This Wide Night by Chloë Moss

The Burrow is one of Melbourne’s most intimate happening indie spaces. You are up close and personal with performers and your fellow audience members. This Wide Night was no exception to the experiential impact of proximity the space provides. Chloë Moss has written a moving play about two women who have been released from the prison system, Marie and Lorraine. Set in Marie’s apartment we engage with their struggles. Their heartbreak, addictions, and desperation for connection to their family members, each other and society.

Claire Sara as Marie and Sancia Robinson as Lorraine gave refined performances that tapped into a rawness of the human condition that was tangible. Robinson portrayed an exterior of a woman who is completely undone and wound up simultaneously making her performance both in the moment and beautifully unpredictable. Sara held the tension through a character who internalised more than externalised her struggle which made the eventual unraveling and outpouring of pain, tender and real.

Director Elias Jamieson Brown did a fine job at carrying the text and actors through. Some simplification in scene changes could have been made to enhance the emotional stakes but overall he brought two heartwarming performances out of his actors that drew out the felt empathy from the audience.

This Wide Night and Green Light Theatre have brought visibility to societies most vulnerable women. Attached to the great cause and work of Flat Out, an organisation who support women leaving prison. This show had me at hello.

 

Image provided by Green Light Theatre

THE PRIDE

Side Pony Productions and Rock Surfers Theatre Company present… A bloody brilliant piece of theatre! 

Synopsis: Bruce is weighed down by his impressive mane and is struggling with the pressure of renovations and taking care of his pride. He knows time is limited, when James, his younger, stronger, more handsome neighbour, starts peering through the windows admiring his home and his family.

Review:

My expectations of this show was one of pure curiosity, my thoughts on seeing and reading what The Pride was about went straight to the TV series Wilfred. The show about a dog, a guy in a dog suit, crude cigarette smoking who wants to seduce the next door neighbours cat. I suppose this was the kind of show I had expected. And in a lot of ways that is exactly what I got. Grown ups in animal suits ( Lions in this case) being humans. The Pride though has something uniquely its own, it’s what I would called a sadistic comedy and its merit lies with in its ability to literally have you laughing one second and gasping the next. This show has so many unexpected pleasures. Brendan Ewing plays Bruce the lion of the house with the comedic twitches and timing that had me continuously referencing the likes of Johnny Depps character Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean and could also not help but reference his comedic delivery to Absolutely Fabulous characters Eddie and Patsy. Wether or not he used these comedic gestures and comedians as references I do not know, if he did they were great choices. Watching his character evolve was like watching The Shining and Ab Fab simultaneously, loving him with the notion if you were to hug him or be-friend such an intriguing character you are best to be hugging with one arm whilst holding a 45 in the other. Brendan Ewing had clearly given a lot of attention to the details of Bruce and his responses to his environment, the more he unravels and becomes exposed in his own home the more of his humanity is revealed, and though his character plays out some horrific accounts, you can’t help but have sympathy for him. 

Adriane Daff, who plays his up beat wife Linda is equally as humorous and delightful to watch, though her character was much more linear that Ewings. Her portrayal of a wife who has disconnected due to her husbands lack of follow through and manic behaviour has you questioning her mental state through out the production. Unlike Bruce, Linda doesn’t crack up gushing her inner demons quite like Bruce does. Adriane Daff had a control and an emotional state of well-being that had you feeling some form of stability that Brendan Ewings character does not provide. A well needed balance to get us audience members through not completely scathed by the experience of Bruce! Russell Leonard playing next door neighbour James was a sensation, his skill set through the use of his own choreographed dance scene with an 80’s track was really quite an astounding achievement in such a small space. Myself a dance and 80’s fanatic was entranced and gleeful, left in a haze of giddy delight! Leonard brought a layer of performance that cemented a well-balanced trio. 

Zoe Peppers directing was really brave and funtastical. Her directing choices were clear and precise leaving room for the story to evolve in ways that were over the top and electric. Brave breathing space that has been developed with great trust I could only assume that comes from a glorious concoction of collaboration from all involved. I would have loved to be in the rehearsal room with this bunch as I can only imagine what ideas went flying, (and perhaps tequila) around the room. Considering all involved chipped in on writing The Pride, the final product is one they must be so proud of. 

A real crowd pleaser The Pride closes the 5th of April, I can not urge you enough to make time to see it, it will be one you will remember and ponder upon. A show that asks for a huge amount of absorption from the audience, it will leave you wanting to either run out the theatre ripping off all your clothes and diving into the night sea. Or sit in a corner sipping out of a bottle of whiskey picking at the paint on your wall… For me it made me want to do both… I didn’t though. Instead I called a friend and woke her up to tell her all about it. And in my eyes if theatre is making you do that! It’s gotta be something sensational. GO SEE IT!Image

 

Brendan Ewing and Adriane Daff as Bruce and Linda

Playing at the Bondi Pavilion Theatre, Bondi Beach 20th March-5th April/ rocksurfers.org 1300 241 167