Posts Tagged ‘geoff morrell

08
Feb
18

Black Is The New White

 

Black Is The New White

Queensland Theatre presents a

Sydney Theatre Company production

QPAC Playhouse

February 3 – 17 2018

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

Two politically powerful families at war. A son and daughter helplessly in love, defying their parents. You’ve heard this story before – but what if Romeo was white, Juliet was black and the war mainly fought on Twitter?

 

“It’s about a successful Aboriginal family called the Gibsons who are activists and very proud to be Aboriginal and who also happen to be quite financially successful,” Lui says. “Their youngest daughter, Charlotte, is just back from being in Europe for three-and-a-half months and she’s bringing home her boyfriend for the first time – he’s white and a poor, struggling musician who also happens to be the son of her father’s arch nemesis. “It’s kind of what happens when you get together with family over Christmas – you laugh, you fight and you talk about all the things you’re not meant to talk about in a very intimate and flippant way.” – Nakkiah Lui

 

Nakkiah Lui’s script is razor-sharp in its unbridled observations of race and human nature, and Paige Rattray’s precision production is masterfully handled, fast-paced, funny and highly entertaining. There’s a dance break AND a dance off AND a food fight! I wonder what this work would look like, sound like, without Rattray’s light hand? The characters are heightened, delightful and painful, completely believable, (mis)behaving exactly as our family members (mis)behave at Christmas, and the sense of the work is at first light-handed, hilarious. But don’t think that means you won’t cringe at times, faced with your own pre-conceived notions and beliefs. Is this just a mirror of Australian contemporary society or a hammer to shape it? No stone is left unturned, with each character either delving into or narrowly avoiding addressing the misconceptions surrounding the mistreatment of our Indigenous peoples, privilege, gender roles, rich vs poor, cultural sterotypes, the courage of individuals and the common interests of communities – and sparking bold conversations around the emergence of an Aboriginal middle-class and the re-rise of a feminism that sees an older generation of women – Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal – claiming their sexual identities and political ideas.

 

Unless you’re at a Williamson, you might not think it possible to pack such a wealth of material into 2 hours and 20 minutes of theatre, and yet there it is, and with deep insight, the off-hand and humorous remarks hitting hard, getting under our skin and challenging everything we think is Australian. Human.

 

 

Luke Carroll (the Spirit of Christmas disguised as the Narrator) is probably the least essential element, and tells us more than we need to know, particularly in the second act. His performance though is highly entertaining, and I come to love his omnipresence and subtle interactions with the family members. However, it must be said that Carroll’s perfectly clipped consonants are either the stuff of over articulated nightmares, or that he’s the very model of a trained-within-an-inch-of-his-life stage actor (no comment on his screen performances, which have been well received, earning him Deadly Awards and a Bob Maza Fellowship). This is not to be unkind, but to make a point: Carroll is excellent and can afford to employ a more relaxed vocal style. Once the initial nerves/disparate energy of opening night disappear there’s not one amongst this stellar cast whose performance misses the mark. Comic timing is spot on, beautifully crafted by Lui and polished by Rattray, leaving us in no doubt of the fun and playfulness of the creative process.

 

Tony Briggs (Ray Gibson) and Geoff Morrell (Dennison Smith) narrowly avoid playing political enemies for laughs, and leave us in horrified hysterics from the outset of their ongoing sandbox dispute. Briggs brings particular wit and wry humour to this role, which could just as easily have turned into caricature.

 

 

Melodie Reynolds-Diarra, as wife, Joan, reaches our hearts on multiple levels. It’s she who has penned her husband’s speeches, and she finally feels she deserves some recognition for her part in his story. Vanessa Downing as Dennison’s wife also steps up at a crucial moment, demanding that her life preferences be respected.

 

 

Miranda Tapsell joined this cast for the Brisbane season, and she brings hilarious headstrong energy to Rose, the millennial entrepreneurial sister of Charlotte (Shari Sebbens, straight up and sensational) and wife of Sonny (Anthony Taufa, in his element here), as does Tom Stokes as Francis, the (wonderfully awkward!) struggling artist and fiancé of Charlotte.

 

Renee Mulder’s stunning design, beautifully enhanced by Ben Hughes’ lighting, is a pristine playground for these Christmas shenanigans, with Steve Toulmin’s soundtrack an easy invitation to simply enjoy the ride….for now.

 

This crafty contemporary farce – poised for a film option – has a strictly limited Brisbane run. See it, and join the conversation.

 

Production pics by Prudence Upton

03
Aug
15

A Few of My Favourite Men for one night only in Sydney

 

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So y’all might have noticed I don’t post too much publicity here ahead of events anymore. This is because

 

a) I am time poor

 

b) I am poor

 

We bloggers and writers take time to write stuff – the sort of time that you spend doing your job that pays you by the hour – and sometimes, like when there are bills to pay and artists to treat on Hastings Street, we need an incentive that is a little more inspiring than, “I’d love you to share this with your networks”. However, there are times when I’m happy to copy and paste stuff for a cause or a company I feel strongly about (otherwise you can enquire about my rates to promote your show or special event. I thank you). The Corrilee Foundation is a fave of mine.

 

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Our good friend, Tanya Lee, has always done incredible work with The Corrilee Foundation (you’ll remember One Night In Emerald City, which gave me another chance to work with the professional Sydney cast of a David Williamson play in our favourite destination to make and stage a show, Noosa), and this month she’s staging an extra special event, featuring a few of her favourite men on stage together for one night only, next week on August 12 at the basement, Sydney.

 

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So far the impressive line up includes Wil Anderson, Mikey Robins, Tim Rogers, Tony Squires, Dave Field, Geoff Morrell, Terry Serio, Jeff Duff, Peter Northcote, Dario Bortolin, Lloyd G & Greg Agar. 

 

The Evening will include Auction Items and Raffle Prizes.

 

Join Tanya Lee and a few of her favourite men for an evening of live music, banter and awesome images from Tony Mott

 

 

All funds raised will assist the Mirabel Foundation in its vital work to support children orphaned or abandoned due to parental illicit drug use.

 

The Mirabel Foundation was established in Victoria in 1998. It is the only organisation in Australia specifically addressing the needs of children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental drug use.

 

The tragedy of drug‐related deaths is compounded by the children left behind. Children without family may find themselves in foster care, sometimes separated from their siblings. Many go into the care of extended family (kinship care), usually with elderly grandparents who have little or no financial or social support. These are Mirabel children.

 

Mirabel is currently supporting over 1400 children and young people, the most profoundly overlooked casualties of substance abuse in our society.

 

“My Daddy is always sick and his medicine makes him sleepy.” Tahana, 3 years

 

Tahana is 3 years old and has recently moved to live with her great aunt Ruby. Her Mum is in prison for drug-related crime and her Dad is unable to care for her due to his addiction to drugs. Tahana knows a lot for a 3 year old and has remarkable survival skills. She can find a way to reach food in the highest of cupboards and can work the DVD player like a teenager.

 

Ruby was asked to care for Tahana when Child Protection found her wandering the streets looking for food. Ruby is committed to the long-term health and happiness of Tahana and says that she wants her to have a normal childhood. She has started attending Mirabel’s kinship carer support groups where she has met lots of people in a similar situation to herself.

 

Tahana and Ruby spent a cherished weekend together at Mirabel House where they strengthened their relationship away from the stresses of day to day living. They are looking forward to the next Family Day where Tahana can begin to make friends with children just like her – friendships that Ruby hopes will continue when Tahana is old enough to join Mirabel’s Recreation Program and Therapeutic Children’s Groups.

 

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You can support the amazing work the Mirabel Foundation do with kids like Tahana and have a terrific night out with friends when you join Tanya Lee and a few of her favourite men at the basement next week.

 

Book tickets here

 

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