BITCH BOXER

The Old Theatre 505

Bull Ant Productions

26-31st May

Playwright: Charlotte Josephine

Performed by: Katherine Shearer

Synopsis:

Chloe likes life’s simple thing: cherry sambuca, hairbrush-in-the-mirror-karaoke and winding up her Dad.London 2012. Women step into the Olympic boxing ring for the first time. Can Chloe prove she’s worth the title?

Review: Charlotte Josephine has written a sharp, punchy monologue in ‘Bitch Boxer’. As a written work it flows beautifully with exciting narrative, humour that surrounds an earthy, raw character. I’m not a fan of monologue performances, they are too much too often linear and one-dimensional, but as far as monologue pieces go, ‘Bitch Boxer’ is a well written piece of contemporary theatre.

It is clear that performer, Katherine Shearer put her heart and soul into preparing for her character. Coaching from professional boxer Eleanor Boden rung true within shearers physicality, especially her foot work and how she carried herself around the 505 stage. For the short time I can imagine she would have had to prepare for this role she showed great dedication and skill. Though her accent was hard to place and could have done with a dialect coach to insure her Australian accent didn’t peek through, which at times it did she, gave her audience a ballsy, loveable character. Getting a majority standing ovation from her audience, Shearer was moved to tears. Perhaps relieved to have made her audience so happy and perhaps the endurance of such a piece and done rather well.

I do think that where Shearer was let down in some regard is in direction. Director Srisacad Sacdpraseuth made some choices that I don’t think assisted the intent of the text and most jarringly the climatic part of the monologue, the big fighting match scene. Sacdpraseuth’s limited theatre directing knowledge was over taken by his film directing skill which came across to me that he was unsure how to tackle the challenge of creating a dynamic fighting scene with one character. Having Shearer sit in a corner with her head in her gloves whilst the audience watched a projected video recording of what might have transpired in this scene was not only an anti-climax, it fell short of anything thrilling. This part of the monologue should have been the most dynamic, most punchy, most on the edge of your seat part of the show. A discussion perhaps with his lighting designer, and clever use of space and light trickery could have achieved something quite powerful and smashing from an audience perspective. Also returning back to the text, playwright Josephine has clearly stated that her boxer is 21 years old, her relationships, her mental space, all written in the text. This text coming out of  the mouth of an actor who is not from this age bracket disturbed some of the intent of the story which was confusing at times. I do think it is interesting that director and performer were influenced by 45 year old boxing champ Jude Bowler (which should have had more of a highlight in the programme) I can appreciate the reference and the direction but unfortunately the text did not support this choice which caused unnecessary conflict of interests in the character. Instead of feeling a young woman’s struggle with her place in the world and the relationships with her parents, the character came across as behind mentally and immature.

‘Bitch Boxer’ has an excellent creative team, who have clearly poured their hearts and soul into its creation. Their passion is evident and the audience very much responded to that, which is powerful in itself. It just lacked textual grounding and direction in parts that limited its potential. It packed some punch but didn’t deliver a knock-out.

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

Sport for Jove

The Seymour Centre

22nd-30th May

Rumour has it (as I had not yet to witness one of their shows) Sport for Jove have a reputation for producing excellent and engaging Shakespearean theatre that very much appeals to an Australian eye and ear. It is always intriguing to wonder before seeing a companys take on one of Shakespeare’s plays, how they choose to tackle it. With the experience of a director like Richard Cottrell there was little doubt that this production would have style and professional finish. And that it certainly did, it was dapper in every way stylistically speaking. The set and costumes by designer Anna Gardiner had that Great Gatsby feel to them mixed with very clear salutations to the time of Shakespeare’s living days. This was a top production, turning rumour for me into fact. Sport for Jove have a real nach for Shakespeare, the language in the mouths of the actors came naturally in delivery and through physical expression, the poetry treated like a dear friend. There was no awkward exchanges or delivery choices in vocal inflections, nothing but a natural engagement with fluid tempo and coherent understanding of what was being said and what story was unfolding before them. Cottrell has worked magic within simplicity allowing the language to shine and do the work that all great writing does naturally. Bar the obvious hero, Shakespeare, the congratulations on excellence must go towards the cast. Not only was this production cast impeccably, each actor individually provided their audience with not only a true understanding of the text within the stage which is their voices, but their abilities to engage with the comedy and the drama in such a gorgeous and contemporary manner. Their body language too had clear comprehension of the complex nature and poetry of Shakespeares’ writing. A cast who performed with great legerity solo and in unison.

Stand-out performances for me were Jonathan Elsom, who played various roles through-out. A seasoned performer whose decades of experience and chiselled character development gave a wealth to the performance that I considered a rare treat to witness. Elsoms’ comic timing and physical expression kept a smile on your face with a giggle often getting loose now and then due to his clever physicality and facial expression. A generous performer for both his audience and to his fellow actors. A not to be missed performance from Elsom.

Michael Cullum too playing various roles through-out the piece showcased his talent to transform himself, giving each of his characters a unique platform and physical presence that had his audience lapping up every word, understood or not, it mattered not. Cullum gave a solid comical performance that made you appreciate his passion and skill within his craft. A bold, fresh performer.

Darcy Brown shone like a brass penny in uniform as Solanio. Brown has a skillful way in performing that is uniquely his own. A grounded actor, his performance felt real and possessive in nature, his relationship with text made for an engaging watch that had you forgetting to blink. A true talent with a DiCaprio air about him, star quality and one to watch.

Damien Strouthos gave a punchy and galloping performance as Gratiano. Strouthos clearly has a strong relationship with Shakespeare and his love for this style of theatre radiates from his performance. Strouthos showed a comfort with himself and character in the four walls of this play like no other on the stage. Strouthos highlighted both comedy and drama with fluro making for a vivid and vivacious performance.

Erica Lovell, as Narissa and Lizzie Schebesta, as Portia both made for an exciting watch. Both ladies gave their performances comedic flare with cheek and charm. Not a shy lash between them Schebesta and Lovell gave envious performances that were ballsy and savvy.

James Lugton, as Antonio, Chris Stalley, as Bassanio and John Turnbull, as Shylock must be applauded for their veridical performances. Their contributing talent and energy was electric and stimulating, each providing their characters with grandeur and style.

Aaron Tsindos, played a hilarious Prince of Morocco having his audience in fits of laughter at his characters expense. Tsindos brought a unique talent to the stage, a palpable performance with dashes of quirky expression and mesmeric mannerisms. Pip Dracakis, as Beatrice performed with elegance and contagious fervor, a lovely performance.

Jason Kos, as Lorenzo and Lucy Hefferman, as Jessica felt like the babies of the cast with their grips on the language and their portrayal of character. Kos gave a fine, clean performance with Hefferman feeling held back somehow in delivery. Both actors yielding an innocence as their characters token to the work, which worked fine, but wondered if more exploration could be considered towards their characters content of character.

Sport for Jove have developed and presented a cynosure production with a culturati cast and crew, thus making for a strong, current Shakespearean encounter. A lasting first impression, and very much living up to their reputation for excellence!

DEADTIME

presented by Lace Balloon at 107 Projects Redfern

20-29th May

Written & directed by Fleur Beaupert

Devised by Paul Armstrong, Kailah Cabanas, Lara Lightfoot, Abi Rayment, Robert Rhode, Eleni Schmacher and Barton Williams

Synopsis:

a new play inspired by the story of Dr Mohamed Haneef: an Indian national working on the Gold Coast, arrested in 2007 under Australia’s anti-terrorism laws on suspicion of being connected to the attack on Glasgow Airport.

It is a story of one man’s incredible struggle, as well as the struggles we each have to face and the challenges we face as a country. How do we protect national security? And at what cost to our freedom? Who are we letting lead the conversation about race, religion and national identity? And how are we keeping them to account? What can happen, and who will step up, when the time between arrest and charge is potentially unlimited?

Review: Writer/director Fleur Beaupert and her company of actors have presented us a piece of theatre that is of Australian topic within the realm of a devised state. Two, in my books relevant vehicles of artistic purpose and expression. ‘Deadtime’ is an expression, an impression and even an exploration on clear lines and the not so clear lines of control within our government and our media on hot topics such as terrorism. Again both topics are of high interest and relevant to an Australian audience. I think Beauperts’ means of delivering this information to her audience was somewhat half-baked in her writing, at times the actors felt less comfortable in the text than they did the physicality aspect of their performances. New work when first produced always has a few cracks and in need of dramaturgy, devised work even more so, textually this show needs some further attention. On the flip-side, ‘Deadtime’ was performed very much in a performance art manner with purposeful lines, shapes and good use of architecture and space. 107 projects is a blank canvas/gallery style space that was very suiting to anyone wanting to put on devised or physical performance based theatre. There were some lovely shapes to appear out of Beupert’s direction, her actors each providing some raw energy that was engaging to witness. Due to the style of writing and use of real verbatim interview transcripts in the script, it unfortunately felt rather top heavy and rather weighty and linear in delivery.

Beaupert and her company made trending effort to produce dramatic effect with the devised method in physicality, soundscape and movement. For the most part they were successful in producing some interesting dynamics and spoken harmonies as a group. I did feel though that the focus was so heavily on the style of the production, some of the humanity that was required to support the text in this show was compromised. The balance of the devised vs the text created a battle between the two giving the sense that something needed to give way to one or the other, or that there needed to be a stripping back of text to support the physical story that was forming. Beaupert, took some risks in her production using quite literally deadtime in blocking out some extended silence within her script as well as a long stare between performers and audience. though I appreciated the risk this took, the choice lacked conviction and clear objective.

The performances were steady through out the show, some articulation and delivery at times needed addressing, each performer did as best they could with this current script which does hold great elements of promise. Robert Rhode played a convincing Dr. Mohamed Haneef, a grounded performance with ounces of character curiosity and flare in his delivery. Lara Lightfoot also played a news anchorman very convincingly, her news dictation and mannerisms were on point as well as her shark like drive to generate a media frenzy.

All in all, ‘Deadtime’ needs some time to figure out what needs to be workshopped and what needs to be culled. It is a script full of information that could either be re-directed in the devised nature of the piece more informatively or redirected in a more naturalistic stye texturally. Some beautiful exploration and risk in direction and performance, I’d much rather see this than dead theatre any day.

Photo credit: Jeremy Belinfante, Phyllis Wong

THE HOUSE OF RAMON IGLESIA

The Old Fitz 12th May-6th June

A Mophead Production

Directed by: Anthony Skuse

Performed by: Christian Charisiou, Deborah Galanos, Nicholas Papademetriou, Ronny Jon Paul Mouawad, Stephen Multari,  Eloise Snape & David Soncin

Synopsis

THE HOUSE OF RAMON IGLESIA is a play about a bright, Americanised son’s tortured efforts to break away from his tradition-bound parents. A break that can’t be made until he learns to accept the ethnic heritage he has spent his life trying to suppress.

 The Iglesia family is a Puerto Rican clan that migrated to Long Island in 1961, and whose members we meet in 1980. JAVIER is a young political science graduate, who often finds his parents embarrassingly indistinguishable from the Puerto Rican “fools” loitering on 8th Avenue. Father RAMON is a menial labourer usually rendered incoherent by his twin curses of diabetes and alcoholism. Religious mother DELORES has never really bothered to learn English.

CHARLIE, the most innocent of them all, is on the cusp of forging an identity for himself, and middle child JULIO wants to join the Marines, much to Javier’s disgust. And for some reason, CAROLINE, Javier’s beautiful white trailer-trash girlfriend wants to tag along for the epic and often humorous Hispanic ride. As the play progresses, we realise the sharp-tongued, well-educated Javier is no prince and his parents, while no saints, are far more complicated than they first appear.

Review

Before seeing this production and reading up on it before hand I was struck with the currently trending phrase ‘Why this story and why now?’ A 1980’s story of Puerto Rican immigrants in New York is a vastly removed circumstance for majority of Australians to connect with. Though I still question ‘why this work?’ I was very quickly at ease with it when  watching the diabolical private moments of a struggling family unit unfold before me. Don’t we all come from homes with drama and family issues, ummm yes…there is plenty of room where we can all relate. My concern was quickly tucked away not to be thought of again as I engaged in the events before me.

Director Anthony Skuse, quite frankly, has done it again! Another smashing show from one of Australia’s finest directors. Skuse handles text in such a caressing and romantic manner it is near impossible not to fall in love with his productions. This years shows ‘Platonov’ at ATYP and most recently ‘Caress Ache’ at Griffin were equally beautiful and captivating to watch. Skuse is a fine director and a fine gentleman which in turn shines gracefully through his work. His approach to character and his casting choices make for the best of independent theatre.

What I loved about Skuses’ production choices is there wasn’t an over-kill in reference to the 80’s in costume or set design. The references that did exist were subtle, which assisted greatly in engaging and focusing on the narrative and the inner conflict of each character instead of viewing the work in a nostalgic period state that could have distracted and dated the work. Skuse also I have noticed has a real affiliation (maybe he doesn’t, just my observation) with chairs. Both in ‘Platonov’ and this work his use of chairs, their placement and there symbolism in relation to human presence were common thread and gives a certain quality and style uniquely his own. This seemingly insignificant notion adds as a powerful ingredient to the invisible musicality and rhythm of his work. Skuses’ direction flows like chocolate lava to which you find yourself covered in and carried by from lights-up to lights- down. His choice of soundscape, composed brilliantly by sound designer Alistar Wallace assisted the work wonderfully. Giving extended silences/pauses in the work strong dancing legs. Succulent and not over-bearing, Skuse has produced a balanced production in every sense of the term.

I too can not speak highly enough of the performances in this production. Their wasn’t an amateur bone in this cast who’s professionalism, dedication and clear understanding of their characters were unwavering and genuine. First on the scene Deborah Galanos, played religious, longing for home mother Delores with tremendous conviction, heart-felt notion and a physical response to her characters struggle and dramatic inclinations masterfully well. A truthful portrayal of a strong Puerto Rican woman who struggles with loss and broken promises. Galanos performed Delores with gripping vitality and flare making her character both loveable and at times pitiful in moments of desperation. Galanos did not lack moments of humour that kept her character grounded and genuine.

Eloise Snape, played trailer-trash girlfriend to main character Javier perfectly. Her physicality was interesting and recognisable, as well as her New-York accen, faultless. Snape really grabbed this American stereotype by the horns making for a hysterical performance keeping an often heavy circumstantial play light on its feet. Snape is a top-notch performer who no doubt will continue to carve out a solid career. A dedicated performer with spark and great stage presence.

Christian Charisiou, authentically played his wanna-be marine bull-headed character Julio with an athletic rhythm and timing. His performance felt like a boxer in a fighting ring. Charisiou ducked were he needed, keeping it light when necessary and swinging the punches at perfect intervals to enhance his characters strengths and weaknesses. A strong performer with clear objectives and strong stage presence.

Nicholas Papademetriou, brilliantly portrayed father Ramon with a real earthy disposition, highlighting the peasant in the urban living man. His characters short comings seemed to out weigh his ability to be charming in tough situations to which Papademetriou’s performed in his stride. Papademetriou has the wow factor in his ability to portray the many colours and layers of a multi faceted character. A highly enjoyable and memorable performance.

Stephen Multari, played the son in the spotlight Javier smoothly and with great restraint. His characters struggles were internalised consistantly though the piece making his out bursts powerful with purposeful emotional back-story to support his frustration and point of view. Though at times a seemingly selfish ungrateful character, Multari gracefully carried his character to redemption in style at the end of the play. Multari is a stylish performer with a classy delivery.

David Sonchin, as Charlie played the younger brother endearingly well with a lot of heart and tenderness. Sonchin gave a well paced performance that made his character loveable – with a sweetness and youthful energy that brought balance to other more volitile characters. Sonchin was at the top of his game, pulling heart strings as he tugged his audience along his characters journey.

Ronny Jon Paul Mouawad, played an Italian thug who knocks on the Iglesia home to settle a debt by purchasing the Iglesia home for pennies. Mouawad successfully pulled out all the Italian mob cards in his portrayal of his character giving an authentic performance that felt surreal to watch. Head to toe Mouawad played the part, his nature and timing were great to watch.

‘The House of Ramon Iglesia’ is a beautifully written, heart-felt family saga. Anthony Skuse has taken the text and turned it into something magical with a brilliant cast whom no doubt drew on personal histories and talents making a distant story feel like home. Another great show produced by Mophead I left the theatre rhapsodic!

TRADE

The Old Theatre 505

12-17th May

A new creation by Hurrah Hurrah

Created by Alison Bennett, Dymphna Carew, Naomi Livingstone, Alison Windsor and Cheyne Finn

TRADE was inspired by the story of the French rogue trader, Jerôme Kerviel who lost €5 billion in illegal futures trades in Paris. Initially arrested in 2008, the story provoked a frenzied response from the finance community regarding fault. Who was to blame?

TRADE is not a re-telling of this story, but rather, an examination on the themes of guilt and redemption.

Review:

The Old Theatre 505 very rarely, to never, lets me down with their season choices. 505 in my opinion are THE leading independent theatre company whom not only have their fingers on the pulse with the calibre of creatives brought to their stage, they bring the very best independent work to which is current, fresh and interesting. I can quite honestly say that I was literally on the edge of my seat watching this production by this actor led, process based company ‘Hurrah Hurrah’. Quite honestly THIS is the kind of theatre I have been parched to see more of in our independent circuit. Actors and collaborators (this is a director less based company) Alison Bennett, Dymphna Carew, Naomi Livingstone, Alison Windsor and Cheyne Finn have done what I passionately wish I would see more of in term of theatre practice and creativity from independent artists. ‘TRADE’ took almost three years from conception to inception and it shows! Time is such a rare consideration in creating independent theatre, the value of investing in such a dedicated manner that spans over years (not a few weeks) is a remarkable effort which in turn has rewarded this dedicated bunch with a show that is exciting, gripping, eccentric, exploratory, funny, dark, twisted and most wonderfully physically bold and inventive.

I haven’t been this thrilled by an ensemble of performers since I can remember. These dedicated artists have clearly invested into the physicality of their theatre practice with all their might and nerves. Their brave attempt to (I quote) ‘distill many ideas into a cohesive whole’ has paid off in a show that no doubt grabs and challenges the imagination of the audience to whom responded warmly to this company’s exploration and approach to story-telling. Their set, bare with only two very well used multi-functional structures, successfully assisted these performers to enhance the physical narrative of the piece and highlight the absurd nature also. A simple, frabjous and savvy use of space, lighting and architecture.

This company has a vast amount of local and international training that has shone brightly through each performer. With influences from the bold Berlin company tg STAN and the obvious injection of Le Coq method and play, as well as improvisation into their kneading and breathing of their theatrical bread. ‘Hurrah Hurrah’ are most certainly a company to watch and ‘TRADE’ is a show not to be missed. With a redeveloping of the work to proceed in 2016, with writer and dramaturge on board, ‘TRADE’ is sure to be a show touring the nation and I would hope touring Internationally when cooked to it’s finest with that beautiful and rarely utilised ingredient TIME… I look forward to seeing the results of that!

A superb worthy night out as usual at The Old Theatre 505!

GROUNDED

Seymour Centre, Red Stitch & The United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Reginald Season 2015

1-16th May

Play by: George Brant

Director: Kirsten von Bibra

Performed by: Kate Cole

Synopsis:

She’s an F16 fighter pilot; a rock star of the great big blue above. She loves the sky. And suddenly she is pregnant. Her career in the sky is over. Now, she sits in an air-conditioned trailer in Las Vegas flying remote-controlled drones.

As the pressure to track a high-profile target mounts, the boundaries between solider and mother begin to blur.

‘Grounded’ is a visceral, gripping story that flies through one woman’s internal war and her external battle.

Review: Kirsten von Bibra, is a volitant director who has taken a multi-dimensional piece of writing to new heights. Von Bibra has a unique style that echos her passion for distillation of meaning within the theatrical experience. Her clear and concise choice of physical placement was strong in performer Kate Cole whom kept her feet firmly planted through out the piece. This allowed for dialogue to travel with a certain rhythm and target. Interestingly enough this structured movement inherently became Coles’ primary medium to express her characters state of mind. Bibra’s movement direction felt Meyerholdian in method which I highly enjoyed.

Von Bibras’ casting in Kate Cole was well suited for the pilot seat. Cole soared from strength to strength by welcoming her audience aboard as she buckled us in for a journey that will not soon be forgotten. Cole is a brilliant actor who gave a performance full of interesting emotional pockets with an intense dedication to characters expression and objective behaviours. Cole assisted in conveying to an Australian audience (whom I can only guess would have felt far removed or associated with the U.S Airforce drone department) the visceral human spirit within the alien content conveyed. Cole kept a strong sense of awareness of character yet managed to portray quite subtly and tangibly the uncontrollable shift of perspective that happens within the unexpected changing circumstances of her characters world. Cole is an engaging performer, whom has both charm and a sense of style on her side.

Set and lighting designer Adrian Black, has done an epic job in encompassing von Bibra’s vision. His design is functional, stylish, effective and visually stimulating. Black’s set design married with his lighting design in ways which held gorgeous elements of unexpected surprises that added to the mesmerising quality of von Bibra’s style of directing.

Playwright George Brant, has written a cracking play that gives the audience plenty of room to imagine and explore within his volatile and poetic narrative. His exploration of humanity, war, motherhood and relationship is genuine and contemporary. Brant is a balanced writer who has tenderly cradled his subject matter with one hand and thrown it like a grenade with the other.

‘Grounded’ is a prime example that savvy, smart and engaging independent theatre can be produced when the right creative brains are put together. Matches made in heaven here! By far the best show this year to grace the Reginald theatre stage. Bravo all!

Production photography by: Lachlan Woods

BLUE ITALIAN & NIL BY SEA

Leichhardt Town Hall Sydney

Director: Rachel Chant

Playwright: Katie Pollock

Performers: Jennie Dibley, Nat Jobe, Alex Malone and Sarah Meacham

Synopsis:

In BLUE ITALIAN, a young woman finds herself in a state of perpetual motion. Setting out on a freewheeling journey to an unknown destination, she begins a worldwide search for place, meaning, memory, family connections, love and self. Battling herself and the threads that bind her to home, she comes face to face with characters who divert, confront and entice her.

In NIL BY SEA, a man lies in a suburban street, his face split in two, his body shattered. Neighbours awake to this vision of horror visited on them from above. Who is this man? How did he get there? Will any of them claim him? An investigation into the identity of the body begins, the sharp-edged prism of doorstep gossip builds, and in the skies above, suspended in the briefest moment like Icarus before the plunge, a young man sends his prayer of hope to the world.

Review: Katie Pollock is a playwright whom has a poetic way with words that make even the gruesome of circumstances come across romantic. I am choosing to highlight ‘Nil by Sea’ before ‘Blue Italian’ as my connection to this story resounded much stronger than the first performed piece. These plays have been written a decade apart and though they are strong plays in their own right you can sense how far Pollock has advanced over the ten years in her writing. Her voice is clearer and the state of the work feels veridical with a finer polish. Not to mention up to par within our Australian political and social climate making it a relatable topic to a broader audience bracket.

Rachel Chant did a shining job with both of these short plays. Leichhardt town hall is situated directly under a flight pathway which had airplanes pass over head every 5 minutes or so. Chant embraced this locational sound scape incorporating it into the work which rang true to both plays given circumstances. Wether the venue was chosen purposefully to utilise this natural sound scape or was embraced during the rehearsal process is a mastery choice that I found unique and engaging for the imagination of the audience. As a Sydney reviewer it is rare to see directors think outside the architecture in this way which was a refreshing twist to the norm. Rachel Chant has a unique non-naturalistic approach to her work, her and David Jackson (physical coach) directions gave the work choreographed artistic elements  that breed intrigue and personal directorial style. Though the movements in ‘Blue Italian’ didn’t always translate into tangible understanding from an audience perspective they presented an inner man struggle that was engaging. The experiment was worth its weight, even if it just generated curiosity for the audience.

The relationships within ‘Blue Italian’ unfortunately did not translate to the degree you would expect. The family memories and the present unfolding of this travelling gypsy like woman did not marry or feel connected. The symbolic nature of the piece was unclear and came across as art for-arts-sake instead of useful choices to enhance the narrative. Though I enjoyed the staging, and placement as well as the physical action the story itself didn’t gel. Regardless, Chant’s style shone in this piece.

‘Nil by Sea’ on the flip-side offers a simpler format of understanding for the viewer. I had seen the play reading of this work at 505 Theatre in ‘Asylum’, a multiple plays readings that reflected on the topic of asylum seekers in Australia. The actors in the reading of ‘Nil by Sea’ at 505 were stronger choices for this work in regards to the three neighbours. I didn’t feel drawn in by the three actors portraying the neighbours of this serious portrayal of an asylum seeker falling to his death from the wheel of a plane. Nat Jobe, who played the asylum seeker on the other hand gave an honest, heart-felt performance that gave the richness and intensity the work needed.

There is no doubt the performers in both of these works brought individual dynamics that made these stories come to life. Jennie Dibley, as Old Woman/Daisy gave a vivacious performance with assurance. Dibley is a passionate performer who throws herself into her characters scattering treasure into the audience with her honesty and her youthful energy. Always a delight to watch.

Nat Jobe, wears his heart on his sleeve in his performance as the Young Man who has dreams of a new life in a free land. Jobes’ performance is captivating and rich, his performance as Jose Matada and other small characters in Blue Italian were also fully immersed in objective and intensity. His physical comprehension and response to direction was interesting to watch.

Alex Malone, as Young Woman/Dolly portrayed vulnerability within her performance and a determination in spirit that was relateable. Her character in Young Woman was scattered yet grounded. I didn’t care much for her performance in Nil by Sea but that comment goes across the board for all bar Nat Jobe in ‘Nil by Sea’. Due to the relevance of this story to us today in Australia, I expected the performances to be more connected, more genuine. They were too light hearted with thin beat changes that came across as nonchalant which I didn’t like much.

Sarah Meacham as, Young Girl/Dory gave a fine performance. Her youthfulness as Young Girl was fun and vivacious but translated like I said before thin and unexplored in Dory. Meacham performed with ease and appeared confident in her characters objectives. I would have liked to have seen more exploration in her physicality as a whole to bring some depth to her performance.

Director Rachel Chant and set designer/lighting designer Benjamin Brockman have teamed up well by producing a set within a unique architecture to bring Pollocks work to life in a modern, fresh and unique environment. I enjoyed these elements immensely and now expect this style from Chant in her productions. Her style puts her on the map as a director with exploration and experimentation as a forefront within her directing approach, which I respond to with a big thumbs up.

‘Blue Italian & Nil by Sea’ runs at a bite sized perfect time of one hour with no interval making this a treat of a night out with performance and style worth venturing out to Leichardt to see.

Running until the 17th of May