Tag: Australiana

REVIEW: Fleur Murphy’s SHADOWS OF ANGELS

Superb performances in a dark and gritty play

By Myron My

Shadows Of Angels is a play that delves into the minds and stories of the Australian female criminal: each tale dealing with a painful situation and event that links them all together.

The set of this production is bare apart from a chair, and a spotlight falls onto the cast as they individually take to the stage and tell their story to the audience. With so little visual stimulation, it’s even more important to have a talented cast to carry the story.

Shadows of Angels

For the most part the casting is spot on. H. Clare Callow is the standout as the “Man Femme”, showing equal parts vulnerability, yearning and sorrow. Meg Spencer is also particularly strong as the “Pretty Femme” portraying the tougher, angrier side of the femme fatale. Mel Dodge’s “Good Femme” rounds out the great performances.

My issue was with Rosemary Johns as the “Old Femme” and it was not at all due to the fine acting and effort that was put into the role, but I feel Jones was miscast here as the “Old Femme”. This was a woman who performed illegal abortions in a secret room and was about to flee from the police but Johns just seemed too sweet and gentle and I had problems believing her character would be capable of committing these crimes.

Fleur Murphy’s script is brilliant. The problem I often find with shows that use monologues is the narrative remains stagnant. However, with Shadows of Angels there is a steady pace that allows the narrative to flow and grow. Even more importantly, these are engaging characters that paint the scene with such vivid imagery that you often forget there is just that one chair on stage.

Chris Saxton has directed a show that stays with you long after it’s over. His efforts in creating the right blend of horror and sympathy both emotionally and physically on stage are what theatre is meant to be about: creating a world that envelops you until you feel like you are actually there.

Venue: The Owl and the Pussycat, 34 Swan St, Richmond

Season: Until 23 March | 8:00pm

Tickets: $24 Full | $20 Conc

Bookings: www.owlandcat.com.au/shadows.html

Review: AUSTEN TAYSHUS is The Merchant of Menace

Merciless night of comedy with an Australian icon

By Anastasia Russell-Head

The Butterfly Club’s small performance space was comfortably almost-filled on Saturday night for Australian icon, the raw and politically incorrect Austen Tayshus.

Known to many for his hit 1983 single Australiana, he is a veteran of the stand-up scene, having performed over 10,000 shows.

Taking to the stage in his trademark dark suit and shades, he proceeded to spin a web of comedic tangents, sometimes with a punchline or two thrown in for good measure.

The subjects of his humour were shown no mercy, with Jews, Muslims, South Africans, and Australians alike in the firing line.

Most of this is hilariously funny, especially his imitations of accents, which are spot-on. Some of it however, sails rather close to the wind, and in my opinion several of the Muslim jokes in particular go a bit too far.

That said, his wit is unprejudiced, and everyone is tarred with the same brush – himself, his career, even the audience, who are berated if they are not laughing enough, and teased when they laugh too much.

The audience is often a source of comedic ammunition – people’s marriages, jobs, state-of-sobriety – but no-one is offended; rather we all feel part of the joke.

Genuinely funny, clever, and an extremely engaging performer, Austen Tayshus is one-of-a-kind – catch him while and when you can.

You may even be treated to a live rendition of Australiana if you’re lucky!

Austen Tayshus: The Merchant of Menace played at The Butterfly Club Nov 5 2011.