Posts Tagged ‘the loft

15
May
19

Richard III

 

Richard III

QUT 2nd Year Actors

Creative Industries Precinct

May 7 – 11 2019

 

Reviewed by Shannon John Miller

 

 

Director, Travis Dowling’s program notes give us insight as to why QUT have ambitiously selected Shakespeare’s Richard III to showcase the bold talent of their Bachelor of Fine Arts 2nd year acting students. He opines that “we need only look at the recent history of our political system to see that the ambition and actions of these characters are still present in our world today.” It’s only fitting that Richard III’s lyrical prose, with its machinations akin to the revolving-door leadership of current Australian federal politics and its slaughterhouse cabinet reshuffles finds its mouth peace in the rising millennial voting body of its confident young cast.

 

The story follows the treacherous uprising and hubristic downfall of Richard III, the short-reigned last king of the House of York whose death marks the end of England’s middle ages. Motivated by an evil career demon within, it’s his charm and eloquent dance with language that allows him to perpetrate his atrocities and traverse the poisonous royal court to the top. “Now is the winter of our discontent,” our villain opines in his opening line played formidably by Rachel Nutchey whose dynamic repertoire effortlessly encompasses Richard’s many faces. From his vulgar tuning of the women in his midst to his raging threats of violence, Nutchey navigates the titular character’s demanding spectrum with ease, transforming herself physically to effect his malformations and psychologically as she swings to the audience, entreating us to delight in her puppet mastery with a spontaneous comic timing.

 

Half the battle in modernising Shakespeare is the suspension of disbelief actors must effect, which requires them to tap into workable anachronistic instincts, while orating convoluted and archaic dialogue without being clunky and disingenuous. But the women of the cast have got this one with strong performances from Isobel Grummels playing Queen Elizabeth, Imogen Trevillion’s Lady Anne, Lucy Heathcote as the Duchess of York, and Sidney Shorten as Queen Margaret. And it’s when they’re all playing together that the dramatic tension, like a tightening spiral, really collects and draws us in. We quickly forget ourselves and are consumed into their lyrical and tumultuous predicaments.

 

However, in an age where presentation is everything, it’s the costuming, hair and makeup that need attention. With a young and vibrant cast posited in contemporary grit and grunge, it would be prudent to have a finger on the fashion pulse and invest in good wardrobe design.

 

The stage, although minimal at first, is lit with a dull effervescent-purple floor, which resembles either a discothèque or the cold floor of a slaughterhouse. The walls are draped in translucent flaps of plastic which evokes Psycho’s famous shower scene or perhaps Dexter’s clinical killing room and this allows director, Dowling seemingly infinite possibilities when it comes to blocking his actors on and off stage. With entries and exits choreographed tightly against Sage Rizk’s punchy and grim soundscape, and Glenn Hughes’ gruesomely stark lighting design, action is effectively obscured beyond the plastic shrouds. There’s lots of blood too with director Dowling choosing thankfully to Macbethise some of the dispatchings.

 

There are also bold voices and noteworthy performances amongst the cast, especially Ethan Lwin’s Clarence, Angus Linklater’s Buckingham, Tate Hinchy as the affable Hastings and Ben Jackson. This is a confident production of enthusiastic young talent whom will no doubt pursue promising careers in the dramatic arts, and it’s their director who truly cares about them, who’s pushing them to exploit their talents and physicality, and whose success in grappling with the demanding text has resulted in a solid and visually engaging production.

 

14
Aug
14

Hedonism’s Second Album (and here comes Margi Brown Ash to adjudicate the Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival)!

 

Hedonism’s Second Album is a new Australian comedy from David Burton and Claire Christian.

 

It’s for anyone who’s ever been let down by their favourite band, or their best mates.

 

hedonismssecondalbum

 

Written by David Burton & Claire Christian

Director Margi Brown Ash
Designer Josh McIntosh
Lighting Designer Ben Hunt

with

Patrick Dwyer, Gavin Edwards, Nicholas Gell,
Thomas Hutchins & Ngoc Phan

 

In a music studio in surburban Brisbane four men gather in an attempt to build upon a surprisingly successful first album. Newly clean, front man Gareth is losing his cool. Lead guitarist Chimney has got cold feet. Bass player Michael is keeping secrets and Sumo, the drummer, has vanished. Meet Hedonism.

Hedonism have rocketed from pub gigs to support acts, international tours and brand management. It’s a whole new world. They’ve been given a license to drink, be rockstars and live, well, hedonistically. They’ve been give permission to never grow up, as long as they record their second album.

After an all-weekend bender involving under-age girls, bikies, racial slurs on YouTube and a wombat from Australia Zoo, record label exec Phil is sent in to pull the boys into line and prevent the looming PR disaster. During the testosterone-fueled fallout, closely-guarded secrets are laid bare and friendships tested.

Hedonism’s Second Album premieres tonight at The Loft as part of La Boite Indie, and continues until August 30.

With Sunshine Coast support bands, The Flumes & The Floating Bridges, Hedonism’s Second Album comes to Nambour Civic Centre on September 4 2014.

 

 

 

Director, Margi Brown Ash, joins us on the Sunshine Coast from tomorrow night for the Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival #SCTF14

 

 

margibrownash

Margi is adjudicating the one-act play Open Section (this weekend) and Youth Section (next weekend). I’m looking forward to hearing her comments about our competing actors and directors, and particularly, her advice to younger performers. Previously, we’ve welcomed Andrea Moor, Kate Foy, Karen Crone and many more industry experts, all of whom have offered valuable feedback to our local and visiting theatre companies and at the same time, enlightened audience members about playwriting and production elements.

This year, for the first time, we’ve added a week-long program of events and moved the entire festival to the lovely little Lind Lane Theatre in Mitchell Street, Nambour. It IS little, accommodating only 100 punters per session, so book early for all sessions and special events, which include a forum and debate, workshops and theatresports.

Check livetheatre.com.au for details and booking information

22
Jul
13

Nathan Sibthorpe Talks Short+Sweet 2013

Nathan Sidthorpe

This week Meredith caught up with Nathan Sibthorpe, this year’s Short+Sweet Festival Manager.

She found out what he’s been up to recently, and what you can expect at Short+Sweet 2013.

 

I saw your work with Delicacy, which was fantastic if not a little macabre; will you be bringing the same ferocity from your direction to the direction and management of the festival?

I had the pleasure of assistant directing DELICACY under the vision of Lucas Stibbard. DELICACY was a unique sort of play – the kind that makes your stomach turn yet leaves you hungry at the end. Although I don’t believe any vital organs are going to be severed, I know that there are a few plays in Short+Sweet that might give you those slightly uneasy feelings – but in only the best of ways! Of course in a strand of up to eleven short plays, I reckon there should be enough to satisfy anyone’s appetite. Kind of like theatrical tapas!

 

I know you’re managing both the Gold Coast and the Brisbane circuits. I can’t wait to see what you do in Kelvin Grove’s The Loft, but do you think it’ll be tough juggling the workload?

So Short+Sweet this year is made up of four strands, each featuring a selection of ten-minute plays by local artists. Two strands will be performed on the Gold Coast, and then two in Brisbane. All up there are about 35 short plays to keep the festival going. It’s a tough juggle at times, but all of the artists are fiercely independent, and their passion holds everything together! They’re very good at supporting the festival that supports them.

 

You claim to be the Geek-In Residence, what gives you such a title?

Ha! In actual fact, it’s the Australia Council for the Arts that gives me that title! Well, them in combination with Queensland Theatre Company. My role at QTC started off as a funded position from the Australia Council, as part of their Geek-in-Residence program. I was recognised as a theatre-maker who actively experiments with digital technologies in live performance. I’m also the Twitter guy, the video guy, and the “which iPad app could help me solve this task?” guy.

 

Can I get any gossip about what to expect at Short+Sweet 2013?

Well, I don’t want to give away too much…. But look out for sexy handcuff pranks, intricate shadow puppets, dangerous spontaneity, feminine hygiene in 19th century England, people finding love, people losing love, people inventing what love could be … Body bags, wrecking balls, serial killers, symbolic balloons, a mime, a pig, a runaway bride, the evil undead… Secrets will be declared, someone will be humiliated, fights will break out, cake will be spilled, someone will die, the world will end, and dancing will happen. In ten minutes or less.

 

I’ve seen a few articles now saying this year’s is going to be refreshing, is that just hype or can we expect something different?

I think the festival is really growing. This year the standard of work has been really exciting. We’ve got more artists, more plays, and some of the shows are really going to push beyond expectations. It’s particularly exciting to have people like Catarina Hebbard directing, not long after she directed a MainStage show at QPAC for Queensland Theatre Company…. And then Sven Swenson, an award-winning playwright contributing to the pool of scripts. It’s also worth noting that this year is my first year managing the festival – that’s something different for sure! I know I’m finding it refreshing!

 

Have you been dealing with the selection process directly? If so, what speaks to you as a worthy script and performance for the show?

I have been very closely involved with the selection process this year, which has been an absolute privilege. I’m really interested in scripts that can promise theatricality, that know how and why they are a piece of theatre. I also want these plays to surprise us, to show us something we haven’t seen before, or to make us feel as though we’ve been a part of something bigger. Diversity is also a key factor of this festival – to make sure that each play has a different flavour, something unique to offer. You might hate one that everyone else loves and then fall in love with one that nobody else understands.

 

I saw some of the shows at last year’s Short+Sweet festival in The Loft, would you borrow a leaf from last year’s book or try to make this your own creation?

I think this year will have a bit of a different feel to last year. As well as there being more plays, there are also bigger concepts and challenging forms. One play relies on skilful shadow puppetry; another tells a story using only one word at a time. The script selections were incredibly competitive this year, so I’m confident that we’ve got some very exciting stories to tell. I’ll also say that we’re often going to have a hell of a mess to clean up after the performances!

 

Last year’s winners were well deserved, but what’s in it for this year’s yet to be known victors of Short+Sweet 2013? What sort of prizes or accreditations can they expect and do you think it’ll launch some of the more independent or younger competitors? As much as it is a festival it is most certainly a competition too, we mustn’t forget that.

 

Additional prizes are not yet announced for this year, but every award comes with an original sculptural trophy hand-made by an emerging artist from the Brisbane Institute of Art. There’s also something to be said about the value of the accreditation! After I won the Best Director award in 2011, my CV suddenly started working in my favour. And you might remember Dead Puppet Society got their first big break after winning the Short+Sweet Award in 2009!

 

An exciting extra incentive has only been introduced in recent years – that the overall winner of Short+Sweet QLD will win a coveted spot in the Sydney Short+Sweet Festival in 2014! (SRT’s So Where Is It? won this coveted spot in 2012 – Ed).

 

It’s getting close to the show now, less than a month away. Would you do it all again if they asked you back next year?

For sure!

 

Thanks so much for chatting, Nathan. I look forward to seeing the show in August. 

Thanks Meredith, look forward to seeing you at the festival!

Short+Sweet 2013 dates will be running as follows. Make sure to get your ticket.

 

GOLD COAST

The Arts Centre, Gold Coast

 

STRAND ONE – MAINSTAGE
Tues 30 Jul, 7pm
Wed 31 Jul, 7pm
Thurs 1 Aug, 7pm
Fri 2 Aug, 7pm

 

STRAND TWO – WILDCARDS
Sat 3 Aug, 7pm
Sat 3 Aug, 7pm

 

BRISBANE

The Loft, Kelvin Grove

 

STRAND THREE – MAINSTAGE
Tues 20 Aug, 7pm
Thurs 22 Aug, 7pm
Sat 24 Aug, 7pm

 

STRAND FOUR – MAINSTAGE
Wed 21 Aug, 7pm
Fri 23 Aug, 7pm
Sat 24 Aug, 3pm

 

GALA FINAL
Sun 25 Aug, 3pm
Sun 25 Aug, 7pm

10
Sep
12

FAST Festival: Here Goes Nothing – CRAVE – Leftovers (from a dream)

FAST Festival

Welcome to our newest theatre reviewer, the multi-talented and intrepid theatre-goer, Emilie Guillemain, who managed to divide her time over the weekend between the Brisbane Writers Festival and FAST Festival. Keep an eye out for more from Emilie during Brisbane Festival and don’t forget to comment if you like her posts or would like to add your POV!

Here Goes Nothing

Griffith University Drama

The Loft, QUT Kelvin Grove

07.09.12 & 09.09.12

Reviewed by Emilie Guillemain

Together we’ll climb into each other’s experiences and slow-dance each other’s secrets. One thing is certain: tonight you won’t be alone. We’ll be together. But you have to surrender part of yourself. Or at the very least – step forward and take my hand. Okay. You ready? Look alive. Let’s do this: here goes nothing.

Channelling the topics of choice, consequence and memory, Here Goes Nothing is a heart-warming play that reflects on the little delicacies of human interaction and connection. Over the course of 80 minutes the audience is faced with tales of love, loss, childhood, confessions and fears.

The show opens with a group of 15 performers dressed in bright and colourful party gear. Cling film is tightly wrapped around their bodies as they huddle together excitedly. As they begin to break free of the Glad Wrap, the audience is immediately addressed.

Who here likes the smell of freshly mown grass?

Who here is afraid of the ocean?

Who here has ever had their heart broken?

The play delves into a series of stories where questions like these are explored. Small and simple pleasures are discussed, along with the more pressing topics of personal fears and heartbreak. While none of the characters are introduced, no names are uttered, the audience learns about them through these series of intimate confessions.

Relying on a simple stage set up (a wall of multi-coloured streamers and 15 chairs) Here Goes Nothing really hones in on the interesting and quirky nature of the characters. The play combines music and dance effortlessly with fruitful dialogue and, as the scenes progress, the audience’s heart strings are tugged repeatedly. We revisit the ways in which we can be touched by love, but all too quickly, learn how it can turn sour.

As an insightful and stunning performance, Here Goes Nothing’s strength lies in its power to connect with the audience through their own experiences. The play explores the sense of touch both physically and emotionally in such a raw and delicate way that members of the audience find themselves laughing, crying, cringing, nodding and shaking their heads.

The final scene is something of true beauty. The characters strip down to their underwear, a soft tune is played as they move between person-to-person and slow dance. With the use of subtle lighting, their shadows create intimate silhouettes on the stage walls. There are gaps in between where some stand alone; the loneliness and distance is apparent in their expression but this doesn’t last as they are soon swept up by a passerby. These series of embraces gently lead into a song and dance number; the characters are alive and passionate. They sing and dance, laugh, scream, and thrash about as their energy electrifies the theatre space. It’s open, it’s real, it’s full of heart – a captivating performance that does nothing short of inspire.

Here Goes Nothing FAST FESTIVAL

Crave: A Takeaway Show

Opiate Productions, QUT

The Roundhouse

08.09.12

Reviewed by Emilie Guillemain

Our Lloyd’s Prayer

Our Lloyd, who art at the edge of existence

Blessed be thy food

Thy pilgrims come

They will be fed

At Lloyd’s as it is like no other

Give us this day our daily bread

And accept thy cravings

As we accept our cravings are against us

Lead us not into waste

But deliver us from hunger

For Lloyd’s is our deliverance

And the power

And the glory

For ever

And never

Amen.

Are you hungry?

Crave: A Takeaway Show delves into the subjects of hunger, desire and confession. It’s a ride through our deepest cravings and regrets, and the freedom that comes with releasing hidden truths.

Our Lloyd kneels centre stage, surrounded by a pillar of plastic bags. He is ready to serve, ready to quench the thirst and satiate the hunger. The stage is covered in plastic bags, some full of waste, and hanging from the ceiling. Lloyd is accompanied by excitable Jack and Jill, and Ocean – a curious character whose representation still remains a mystery. All 3 appear to be firm “believers” in the power of Lloyd and his ability to cure the suffering that comes with craving. They confess to their desires and in turn, encourage the audience to do the same.

What do you want to forget?

Upon entry into the theatre, audience members are asked to respond on numbered pieces of paper. The paper is then shared among the audience and during the play Lloyd calls out figures at random to confess. There was a break in the performance here where audience participation faltered.

“Stay hungry, stay foolish.”

As the characters’ confessions unfold, they are rewarded with chewing gum from a bubblegum dispenser that rests on Lloyd’s desk.

“Eat, eat into oblivion!”

Crave FAST FestivalThe bubblegum is a fantastic metaphor for how humans choose to satisfy hunger. It’s the incessant chewing that leads us into believing we’re eliminating the craving but by the time we rid ourselves of the gum, it leaves an emptiness and a greater hunger than before. This is brought to the audience’s attention as a cleaner steps onto the scene. He is well pissed off. There is rubbish everywhere but it’s the bubblegum that really grates on him – even after you remove it, it leaves a stain you can’t get rid of.

Crave: A Takeaway Show tackles some meaty issues within the space of 45 minutes. The philosophy of hunger and desire is embedded in the script, however; the rush of the performance hinders character development and results in a gap between the performers and their audience. In addressing the subject of hunger, I believe the audience was left with just that…a desire to discover more about the characters and gain a better understanding of what it really means to “confess”.

Leftovers (From A Dream)

Southbank Institute of Technology

The Loft, QUT Kelvin Grove                                                                                       

08.09.12

Reviewed by Emilie Guillemain

Leftovers (from a dream) FAST Festival

Leftovers (From A Dream) explores the hectic environment between the spaces of dreaming and reality. We’re welcomed into Finn’s story where he is faced with a recurring dream of meeting his father for the first time. They step towards each other, cautious but curious and embrace when Finn is pulled back to reality by his relentless alarm clock and girlfriend, Alba, calling his name.

The play opens with the characters standing with their backs against the wall, a violin and acoustic guitar compliment their breathing. The energy quickly shifts, the dialogue is fast-paced, blended with live music and stylised movement. Sexual undertones are present as the characters briefly touch on the topic of the wet dream, before the scene quickly flicks back to Finn’s recurring dream of meeting his father – a cringe-worthy, yet evidently humorous moment. During the performance the spotlight shifts from Finn to the three other characters – two versions of Alba (real vs dream) and a “Dreamologist”. They share details of dreams they’ve had but as the show progresses, the lines between reality and the dream world begin to blur. Tension between Finn and Alba grows as Alba’s interference in Finn’s desire to meet his father begins to leak into his dreams. The couple attend therapy sessions with the Dreamologist, which provides a touch of humour to the show, as he communicates all of his advice through song.

Due to the fast-paced nature of the play and the dipping in and out of reality, the performance did lose me from time to time. The strength in the performers’ characters and vocality was something that quickly brought me back to focus. I was interested by the idea that dreams are almost seen as a form of escape or at times, an opportunity to chase our desires. But in the end we often become entrapped by them or they take on a different form to what we had initially envisaged.

Finn’s lack of control becomes more apparent as the play progresses, as Alba continues to push and question his desire to meet with his father. She is overcome by jealousy and Finn’s fight to keep her out of his dreams wears thin, building friction between the three as they meet within the dream. The play investigates the themes of fatherhood, control, relationships and the dream vs reality. Leftovers is an interesting look at the power or the lack of, that we have in both worlds.

 

17
Aug
12

Short & Sweet Brisbane 2012

SHORT+SWEET Brisbane 2012

QUT The Loft

14th August – 19th August 2012

Reviewed by Meredith McLean

Short and Sweet

Titles can be misleading. Named SHORT+SWEET a little over a decade ago for good reason, this only rings true on the surface. Underneath it all is a lot of effort and a long period of preparation. Often and only in the most hilarious ways the performances are not sweet at all. This thoroughfare of performances is in itself something quite monumental.

It’s almost like Russian roulette. You don’t quite know what to expect every time a new gang of vivacious actors leap from The Loft’s curtain. Admittedly, this is not an event for small children but the range of style does bring something for everyone. Whether you prefer crude belt-out laughter comedy or perhaps something of the more dark realism persuasion of theatre, there is not a play that won’t satisfy these curiosities.

The range of talent as well, is something peculiar to watch. Some of the actors will clearly demonstrate their experience and prowess simply by the way they frame themselves on stage. Then just as loud and proud, battling it out against the old timers, are the budding new talents of Brisbane. A few faces I even recognised from around QUT campus. I couldn’t help myself but root for my fellow aspiring university students. It’s part of an unspoken broke uni student code I suppose.

Keep your eyes open for some very promising competitors. The Rental Company will have you running out of breath trying to laugh at each gag. Ben Disteldorf and Matthew Crawford as the doomed customer and the horrifying salesman run together flawlessly.

Written and directed by Bare Bottomed Tea Friends (their name alone lets you know what you’re in for), My Bathroom Musical reveals what every girl is thinking before a night out on the town. Ladies, I warn you now. If you bring him, your significant other will definitely start to feel uncomfortable while you smile to yourself knowing it’s all too true.

But SHORT+SWEET isn’t just a comedy festival. It’s a concept that unites different playwrights, actors and directors around the world. The Pond, performed by Emily Pollard and Sam Ryan is haunting. It is so convincing because you don’t realise what they’re doing to you. In their faces, their words, the way they sit under dimmed lights then stand up and speak honestly. The Pond takes us somewhere dark and lonely without us even knowing until we realise we’re splashing around in the pond with them.

This was by no means interactive theatre, however; the audience is nonetheless something of VIP status for this festival. Not only do we have the top ten performances paraded one after the other to the audience, but you will get to vote too! By choosing your top three you get to decide who will move onto the final round. These actors, playwrights and directors have put their fate into your hands. If you attend the show, by all means, remember to choose wisely.

The man behind the festival is just as warm-hearted and good-humoured as each of the top ten plays. Rather than hiding in the wings with a stony face and shadows over his eyes Sean Dennehy comes out and greets us all. He riles the crowd up like a proper ringmaster with his menagerie of one-act plays.

This particular event is touring Brisbane and Gold Coast but SHORT+SWEET has made it’s own strides since fruition. This year the festival will be taking on international pursuits through Singapore, Malaysia, Taipei, Auckland, Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai.

So what are you after? What are you looking for? Strained for time or do you have time to kill? SHORT+SWEET caters for any and all answers. Make your way to The Loft, at QUT Kelvin Grove, this weekend and see the Top 10 or perhaps you’d prefer their Wild Card event? Be quick, the Gala Final will be coming soon and all the time, effort and amazing creativity displayed will be wrapped up into one last performance. Short and sweet the way we like it.