Tag: Artemis Ioannides

Helen Yotis Patterson’s TAXITHI

Moving portayals of resilient Greek-Australian women

By Myron My

Inspired by her grandmothers, Helen Yotis Patterson has compiled a number of stories of Greek women who migrated to Australia in the 1950s and 60s. While the narratives and their characters are often filled with hope and excitement for a better life, they are sometimes met with disappointment and frustrations. Despite this, the women presented in Taxithi (Greek for ‘journey’) are fiercely strong and determined.

Taxithi

The impressive cast – Maria Mercedes, Artemis Ioannides and Helen Yotis Patterson – bring much honesty with their portrayals of these women. While some stories are taken directly from Yotis Patterson’s family history, the cast are clearly poignantly connected with all the experiences that are played out. There are well-crafted moments throughout, including Mercedes’ emotional lament at missing her mother’s final moments as she traveled back to Greece and Ioannides’ striking performance as a young bride who find herself in an arranged marriage.

The music is one of the strongest elements of Taxithi. Musical director, arranger and pianist Andrew Patterson has captured the era perfectly along with Jacob Papadopoulos‘ masterful bouzouki playing. During the musical moments, the three women’s voices elicited strong emotive responses from the audience, to the point where even my non-Greek speaking friends were able to feel what was being sung. John Ford and Rachel Burke‘s lighting design and Darius Kedros‘ sound design, while both minimal, are still highly effective, especially in the evocative opening moments with the sound of waves crashing in the ocean, making you feel as if you yourself are on the ship travelling to Australia.

Towards the end of the performance, I admit I did feel the stories started to become slightly repetitious, with quite a few revolving around young girls immigrating to get married. Had Yotis Patterson perhaps narrowed the quantity of stories and explored her powerful themes even further, this repetition would have been resolved and the emotional connection with the characters could have been even stronger.

However, at a time where we are denying people entry into our country who are trying to escape persecution from their own, Taxithi serves as a telling reminder that “letting people in” is not a bad thing and only allows our lives and culture to become richer. Furthermore, the journeying tales of Taxithi teach us to always remain resilient and to fight for what we want in life, and that is something everyone can strive towards, regardless of sex, gender or race.

Venue: fortyfive downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: Now until 24 March, then 5-10 April | Tue- Sat 7.30pm, Sun 5pm
Tickets: $45 Full | $35 Conc
Bookings: fortyfive downstairs

Image by Sarah Walker www.sarahwalkerphotos.com

REVIEW: Centrelink the Musical for MICF

Dance for the dole!

By Narelle Wood

They say any good comedy is based on truth and anyone who has ever tried to deal with any aspect of Centrelink, or any other government agency for that matter, will find that Centrelink the Musical provides good comedy based on circumstances that are eerily familiar.

Centrelink the Musical

Centrelink the Musical, directed by Greg Ulfan and conceived by Rohan Harry, follows a day of queues and queries at the Centrelink office, detailing the frustration of disabled Ed (playwright Adam Willson), long-term unemployed Gary (Dylan Lloyd), expectant mother Janine (Artemis Ioannides), the harrowing blank canvass Thyme (Harlene Hercules) and the long-suffering Centrelink employee Janine (Jacqueline Cook). The humour at times is delightfully inappropriate as it pokes fun at some of the truths of the people and their circumstances that lead them to the protocol-bound welfare office.

Out of all of the character it is Gary, the perpetual loser with all the inside know-how necessary to circumnavigate Centrelink’s protocols, that provides the most hilariously cringe-worthy lines and Lloyd’s delivery of Willson’s script is priceless.

Although there was the occasional flat note during some of the songs, overall the cast was exceptionally strong and Hercules’ portrayal of the recently graduated artist was as brilliant as her poetry was ridiculous. It was nice to see the matriarch of the Centrelink office was able to provide a justification for both her Gestapo-like and condescending approach to those in the unemployment queue, and Cook seamlessly transitions between these aspects of her character’s personality.

While there was a minimalist approach to sets and musical accompaniment, the costuming was trashy and completely appropriate, none more so than the bulging pregnant belly of Ioannides’ character Janine and Gary’s almost obscenely short shorts. The songs by Nathan Leigh Jones were clever and really spoke to the heart of each character’s frustration with life and dealing with the changing and more demanding welfare system.

This show provides some great laughs and although the humour seems to be only at the expense of the less-fortunate characters, the show does point to some of the inadequacies of our welfare system. Both the employed and unemployed alike will find something to delight them in Centrelink the Musical.

 
Venue: The Mechanics Institute, 270 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Season: Sun 6th April 5pm, Tue 8th April 8pm, Wed 9th –Sat 12th 9pm
Tickets: full $28 | Conc $15
Bookings: http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/centrelink-the-musical