.

 

She inhabits both characters with such commitment and passion. Dame Farrar and Larry Paradiseo are hilarious and wonderfully flawed, and audiences can’t help but fall completely in love with them. A one-woman show…no, one-man show…oh bother, a one-person show is no easy feat, however; Spencer commands the stage with an incredible voice and effortless comedic timing. This show had me laughing to the point of tears, and wanting to call up that crazy family friend for a night out on the town! Happy Scotch n Dry July!

 

16
Jul
15

Country Song

 

Country Song

Queensland Theatre Company

QPAC Cremorne

July 4 – August 8 2015

 

Reviewed by Chanel Lucas

 

countrysong

 

QTC’s musical play Country Song juxtaposes the career of Australian singer Jimmy Little against key events in our political and human rights history to create an interesting and entertaining story.

 

Jimmy Little can be described as one of Australia’s first and greatest country music stars. He toured around Australia during the 60s and 70s but his career extended to acting and in the late 90s and 2000s he recorded and released songs by contemporary artists such as Paul Kelly, Bernard Fanning, Nick Cave and Dave Graney.

 

As Jimmy Little, Michael Tuahine spent most of the show under a single spotlight, in front of a microphone, with his guitar, as the tumultuous events of Australian Aboriginal history occurred around him. We were invited into his world backstage and as an audience for his live shows with a simple stage design and spotlights on the main action. Events such as the 1965 Freedom Ride and race riot in Moree; or the rise of boxer Lionel Rose placed Jimmy Little’s life story into a larger context. The show seemed to be almost apologetic that this famous singer did not engage with the protests and social justice issues of his time and yet celebrated this gentle man who ‘just wanted to sing’.

 

The ensemble does a great job, each performer playing multiple characters with sensitivity and humour, and making up the competent on-stage band for the show. Megan Sarmardin and Elaine Crombie both bring strong singing voices, producing endearing characterisations of singer Auriel Andrew, and of Little’s mother Frances. Tuahine is very natural and has a similar vocal style to Jimmy Little. He is a confident guitarist, and leads the band through the songs with ease. The crowd around me were tapping and singing along the whole way through. Musical Director, Jamie Clarke, produces a capable on-stage live band from the actors involved.

 

countrysong_michaeltuahine

 

The music is a real highlight of the show, featuring songs such as the classic Little hits Royal Telephone, Oh Danny Boy, and I Want To Thank You, were presented alongside his more contemporary 1999 cover Under the Milky Way Tonight, which seemed to be an anthem for this gentle man constantly wondering, “I wish I knew what you were looking for”.

 

There are some truly beautiful moments during the show.

 

I think some in the audience came expecting a Jimmy Little tribute show in the vein of Elvis or Fleetwood Mac RSL shows. This show did not meet those expectations, although we did hear excellent versions of many of Little’s hits. The ‘live show’ scenes in the play really did lend themselves to a bit of ‘whoo-hooing’ and clapping along from the crowd.

 

countrysong_jimmy

 

I felt that the show could have benefited from amplification in all of the scenes. There were some scenes ‘backstage’ or in Little’s family house that lost some momentum because they were so much quieter than the ‘on-stage’ scenes. This may have been a deliberate choice by the production team however, to make the ‘on-stage’ scenes have more impact on the audience.
The show runs at the Cremorne Theatre at QPAC until 8 August and then tours to regional venues. If you love country music – go see this. If you are interested in Australian history and music – go see this. If you enjoy musicals and local stories – go see this. Country Song is heartwarming and entertaining, and you’ll jump up for a dance at the end!

 

 

15
Jul
15

The Forwards

 

The Forwards

Zeal Theatre & The Arts Centre Gold Coast

The Space, The Arts Centre Gold Coast

July 9 – 18 2015

 

Reviewed by Katy Cotter

 

theforwards

 

In 2004 founder of Zeal Theatre, Stefo Nantsou, was asked to create a piece of ‘contemporary theatre reflecting the experiences of young people in regional communities.’ The company ran workshops at numerous high schools that revealed common issues surrounding sport, alcohol and drug abuse, unemployment and small town rivalries. Nantsou took these stories, transforming them into a play for three actors.

 

In collaboration with Shock Therapy Productions and The Arts Centre Gold Coast, The Forwards is both hilarious and heart-wrenching, focusing on the Pintoon Parrots, who have made it to the AFL grand final.

 

The whole town has come to support their boys, in particular the three stellar kickers – Rabbit, Hoges and Tractor. It all begins the night before the big game when everyone is partying hard. The narrative follows the three kickers as they struggle with the pressures of being the best and denying the temptations of alcohol, drugs and reckless behaviour.

 

theforwards_sidelines

 

The audience is first introduced to Julie, Rabbit’s girlfriend, both played by Ellen Bailey. Julie is worried that Rabbit’s fascination with drugs will jeopardise his chance to prove his sporting talent. Bailey moves between the two characters with ease, playing Julie with a captivating sensitivity that has the audience hanging on her every word, and then switching to the hot-headed Rabbit who keeps his hands in his pockets and eyes to the ground. Hoges (Sam Foster) and Tractor (Hayden Jones) are Rabbit’s best friends and the relationship between the three changes drastically. Foster and Jones, founders of Shock Therapy Productions, are two extremely skilled actors who completely immerse themselves in the physicality of their characters. Jones also plays the role of the Coach, and anyone who grew up watching their brothers play footy, will recognize that Jones’ portrayal is spot on.

 

There are so many comical characters the actors portray which display their versatility and help build the image of an entire town.

 

Nanstou and co-founder of Zeal Theatre, Rob Dilley, made cameo appearances as some of the townsfolk when they weren’t playing the musical score for the show. Situated at the back of the stage, Dilley kept the beat on the drums while Nanstou played guitar. Their presence doesn’t pull attention away from the action happening on stage. They keep their focus on the actors and remain within the world of the show.

 

Nanstou’s performance as Julie’s Dad is distressing and the symbol of the coke can is one I won’t forget.

 

theforwards_hero

 

Zeal Theatre is known for their style of physical theatre and it is one of the play’s greatest strengths.

 

The choreography of the football game has all the drama and physical finesse as the real thing, and is accompanied by a high intensity drum solo by Dilley. Although some of the sound effects made by the actors and the use of mime were sometimes unnecessary and distracting, the commitment to every movement throughout the entirety of the play made it difficult for the audience to disengage. Without giving too much away, there is a scene where a series of repetitive gestures spoke louder than words, and this is a true testament to Nantsou’s direction. The scene was far more emotional and engaging without dialogue, leaving the audience to fill in the silence with their own experience of grief.

 

The Forwards explores themes of friendship, betrayal and the disastrous ramifications of binge-drinking.

 

The story has a perfect balance of drama and comedy and must be told so that history is not repeated. The unbelievable pressure put upon young people to succeed is a harsh reality and the current sporting culture we have in Australia cannot be ignored. You have to be the best otherwise you’re nothing. The Forwards remind us that the upmost importance is nurturing and encouraging our young athletes in positive ways. Season must finish Saturday.

 

 

SUPPORT SHOCK THERAPY’S PRODUCTION OF THE PILLOWMAN HERE

 

 

BPH_The_Pillowman_1_2015-1178x663




Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow on Bloglovin

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

The foyer empties...and we are still workin' on those poses #schoolnightwhatschoolnight #theadventuresofpoppy #anythinggoesau #anythinggoes #kickau @anythinggoesau @atqpac 😉

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,350 other followers