Posts Tagged ‘christopher hampton

07
Feb
16

Dangerous Liasons

Dangerous Liasons

Brisbane Powerhouse & Little Ones Theatre

Brisbane Powerhouse Theatre

February 3 – 5 2015

 

Reviewed by Rhumer Diball

 

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Deliciously decadent in all things revenge and ravishment related, Dangerous Liaisons bursts into the Brisbane Powerhouse MELT Queer Festival.

With an ostentatious design, gender reversed characters, a meticulous musical score and performances that are every bit as challenging as they are comedic, Little Ones Theatre brings a devilish spin to Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ classic text.
The aristocratic ensemble present issues of class, reputation, and trust, with director Stephen Nicolazzo exploiting the tragi-comedy’s eroticism, farcical nature, and underlying camp possibilities. Valmont (Janine Watson) and Mertuil (Alexandra Aldrich) drive the story’s lessons in the pleasures of revenge and sex, the politics of marriage and infidelity, and the overall importance of one’s weaknesses when in love. Aldrich shines as the conniving leading woman who seeks out revenge through the help of her ex-lover Valmont. Watson does well to maintain a subtle yet crucial masculinity to the alpha-male character Valmont, particularly when sharing scenes with Danceney played by Tom Dent, the lone male actor in the ensemble. As a pair, the two lead actresses hold their poise, power, and piercing personality when scheming for their own revenge which trickles down to influence the entire cast in one dangerous way or another. An honourable mention also goes to Amanda McGregor’s portrayal of the flowering teenage Cecile with a burning excitement for her development into womanhood before her wedding day and karaoke style performances of songs with a dazzling gold microphone.
Despite Catherine Davies’ effortless performance as both Azolan (Valmont’s energetic page) and the carnivorous courtesan Emilie, a subtle costume change, or rather, a stripping of costume down to a pair of pink underwear, worked against the differences between the two characters and blended the actress’ performance into one erotic tease for Valmont. While the ambiguity of this layering of characters was later amended through the script’s reveal of the courtesan, other choices seemed singular or too subtle, and were not used to their full effectiveness. A wiping away of makeup on both the endearingly defiant Tourvel (Brigid Gallagher) and her suitor Valmont displayed vulnerability just in time for tears to fall on naturally flushed skin. Other examples include an inconsistent use of female performers stripping down to reveal their bare breasts, a device which may have worked well if it were only used on the male characters they had been playing. Once again Emilie the Courtesan presented an ambiguity which came with confusing contradictions to the otherwise purposeful costume and gender reversed characterisation. If this very ambiguity was intentional, as if to portray a fluidity of gender, it would then join the other direction choices that were not applied to their full potential.
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Despite a few inconsistencies in their use, when paired with the direction, the design team Eugyeene Teh and Tessa Pitt brought a rich contrast of matching gold curtains, tables, lounges and props as decadent as the Ferrero Rochers eaten live on stage, with powerful pink costumes which were as historically accurate as they were playful. Daniel Nixon and Russell Goldsmith’s sound design was equally as captivating, with a mixture of harpsichord period music and modern electronic, rock and roll, and disco hits being played, sung and danced to during scene transitions, movement sequences and strip teases.

Little Ones Theatre take a melodramatic period piece to create a fluidity of genders and sexuality and an orgy of sexual innuendos, breasts set free, and cheeky games of connect four.

Dangerous Liaisons from Little Ones Theatre on Vimeo.

11
Jul
13

God of Carnage

 

God of Carnage

SRT & The Lind

The Lind Theatre

10 – 13 July 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage is a comedy of manners – without any manners whatsoever!

 

‘I work like a painter. If a painter is doing a portrait of someone, he’s not interested in their childhood. He paints what he sees.’ Yasmina Reza

 

I love working with Simon Denver and I love watching his work. His latest production for SRT at The Lind Theatre in Nambour – Yasmina Reza’s acclaimed God of Carnage – suffers only from a ridiculously short season, so BOOK NOW before reading on. You don’t want to miss this one.

 

“It was SO much better than the film.” Rachel Fentiman

 

I have to admit to having never seen the film (2011), which from all accounts remains pretty faithful to the text, translated by Christopher Dangerous Liaisons Hampton, but lacks understanding of the humour inherent in the dialogue. When I was at Sydney Theatre on Tuesday night to see The Maids, I stopped in the foyer and bought a copy of God of Carnage from Glee Books, and completely forgot to read it. But even for the non-theatre goers – or should I say, especially for the non-theatre goers – this is a wonderfully easy play to follow, and funny because it’s so familiar. The awkward moments are superbly uncomfortably so, and the witty upbeat banter and barely veiled vicious attacks are just what we expect in the circumstances. Theatre is a mirror and whether or not we like what we see, Reza’s razor sharp observations of diametrically opposed parents who meet to resolve an incident between their boys, is spot on. When the shiny veneer of polite conversation and pseudo mutual respect is stripped away we see all manner of undesirable qualities rise to the surface of even the most (seemingly) together “grown up”.

 

The joy and success of this production lies in its casting, and in the deft hand of Denver. Attention to detail is key, and Denver hasn’t missed a trick. If casting is ninety percent of the job, tweaking the performances must be the final ten percent. This is the ideal Sunshine Coast cast for this play, and each experienced performer is allowed ample time and opportunity to shine. I know these actors and their performances in this production are some of the strongest I’ve seen from each of them. Something tells me it won’t be the last we’ll see of this winning combination.

 

If you’re looking for a fast-paced 90-minute fun, funny, high voltage start to your night out, God of Carnage is it, but only until Saturday. Insightful writing (inspired by a real life event!), intelligent direction and a top-notch ensemble make this production a must-see. Theatre makers and theatre lovers will know they’ve seen something special, and for those who think they’ve seen it all, particularly the teachers of drama and directors of local theatre, some of whom have been so vocal lately about what good theatre looks like, you simply can’t afford to miss experiencing God of Carnage. I hope we see a return season sometime soon, but don’t count on it. Do yourself a favour and see it straight away. You’ll be glad you did!

 

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Featuring Frank Wilkie, Brett Klease, Sharon Grimly and Kate Cullen, God of Carnage must be the best non-musical on the Sunshine Coast this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Next at The Lind for a strictly limited Sunshine Coast season The Tipokis present Jason Robert Brown’s Songs For A New World