Posted by kluster on June 27, 2011
I feel kind of ripped off that Who’s The Best at the Sydney Theatre Company was my first Post experience. I’m mean, seriously, this trio have been (allegedly) creating some of the funniest performance pieces to come out of this city for almost a decade now and Monday’s opening night show was the first time I’d ever laid eyes on them? It’s like discovering beer on a hot Saturday afternoon, at the age of 25, and then being told you could have been drinking it for seven years.
Who’s The Best is a hilarious tale of competition via deconstruction, consisting of the enacting of a measuring of all parts of the sum. Or, an equation written to decipher which of the trio that form Post - Mish Grigor, Zoe Coombs Marr, Natalie Rose (all played by themselves, except Natalie who is played by Eden Falk (Sleeping Beauty) - is, as the name implies, the best. In short, the members want to figure out which one of them is superior in almost all ways and have invited us along for the ride. More...
Posted by kluster on May 16, 2011
I have a long, rich history with Bertolt Brecht. It began in Year 11 drama class and continues to this day. In summary: anyone who dedicates their life work to the exploration of anything epic, let alone epic theatre, is alright by me.
So, it goes without saying (although, I’ll say it regardless – for dramatic effect) that I approached the Sydney Theatre Company’s Baal with a large degree of anticipation - and a small amount of trepidation.
This newest reworking of Baal - a Malthouse Theatre co-production - is somewhat brief at 70 minutes from opening line to conclusion. That, coupled with the young median age of the cast, extremely high amount of on-stage nudity and the explored themes of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll more than subtly suggest that this offering is aimed at the younger end of the STC audience demographic.
If their aim is, as we suspect, to engage a younger audience, Malthouse Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company have created the kind of production that will undoubtedly do just that. Powerful and original, Baal is true to Brecht’s original intention without presenting as staid. The aforementioned young cast work under what can only be described as trying conditions (revealing any more would be tantamount to an experience spoiler and it’s better seen than read anyway, so I’ll elaborate no further) and more than rise to the occasion.
If a strong script delivered by a powerful young cast, nudity and some darn impressive scene changes are your idea of good entertainment book thee a ticket to Baal. For those of you under 30, don't forget to take advantage of the Sydney Theatre Company's reduced ticket prices offers.
Baal is now playing at Wharf 1, Sydney Theatre Company.
For more from the stage see Kluster's Theatre.
Posted by kluster on November 21, 2010
Photo courtesy of Lisa Tomasetti © 2010
We’re in the mist of a Chekhov festival. After taking in the Australian Theatre for Young People and Cry Havoc co-production of Three Sisters last month and then graduating to the Sydney Theatre Company’s opening night performance of Uncle Vanya on Saturday, we’re beginning to consider ourselves quite the inexperienced experts. Not a bad playwright to patronage, we say.
STC's Co-Artistic Director, Andrew Upton has adapted Chekhov's Uncle Vanya for the STC main stage this season, playing to the strengths of the blue-ribbon Australian cast.
Cate Blanchett is captivating as the hollow, perennially listless Elena Andreyevna Serebryakov, a stunning beauty who passively demands the attention of all surrounding her. Richard Roxburgh’s depiction of the title character, Ivan Petrovitch Voynitsky “Uncle Vanya” moves from hopelessly depressed single man, lamenting the loss of his life, to family jester with style and seamless ease.More...
Posted by Hazel J Taylor on October 1, 2010
First presented at Federation Square Melbourne in 2007, The Ballad of Backbone Joe has been doing the rounds locally and internationally, landing recently at our very own Sydney Theatre Company.
The Ballad… is the combined original musical and theatre work of the clever boys of the Suitcase Royale – three musician buddies from Melbourne: Miles O'Neil, Glen Walton and Joseph O'Farrell. The team apparently planned on being rockers before discovering their particular niche in theatre, and they’ve cornered it well. Called a ‘rag ‘n bone’ band by some (a reference to the group’s penchant for setting up collected junk and inventing their own fabulous on stage environments), the Suitcase Royale are devoted to their wildly entertaining cause of fitting performances of original musical work into hilarious and unwieldy theatre performance.
The Ballad’s intriguing storyline revolves around the murder of a woman in a red dress, which sounds a lot more serious than it actually is. The trio are so comfortable with their on-stage selves, that this Kluster writer wouldn’t be surprised if entire slabs of the performance turned out to be ad lib, conjured up on the fly.
Sydney Theatre Company is presenting their two week season of The Ballad of Backbone Joe until 2 October 2010. This means you need to get in pretty fast, and be prepared to laugh. The Suitcase Royale also performed September’s free post-show STC Wharf sessions, which, if you don’t already know, happen every month. You can go along and watch and hear live music played by seriously talented people for free. Yes, for free.
Posted by kluster on September 28, 2010
Photo by Jeff Busby
I have a strange relationship with the theatre. I enjoy watching most performances more that I do taking in a film but, despite what many of my peers might think, that is not where the strangeness lies. There is something so incredibly beguiling about an actor putting themselves out there, in the flesh, night after night. I find myself inextricably drawn to it. Still, I would not class that as overly unusual. No, the strangeness in the aforementioned relationship comes from the fact it almost always takes me a minimum of 20 minutes to slot into what I have casually dubbed ‘theatre mode’: to become used to the exaggerated gestures and at-times verbose deliveries. I have never been able to figure out why and was yet to find a production where this was not the case.
That is, before watching Sydney Theatre Company’s, The Trial. This meaty production, recently adapted by Louise Fox from the Franz Kafka novel of the same name and directed by Matthew Lutton, is engaging from the first moment.
From the outset audiences are exposed to the seemingly simplistic life of Josef K (Ewen Leslie) as it spirals out of all control and conventional comprehension. Here is a man charged for an undisclosed crime and brought to appear before an unknown court. The more he seeks answers the further he becomes embroiled in faceless mystification.More...
Posted by Danni Le Toullec on May 4, 2010
The first few moments of Honour give a literal meaning to the age-old saying ‘love is blind’, as the Sydney Opera House’s Drama Theatre was plunged into complete darkness. It is not bound by reality or responsibility. It suffices as an excuse for any kind of behaviour or acts of recklessness. It can provide reason to turn your world upside down and inside out, in a moment.
Joanna Murray-Smith’s Honour breathes life into the well-told tale of adultery and marriage breakdown. When Claudia, a young ambitious journalist, embarks on a profile of George, a well-known literary figure, it doesn’t take long for his gaze to wander from Honour, his wife of thirty-two years.
Directed by Lee Lewis, this play consistently questions the ideals of passion, sacrifice and persistence. William Zappa and Wendy Hughes are flawless in their depiction of a husband and wife, forced to realise that we are all at the mercy of love.
They say that illusion is the first of all pleasures: An affair is undoubtedly the best example of that. Reflected in Claudia’s admiring eyes, George is once again, in his prime. Disguised as love, this is one man grasping for freedom, from a life that he sees as pre-determined.
Designer Michael Scott-Mitchell’s set of curved, vertical wooden beams is minimalist and pulls the focus toward the actors without the distraction of a household setup.
Since the play’s debut in 1995, it has been produced in three dozen countries, travelling to London’s West End and Broadway, making stops from Brazil to Croatia. It will be setting up shop in Sydney until the May 29.
Posted by Danni Le Toullec on December 2, 2009
Have you ever had that dream where you find yourself in public wearing nothing but your undies?
Okay, now minus the underwear and put yourself in front of about 200 people, whilst remembering lines for a three hour production. Difficult is a bit of an understatement.
The Mysteries: Genesis is the debut performance for the Sydney Theatre Company’s troupe of permanent actors, The Residents. And yes, it must be said, there is a lot of nudity. Playwrights Hilary Bell and Lally Katz have reworked the biblical narratives of the Creation, the Fall, the Expulsion from Eden, Cain and Abel and Noah’s Ark.
Under the directorship of Matthew Lutton, Andrew Upton and Tom Wright, The Residents have certainly come out with a bang.
The Sound Designer Kingsley Reeve perfectly captured the raw emotion of this unique performance. The revamped space of Wharf 2 was intimate enough for each note to grip the audience and create a stage which was a character in itself.
The first act was certainly the most compelling, with inventive lighting from Paul Jackson plunging the theatre into total and complete darkness. It lasted just long enough for the audience to lose their bearings and feel the need to touch the ground, just to make sure they hadn’t floated away.
The stage was transformed into a wintry Eden, and God himself wandered around naked, patting down the small peaks of polystyrene with his feet. He creates the world as tiny white particles come down from the ceiling and surround him. A cheeky penguin represents all of Gods’ creatures and offers some comic relief from the more serious religious overtones.
The second act started off on a lighter note and with a lot more clothing. The space had been transformed so that the audience could mill around the bottom level as a band played on the upper floor. The tunes created the illusion of a dingy booze den. Their take on Velvet Underground's 'Run, Run, Run' was a definite highlight.
Act three opens with a tower of eight mattresses and a sleeping Noah. He desperately listens to his malfunctioning radio, waiting for God to communicate with him.
The flood rages and smothers the air with the sound of slashing rain and angry winds. Suddenly, all is quiet and a blue light eats up the base of the mattresses. The world has been washed clean.
Creation leads to destruction and for each time sins are washed away, the insidious tide creeps back. To err is to be human, and on the bright side, it sure makes for exciting theatre.
Photographer: Brett Boardman