Tag: Angus Brown

REVIEW: Attic Erratic Presents TRIPPED

Significant, simmering theatre

By Myron My

Two men have each tripped a landmine; if either step off, they run the risk of blowing themselves apart. One is an Australian soldier trying to protect his country and the other is a Muslim civilian trying to protect his family. In Attic Erratic’s latest production for the 2014 Melbourne Fringe Festival, Tripped, these two men begin to realize that perhaps their differences are not so polarised after all.

Tripped

Nick Musgrove’s script is intense, and from early on my mind was racing as to how this was all going end. Although I did not artistically agree with the ending and found it somewhat self-indulgent, it was still unexpected and organic and drove home the issues of who exactly is the enemy and what do we fight for.

My other issue with Tripped was the role of the priest (Liam O’Kane). As a priest, the character seemed completely unaware of the gravity of the situation in which he found himself, and it felt like he was being played for comic relief rather than as a person whose helicopter has just crashed and killed seven men and who is caught in a war zone .

Overall though, Celeste Cody continues to impress with her direction, ensuring the tone and impact of the script remains constant as it is comes to life on stage. With the actors’ movements obviously limited, Cody ensures that engagement with the audience is maintained through other avenues, including the lighting and sound effects.

Angus Brown does a great job as Australian soldier Norm. He manages to show a human, troubled side to a character that could have easily just been an ignorant “jock” soldier if  given to the wrong actor. However, it is Ezel Doruk who really shines as Ahmed, the “rag head” civilian who gets caught in the crossfire. His performance of a man who falls victim to his circumstances and faith was emotive and raw. I thoroughly enjoyed the tête-à-tête between the two as the story built up to its dramatic conclusion.

With the recent news of terror arrests and killings happening in Australia, this is a timely reminder on how easily it is to get caught up in the propaganda of fighting a war we know or understand very little about. Tripped is yet another exciting topical piece of theatre by Attic Erratic – good writing, strong direction and gripping performances.

Venue: Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne

Season: Until 4 October | 6:30pm

Tickets: $24 Full | $19 Conc

Bookings: http://www.melbournefringe.com.au

Review: OBSERVE THE SONS OF ULSTER MARCHING TOWARDS THE SOMME

A brave war effort in theatre

By Anastasia Russell-Head

This new Melbourne production of Frank McGuinness’ iconic play Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme visually transports us to another place and time.

From the moment we entered the theatre space at the Brunswick Mechanics’ Institute and were confronted with a mist-shrouded cross-shaped catwalk-style stage, the somber palette and earthy textures of World War I set the mood very effectively.

Telling the story of eight young Northern Irish soldiers who are thrown together by circumstance, and who must navigate their own fears and prejudices, this play is compelling in its subject-matter but yet left me strangely unsatisfied. There were some fine performances from the ensemble cast, who bravely took up the challenge of the Irish accents, and Dan Walls is to be commended for his portrayal of the subversive Kenneth Pyper. Nicholas Brien also showed depth and sensitivity as the young blacksmith David Craig.

The play itself is a little heavy-handed – as The Guardian’s Michael Billington writes, McGuinness puts an “excessive emphasis on an apparent Ulster death-wish”. The shortcomings in the script, coupled with perhaps some lack of subtlety in direction, prevented this story from fulfilling its potential to be truly moving. Lighter comedic moments really hit the mark, however, evoking genuine laughs from the audience, and providing a bitter-sweet counterpoint to the main plot.

Visually and spatially this production is quite successful. Having the audience in the round gives visual depth and interesting angles from which to view the action, and I enjoyed the surprising moments of intimacy which this offered. This stage layout is of course much more challenging for sight lines and lighting – a challenge that was generally met very well.

Hoy Polloy has taken the challenge of a tough ensemble play – a work not without its flaws – and has produced a solid production supported by an excellent cast of young actors. If you want to see the next generation of leading men strut their stuff, this is the show to see.

Featuring: Nicholas Brien, Angus Brown, Karl Cottee, Kevin Dee, Mathew Gelsumini, Tosh Greenslade, David Passmore, Ian Rooney & Dan Walls

Season runs until 13 August, 8pm Tue to Sat

Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre (cnr Sydney & Glenlyon Rd, Brunswick)

$30 /$24/$20 Tue

Bookings www.trybooking.com

 Enquiries 9005 6734