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.

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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

VENUS IN FUR

Darlinghurst Theatre Company, Eternity Playhouse

29 May – 5 July

Play by David Ives

Directed by Grace Barnes

With Anna Houston & Gareth Reeves

Synopsis – Thomas is a director struggling to cast the female lead in his new play based on the classic sadomasochistic novel Venus in Furs. Into Thomas’ audition room blows a street smart, straight talking actor who displays an uncanny command of the material. As the audition progresses, the line between play and reality blurs.

Review –  This is a really classy choice of production by Darlinghurst Theatre Company. What a piece of work! Playwright David Ives has written a sharp, intuitive and dynamic piece of American Theatre. Having read the script myself, the characters are so rich in value that you can’t stop reading and being engaging by the rhythm of the piece with dialogue that pops right off the page, so no surprise there that it too pops off the stage. Director Grace Barnes has done an equally dynamic job in producing the texts energy, tones and suggestions of the work, sticking true to Ives set and stage directions which very much provides just as much important information as the dialogue itself. Barnes navigated her way through this script seamlessly and casted two exceptional talents in Anna Houston and Gareth Reeves. I just love two-hander plays anyway and to have Ives script brought to life by Reeves and Houston was a real pleasure to witness.

 

Venus In Fur is a play written by an intellectual, that is quite clear. Getting into the script did take some concentration but with no reservation towards its quality in writer and director. The American voice when it comes to plays is so vastly different from the Australian voice, it feels rooted in a wealth of literary knowledge which is then filtered through American character archetypes. With Australian plays they tend to be rooted more so in the Australian way of life, the literacy of living. So watching an American play from a writer like Ives, whom has cleverly plucked from the literary world to develop a play married with familiar archetypes, does takes some adjusting of the senses as an Australian audience member, I think anyway. It’s an education, as I am sure Australian theatre would be on an American stage. Continuing this thought, it made me consider how this could have influenced the actors in some way? Though I think Houston and Reeves did a marvellous job with character and delivery, the familiar archetypes of the “New York director”, Thomas and the “New York dishevelled girl”, Vanda didn’t sit as naturally within them as their stage reading characters Kushemski and Vanda. I wondered if the “continental” aspect of those characters felt more obtainable, recognisable or easier to play for Houston and Reeves. That Queen and country history to which we came from as Australians and New Zealanders. I say this as I believed them more in the skins of those characters, than the twilight reflections of their American characters Thomas and Vanda. Then again, that could be said too for the audience, me, perhaps I connected more with that aspect…who knows, but an observation none the less.

There were some moments where the pauses; which were few and far apart could have been drawn out more. This show is rather pacey in tempo, especially Houstons’ character who is like a mini tornado moving around the room. When pauses and silences did arise out of conflict they weren’t savoured long enough and I wished to relish with contemplation of what transpired with in those pauses just a breath longer. Minor adjustment to let those pauses breath a fraction more would make for tighter units of text adding to the power of the intentions behind the characters words and a refresher as an audience member.

Houston and Reeves both produced characters of succulence and beauty, carrying themselves from moment to moment with legerity and style. Two performers who have tackled the excitement of the play as well as the intellectual crux of it with whipping abilities. Venus In Fur is the kind of play that could be seen more than once and you would pick up different references, meanings, symbolic pokes and parallel character reflected intentions, it is so dense with thought by Ives there is never a dull moment for your intellect to swim through. The intentions of the two American characters are never really fully spelt out, which again is good writing. Houston and Reeves kept this mystery alive leaving morsels for the audience to pick up and digest for themselves.

Venus In Fur, is a sexy piece of theatre, produced with pleasurable effects by Barnes, Houston and Reeves. It is a play for the lace, leather, or both…in everyone.

Photo credit: Helen White

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.

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!