RIDE & FOURPLAY

Darlinghurst Theatre Co/ Eternity Playhouse

4 Sep – 4 Oct

Plays by Jane Bodie

Directed By Anthony Skuse

Photo credit – Robert Catto

Performed by Tom O’Sullivan, Emma Palmer, Aaron Glenane, Gabrielle Scawthorn

Synopsis thoughts from the programmes Director’s Notes –

Both plays are concerned with how we negotiate relationships, how we use those relationships to garner a sense of identity. They are all striving to be the best versions of themselves as they dance around each other. Most of the time authenticity eludes them as they perform compromised versions of themselves.

Review –

You know the saying, ‘Save the best ’till last?’ it’s a common and well used phrase for a myriad of possible excitable notions towards the expectation of something delicious, fun, or just plain old school fantastic. When leaving the Eternity Playhouse, mentally and mind fully chewing on the rather unctuous amount of theatre I had witnessed in playwright Jane Bodie’s paired up play’s Ride & Fourplay. My first impulsive thoughts don’t often make the first paragraph in my final draft, but as I stepped out into the night air, my first thought stuck like super glue to skin and that is, ‘I can not leave the best till last.’ I have to talk about THAT straight way!’ I just can’t discuss these plays in chronological order of appearance, I have to start talking about Fourplay, Ride won’t get as high an acclaim for reasons I will explain later in my review. But for now, I just can’t wait to discuss the second part of this theatre experience. So here goes.

Renown English theatre director Peter Brook wrote in the opening lines of his book ‘The Empty Space’, regarding the definition of theatre. I quote, “I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged.” This was the very first thing I thought when Fourplay began. The simplistic, raked stage now striped of all its set dressing and naturalism from Ride leaving essentially (with a stylistic twist) an empty space, with two women and two men walking from corner to corner, past one another with sparse physical contact whilst thoroughly engaging their audience, hello minimalism, hello performer focused art, hello my kind of theatre. When I review a show, I am hugely interested in audience actor dynamics, how the audience engage mentally and emotionally by closely observing their physical engagement to what occurs on stage. Hooked, is the word to best describe the audience during Fourplay, hooked I was also, thrilled in fact that director Anthony Skuse chose to run with Bodie’s stage suggestion that this play can be played non naturalistically. It makes her strict note that characters Alice and Jack are to be played naturalistically throughout the work all the more poignant and powerful. Bodie’s mindfulness in regards to structure, form and manipulation of time (as mentioned by Skuse in his director’s notes) makes Fourplay a structural intrigue to watch and I can only assume an intriguing directing opportunity. Fourplay is LIVING proof that great writing can carry an audience from A-Z and on the edge of their seats with out the need to set design show-off, which has exhausted me this year and unimpressed me greatly by some of our prominent theatre companies. This coupled with a director with sound judgement, clear objectives and actors whom have encapsulated their characters beautifully thanks to a specific structural method in style and writing by Bodie, makes for a refreshing, gorgeous approach to theatre making that is foundationally built on equal respect for the written word and trust in director, actors and the creative body as a whole. This play speaks beyond the naturalistic situations of relationships and provides a much more diverse ratio of meaning. Simply, the lack of physical contact, eye contact and typical architectural flesh responses that were forced to be individual made for a much deeper exploration of self as a viewer. This restriction too I feel assisted the actors to not knee jerk react physically in response to each other, but instead instilled focus and purpose in their movement which made for a richer experience as an audience member. The disconnection from naturalism made the intimate moments that were purposefully naturalistic physically poetic. What we would consider a generic intimate response felt brand new because we were deprived of it consistently throughout. As Bodie even mentions out of the mouth of her character Natasha, ‘ There is nothing interesting about a love story. It’s been done to death’ What is interesting about Bodie’s writing and Skuse’s direction is that it is approached from a quirky angle and cleverly so. There is absolutely nothing in Fourplay we haven’t all seen before. In fact it is a cliche super nova in content, but in style and execution it feels as if we are being exposed to something brand new. I dare say, but with conviction that Fourplay is reminiscent of Pop Art. It is the everyday basics on display, the object itself is so common it’s almost invisible but the technique and approach towards it makes it somehow, fascinating, like we are seeing it for the first time.

Aaron Glenane who played Jack in Fourplay seemed right at home in this production, his performance was a stand out for me. Glenane has a naturalistic ability to physically express his character with no sense of striving or strain. Glenane produced a character that was likeable, humorous and most of all genuine. Glenane formed a quick and potent connection with his audience, a very talented performer, a craftsman in his field, I loved his performance. Gabrielle Scawthorn, as Alice gave a performance with her characters heart plucked, in hand and bleeding for all to see, she ebbed and flowed between heart ache, sarcasm and humour with breeze, beautifully and believable. Tom O’Sullivan, as Tom, wove for us a tapestry of a character full of bewilderment, lust, selfishness, little boy straits and elements of boy trying to be man. O’Sullivan is clearly a committed actor, and his performance reflected the at times tongue in cheek aspects of an actors process discussed in the writing and ran with it well. His times of stillness with in this piece though I felt could have been more complimentary by providing his audience with less of the ‘I-am-man-contemplating-my-fate-in-silence’ stance that took so much of his focus it felt forced most of the time, it felt like acting. More of nothing would have been preferred, not trying to be stillness. Just being stillness. Considering his character responses to questions thrown at him by Scawthorns’s character Alice felt reminiscent of Tony Abbott interviews, careless, flippant and inconsiderate to circumstance. I doubt much fluid thought went through his characters mind in silence either. It was as if O’Sullivan was trying to bring some nobility or pride to his character which felt against his characters nature and maturity level.  O’Sullivan though performed with tremendous gusto in Fourplay. Emma Palmer, played the ‘sassy’ flirtatious, confident, controlling character Natasha. Palmer exudes her natural confidence on stage as a performer. She brought a lot of fun and charisma making for a desired shift of feeling from heartbreak to, I don’t give a fuck I’ll do what I want. We all find ourselves there at some point, and it was fun to see this character played in this manner. Even when she was observing her fellow actors in her moments of solitude or stillness she retained this manner that was consistent of her character. Her expressions were a dialogue all on their own. Palmer’s character on paper comes across as rather unbearable at times, but Palmer avoided any eye-roll by playing Natasha with a self-confidence and assurance as an audience member you couldn’t argue with. Her choices were nonchalant, and care-free which made me as an audience member not to feel malice toward the archetype being played but instead accepting her for her archetype and letting it be, which assisted in enjoying her character instead of despising or brushing her off as a pretentious tart. Fourplay was just wonderful, worth sitting through Ride to get to it.

Ride, I’m not going to dive into this Bodie play nearly as much as I have with Fourplay, as it did very little for me. Two straight people drunk, with memory loss and emotional baggage, naked in a bed, wake up with hang overs galore, attempt to decode the night before and perhaps each others secrets. The given circumstances didn’t thrill me, and characters Elizabeth and Joe and all the talk of Marrickville/Tempe, known clubs, pubs of Kings Cross and Sydney didn’t engage me either. Though both Palmer as Elizabeth, and O’Sullivan as Joe both performed fine, it felt like the context didn’t particularly motivate them to any kind of performance beyond comfort, it felt safe. All I wanted to see happen was Elizabeth to leave Joe’s room. I didn’t feel like it was played out or written in a way strong enough to keep her in that room for the possible 14-18 hours that took place from the start of the play to the end.

Fourplay, plays out with potential and with room to grow to explore the text and feels like it retains more possibilities as a play. Ride on the other hand is restricted, measured and limited. Bodie is an excellent playwright whom has a comfortable relationship with dialogue that transfers beautifully into characters who are down to earth, relatable and plausible. Ride & Fourplay are two very different plays to which some adjustment is required to enjoy them accordingly and in their respective genres.

MISTERMAN

Siren Theatre Company & Red Line Productions

Old Fitz Theatre

10-27 June

Directed by Kate Gaul

Performed by Thomas Campbell

Synopsis –

Inishfree might seem like a quaint Irish town, but fierce evangelist Thomas Magill knows better. He knows jovial Dwain Flynn is a miserable drunk, that Timmy O’Leary enslaves his lovely mother and that sweet Mrs Cleary is a blasphemous flirt.

It is down to Thomas, with God on his shoulder, to save this sinful place. But the townsfolk are not listening, an angel is misbehaving and a barking dog will not be silenced. Just how far will Thomas go in his quest for salvation?

Review – Misterman, though a well written play by renowned Irish playwright Enda Walsh, one hander plays are most of the time a punish to endure, they are linear and often feel forced. It is very difficult for an actor to engage in only his/her own energy which bounces off the walls and their audience. Self engagement their only real outlet, with possible choices of  breaking the fourth wall or morphing of the many characters they have to produce…It quite often always feels like a reach that never fully extends. That, or you have an actor on stage with so many jobs to do it’s like watching a game of arcade pinball.

In this production, it felt very much like watching a human pinball bounce from moment to moment and most times from mess to mess. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the writing and I love Irish plays, but one handers just never fully satisfy my theatrical palette. The stakes for the performer are very high. Thomas Campbell who performed the role of Thomas Magill, with a passionate determination and focus carried himself well considering the density of the piece, the many characters he flowed in and out of and the very dark subject matters and characteristics that emerged. The character of Thomas Magill is intriguing, the narrative full of humour and horror making for a beautiful contrasting combination in a piece of theatre.

This contrast was not well executed by director Kate Gaul whose directing felt both rushed and unclear, with the characters objectives and intentions never fully surfacing as sharply as they needed to be. Thomas’ raging evangelism spiral didn’t come through to its full potential, and though there were some bright moments that were assisted by a very comprehensive and supporting sound design by Nate Edmondson, the staging of the piece was all too much. Set design was a mixture of nostalgic nods, suggested sugar addictions and clutter, to which grew as the play continued, with the addition of falling water, biscuits and costumes falling from “the fly” of the quaint Old Fitz space. Whatever it was Gaul was trying to execute felt gimmicky. It also felt a top-heavy job for Campbell whose physical scoring echoed that he was on a time frame that he must keep up with. There was just so much going on all the time, the production felt linear and half-baked. When it came to the climax of the piece I was so exhausted from watching Campbell jump through so many hoops I didn’t even care. This show needs to be much simpler in staging, there is so much for Campbell to focus on in his character work (which needed more attention) the set and staging elements simply drowned him. Gaul has a long history of directing and well-known in her community for her productions, this show felt un polished and below the standards expected from a director of her experience. Her casting I feel for this was not all together right, a more dramaturgical based actor is needed for this calibre of writing talent.

As Gaul stated in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, I quote, “If I said it was for advanced theatregoers, I don’t think I would be lying. It’s in the tradition of everyone from James Joyce to Beckett and everyone in between. Please, if you don’t like Irish monologues, don’t come!”

If you do consider yourself an advance theatre goer, your expectations will unfortunately not be fully met in Gaul’s production of Misterman, and I agree, if you don’t like monologues perhaps give it  a miss, but then again, I’m always hoping to be pleasantly surprised one day by the execution of one which is why I keep attending them. Sadly Gaul’s Misterman, missed the mark.

Photo credit: Diana Popovska

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

ANTIGONE

Théâtre Excentrique at PACT theatre, Erskineville

Directed by: Anna Jahhah

Playwright: Jean Anouilh

Translation by: Kris Shavey and Anna Jahjah

Starring: Rosyln Blake, Kate Fisher, Kirsty Jordan, Aurora Kinsella, Karl Kinsella, Philippe Klaus, Neil Modra, Gerry Sont, Ellen Williams and Blacktown Girls High as the French-speaking Greek chorus.

Synopsis: Antigone says “No” to everything and everyone. To king Ceron, who has banned the burial of her brother. To her sister Ismene, who thinks she is a mere little girl not up to the task. And to life itself, if it involves compromise. Anouilh’s Antigone is a powerful reinterpretation of Sophocles’ tragedy questioning our ethics and notions of power, politics and individual liberties.

Review: I don’t know what it is about Greek tragedies that are so infinitely powerful. Perhaps it is the era in which they are written, the mastery of the perfectly blending the human condition within Greek mythology. The mystery, the drama, the elaborate exposé of the human condition.If written today perhaps would come across far-fetched and sensationalized. For some reason it rings true in the hearts of men centuries on because our condition doesn’t evolve as much as we think. Anouilh’s adaptation is beautifully portrayed in Shavey and Jahjah’s translation.

Director Anna Jahjah has brought together an ensemble of variable levels of novice and experienced actors making this community theatre packed full of diversity and intrigue. What I loved most about Jajah’s direction is her use of the vast PACT space and her ability to maintain the quality of the work by tapping into the tempo of the play by insuring there was constant motion if not in her cast in her choice of set design. These choices kept an emotionally hostile work balanced, with an equally engaged audience throughout.

Jahjah’s cast where deeply immersed in their characters making for a delightful and engaging production. Ellen Williams as Antigone performed with heart and vitality making for a recognisable modern activist that refuses to compromise her beliefs for the sake of a failing system. Williams put forth a brave character that had you question your own standing on what we allow to occur in the world around us, and what is worth dying for. Do we even think like this anymore? Like Jahjah stated in her director notes what is Antigone really saying ‘No’ to? This of course is suggestion left un resolved in the writing. Perhaps a question we are left with to answer on our own, within our own understanding of the world and that tiny yet powerful word in our English language ‘no’. I can see why Jahjah chose to have her audience sitting in tranverse seating. Forced to look at each other as we witnessed this incredible story.

The French have a natural ability to wrap quirkiness into their theatrical unfolding of narrative. Jahjah is no exception living up to her French roots within a wonderfully multi-cultural Australian cast that added sang-froid to the dramatic.

This coming together of community and heart made for an enjoyable night at the theatre where diversity and the love of story, truth and art became one unit.

Antigone is playing until the 2nd of May

HAIRCUTS

The Greek Theatre

Directed by: Lex Marinos

Playwright: Con Nats

Starring: John Derum, Adam Hatzimanolis, Richard Hilliar, Barbara Gouskos, Valentino Arico, Tim Ressos & Demita Alexandria

Synopsis: “When you a cut man’s hair, he leaves a little part of himself on your floor.” Haircuts is a bittersweet comedy about men and their barbers, men and their children and how they cope in an ever-changing world.

Review: ‘Haircuts’ is a play full of insight into the Greek and Italian cultures that we Sydney-siders are apart of in so many ways. We have such a strong Greek streak in us which has generated some of our best comedy and drama within our entertainment industry. Con Nats has written some cracking comedy characters in this comedy-drama. Nats has a nack for clever one liners with a style that has a sense of rhythm and at times a romanticism which is very palatable to the ear. He has written some fun archetypes that kept the audience laughing and engaged.

Nats’ has filled this narrative to the brim with bleak given circumstances that intertwined with the comedy of the piece. Though his intentions were well I am sure, I felt there was too much trying to be said, too much was expected of the audience to take on board. The comedy in the work came effortlessly but the drama more times than not came across melodramatic. The comedy often barrel rolled dramatic scenes that caused them to be awkward and hard to watch. The actors showed signs of physical unbalance, some direction on placement was needed here. Some dramaturgical fix ups in the script are required. Due to so much being packed into this show I was rather unclear what Nats’ overall voice was trying to convey. I was unclear on what it was he was trying to relay to his audience as a whole as there was so many directions to follow in story line. The show also felt too long, scrapping in just under 2hrs not including the 15 minute interval.

In regards to casting director Lex Marinos did some spot on choices with John Derum as Stanley’s father and Adam Hatztimanolis as barber Costa both playing fathers to two strong-willed grown-up children Stanley and Tina. Both men performed with distinction and a grazing quality in delivery. Both gentlemen fine actors who carried their characters to the highs and lows effortlessly with believability.

Richard Hilliar, played leading man Stanley without a hitch, his performance was solid and at times tender. The writing at times let him down making aspects of his performance strained to no fault of his own. A bright spark on stage.

Barbara Gouskos, played mother of both Stanley and Tina with beautiful contrast, again some of her scenes were melodramtically written making it difficult to believe, especially when playing Stanley’s mother. The scene between mother and son to me in act two I could have done without. Pure suggestion would have been suffice without the need of explanation to her where abouts that is question marked in act one. This would have made the story more interesting with some intrigue that the audience could have decided for themselves. Gouskos played Tina’s mother with great fire and wit, a much preferred character, well-rounded and purposeful to the story.

Valentino Arico, played two joyous supporting characters, supporting the humour of the story beautifully. A fun actor with a bounce in his performance that made you smile.

Tim Ressos, played several characters with hilarity and passion. Ressos is a natural comedian who brought his characters to life with tremendous amusement. Ressos was the stand out performer among his peers, making his sleazy characters loveable. An enjoyable performer who goes the extra mile for his audience.

Demitra Alexandria, played Tina the advocating daughter with a passion to help her strong-willed father Costa. Unfortunately her character was not particularly interesting and felt like a link to an end for Stanley. Though she was the push for change in the characters around her I didn’t feel she added much to the storyline and like Stanley’s mother I could have lived without the character. Regardless, Alexandria gave a fine performance with the little meat she had to chew with her characters thin objectives.

All in all ‘Haircuts’ had some sharp writing and some strong performances, but is cluttered with circumstances with an ambitious storyline that ran way too long. Another draft and some cuts would make for a much sharper clearer show.

DEATHTRAP

Darlinghurst Theatre Company

Director: Jo Turner

Playwright: Ira Levin

Starring: Andrew McFarlane, Sophie Gregg, Timothy Dashwood, Georgina Symes, Drew Fairley

Synopsis: Celebrated playwright Sidney Bruhl is in the grip of chronic writer’s block. With another flop on his hands he’s running out of inspiration – and cash. When a young writer sends Sidney the script for his brilliant new whodunit, Sidney devises a plan to claim it as his own.

Review: I’ve got to say it right off the bat, what a show! When director Jo Turner referred ‘Deathtrap’ in his programme director note as a thriller that possess both horror and comedy in perfect measures, he was spot on. This is a brilliantly written, nail-biting, laugh out-loud theatrical triumph. Playwright Ira Levin, also writer of ‘The Stepford Wives’ and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ has a nak for weaving his twilight-zone style circumstances into seemingly average, everyday characters. ‘Deathtrap’ Broadways longest running thriller of all time is of no exception. Full of thrills, chills and giggles!

Jo Turner has done a stellar job at bringing this production to life to its full potential. The story ebbed and flowed in its curious manner without a hitch, the tone too was consistent throughout, custom made cookie cut awesome. Turner’s casting choices were excellent whom all fit into their characters shoes comfortably. His choice of creatives also a stroke of genius with celebrated set designer Michael Hankins’ crisp architectural style producing a set which was tremendously versatile and visualyl impacting. Likewise was his choice of award-winning lighting designer Verity Hampson whose lighting design in companion with Marty Jamieson’s composing and sound design was both eerie and electrifying telling a story all on its own which heightened the audiences thrill and suspense even more. Turner is a director who knows how to put a 5 star team together.

Andrew McFarlane, played playwright Sidney Bruhl wonderfully. His physical expression was aloof, nervous, child-like and extroverted. McFarlane carried his characters troubles and worries with spoonfuls of humour that made him an instant hit with the audience. McFarlane displayed lovely comic rhythm and timing. He interacted with his co-stars with a nonchalant banter that made scenes exciting and his character unpredictable. McFarlane is a seasoned actor whose performance was as sharp as a knife.

Timothy Dashwood, played Clifford Anderson the younger playwright with bright, youthful energy making his performance and character equally as unpredictable and loveable. Dashwood was a charm to watch with a performance that rang true to both the writing and the circumstances his character was faced with. Dashwood had his audience with him like an energetic tour-guide, his energy made the experience as an audience member that much more gripping and enjoyable.

Sophie Gregg, played wife Myra Bruhl with delightful measures, her quirky mannerisms and responses to her characters concerns were hilariously wrought together. Gregg developed an unusual character in Myra Bruhl with her physical movement choices and tempo which morphed from minimal to extreme in her dramatic impulses which made for an exciting performance. A fun, witty performer.

Georgia Symes, played psychic Helga Ten Dorp so brilliantly she absolutely stole the show. Symes’ performance was a laugh a minute. Her comic timing, dramatic responses and accent all made for a wonderful theatre performance. Her whirlwind entries were gleefully welcomed which had me hoping her exits would be short waiting with anticipation for her return to the stage. Symes had a comfortable grip on her character and rode the comedy of this play all the way home without missing a beat. A spot on performance!

Drew Fairley, played lawyer Porter Milgrim swimmingly well, his performance was funny, light-hearted and solid. His character though a smaller part was the cherry on an already delicious cake that added that little bit of needed pizzazz.

Deathtrap is a brilliant thriller, with a cast and crew who have echoed the playwrights unique voice with the style, pizzazz and suspense it deserves. If theatre shows could be called blockbusters this certainly is it!

Photo credit: Helen White

THE BUGALUGS BUM THIEF

Monkey Baa Theatre Company

Starring: Gideon Cordover, Mark Dessaix and Stephen Anderson

Synopsis: Based on the wildly popular book by Tim Winton, ‘The Bugalugs Bum Thief’ tells the story of the town of Bugalugs where inhabitants wake up one morning to find their buttocks missing, all 496 citizens of the town of Bugalugs are BUMLESS!!

Review: Children’s theatre is always a delightful experience. Children unlike us adults are more than willing to get involved and interact with what they are presented with in the art world. I wouldn’t consider myself the conservative but after sitting in the children’s theatre of Monkey Baa, I sure felt the odd one out as I sat surrounded by wee voices and hands whole heartedly getting involved in the story unfolding in front of them. If only adult audiences at our independent theatres were as generous in involvement as these tiny tyke audience members theatre would in Sydney would be a much brighter place to be.

Gideon Cordover, Mark Dessaix and Stephen Anderson all took us on the journey of a town full of citizens who lost their bums, with tremendous humour and infectious energy. These three gentlemen performed to their young audience with a passion and a connectivity that was undeniably honest and so fun. ‘The Bugalugs Bum Thief’ is a super silly story with super silly characters that had children young and old in fits of giggles. The set was versatile and age appropriate, not too over powering in style and very relatable to its target market. I felt like I was on the set of High Five, Play School or The Wiggles. The beauty of children is their ability to use their imaginations with little need for huge amounts of visual howdy-doody, just a great story, and three willing actors ready to be transformed into vehicles of silly delight.

The interactive aspect of this show was welcomed with open arms by the children who all wanted to have a say on what they got up to their Easter weekend when asked by the cast. Two polar opposites but equally gorgeous young ladies were picked to tell of their Easter experiences making an already relatable theatre production even more down to earth and a visceral experience for the audience. At a perfect attention span running time of 55 minutes ‘The Bugalugs Bum Thief’ doesn’t leave room for children to become disinterested or become tiresome. This show is a promotion of silliness, energy and totally engaging from start to finish.

Monkey Baa is a refreshing place to be, one of very few theatres who invite children to respond and be their loud selves without the fear of being told to be quiet and sit still. Monkey Baa theatres approach to theatre practice indeed is a positive one. A positive experience here could lead to a child growing into a theatre attending adult. Indeed Australian theatre needs a growing theatre audience. So for that, I thank Monkey Baa and this cast for cultivating possible culture choices in children and their parents.

With arts and crafts to make your own paper plate bum prior the show in the foyer! What else would you need to have a good giggle and a good time this Easter school holidays. It is so refreshing to see kids be entertained by using their imaginations in a hands on way with out a screen or smart phone inches from their faces.

playing until the 24th of April, 10:30am,11:00am, 12:50pm and 1:00pm

http://www.monkeybaa.co.au 8624 9340