THE AGE OF ENTITLEMENT

Created by Mongrel Mouth
Director: Duncan Maurice
Playwright: Saman Shad
Starring: Adam Connelly, Ali Crew, Amelia Tranter, Aston Campbell, Charlie Upton, Christina Sankari, Danny Gubbay, Eli King, Ezequiel Martinez, Giulia Clemente, Julia Landrey, Latisha Owens, Mark Williamson, Moreblessing Maturure, Paloma Alma, Rowan McDonald, Sage Godrei, Sharon Zeeman and Tess Marshall

Synopsis: The Age of Entitlement is about power, wealth, and how it can corrupt the best of intentions.

Young activist, Lara, believes she can change the world for the better. From a poor background, she has risen up the political ranks and understands the rights of those who have come from a life like hers. She craves a sense of power – something she never had. Then a mysterious figure steps into her world, promising everything she could possibly imagine!

Lara is transformed into a powerhouse politician on the verge of becoming the next party leader, all at the cost of losing the one man who has always stood by her side.

Review: Mongrel Mouth and its mammoth cast with director Duncan Maurice guiding the way have pulled together a very interesting piece of interactive theatre. Performed throughout seven rooms in an old mansion in The Rocks as apart of Village Bizarre Festivities this collaboration of talents was both curious and mystical. The characters all political/revolutionary advocates in one aspect or another were ordained in costume, make-up and wigs very Tim Burton-esque and other worldly. The freedom to wander and observe, get involved in conversation with the characters and immerse oneself in the play is a gage you as the viewer alone decide. Each room held a different element of the story, yet you didn’t feel out of the loop, taking the pieces you gathered to reveal the overall picture and drive of what was unfolding around you. All the gorgeous actors involved in this hybrid theatre were committed, comfortable and used the space immensely well. All involved, tender, strong, vivid and guided.

Producing this kind of theatre is risky, indeed challenging I’m sure! An immersive environment where audience is on stage and unpredictable anything can occur, and that’s the joy of it and was encouraged. The rowdier that mansion got the better the story! There was a glorious sense of responsibility taken by many audience members who were moved to involve themselves when prompted by cast circumstance, plight and even personal moral standings. The dynamics were as intriguing and interesting as the concept itself. We soon all found ourselves intimately squashed in one room as the story gathered to a head, this is where personal conviction came into play. Cast asking audience what the out-come should be. A mixture of silence, bewilderment and cry-havoc filled the room, it was inescapably confronting and touched a few raw reality nerves, I know it did with me. Community, national and global responsibility almost too much to digest. To some this was exciting and others slightly terrifying!

‘The Age of Entitlement’ is a fantastic hybrid exploration of kinetics between audience actor and story. Mongrel Mouth and company are catering to new expectation and audiences. It’s fun, thoughtfully current in context and super quirky!

It’s an exciting thing to see a theatre show sell out, which goes to prove there is a hungry audience out there for diverse theatre such as this. Stay tuned for what this production company do next, I’m sure it won’t disappoint or fail to delight!

A cracking night out!
http://www.mongrelmouth.com

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GUILTY PLEASURES

Blue Saint Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Company
Written and directed by: Joshua Robson
Starring: Angelique Cassimatis
Music by: Robert Tripolino & lyrics by Hugo Chiarella
Choreography: Amy Campbell

Synopsis: Guilty Pleasures is a one-woman show that tells the story of five ordinary people driven to the act of extraordinary violence. The show explores how love, passion, jealousy, loneliness and desperation can lead us far beyond what we would ever imagine ourselves to be capable of. Guilty Pleasures is a breakout show for its star Angelique Cassimatis.

Review: The five female characters portrayed in this sexy one woman show appeared to be the more detailed back stories from the murderous women in the classic jazz musical ‘Chicago’. Josh Robson, Robert Tripolino and Hugo Chiarella together embarked on a mammoth task which resulted in a successful collaboration of talents that didn’t have their work or Cassimatis’ over-shadowed by a monster classic but instead they cast a tall shadow all of their own! I must admit there were times I couldn’t help but think of ‘Chicago’ due to the characters affiliations and there were moments I wondered how this show would go in a trio. But then it would be too greatly Chicago-like then. Angelique Cassimatis is a performer who knows her craft intimately she took over that Hayes stage like a bat out of hell, there wouldn’t have been room for anyone else anyway!

‘Guilty Pleasures’ is a smart, witty on pointe to its genre show with Cassimatis’s talents undeniable, her vocals killer, her dancing, stellar. Her velvet movement and character shifting abilities divine. She is a sensational pocket rocket performer that lands a punch and leaves a dent in the memory.

My only gripe, (and it is small) is the faces of the visible musicians. There were more than one or two moments they looked rather bored and elsewhere, which I found quite unsupportive of the work, nothing a fedora or porkpie on those clever noggins wouldn’t fix I’m sure!

Jazz hands your way to the Hayes! Once again they are host to Australia’s finest, ‘Guilty Pleasures’ is playing until the 21st of December

TELL ME AGAIN

Director: Micheal Pigott
Playwright: Jeanette Cronin
Starring: James Lugton & Jeanette Cronin
Venue: The Old Theatre 505 by Eye of the Storm productions
Photography: Anna Alvisi

Synopsis:
What if Memory and Dream fell in love, and left you stranded in a vortex of uncertainty, spiked with just enough clues to drag you deeper into corridors of familiar doors with no handles.

Where sleeping and waking are lucky guesses at best, and the world rests on the tip of your tongue, defying you to name it. Further you fall, like a tiny piece of puzzle in the wrong jigsaw, searching for the edge of recognition, until it turns its back completely, and the shape that is you collapses into space. An endless space that can’t quite touch the universe.

You only exist in the memory of others.

Tell Me Again is a story from the netherworld where fact meets fiction and strangers know your name.

Review: This production like good art needs little introduction. ‘Tell Me Again’ is one of those rarely produced productions that speaks volumes on its own during viewing. One look and 2 minutes in and you are captivated, taken on a rawly beautiful journey by the impeccably sophisticated soundscape that gently surrounds the audience and characters like a protective hug from a loved one. What an experience Theatre 505 has hosted, like sugar and salt on the tip of the tongue no layer missed to savour.

Cronin’s writing subfuscous in nature is married with director Micheal Pigott’s installation style staging and lighting which felt like the chiarascuro in a surrealist painting, projected a mood that represented mortal feeling, dream like fears and sharp focused moments of reality. ‘Tell Me Again’ is a dynamic, heart wrenching sensation of the mystery of mind and soul. Jeanette Cronin has shown in writing and performance an internal weltanschauug which are efforts both brave and praise worthy.

James Lugton, gave an honest, naturalistic emotional plight to the patience and heart ache of a character torn by the realities and fantasies that plague him. Lugton a generous and wonderful performer of timing and trial.

Pigott’s intentional, clearly deliberate use of colour palette, physical placement and movement provided the script and actors a solid arch, pathway and structure to mazed characters and puzzle piece scenes. An avant-garde delight!

‘Tell Me Again’ is the pudding of proof that great text nurtured by a dedicated director and planted in talented actors needs little else in the room to romance and seduce an audience.

It is a literacy eclipsing variable and not a show to be missed. If you have heard of it and not made an effort to see it, you are are missing out on independent theatre at its brightest.

Only on until the 21st of December at Theatre 505

EMERALD CITY

Director- Lee Lewis
A Griffin Theatre Company production in association with Riverside Parramatta
Photo credit: Brett Boardman
Starring: Lucy Bell, Mitchell Butel, Jennifer Hagen, Kelly Paterniti, Ben Winspear & Gareth Yuen

Synopsis: Welcome to the glittering jewel of that other Oz. Fading screenwriter Colin is not long in Sydney before he’s seduced by its obsession with success. Teaming up with well-connected hack writer Mike, Colin finds himself in a tug of war between artistic ambition and big bucks. Fame and fortune – not to mention Mike’s criminally hot girlfriend – are up for grabs.

Review: David Williamsons’ uncanny and talented ability to write characters that strike chords within Australia’s middle-class bracket is a spectacular truth. I’m not sure if it’s a good sign that a lot of the raised topics of middle class social importance is still the same now. The questions raised by Williamson are still vitally current approaching 2015 as they were in the 1980’s. Sydney feels much the same to me. In saying that though the topics surrounding our Australian entertainment industry is a coin flip in contrast to social topics. The industry has evolved dramatically, the public, professionals alike take a pride in our Australian films, stars and our theatre. Australia is well on the map globally with growing respect from our international peers. The growth is a refreshing reflection when watching ‘Emerald City’ we no longer see America as our hero with a desperate need to please, conform and prove our worth. Williamson speaking through the character of Mike was almost prophetic when the character tried to sell the idea that Australia has a better climate for production, and it’s cheaper. The amount of American film production now in this country is huge. He was right! Williamson has the gift of human perception and has his finger on the pulse of his society, his art which is uniquely his own voice.

Director Lee Lewis has done a stellar job at bringing this saturated work to life. Her respect for the text is evident, she has successfully brought an 80’s production to market with out the often easy-to-do naff or overly nostalgic overtones that is easy to get carried away with. Lewis’ casting is brilliant, each actor brought a rip-roaring clarified comedy to their characters current reality creating a love for them all, even in their crude, selfish moments. Lewis’ choice of soundscape and the backdrop of Australian artist Ken Done contributed to her acknowledgement of the times and the story. The rhythm of the story carries beautifully, transitions are seamless and clear. Lewis is a fine director, her personal energy transfers to her work with a gorgeous sense of self awareness. Griffin theatre company and this cast are lucky to have her!
Performance wise, this is a cast who work significantly well together like a well oiled machine.

Mitchell Butel, as well-known screen writer Colin, delivers an increasingly psychologically unravelling character with a ballistic sense of manoeuvring that had the viewer in hysterics. Butel was infectious in his passion for his characters plight that even though there were slight moments of articulation concerns in his performance in moments of flurry, his deep connection to his characters crisis were a flourishing manifestation. A highly enjoyable performance, anyone in the entertainment industry, wether they admit it or can relate to Colin. I’m sure Butels’ own personal experience as an artist assisted him in bringing this character to life!

Lucy Bell, as Kate, the wife of protagonist Colin who has a growing successful career as a book publisher. Wine sips her character through a varied sequenced ride of guilt and ambition as Kate struggles to find a middle ground between her socialist beliefs and personal success and marriage compromise. Bell executes a naturalistic performance with wit and charisma, swinging her energy from stage to audience with effortlessness.

Jennifer Hagen, as producer Elaine, brought a comical class to the cast. Dryly funny, with a sophisticated array of character Hagens’ delivery was driven and to point, portraying a character who is keeping up appearances despite her personal financial decline and her weak judgement of character in Mike when a little desperate. Hagen gave a sincere and charming performance with clear intent through out.

Ben Winspear, as well-connected, brash, dud creative Mike, stole the show with his caracture approach to character, that ironically promoted a sense of what a lot of people overseas thought of Australians. Back in the days when ‘Mad Max’ and ‘Crocodile Dundee’ were the generalised image of Australian culture. Winspear was like the Tasmanian Devil, as soon as he hit that stage there was a sense we were all in for a laugh and a cringe of a ride with this character. A joyous, bold performer that didn’t disappoint.

Kelly Paterniti as Helen, the young, ditsy and gorgeous girlfriend of Mike came out in blazing 80’s aerobics fashion glory which sparked delight in the audience, she had them in the palm of her hand from that moment on. Paterniti gave a certain calculated performance, indicating her character was smarter than the others were aware. A charming performer, confident from start to finish she didn’t skip a beat.

Gareth Yuen, as financier Malcolm made a small role big by creating an egotistical man larger than life. Yuen had no doubts to his characters possible “compensations”. Blazing onto the scene like that of an 80’s TV host and leaving again with the same arrogance leaving an invisible trail of money and power lingering in the room. A grand portrayal of character much enjoyed!

‘Emerald City’ is one of Australia’s triumphs by an Australian literacy hero. David Williamson and Lee Lewis are a match made in heaven, and this cast are glorious to watch. Lucky for you, if you missed it at Griffin you have until 13th of December to see at Riverside!

10th-13th December