Posts Tagged ‘Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance

28
Jan
13

Strange Attractor

Strange Attractor

Noosa Arts Theatre & SRT

Noosa Arts Theatre

24th January – 2nd February 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

Unmoving figures – six silhouettes in hard hats – beautifully backlit in red, eliciting thoughts of Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, appear behind a white backdrop out of the darkness of an almost bare stage. It’s already a tragic picture and I’ve come into this production cold. I’ve stayed away from rehearsals and other than the synopsis; I’ve not read a thing about Sue Smith’s Strange Attractor. You would think I might have heard updates or insights from Sam from time to time. You would be wrong. We are ships in the night when working on different productions.

 

A basic bar, a fridge, a punching bag and a few tables and chairs set the scene for what must be one of the most important newer Australian plays, about an unexpected death that rocks an outback rail construction camp.

 

It’s a pity that Strange Attractor runs for such a short season (and that the Sunday matinee was cancelled due to the storm), because so many will miss out on this moving drama. It’s not often Sunshine Coast audiences get the opportunity to experience something that falls outside of the farce or musical theatre genres and this is probably the best of its ilk you’ll see this year. (I guess we’ll see what else is in store at the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance Soiree in Mudjimba on February 9thhave you booked yet?). It’s a strong ensemble with powerful performances from some of the Sunshine Coast’s best actors; its strength is as much in its silence as in any of its conversation.

 

Moments of unease are relished; the characters wait between lines, without slowing the pace of the play, masterfully stretching the uncomfortable silence into the undeniable reality of the nightmare that follows a tragedy, breathing, waiting, considering, and content to disperse further unease with a look, before moving on. This takes a certain degree of discipline and experience and while the impressive results don’t surprise me, I’m once again bemused to see that the SRT Way just works. I’ll leave that for Sam and Simon to explain in another post. Suffice to say, the casting, by Simon Denver, is superb.

 

A beautiful, sophisticated soundscape by Howard Tampling layers haunting arrangements for piano (Darren Heskes) and guitar (James Allen) of classic Australian songs, the sounds of the storm, and weather updates during the Category 4 cyclone, which wreaks havoc on the camp and contributes to the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of popular safety officer, Gus (Sam Coward). It’s nice to see Brad Thomson back treading the boards after a too-long hiatus, and reunited with Job’s Right boys, Sam Coward and Brett Klease. Joined by Clayton Storey as Rube, David Breen as Chilli, and Jodi Bushby, the token female in camp, known semi-affectionately as Truckie, this lot come with language that may offend (though not as much as I’d expected!), and a moving story that they tell with care and a sense of responsibility.

 

Unexpectedly funny, you’ll find it’s extremely real – the people represented are tragedy-raw and hurting, and yet their Australian larrikinism comes through in crass jokes and deft humour for which your grandma would rap you over the knuckles but which you know is your only coping mechanism – and you’ll recognise that and enjoy the challenging repartee more than you think you could. But it’s a cautionary tale, almost a warning… I wonder if Sue Smith intended it that way. It seems this director did. But while there’s treasure to be found under their feet, no disruption is reason enough for the likes of these characters to call it quits, give up the gold and go home.

 
STRA poster-1

Whether our sensibilities want to accept it or not – we are officially into the Chinese Century! This country once rode on the back of the sheep – we are now the quarry of the world. The reality of this is quite simple…the vast oblivious suburban mass of Australia live on the fiscal crumbs from the mining table!

 

Hard truth – sad fact.

– Director, Simon Denver

 

21
Aug
12

Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival Results 2012

Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival

Open Section Results

Buderim Memorial Hall

17th – 19th August 2012

Adjudicator: Kate Foy

Results:

All For The Nation

Ipswich Little Theatre

Best Play, Best Director, Best Actor in a Comedy – Female, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy – Male

Chook Chook

Caloundra Chorale & Theatre

Second Best Play, Certificate of Distinction

Anticlimax

Random Acts

Third Best Play, Best Actor in a Comedy – Male, Adjudicator’s Award

Here’s The Thing

Noosa Arts Theatre

Best Unpublished Script

Stoic

The Actor’s Gym

Best Actor in a Drama – Male, Certificate of Distinction

Who The Fuck Is Erica Price

Brisbane Arts Theatre

Best Actor in a Drama – Female, Certificate of Distinction

Touched

Ipswich Little Theatre

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama – Male

To Whom It May Concern

Mousetrap Theatre

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama – Female

Level 12

Golden Glove Productions

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy – Female, Certificate of Distinction

Still Life

Miranda’s Dressing Room

Certificate of Distinction

Sunshine Coast Youth Theatre Festival The stars of the future from all over the coast hit the stage. Come along and check out the incredible young stars of the future we have here on the coast.

1 day. 7 short plays.

When: Saturday August 25

Cost: Session Ticket – Adults $12.00, Child $5.

Family Session Ticket: $25.00 (2 Adults & 2 Children)

All tickets on sale at the door only.
Festival Passes purchased at the OPEN festival are valid.

For full session times, and a detailed program, visit the festival page on livetheatre.com.au or call 5449 9972 (office hours).

 

Sam Coward & Kate Foy

Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance President, Sam Coward and Adjudicator, Kate Foy

 

All for the Nation

 

See more pics from the Open Section of the Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival 

 

 

18
Aug
12

Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival 2012 – it begins!

Well, actually, it’s begun! (And our TVC on Channel 7 has been seen by many locals in the last week or so during the lead up!). Last night the Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival kicked off in fine fashion, with four plays up for adjudication by Kate Foy.

Those who were in attendance (I was at Metro Arts for The Danger Ensemble’s Loco Maricon Amor – catch it if you can!), saw:

The Big Cats

Act One Theatre Inc

Drama 45mins

Chook Chook (AT)

Caloundra Chorale & Theatre Co.

Comedy 45mins

…Here’s The Thing (U) (AT) (CL)

Noosa Arts Theatre Inc

Comedy 35mins

Stoic (U) (AT) (CL)

Actor’s Gym

Drama 40mins

This morning we saw two plays.

Four–Play

Caloundra Chorale & Theatre Co.

Drama 40mins

Downstage (U)

Vanity Project

Comedy 25 minutes

Sessions continue today at 1pm and 7pm and tomorrow at 9am and 1:30pm, with the final adjudication to follow.

Saturday 1pm

Still Life (U) (AT) (CL)

Miranda’s Dressing Room

Drama 30mins

Day Trippers

Act One Theatre Inc

Comedy 35mins

Pieces (U) (AT) (CL)

BATS Theatre Drama 45mins

Whatever Happened To Humpty?

Fractal Theatre (JUNIOR)

Drama/Comedy 50mins

Saturday 7pm

Narcissistica (U) (AT) (CL)

Excalibur Theatre Company Drama 50mins

Anticlimax (U) (AT) (CL)

Random Acts Comedy 30mins

Three Angry Brides (U) (AT)

Noosa Arts Theatre Inc Drama 40mins

I’m a Pisces, he’s an Asshole (U) (AT)

SAD Theatre Company

Comedy 30mins

Sunday 9am

Dead End (U) (CL)

Crash Box Theatre

Drama 30mins

Crush (U) (AT) (CL)

Hills Players Inc.

Drama 45mins

Level 12 (AT) (CL)

Golden Glove Productions

Comedy 35mins

Flame (AT) (CL)

Beenleigh Theatre Group

Drama 35mins

Sunday 1:30pm

Touched (U) (AT) (CL)

Ipswich Little Theatre Society

Drama 50mins

To Whom It May Concern

Mousetrap Theatre Company

Drama 25 mins

All for The Nation (AT)

Ipswich Little Theatre Society

Comedy 30mins

Who The F*** Is Erica Price? (U) (AT) (CL)

Brisbane Arts Theatre

Drama 40mins

Check out the website for all details and grab a festival pass for just $35 at the door. It’s the best value theatre ticket this weekend! (23 plays over 3 days)!

Next weekend, see and support the Youth Theatre Festival, at Lind Lane Theatre on Saturday 25th from 9am.

Chook Chook Caloundra Chorale and Theatre Company

Chook Chook by Caloundra Chorale and Theatre Company

 

livetheatre.com.au

 

04
May
12

That Scottish Play

That Scottish Play

SRT & Lind Lane Theatre

Lind Lane Theatre

27th April – 4th May

Have you ever been involved in community theatre? We used to call it “amateur” theatre but that term has become more closely associated with poor quality performances and megalomania than with its original meaning, which is “to love” (from the Latin verb, amo). The term, “community theatre”, seems to have a friendlier tone to it. But that tone can be deceptive!

Simon Denver’s That Scottish Play features a talented and, one suspects, largely undiagnosed cast of Sunshine Coast actors sending up Sunshine Coast actors. It reveals the machinations of a community theatre group in the imagined Sunshine Coast town of Widgee. It could be Nambour. It could be anywhere. We recognise the characters and their quirks, we laugh out loud at their ridiculous antics and we loathe the egos that can’t help but surface under the little theatre’s spotlight. Names are named and every local theatre company is fair game! No one and nothing is safe from Denver’s pen!

That Scottish Play has been taken out of the vault and prepared for a strictly limited season at Lind Lane Theatre in just a few weeks. It’s like (Louis Nowra’s) Cosi on ice, though not the family-friendly Disney version you’re thinking of. More like the unfriendly, politically incorrect, if-only-there-were-ice-in-Africa, chaotic kind of Cosi on Ice. It’s an extremely talented ensemble – Denver says they are “from the deeper end of the talent pool” – and one of them, Sam Coward, who plays the guy who plays Macbeth, Nathan Gayelord, says, “I never read the script. It was a guideline.” This is typical from someone who has worked with Denver before. Many of the members of this extended company (let’s call it +SRT) have had that privilege and a few have not. Let’s hope they are brave enough to take up the mantle again because this cast is a joy to watch. They are each experienced enough and confident enough to just play. This play requires the notion of play to be unleashed – as Director, this is Denver’s specialty – and we can see that they’re having fun! It’s certainly the best parody we’ve seen and the local references are obvious enough to have audience members blushing in their seats, loving every minute of it!

The “problem” with such a localised and personalised parody is that those who are slightly outside of the teensy weensy world of local theatre don’t get it. This may need to be a consideration in future, in order to attract the desired ticket sales. I watched with interest on opening night, a party of elderly, typically Lind Lane Theatre patrons and they were in turns, bemused, horrified, terrified, nonplussed and not amused. I was in fact waiting for one of them to say at the end, “We are not amused.” Perhaps they thought they were coming to see Shakespeare’s Macbeth?!

Well, of course if you read the publicity or Google Mr Denver’s works, you’ll realise that this is not Macbeth but a basic tale of typical amateur over-the-top theatrics. The Lower Widgee Amateur Drama Group prepare to stage a production of Macbeth…with all the actual and boring Macbeth bits taken out of it! Early in the rehearsal process, the show becomes a musical (because what’s the biggest bums-on-seats show an amateur theatre company can pull off in a year? A musical!), allowing us to enjoy ridiculous musical theatre performances (think Forbidden Broadway) from the likes of Chris Surplice (who has come up from Sydney to play) and Sam Coward, who hasn’t been heard to sing, except in the car and in the theatre when bored or making a point as Director, since he played Javert in an impressive little production of Les Miserables in Mt Isa (not so impressive were the brows back then, mine, not Sam’s; his are fine. Thank goodness I’ve been threaded since then!).

Well-known, well-loved performers from right across the coast join these pillars of performance power and strength on stage. Joy Marshall as Penelope Ascot is a standout. She limps and she lisps and whenever The Trophy or The Awards are mentioned, she twitches. Hers is a hilarious performance and it is well balanced by Brett Klease’s, as the professional director, Simon, from Brisbane, who comes in on the wings of a successful grant application and won’t be directing anything much in the end (and won’t be allowed to leave)! Surplice, as Nigel Chandler, has a few nice little moments, particularly in the plotting, scheming scenes, when we get a glimpse at how far the bitchiness backstage can go. Howie Tampling gives us some good belly laughs, as the guy with Tourette’s and Errol Morrison is the perfect small country town mayor and the hapless husband of the overly-ambitious Penelope.

Individual characters are made very clear and some of the mimicry is too close to be believed. Yikes! But even the audience members who are at the brunt of the jokes appear pleased! Phew! MD Darren Heskes provides an amusing, well-synched underscore throughout, referencing all the major musicals. His work helps to move more swiftly some of the scenes that threaten to lag. This is exemplified in Nigel’s scheming scene, in which he plots with Penelope to kill the (university trained) “real” actors, underscored by a few bars from Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar. The actors could very easily have sung, “We need him crucified, it’s all you have to do…”

This production is a first for the Sunshine Coast. It parodies the best-known members of each theatre company in a ruthless and rather daring manner and yet leaves only a few offended (the collateral damage). It seems the writing is witty enough and the pace fast enough for this motley company to get away with all manner of sins! The combined talents on stage and off indicate that there is a distinct lack of entertainment like this – for actors and audience to get their teeth into – and the results indicate that there should be more of it. If Denver can pen a play like this in a couple of hours (and re-write it during rehearsals) and another, his latest, in less than an hour (So, Where Is It? was originally a one act play and was whittled down to just 10 minutes, winning the Gold Coast and Brisbane Short + Sweet Awards and taking out 3rd place in the national competition in Sydney this year), then he should be producing something new at least twice a year! There is talent to perform the work and audiences craving to see it. Let’s have more like this, please.

Final performances: tonight (Friday) and tomorrow night (Saturday) at 8pm & final matinee tomorrow (Saturday) at 2pm at Lind Lane Theatre

Book online or call 07 5441 1814

 

An audience member offered this feedback:

 

Last evening, Wednesday 3 May 2012, my partner and I with a couple of friends attended the production of “That Scottish Play”. Now we would like to take this opportunity in thanking every actor in this production plus all of the theatre crew for one of the most enjoyable theatre experiences of Lind Lane (although we also did enjoy the 3 Act plays performed last year by the theatre.)
 
We all found the play, or was it really a musical in disguise, we still aren’t too sure, totally entertaining and extremely funny and terribly well crafted and acted. Congratulations to all for a great night’s entertainment and may we expect more of the same in the future? we do hope so.
 
Simon Denver’s writings are truly of an international standard and he certainly knows just how to bring out the ‘best’ in his players.
 
We wish the cast and writer/director all the very best and again, thank you so much for such a most memorable evening of true comic theatre.
 
Bravo!
 
Mr Paolo-Andrea L.G. Roberto-Preston
Eudlo

07
Apr
12

on audiences

Source: The Guardian


Mum and Dad came to see the show last night. That’s right. On Good Friday. There was no bar due to licensing laws. So it was a very quiet audience. I told them after the show that they were a very quiet audience. I joked that they could have done with a drink before the show because, at first, we weren’t even sure they were out there.

Travelling North is not a comedy but we were beginning to get used to quite a few laughs since the preview on Monday night. David Williamson’s writing is witty and the characters are funny because we recognise them (and their flaws). Without being a comedy it can be quite a comical play.

My parents don’t usually see my shows because they typically book international flights during the week leading up to opening night. I know. I know how it looks. I’m sure it’s not a calculated gesture, it’s just a terrible error, which has, admittedly, happened several times. They once flew out of the country the day before opening night and returned to drive back to the coast from Brisbane International, only just catching the closing night of La Ronde in Mooloolaba (I miss doing a show in a shop! Nathanael Cooper missed it too so that link is his review of Erotique, which you’ll see is happening again NEXT)! This indicates that they don’t always mean to double-book. Or that they finally felt bad enough to make sure they got there.

Their feedback after the show last night? All positive. They enjoyed the lighter moments that came from the daughters’ involvement/interference (Andree, Julia and I). Remember, we didn’t have drinks so any criticism will come up at a later date, I’m sure! Mum’s comment was that the whole thing was “a little too close to the bone.” She was clearly affected. My grandparents in Toowoomba both have their problems at the moment and she and her sister have taken turns to care for them, particularly for my grandpa, for years. As is always the case in a Williamson, the reality of the situation hits home pretty hard if you’ve been there yourself. Of course, every single person in that audience will have had a different response to the story. Each audience is unique, in their reactions and in what they take away from the experience. They’ve all come from right out of their own stories and into the theatre having had a good, bad, great or indifferent day. And they must all go home to their own stories. In between, there is a little bit of magic that we can offer. I love when an audience surrenders to the magic. You can hear it, feel it; that moment when most of them have let go and melted into our world, happily (or even reluctantly) leaving theirs behind for a little while. That’s when, backstage, we look at each other and smile: “Got ’em!” (I’ve noticed, at Noosa Arts Theatre, the FOH volunteers really do look after their audience too. It’s all part of the experience, part of the magic).

Keep an eye out here for Mel White’s review of our production of Travelling North. I haven’t spoken with her. I don’t know what she thought of the show. I guess we’ll see. However, you’re unlikely to see any more arts space in the local rag (I was bemused to see a Bundaberg story in there today, despite them knowing that our boys won third place at the Sydney Short + Sweet Finals) and now that The Weekender is gone, you’re just going to have to get online more often to find out what’s happening at your local theatres. Follow this blog, follow us on Twitter, find us on Facebook and check out livetheatre.com.au to keep up with Sunshine Coast theatre. Don’t miss any of the magic!

Due to demand, an extra performance of Travelling North has been scheduled for

Wednesday April 18th.





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