Posts Tagged ‘authors


Sex With Strangers


Sex With Strangers

Brisbane Powerhouse, Thomas Larkin & Troy Armstrong Management

Powerhouse Visy Theatre

February 11 – 21 2015


 Reviewed by Xanthe Coward




Thomas Larkin is Ethan, a sex blogger turned book author who falls in lust with Veronica Neave’s Olivia, a gifted and complicated novelist. When they meet at a writer’s retreat, romance and the digital age collide, as the pair confronts the dark side of ambition and the near-impossibility of reinventing oneself when the past is just a click away.


NOMINATED Silver Matilda Award – Best Independent Production


NOMINATED Silver Matilda Award – Best Male Actor in a Leading Role


NOMINATED Silver Matilda Award – Best Female Actor in a Leading Role


The Matilda Awards Night will be held on March 09 2015. See you there!


Laura Eason’s Sex With Strangers was one of last year’s hottest shows and it’s back! Well, only for another couple of performances, but I’m sure you heard about it already and went right ahead and booked! DIDN’T YOU? If you missed it last time, as I did due to Noosa Long Weekend Festival commitments, and you’ve missed it a second time, you’re a fool.


This is an incredibly neat and deep (as in thought provoking… THOUGHT PROVOKING. WHO ARE YOU?) little show that absolutely deserves the attention it’s attracted thus far. And if recent funding round success stories are anything to go by, it deserves not only this return season but a solid national tour. It’s been the most talked about show of 2014! If you do manage to catch it before it closes on Sunday,  you’ll need to stop by the bar for plenty of that lovely Rymill Dark Horse. If you’re not drinking, too bad; it will be like re-watching the first season of Sex and the City without cigarettes and coffee on hand. You may come away shaking. Just saying.




Coming away (without shaking, more like melting) from this one, I realised just how much I’d enjoyed seeing a “real” play, and not a musical or a comedy or a cabaret or any variation thereof, but a straight-up play, boasting a succinctly written, completely compelling and challenging story delivered by two terrific, totally honest actors bathed in beautiful light (Jason Glenwright & Tim Gawne) and sound (Dane Alexander) in a sharply designed space that actually serves the purpose and structure of the play (Troy Armstrong). Yep. I’m actually that easy to please. Get all the elements right and you got me. All the elements here are exquisitely balanced in simple, beautiful assembly, making this show a special little sexy treat, not unlike the goodie bag Sam brought home after the Fifty Shades of Grey preview event at Event Cinemas last week. (Edmo & Ash; I KNOW YOU ALSO HAVE GOODIE BAGS! BUT YOUR SECRET IS SAFE WITH ME!). Um. Thanks ever so, Totally Adult. Delightful. You can never be sure what will come out of the bag next! Experience it yourself!


It’s no secret that I love Thom Larkin. Like, I LOVE Thom Larkin. Is there actually anybody who doesn’t? (If there is they’re JEALOUSSSSS).


I ‘reckon we can safely say that Larkin is Australia’s answer to Alexander Skarsgard, with more than a passing resemblance given the right pool of luscious light, and, clearly, the same level of dedication when it comes to maintenance. He’s finally settled into his sun shy skin in Sex With Strangers (Is he goddamn GLISTENING? Like the OTHER OTHER VAMPIRE?). Larkin perfectly embodies the irresistibly brash blogger turned book writer, Ethan, who has made the title of show his, er, business…and pleasure for a year.


Paired with the slightly shy, sweet and suddenly sassy properly writerly character created by Veronica Neave, these two radiate the pure unadulterated joy and LUST you wish you’d discovered in Fifty Shades (don’t worry, you didn’t miss it; in Fifty Shades this brand of magnetic attraction doesn’t exist!).




Eason’s script has Neave’s complicated character stay quite cold towards Ethan Strange for some time, and Jennifer Flowers’ slick, unencumbered direction keeps Neave at some distance from him until we get to the inevitable romp and removal of shirts and pants and all of those boring inhibitions and what ifs and oh no; I can’t…but I could…oh wait I want to…okay I will! (She’s not silly, and she’s certainly not naive – well, perhaps a little – but she’s certainly conflicted. There is the age difference, there are Internet and IP issues…well, whatever. The thirty-somethings know what I’m talking about!). The frequent sexual interludes (in which Lisa Wilson has had a hand, no pun intended, obvs, but really, seriously; how does he flip Neave like that?!), are just glimpses of what you might imagine happens next, very tastefully, very artfully done. Each teaser is just enough to curl up the corners of your lips (and maybe your toes. WHO ARE YOU?) and inhale the quick, quiet breath you think you’ll have to hold…and then the lights fade and the deceptively simple plot continues with a beat change worthy of senior theatre syllabus inclusion. No, really! Is there a better, clearer example? (You’re right. There’s going to be a more appropriate one…). But wait for the twist! Not altogether surprising, it nevertheless comes as a shock, and we have to reconsider (or not!) our – a-hem – feelings for the sexy rock star blogger boy. Poor Olivia.










Warning: some viewers may experience several degrees of frustration by this stage of the play… Sex With Strangers is quite simply The. Hottest. Show. To. Hit. The. Visy.


There might be a few bewildering mixed messages for our younger viewers, but let’s not examine too closely the free love/tap that/blog this/steal that/Tweet this/Facebook that/publish this/claim that/consensual v non-consensual content. Let’s just dive on in and enjoy the STORY and the CHARACTERS and the PASSION, shall we? (And there is well-matched passion on many levels). It’s much more fun that way, like enjoying while it lasts, an illicit affair with a gorgeous someone who has a thing for very public places. What?


If you think there’s a more electrifying connection between two actors on stage during the love month of February you must be at the Lyric Theatre. Larkin and Neave need to fly with this one, and take it everywhere. It’s too hot to keep here. Share the love! Don’t we all desire theatre as thrilling as sex with strangers Sex With Strangers?!


Final Performances:


Today (Friday) at 7pm


Tomorrow (Saturday) at 2pm & 7pm


Sunday at 4pm




Chicks In Charge at Reality Bites Festival 2013







From Thursday 25th – Sunday 28th July, at various venues in Cooroy, the Reality Bites Festival fills four glorious Sunshine Coast days with books, writers, readers, ideas, inspiration, friends, music and comedy.


I was going to just move into someone’s – anyone’s – place in Cooroy and commit to this entire festival! It will be amazing, but unfortunately I’ll be lucky to get to one or two sessions.


In my current state of identity crisis (how many resumes highlighting various skill sets do you have saved on your desktop? Just wondering…), I’m looking forward to attending more theatre again this weekend and less (meaning not as much as I would like) writerly events. OH! But I’m excited to be attending the launch of Brisbane Writers Festival on Friday night before seeing Venus in Fur (again! It’s Date Night!).







Also, you would know if you’re keeping up with us on Twitter and Instagram, that I now have a no-dig organic vege garden out the back, a plant nursery on and around the barbecue by the kitchen, and a chook house with three lovely girls in the back corner of the block to keep up with!

Whose crazy idea was it to start living more sustainably? HUH?!

Also, my twenty-year school reunion is coming up in August and


Anyway, if you can get to anything at the Reality Bites Festival DO IT! And let me know your thoughts. It WILL be amazing!

In 2012 when former Prime Minister Julia Gillard said societies only reach their full potential when women participate politically, shock-jock Alan Jones responded by saying: ‘Women are destroying the joint.’ His comment prompted not only a tide of outrage but a social media movement that now has over 20,000 supporters on its Facebook page.

After becoming a rallying point for activism against sexism and misogyny in the media, DTJ – as it’s known – became the inspiration for a book edited by author and social commentator Jane Caro. Destroying the Joint: Why Women have to Change the World is a thought-provoking collection of essays, analysis, memoir, fiction, satire and polemic by some Australia’s best and brightest female writers in response to Jones’s comment and the broader issue of sexism and misogyny in our culture.

Contributors Catherine Deveny and Krissy Kneen, as well as fellow ‘destroyer’ and reknowned feminist Anne Summers will discuss why women need to change the world (Saturday July 27, 12:30 – 1:30pm).

Anne Summers, author of the seminal God’s Whores and Damned Police , will also talk about her new book The Misogyny Factor and why Australia – the land of the fair go – still hasn’t figured out how to make men and women equal. Joining her on the panel ‘Little Tales of Misogyny’ (Sunday July 27, 10:00 – 11:00am) will be Overland editor and social commentator, Jeff Sparrow, and social worker and author of the memoir Crime Wife, Tanya Levin. Then of course is the wrecking ball herself, Catherine Deveny, knocking over sacred cows left right and centre. She will be doing a stand up show at the Majestic Theatre in Pomona on Friday night, 26 July.


But it’s not all about tearing down the status quo – it’s also about the healing that we can do with words. Alesa Lajana, music educator and singer songwriter who appears on the same bill will be doing her best to repair the racial rift in Australian society by telling our shared history in song.


Mary Lou Stevens’ memoir is about healing the self by going deep into the terror places in her Sex, Drugs and Meditation, and Kristy Chambers talks about her (Un)Brilliant career as a nurse at ‘Who Cares’, an Afternoon Tea talk at Tea-Licious.

That reminds me, my signed copy of Sex, Drugs and Meditation is still with the girls at Sinerji! I should pop in and pick it up since they’re having a sale so near now that we’ve moved, and it would be no problem just to race in and out to pick up my book.

You can buy your own copy by following the links here.


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Kristina Olsson talks about the invisibility of women in their own stories in her new memoir Boy, Lost, in which she describes the silence and secrets of her mother (her child was taken from her by his father). Hers is an act of familial healing.

Eve Stewart, the heroine of Judy Powell’s soon to be released biography Love’s Obsession, personifies persistence and attention to detail. Eve was the wife of firebrand archaeologist Jim Stewart who began the first school of Archaeology in Australia. Eve, herself a trained archaeologist, spent most of her life cataloguing their work, determined to see it into print and cement his place in history.

Sessions sell out quickly so organisers are urging festival patrons to get in early. Single session tickets are only available a the door – best to make sure of your place with a weekend pass.


Check out the program and book online or in person at Annie’s Books, Peregian.