Tag: Benjamin Rigby

REVIEW: Little Ones Theatre Presents THE HOUSE OF YES

Dysfunctional comedy all in the family

By Myron My

It took me exactly 37 seconds to realize that I was going to be in pure bliss watching Little Ones Theatre‘s production of The House Of Yes, a bizarre yet hilariously witty play by Wendy Macleod.

The House of Yes_Photo Credit_ Sarah Walker Photography

It’s Thanksgiving in 1983, and Marty (Benjamin Rigby) has returned home with his fiancée Lesly (Anna McCarthy). As we meet the rest of the family – his mentally unstable and Kennedy-obsessed twin sister “Jackie O” (Genevieve Giuffre), younger brother Anthony (Paul Blenheim) and matriarch, Mrs. Pascal (Josh Price, in a superb casting decision) – the domestic Pandora’s box is well and truly opened in this satirical play on class, incest and mental illness.

For the most part, Giuffre succeeds in bringing out the fragility and loneliness in the challenging role of Jackie O but it is the scenes involving McCarthy and Blenheim that allow for a deeper honesty and vulnerability to be present. Unfortunately I was not at all convinced by Rigby’s performance as Marty, who really only shines in his scenes with Giuffre which are filled with an infinite amount of palpable sexual chemistry.

Price as Mrs. Pascal is truly an unusual choice, but at the same time a perfect decision to convey the dysfunctional ties of the family, and personify the desires and morals that otherwise seem to be lacking in the Pascal household.

Director Stephen Nicolazzo has done a great job in crafting the pace and delivery in The House of Yes, and there is never a dull moment on stage. The set and lighting design of the Pascal home further articulates the misguided values and the mindset of a family that is caught up in its own bourgeois reality. Eugyeene Teh’s all-pink set contrasts with the darkness that envelops the family, and the lighting by Katie Sfetkidis successfully builds the tension towards the climatic final scene, even with all the laughs and antics.

Little Ones Theatre have managed to bring their own unique touch to this compelling story of a family whose desires and wishes to lead the lives they want only ends in devastation for themselves and each other. The House of Yes gets a resounding yes from me.

Venue: Theatreworks, 14 Acland St, St Kilda.

Season: Until 13 December | Tues – Sat 8:00pm

Tickets: $30 Full | $25 Concession

Bookings: 9534 3388 or http://www.theatreworks.org.au

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REVIEW: Exhibit A Theatre Presents FLESH WOUND

All in the family

By Myron My

A young man is on the run from the mob and finds safety in his sister’s apartment in a Camden Council flat in London. However, it seems this could end up being the most dangerous place he could be… Produced by Exhibit A: Theatre and directed by Nicholas Pollack, Flesh Wound looks at the ties between family, violence and class.

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I was very impressed with Benjamin Rigby and Belinda Misevski’s dynamic performances as half-siblings, Vincent and Deidra. Their mannerisms and behaviours are highly convincing portrayals of living in such a fraught and troubled environment. In contrast, Jeremy Kewley’s softly-spoken, cool and collected Joseph manages to stand his own ground between these two loud and obnoxious characters and demands attention with just a look or a stance. The work on all their accents has clearly paid off; they do not waver at all and sound authentic throughout.

I found Che Walker’s script haphazard with its story and character development. It unfortunately waits too long before it starts creating and working on the tension, and then falls into the trap of becoming repetitive and mundane. It is only in the final half hour where things really pick up with intrigue, suspense and a genuine uncertainty over who – if anyone – is going to survive the day. Furthermore, despite the excellent performances, I feel the characters have too many inconsistencies in their behaviours that are not explained or justified, and we are forced to simply accept them.

The set by Brett Ludeman displays much thought and creativity in the design process. Despite not even being used in the play, the various smashed glass bottles strewn “outside” the council flat really help in setting the scene for this broken, damaged world. Furthermore, the structural design of the flat itself is an interesting idea and one that cleverly represents the type of lives these people lead.

Exhibit A: Theatre is the creative vehicle for Misevski and Rigby, and even though the story of Flesh Wound didn’t really impress me, the strong performances by these two really made this a memorable play.

Venue: Goodtime Studios Basement, 746 Swanston St, Carlton

Season: Until 3 November | Wed – Sun 7:30pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc

Bookings: http://www.exhibitatheatre.com