Posts Tagged ‘David Berthold

29
May
16

The Tragedy of King Richard III

 

The Tragedy of King Richard III

La Boite Theatre Company

La Boite Roundhouse

May 21 – June 11 2016

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

richard5

History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.

– Napoleon Bonaparte

After a questionable start to the 2016 season, La Boite triumphs with The Tragedy of King Richard III – affectionately referred to here as Dick3 – the most intriguing, challenging and satisfying theatrical event of the year so far. An exhumation, a thorough examination by brilliant minds, Queensland Premier Drama Award winners, Marcel Dorney and Daniel Evans, this production not only brings together two of the country’s best writers, but gathers together on stage and off, a truly formidable team of creatives.

Undoubtedly our most fearless director, Evans is able to find compassion in raging fury and irreverent fun in serious ethical and political discourse, creating a new form of theatre; a new style of conversation that challenges and rewards deeply, actors and audiences.

This is the sort of show we expect to see come to us direct from an acclaimed season overseas, and perhaps premiere at Brisbane Festival (September brings Snow Whitethis Shakespeare, and a whole lot more to the table). It’s the sort of show that makes us question everything we thought we knew about theatre and history, and the way we continue to look at the world. It’s a show that turns you inside out, slams you upside down and spits on you, laughing, before reaching out to help you get to your feet again, asking with genuine concern, “Do you want a Milo?”

It’s lucky/exciting/apt for Queensland that our top two companies are starting to make a habit now of giving wings to slightly more unconventional ideas and the support to help them take flight. This one soars and I won’t be at all surprised if, just as La Boite’s Edward Gant did, Dick3 attracts the attention of some of the nation’s other major players. In fact, I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t.

richard3_blood

Dick3 is one of the most designed productions we’ve seen in this space (Designer Kieran Swann, Lighting Designer Jason Glenwright, Composer Guy Webster), utilising the very air that exists between light and rain, and the cold, wet ground, surrounding the raised floor with a black catwalk containing hidden trap doors storing a stash of props and wardrobe pieces inside each space, and having performers take hold of lights for good reason, rather than as a token effort to involve them in the meta layers of the storytelling. 

Because this is certainly not Shakespeare. This is very un-Shakespeare – next level Shakespeare – and it comes with the confident “fuck you” of a generation of genuinely passionate theatre makers who strive for a little more than mediocrity (unlike the next), brilliantly combining box office appeal with original experimental storytelling, questioning far more than they end up divulging and forcing us to reconsider the known “facts” of the history of the world and, in this case, one of the most infamous of Shakespeare’s historical characters. 

richard9

I’m gazing into blue space when Naomi Price appears in front of me, in a Kate Middleton inspired ensemble, with a hand held mic, which she raises to her mouth after pronouncing very loudly and clearly and properly and powerfully and Shakespearingly, “NOW…”  She firmly, politely tells us to turn our mobile phones to Off not Silent and asks that those who insist on leaving their phones on Silent, raise their gadget in the air and admit it. She asks those who didn’t decide – neither switching to Silent or admitting doing so – WHY? There is laughter and we are immediately relaxed and somewhat thrown by this direct address…

Price proceeds to stride around the catwalk and paint a picture that is so vivid, so real, we feel as if we’re in the carpark in Leicester in 2012, standing, shivering, wondering what’s come before us, and looking down upon the reviled bones of King Richard III.

richard8

There is the smell of burning rubber, steam rising, mist swirling, rain falling, blood pooling, blue pouring and splashing and emptying across the stage, the concrete that becomes marble before our eyes, the sponge hump, the gnarled hands, the buckets, the handhelds, the dagger, the sword, the paper crown, the tarp, the blank pages of the book – it could be Harry Potter, an empowering choice for a child actor (he’ll take what he can) – and there is us. Always us, purveyors and interpreters and interlopers; I actually feel unwelcome at times, as if I’m at the wrong dinner party. And this is deliberate, because ultimately, who cares about so much of the history we’re told is true? Is it? If it is, what of it? If we’re sitting there, attempting to intellectualise or justify or reframe in a postmodern context anything that comes from the annuls, it’s shot down in flames and we’re offered an alternate view that suddenly seems more reasonable than our originally held belief. 

Always surprising, this show is the one extra Tequila shot at the end of the night that sees us agreeing with someone we’d presumed would never even make the guest list. Dick3 is an equaliser, a game changer. If the national culture leaned more towards arts than football, this is the match of the season, and could just as easily be seen in a stadium. Imagine that!

richard10

 

It’s difficult to understand the reluctance to more reasonably support arts and culture. More Australians go to art galleries each year than go to the AFL and NRL combined. The creative industries employ more people than agriculture, construction or even mining, and indeed contribute as much as 75% of the economic benefit of the mining sector…

Let’s talk about STEAM rather than STEM. Science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics should all be key parts of our education curriculum. Decades of research shows that artistic engagement nourishes all learning, so if we want an innovative, imaginative and well-rounded nation, let’s have one…

People have a right to arts and culture.

 

David Berthold, AD Brisbane Festival

 

richard3

Price is so powerful in this space, with the vocals and stage presence to knock you flat. She sets the scene and establishes the connection with the audience, which the performers maintain throughout. We connect with each of them. We’re part of this story, part of history. Amy Ingram is a seductive, deliciously wicked delight, and Helen Howard an articulate, elegant, fearsome creature, just as she should be. In Howard’s hands, the act of lifting a chainmail sleeve from a bucket of blood and putting it on, blood dripping down her flesh and soaking into the fabric of her dress, becomes a fine art, pure (horrifying, mesmerising) seduction. Pacharo Mzembe is a prince, giving everything in this performance, which, having now seen so much of NT Live, appears to have come directly from the West End, such is his mastery of voice and movement, particularly in the thrilling fight sequences choreographed by Nigel Poulton (Assistant Fight Director Justin Palazzo-Orr). These are Poulton’s best bloody, sweaty routines to date, executed with ferocious intent by Mzembe and MacDonald. Todd MacDonald commands the space, his return to the stage a triumph in itself. When he’s not fighting or plotting or spilling blood he’s bringing to life a previously unknown version of William Shakespeare – a very funny one – and allowing himself to be directed by the actors who sit, watching critically, in the corners.

richard_atticusrobb

But it’s 14-year old Atticus Robb, in his professional stage debut, who stuns us with a performance that is mature beyond his years, bringing passion and ambition, sincerity and vulnerability to multiple roles, including that of The Actor, Atticus. His is thrilling natural talent, most evident in a Richard III rockstar monologue that steals the show. This kid’s got it.

richard4

The Tragedy of King Richard III is bold and brilliant, death-of-theatre-defying stuff, giving the Australian theatrical landscape permission to change again, to carry on evolving, despite its current challenges.

Without bringing Shakespeare to the stage, Dorney and Evans have brought Shakespeare’s essence and centuries of society’s most deeply held beliefs about ambition and power and connection and the human condition to an audience who thought they’d seen everything. Everything that is, until Dorney and Evans’ astute take on anything at all.

NOW… We’ll see if there are others who can keep up with the exhilarating pace set here.

Production pics by Dylan Evans

 

10
Feb
16

GAYBIES

 

GAYBIES

Brisbane Powerhouse

Brisbane Powerhouse Visy Theatre

February 3 – 6 2016

 

Reviewed by Simon Denver

 

gaybies_curtaincall_feb16

 

Verbatim theatre. Bite sized morsels of humanity whose sum of all parts give a well rounded theatrical presentation based on a particular event or theme. It can work particularly well, as in this case, when the performers let the words lead. The power will always be in the honesty of the words; overt characterisation mustn’t distract. In Verbatim theatre the actors are the backing and the words are the lead. In GAYBIES we heard the stories of growing up with a same sex parents. (Well – same sex parents, surrogate mums and donor dads). The people interviewed ranged from 4 year old to 40 year old. This gave fantastic scope for the ensemble of 18.

 

Statistics may say that children of same sex parents make up such a small fraction of society – but that does not detract from the relevance of this work. As I mentioned earlier – society is the sum of all parts. We, as individuals, have an almost moral duty to research, examine or at least familiarise ourselves with as many of those working parts of life as possible – No matter how the findings might be at odds with our “white bread 2.2 children” view of life. In fact, having same sex marriage as a political issue de jour only amplifies this production’s relevance.

 

For over seventy minutes we were presented with stories. Honest stories and clear memories.

 

Too embarrassed to tell your friends your parents are gay. An awkward scenario. But then again, lots of people have always been embarrassed to tell their friends that their parents were Nudists / Mormons / Swingers / National Party Members etc. The charades of truth (“If anyone asks I sleep in this room and Bob sleeps in that room”). But then again, what family doesn’t play out its charade of little white lies? The more stories that flooded the stage the more you realised that these stories were running a parallel course to most people’s stories. Finding so many touchstones within such a small statistic can only serve to humanise as oppose to demonise. It was a gentle reminder that whether parents are the same sex, (or from different religions, race, creed or colour for that matter), in the end it doesn’t matter. A house of love and laughter can only come from love at its core.

gaybies_gayaussie_feb16

 

By default or design the limited two-day rehearsal period meant scripts on stage were going to be a necessity. But a two-day rehearsal period with the calibre of the cast involved was always going to make this a very up-market rehearsed reading. Quite a tough brief really. Find the natural flow and rhythms of the words yet continually have to remind your self what the words are. Personally I thought those almost rhythmic glances at the scripts constantly reinforced the fact that these were someone else’s stories. I suppose its like the subtitles in a foreign film. If the film is good you don’t notice that you are reading. The words are not those of professional writers. They are the words of the average man / woman very creatively “cut and pasted” together by Dean Bryant. It was a great “ensemble” piece. And the ensemble did a mighty job. The direction by Kris Stewart was as much as can be expected from a two day rehearsal. Again, without the time to be flash, complex, personal or brave, the direction seemed to merely be there to set the words free.

 

All in all it was an incredibly feel good journey.

 

The Ensemble itself consisted of professional actors and social / media commentators. With that in mind it’s unfair and impossible to single any individual out .. .. .. .. .. (Damn! Can’t back that up! Margi Brown Ash’s four-year-old on a bike was the show stopper for me. Still chuckling at that little gem days later). They were a unified front and they were all on the same page. For that I say to them all – Thank you. So Barbara Lowing, Bec Zanetti, Blair Martin, Kurt Phelan, Libby Anstis, Lizzie Moore, Brad Rush, Brittany Francis, Christopher Wayne, Margi Brown Ash, Pam Barker, Pat O’Neil, David Berthold, Emily Gilhome, Gordon Hamilton, Rebecca McIntosh, Xanthe Coward, Michael James, Dean Bryant, Kris Stewart, Joseph Simons and Jason Glenwright .. .. when you get a moment, give yourselves a pat on the back. You collectively acheived a great thing.

 

However, (and there are always howevers) .. ..

 

GAYBIES slapped the face of the economic rational of current theatre. It was the first time for a while where I witnessed a professional stage creaking, groaning and crammed with performers. Does this mean if we want quality and quantity we can only expect it from Verbatim Theatre? Is the future for large cast rehearsed readings? It’s sad that the size of the average cast is dwindling. It’s even sadder that the cast size can dictate any artistic process. So thank you Brisbane Powerhouse for giving us a brief respite from the so-called “economic reality”.

 

I thought the production was a tad too long and perhaps a couple of performers too many. I thought the music was beautiful and exceptionally well delivered but I had difficulty marrying it to the words and stories. My main criticism was quite simply that it was preaching to the converted. It was a safe option to stage it during the MELT festival (A Celebration of Queer Arts and Culture).

This production needs to jump its rails and be taken to the wider community. It needs to be seen by the detractors not the sympathisers. I feel it is the perfect vehicle to confront those who passively or covertly or overtly demonise anything gay. This plays humanity is undeniable.

Finally I felt it only took or was told good, warm and fuzzy stories. Nothing is perfect, nothing is 100%. I would just liked to have heard one negative experience, as I am sure there are, have been and will be.

 

But the last few comments aside, it was a great night out. I hadn’t been quite sure what to expect but I left the Powerhouse smiling .. .. and thinking. Thank you to all concerned. Well worth the 200k return trip from the Sunshine Coast.

 

GAYBIES_cast_closingnight_feb16

 

 

13
Sep
15

Prize Fighter

 

Brisbane_Festival_Generic_2015

 

Prize Fighter

Brisbane Festival & La Boite

Roundhouse Theatre

September 5 – 26 2015

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

These are the shows we don’t get to see… We don’t get to see these shows on the Australian stage.

Future. D. Fidel

 

These are the stories that are with us and amongst us.

Todd Macdonald

 

 

September sees Brisbane immersed in the most incredible, inspiring and life-affirming stories, with a Brisbane Festival prelude brought to us by Brisbane Writers Festival, which I’ve enjoyed for the last three years, thanks to Cinnamon Watson Publicity (#tweetingit #xsneverstops). One of the highlights of this year’s Brisbane Writers Festival was hearing Somalian refugee, Abdi Aden, speak about his incredible journey from Mogadishu to Kenya and back to Mogadishu before escaping the horrors of his home country and travelling to Australia via Romania and Germany without family, friends, money or any knowledge of the English language. Abdi not only survived, he thrived. You can read his inspiring story in Shining The Story of a Lucky Man. Like Abdi, La Boite’s Artist-in-Residence, Future D. Fidel, has come from the most frightening of circumstances to settle in Australia and succeed in creating a new life in a safe haven.

 

His story is one of resilience, endurance, ambition and humble gratitude.

 

When you come into the theater, you have to be willing to say, “We’re all here to undergo a communion, to find out what is going on in this world.” If you’re not willing to say that, what you get is entertainment instead of art, and poor entertainment at that.

 
― David Mamet Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama

 

prizefighter1_dylanevans

 

Prize Fighter is powerful beyond measure, affecting each of us differently and challenging us to consider the stories that are the newest strands of the cultural weave of our community. This is a “mythical” story tense with the knowingness of the past, and the anticipation of what might happen in the future. It’s not a call to action or a cry for sympathy, but more a long, low sigh of personal pain and regret. It’s heavily weighted with themes of ambition, redemption and forgiveness but it’s not all miserable. It’s about recognising our starting and finishing points and doing the best we can in between. It’s about the choices we make and the paths our choices put us on.

 

On opening night the show starts late, a little later than usual in fact (you can usually count on a 6-8 minute delay getting into the Roundhouse), but bearing in mind we’ve enjoyed drinks and canapés for the last hour in Brisbane Festival’s funky Theatre Republic precinct, everyone is relaxed and chatty on their way in. The beautiful up-cycled space (designed by Sarah Winter) has proven difficult to leave – the vibe is fresh and fun with plenty of food and drink and friends, and live music and inspiring conversations. There are other shows opening nearby tonight too because BRISBANE FESTIVAL.

 

prizefighter2_dylanevans

 

The action has already started as we file in to take our seats, and for fifteen minutes we sit in awe of the intense focus and physical activity at our feet. It’s actually mesmerising. In the front row of the Roundhouse, ringside, we see the first drops of sweat start to catch the light on well-toned black backs as the company warms up with an informal circuit session supervised by trainers from Brisbane Boxing. These guys have been an integral part of the rehearsal process but when they suddenly disappear we know the show is about to start.

 

A talented young boxer, Isa, is preparing for the biggest fight of his career. On the line is the national title and the promise of fame and riches beyond his wildest dreams. What unfolds is a modern-day fable of a Congolese boy orphaned by war and forced to become a child soldier by the very people who killed his family. His powerful left hook offers a new life in Australia, but his greatest obstacle is not his opponent – it’s his past.

 

prizefighter6_dylanevans

 

Prize Fighter is loud and bold, with video projected onto a seamless in–the-round canvas surrounding the raised boxing ring (design by Bill Haycock & video design by optikal bloc. Sound design & original compositions by Felix Cross and lighting design by David Walters). We strain to see the images from where we are but they must be at eye level for the upper rows of the Roundhouse. From the very top rows the experience might be akin to watching ancient gladiatorial combat, the original popular art/entertainment. Movement & Fight Director, Nigel Poulton, has had his work cut out for him on this production and he doesn’t disappoint. Even without being a fan of boxing the fight sequences are exhilarating.

 

The final match features a live HD camera feed, as well as a logo and a hashtag. Throughout the show bright white light exposes the desire to win and the dedication to training, and a much darker state employing a red wash takes us back to Africa, when our prize fighter is just ten years old, learning to kill or be killed.

 

prizefighter3_dylanevans

 

The development of the text has enjoyed support from Dramaturg, Chris Kohn, as well as other stakeholders including Michael Futcher. The structure of the work allows us to gain insight into both time frames, with the fights stopping to allow flashbacks utilising the same versatile actors in multiple roles. The technical precision from the box allowing this magic to happen is impressive and without it (and Stage Manager, Heather O’Keefe) I doubt the show, in terms of its storytelling, would work as well.

 

But the joy and pathos of this production is ultimately in its beautifully gauged performances (the acting is strong – it’s real, raw and honest), tenderly crafted by Director, Todd Macdonald. We know Pacharo Mzembe from The Mountaintop (also directed by Macdonald), and it’s a pleasure to see him in this role, literally flexing his muscles to play a prize fighter who doesn’t necessarily feel the need to be a champion, unlike his coach, Luke. Margi Brown Ash glows with motherly/trainerly pride (there’s nothing typically male about her apart from the name), and she grimaces for only half a moment, before compassion takes over, when overwhelming fear, guilt and the grisly past gets in between her own ambition and Isa’s success in the ring.

 

The tough love is real and the moments of understanding between them, the nuances of the relationship, are a joy to witness.

 

prizefighter4_dylanevans

 

The ensemble is a good lesson in casting with Gideon Mzembe (yes, the just-as-gorgeous and super talented brother of Pacharo), Thuso Lekwape (a standout with that rare star quality; there is such intensity and brilliant energy in his performance), and the beautiful, soulful Sophia Emberson-Bain (she sings superbly too and presents on a silver platter some of the sweetest and cheekiest comical moments of the show). They contribute enormously to the storytelling, switching between roles at a rate of knots and taking care to show us sufficient contrast between characters. Kenneth Ransom shines as an old “Aunty” particularly, offering a perfectly timed and nicely shaped momentary breath of comedy where it’s needed to break up tragic events. There are times when the actors’ words are not as clear as they should be, but the voices are so beautiful I have to forgive them their accents (talk about authentic), and stick to absorbing the story, its melody, and the impact of what, by the end of it, is left unsaid.

 

prizefighter7_dylanevans

 

In Prize Fighter, we experience one man’s personal struggles and the horror of a war affecting so many, but one which we continue to hear little about. It’s a terribly tragic and shocking story, to which most of us can’t possibly relate, but that’s why it’s vital. Prize Fighter is full of heart. It’s a story that can be appreciated for its authenticity and contemporary relevance. It might even help us to welcome other prize fighters into our communities rather than shrug our shoulders and be content to do nothing at all when they have nowhere else to go. We’re not yet so desensitised that we can walk away and forget about this one. And that makes it not just interesting festival programming or great entertainment, but life-affecting art.

 

…in a very real way this story is now our own.

David Berthold

 

prizefighter5_dylanevans

 

 

And there are plays – and books and songs and poems and dances – that are perhaps upsetting or intricate or unusual, that leave you unsure, but which you think about perhaps the next day, and perhaps for a week, and perhaps for the rest of your life.

 

Because they aren’t clean, they aren’t neat, but there’s something in them that comes from the heart, and, so, goes to the heart.

 

― David Mamet Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama

 

 

prizefighter8_dylanevans

 

Production pics by Dylan Evans Photography

01
Sep
15

Brisbane Festival is about to kick off! Are you ready?

 

Brisbane Festival unlocks Arcadia and invites everyone to the opening bash!

 

Brisbane_Festival_Generic_2015

 

Brisbane Festival officially kicks off on Saturday 5 September 2015 – the wacky and wonderful Arcadia at South Bank will come alive with sizzling shows in two massive tents as well as a packed line up of free entertainment, while some meaty shows will play at QPAC and La Boite, all capped off by a big opening night party.

 

 

Arcadia

Float between four bars.

Feast at boutique food trucks.

Treat yourself in the Little Creatures Treehouse.

Keep up to date on all the free entertainment happening in Arcadia by joining the Facebook Event.

When: Sat 5 – Sat 26 Sept

 

 
Arcadia, the new Festival village, will open from 2pm with South East Queensland’s best hip hop and break dancers battling it out in the popular free event RAPcity, while Australia’s top pavement artist will create amazing 3D chalk art where Festival-goers can snap themselves amongst the trippy work.

 
From 5pm enjoy free live music by Kahl Wallis (this year’s winner of the Dreaming Award at the National Indigenous Arts Awards), Karl S. Williams and Good Oak at QPAC’s Melbourne Street Green, and at 5.30pm an Indigenous Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony, and a contemporary dance performance from ACPA, the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts, will take place in Arcadia.

 
At 6.45pm, dance out of time and sing out of tune with abandon to DJ Mikey’s beats streaming to wireless headphones in a free Silent Disco and keep an eye on the William Jolly Bridge as it is lit up with beautiful art projections by Gerwyn Davies and Alice Lang.

 

Megan-Washington_Hi-Res-1024x624

 

Festival-goers will be spoilt for choice in the evening. In The Spiegeltent, Megan Washington will perform the first of two sold-out shows, which will be followed by the mischievous antics of New York nightlife icon Murray Hill and fellow cast in Club Swizzle.

 

 

The show everyone is talking about, Fear & Delight, will call on brave folk who are up for anything – from chicken head and syringe canapés to a gin and tonic cloud experience to an ancient Japanese artistic rope bondage act – audiences are asked to dress in black and white and leave their inhibitions at the door.

 

 

Rise for the Oceans *LIMITED TICKETS*

For one night only, Tim Winton, Bernard Fanning, Katie Noonan, Jessica Watson, and natural historian Prof Iain McCalman and other special guests will edify, thrill, entertain and enlighten us with their hopes and fears for our oceans and reefs.

When: Sat 5 Sept, 8pm

 

 

Coup Fatal

Join in a mad, defiant party that makes you want to live.

When: Sat 5 – Tue 8 Sept, 8pm

 

 

Over at QPAC, famed Belgian dance theatre maker Alain Platel’s Coup Fatal, featuring Congolese countertenor Serge Kakudji and 12 musicians from Kinshasa, will make its Australian premiere in the Playhouse, while Bernard Fanning, Tim Winton and William Barton will join other iconic Australians in the Concert Hall for the world premiere of Rise for the Oceans.

 

Prize-Fighter_WEB

 

Highly anticipated and moving theatre production Prize Fighter will play at La Boite, a contemporary retelling of Anton Chekhov’s classic The Seagull will show at Queensland Theatre Company, and dance, music and animation will collide in Desirelines at Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.

 

Once the curtains have closed everyone is invited back to the heart of Arcadia where an opening night party will kick off at 10pm into the wee hours of the morning, featuring DJ Tyrone and a performance by UK cult artists and stars of Fear & Delight, The Correspondents.

 

Arcadians can meander between five bars, a cocktail hut and a selection of wickedly tasty food trucks throughout the evening, and soak in the atmosphere from the brand new Little Creatures Treehouse or the Miami-inspired Riverhouse.

 

DavidBerthold2015

 

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director David Berthold said opening weekend would be huge and a good indicator of what people could expect over the next three weeks.

 

“With more than 500 shows across 20 venues, including 15 Australian premieres and six world premieres, the 2015 Brisbane Festival will provide abundant opportunities for new experiences and cultural adventures, as well as several new boutique places to meet up with family and friends,” Mr Berthold said.

 

“We have productions coming to Brisbane from five continents and 12 different countries including Singapore, Democratic Republic of the Congo, USA, UK, Japan and France, while 26 Queensland and 17 interstate companies are involved. This is the time to come out and see some of the best shows on the planet.”

 

On Sunday 6 September The Little Creatures Treehouse will kick off its free ‘Learn stuff about beers’ 30-minute workshops at 1pm and 2pm, where people can get hands-on with malt, savour some beers and create a mini-brew*.  The quirky new venue will also host a ukulele lesson at 4pm followed by a live performance at 5.30pm.

 

 

Club Swizzle

After two sell-out seasons at Brisbane Festival, the creators of La Soirée return with a brand spanking new show.

Loose, glorious and irresistibly fun, Club Swizzle is a night of sassy entertainment where the mayhem is kicked up a notch.

When: Fri 4 – Sat 26 Sept, 8pm

 

 

Audi Presents Fear & Delight

Join cult UK artists, The Correspondents, and an elite international cast of contortionists, acrobats, dancers and comedians whose dazzling physical feats will get your heart pounding.

While the daring physical and comedy performances will leave you short of breath –the extra elements of Fear & Delight will truly blow your mind.

When: Fri 4 – Sat 26 Sept, 8pm

 

 

Arcadia will continue buzzing with Jazz Japan Award for Album of the Year winner Fox Capture Plan in The Spiegeltent at 7pm followed by Club Swizzle, and audiences can also catch Fear & Delight and Coup Fatal again. Arcadians are also advised to be on the lookout for rogue film directors and impromptu karaoke.

 

 

diaryofateenagegirl

 

At Palace Centro Cinemas The Diary of a Teenage Girl will be played at 4pm, which is part of The Female Gaze – a showcase of seven iconic indie female-focused films dating back to 1941.

 

 

Book online for all Brisbane Festival events.

 

 

*Registration for the ‘Learn stuff about beers’ workshops is required one hour prior to commencement as only 20 spots are available for each session. You must be 18+ to participate.

 

12
May
14

Congrats Chris Kohn – La Boite’s new AD & CEO

 

Exciting news! I know, I’m late to it because I’m trying to stay off social media when I can. Bahahaha! Well, like I said, I’m trying. (I’ll let you know how this is going in my review of Machina). La Boite announced the appointment of Chris Kohn as their new AD & CEO at 8:41am this morning so naturally, I’m feeling a little behind the eight ball! Apparently, contrary to what I’ve told Sam, I DO need to get up and check the news feeds first!

 

Chris Kohn. Image by Dylan Evans.

 

The Chair of La Boite Theatre Company, Professor Paul Makeham, announces that Chris Kohn will succeed David Berthold as the company’s new Artistic Director and CEO.

 

Chris Kohn is highly respected nationally as a cultural leader, and he brings an extensive professional network to the role. He has an excellent track record both as an artistic director and sector leader. He was the selection panel’s unanimous choice.

 

Mr Kohn has previously been Artistic Director of acclaimed Melbourne-based Arena Theatre Company; and he was co-founder and Artistic Director of leading independent company Stuck Pigs Squealing. Under his directorship, Stuck Pigs Squealing received six Green Room awards, four Fringe Festival awards and two New York International Fringe Festival Awards.

 

Mr Kohn has also been recognised with numerous industry awards and nominations including: a number of Green Room Awards for Direction and Writing; an Ian Potter Cultural Trust Fellowship; the George Fairfax Memorial Award, a State Library of Victoria Creative Fellowship; and the Sidney Myer Fellowship.

 

Mr Kohn moved to Brisbane n 2012 to take up the role of Queensland’s Theatre Diversity Associate, a position created by the Australia Council which has enabled him to establish strong local relationships, particularly with La Boite, Queensland Theatre Company, Metro Arts and BEMAC.

 

Mr Kohn said he is honoured to lead a company such as La Boite which has always embraced reinvention throughout its almost 90 year history.

 

“I am absolutely thrilled to be presented the opportunity to lead one of Australia’s most dynamic and nationally significant theatre companies. La Boite is a company with a unique and adventurous audience, committed staff and deeply invested supporters. It is a particular privilege to be building on David Berthold’s work to cement La Boite’s place in the national arts landscape.”

 

Mr Kohn will commence as Artistic Director and CEO at La Boite in late May.

 

 

In 2012, Chris Kohn told Directions (National guide to tertiary education n the arts) about the drawbacks of working in the Performing Arts.

 

 

“The money is bad. Building a career is hard, as there are not always clear pathways. Often your success or failure is dictated by other people’s decisions, like whether you get funding for a project or whether you are asked to work at a particular theatre. And that can be dictated by a range of factors, including change in programming staff, fashion, luck.”

 

 

Lucky for us, Kohn’s pathway led to La Boite Theatre Co. Congrats, Mister! Now, who will we see step into the role of Theatre Diversity Associate (no, don’t apply yet; note the date on the PDF!)

 

See what’s on at La Boite

 

14
Mar
14

oops! …I did it again!

 

oops! …I did it again! I wrote something that somebody didn’t like but this time I wrote it without checking my facts and I’ve been corrected! (Once I wore a red catsuit too, it was velour and not pretty like Britney’s PVC. In fact, I wore it on a number of occasions and there were always a number of women who visibly recoiled every time they saw me coming in that outfit but I’M NOT APOLOGISING FOR THAT).

 

 


 

 

SO I STAND SIT CORRECTED.

 

You might not have noticed that occasionally somebody comments on this blog. And you would be right to let it pass you by, I know; you’re busy. However, this one is too important and it would be remiss of me to not mention it.

 

In my last post I told you that La Boite Theatre Co was MIA from the Matilda Awards and that simply isn’t true. AD David Berthold couldn’t be there – we knew that – and so, making an appearance instead, was GM Rhys Holden and a few other staff members. I’m sorry I missed seeing you there, guys!

 

I take full responsibility for misleading you, if you too were under the impression that La Boite was not represented at #matildas13 supporting industry friends and colleagues. Sometimes, perception is reality, but this time my perception was WRONG. BLOGGER FAIL.

 

My sincere apologies to La Boite and also, HAPPY DANCE! Because #mtcCock

 

SEE YOU THERE! (Yes! Make sure I see you there!).

 

 

16
Feb
14

COSI

 

COSI

La Boite Theatre Company

The Roundhouse

February 8 – March 8 2014

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

Happy is the man who calmly takes life as he finds it.

 

Cosi Fan Tutte

 

 

 

LA BOITE HAS ALLOCATED SEATING NOW. I KNOW.

 

On opening night of Louis Nowra’s classic comical iconic masterpiece Cosi, La Boite’s 2014 season opener, this was almost as big a deal as the show itself! I think it takes so long to get everybody in and out of The Roundhouse Theatre that any system requires patience and lots of smiles. (And look, when in doubt wear flats – teetering between steps in the aisles in the throng is tricky, even for the die-hard-hard-core-high-heel wearing patrons). Whether or not this decision applies to mainhouse productions only, or to all, remains to be seen. I have to say I’ll miss General Seating. It was one of the quirks that have always set La Boite’s Roundhouse apart. RIP General Seating at The Roundhouse.

 

Cosi. Image by Dylan Evans.

 

This Cosi is La Boite’s third and as Director and Artistic Director of the company, David Berthold, noted after the show, the play is without doubt a part of La Boite’s DNA. To revisit it was always going to be a ballsy move, and to compare this one to previous productions would be unfair. Directed by Berthold and starring super talented director, Benjamin Schostakowski (his production, A Tribute of Sortstransfers to QTC’s mainstage this year after its 2012 La Boite debut) as the fresh-outta-uni director, Lewis. The company’s publicity wisely focused largely on two other cast members – Jessica Marais (Lucy and Julie) and James Stewart (Henry), better known for their roles in Packed to the Rafters (and, incidentally, can you think of a better voice for a QANTAS plane in Disney’s new animated film, Planes? Marais is ideal!). Although the general perception on opening night seemed to be that he gets away with it, Schostakowski is miscast and as such, misses many opportunities, including delivering Lewis’s final speech about what becomes of the people who have changed his life without pause, pathos or conviction. Perhaps he’ll find a whole gamut of emotion by the end of the season. His final line, and the final line of the play, “Time to turn off the lights”, should have made me blink with tears but, like Morales, I felt nothing. Is it just me? It often is.

 

A brilliantly constructed comedy, the sequel to Nowra’s previous semi-autobiographical piece, Summer of the Aliens, Cosi bursts with love, sincerity and a little bit of tragedy. The most obvious little bit of tragedy of all of course is that, as ludicrous as it seems, we recognise the situation, and wish we could offer similar creative opportunities to all our mentally challenged, to engage, nurture, and nourish through the arts. Well, we can; we can support the community groups and companies who are actually doing the work, including Back to Back and Milk Crate Theatre, as well as incredible ventures such as Rob Pensalfini’s Shakespeare Prison Project. (Sam will argue that last one but I believe people are people before AND after they commit a crime).

 

Cosi. Image by Dylan Evans.

 

ANYWAY, Cosi is pretty funny, and certainly, Aaron Davison (Doug) and Amy Ingram (Cherry), via their different approaches, milk for all its worth, their lovely little (and loud!) collections of one-liners. Davison is a straight-up Doug and Ingram is brash and sweetly (frighteningly) pathetic in her attentiveness of Lewis and ambition to become a famous actress. Anthony Standish (Nick, Justin & Zac), rewarded across three roles with raucous laughter from the opening night audience, proves that each part is worth overplaying. But it’s Trevor Stuart and Jennifer Flowers who get my attention and fade slowly from memory this time…and every time I see them. Stuart’s manic depressive character, Roy, is the driving energy of the show, as he should be, and in winning our sympathy and hilarity, Stuart succeeds at every turn. As obsessive compulsive Ruth, Flowers is simply beautiful. In equal measures she brings to her character fragility, vulnerability and sheer, stubborn determination to put in a perfect performance.

 

And what of the performance? For an audience of catatonics from a Melbourne mental institution, a full production of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, about the infidelity of women, of which we see an extended lip synch of the final scene; it’s long – too long – but it offers us the most glorious moment of the entire production, when Marais turns her radiant face upwards (she is just stunning to see on stage) into the light and falling confetti, and responds with a true Julie smile. The moment is absolute perfection, and I’m not even girl crushing, just saying.

 

Cosi. Image by Dylan Evans.

 

Also, just saying, lose the dreadful wigs on Nick and Lucy? Please? No? Ok.

 

You’ll probably love this production more than I did. You’ll probably laugh more and you’ll probably see other perfect moments that I missed. We said goodbye for the fifth and final time to Sam’s mum the same day (a long story, and a whole lotta pain), and I was grateful for the fun and relief of laughing out loud with my sister at the theatre. Theatre as therapy. Indeed.

 

Hugh O’Connor’s design – a stage within a stage for the play within the play – is wonderfully ruined, to the extent that we wonder at first, until we see the watermark on the floor, if the drops of water are supposed to be dripping from the ceiling, and Ben Hughes’ lighting could be said to be truly compassionate, working in tandem with sound design by Samuel Boyd, so that we actually get beautifully choreographed transitions between scenes. It’s becoming a trend this year. Didn’t you get the memo?

 

Cosi. Image by Dylan Evans.

 

 

Do go see this Cosi. It’s fun and bright and very light, and you will laugh out loud. Enjoy it and its simple joys, until March 8.