Tag: Catherine Davies

Midsumma Festival 2017: THE HAPPY PRINCE

Wilde’s famous fairytale beautifully reinvented

By Myron My

Oscar Wilde‘s short story, The Happy Prince, tells the tale of a golden statue of a prince that overlooks a city. Along with a flying swallow that he encounters, the Happy Prince sacrifices itself in vain in order to help the people who are suffering from poverty. As part of Midsumma Festival, queer theatre company Little Ones Theatre have taken Wilde’s tale and adapted it through a queer lens. The contemporary homo-erotic story now explores the desperation and futility that two women experience in order to remain with the one they love.

The Happy Prince.jpg

Dressed in a gold-sequinned dress with gold nail-polish and a smear of gold face-paint, Janine Watson wondrously captures the innocence (and ignorance) of the Happy Prince. As the sacrifices become bigger, her determination becomes more evident in bringing happiness and good to the people, regardless of how fleeting or thankful the act might be.

Catherine Davies brings a poignant level of cynicism to the Swallow but also a passion and yearning for a connection. With her hair quiffed up, wearing rollerskates and chewing gum, she is reminiscent of a defiant and impatient youth constantly on the go. The passion between the two performers is palpable from the very first moment they share the stage together and neither Watson or Davies let go of that for the entire show.

This short story doesn’t offer much in terms of length and plot development, whereupon director Stephen Nicolazzo has created erotically charged and deeply tender moments of no dialogue between the Happy Prince and the swallow, exploring their emotional state of mind on a deeper level. There is a sense of time standing still during the show and we are given the opportunity to take in everything that is being said and everything that is being performed without being rushed.

Katie Sfetkidis‘ intelligent combination of cold and warm lighting design throughout the show highlights the moments of passion and love and the ultimate demise of said love as does the sleek clean set design by Eugyeene Teh. The grey material that runs along the wall and floor of the stage allows the gold and sparkle of the Happy Prince’s costume to constantly attract our attention and admiration.

The Happy Prince is the poetically tragic tale of a love that cannot be. Through its queer retelling, Little Ones Theatre have expertly crafted a powerfully affecting and layered story of deep affection and sacrifice that will linger in your mind long after the final scene.

Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday St, Carlton
Season: until 29 January | Wed 6.30pm, Thu – Sat 7.30pm, Sun 4pm
Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc
Bookings: Midsumma Festival

Image by Pia Johnson

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REVIEW: Little Ones Theatre Presents DRACULA

Bloody and beguiling

By Myron My

Little Ones Theatre is back with bite in their nearly all-female, silent production of Stoker’s classic 1897 gothic horror story Dracula. It is a brilliant homage to previous cinematic adaptations of the novel, with nods to Bela Legosi, Gary Oldman and Catherine Deneuve, while also including the company’s trademark exploration of sexuality and queerness.

Dracula - Amanda McGregor and Zoe Boeson -photo by Sarah Walker

The seductive Dracula is ‘brought to life’ by Alexandra Aldrich and Catherine Davies, with Davies playing a more youthful transformation of the bloodsucker. As one expected with films made during the silent era, on-screen performances need to be more emphatic and expressive, and on stage, Aldrich and Davies (like the rest of the cast) do not falter. Under the strong direction of Stephen Nicolazzo, their movements and actions are large and telling while still maintaining a menacing air of mystery around Dracula.

Janine Watson as Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray’s fiancé, who in turn is the obsession of Dracula, convincingly shows the emotional turmoil her character goes through, beginning with his initial hapless meeting with the Count. The only male cast member, Kevin Kiernan Molloy certainly nails it (so to speak) as vampire hunter Van Helsing. Molloy portrays him with much bravado and machismo as here to save the day, but ultimately it is he who poses a threat to those around him; intriguing in this case, he is shown to be the destabilising force.

All the various stage elements of this production seamlessly come together and work extremely well in supporting each other. Katie Sfetkidis‘ dramatic lighting design is a highlight with some memorable moments created from its play with darkness and shadows. Along with Daniel Nixon‘s original score, the emotion of both music and light heighten the tension as the story builds to its climatic conclusion. The sparkling all-black stage design by Eugyeene Teh paired with Tessa Leigh Wolffenbuttel Pitt’s and Teh’s mostly black-and-white costume designs pay further homage to the silent film era.

The Little Ones Theatre‘s winning streak of creating unique theatrical experiences therefore continues here with this production of Dracula. While we may be familiar with the gothic and erotic nature behind the famous story, the striking camp and queer elements the company explores ensures that this retelling retains a high level of surprises and entertainment for audiences.

Venue: Theatreworks, 14 Acland St, St Kilda

Season: Until 14 November | Wed- Sat 8:00pm

Tickets: $35 Full | $25 Conc

Bookings: Theatreworks

Image by Sarah Walker

Review: CUT SNAKE at Theatreworks

Comic, crazy, commendable tale in a three-actor circus

By Christine Moffat

If you know the phrase ‘mad as a cut snake’, you have an inkling of what to expect from this award-winning show by the two years-young theatre company Arthur.  The show is mad, but thanks to playwrights Amelia Evans and Dan Giovannoni, there is fabulous method to the madness.

Although the show is acrobatic and surreal, with all emotions heightened, there is a base note of reality running underneath.  Evans and Giovannoni examine the central themes of friendship, love, death and the small moments in a life that change the world.

Cut Snake

The play revolves around four zany characters, Trix the snake, Kiki Coriander (Catherine Davies), Bob (Julia Billington) and Jumper (Kevin Kiernan-Molloy), any of which could justify their own circus act.  Despite this, the actors beautifully construct relationships that are accessible, relatable and touchingly domestic.

The direction of by devisor Paige Rattray is a great lesson in ‘less is more’.  The show takes place in a small circus tent on astroturf.  The ‘rough around the edges’ appearance is actually great stagecraft.  The show feels roughened, not rough: worn-in like a favourite pair of jeans.  This made the audience immediately comfortable in the high-energy, crazy, tiny theatre space.

Cut Snake is a strange, moving, funny, high-energy bundle of love and loss with a dash of experimental physics thrown in for good measure.  If you’ve ever had a best friend, ever thought about science or magic or asked yourself “What if?” then you will find yourself entertained and a little bit happier for having seen it.  As a bonus you will also find the answer to the million-dollar question: who would win in a fight between a horse and a hippo?  That alone is worth the ticket price.

Date: 25 Feb 2013 – 09 Mar 2013

Time: March 2- March 9 at 7:00pm, 11:30am matinees Wed and Fri

Price: Student groups $20, adults $30, conc/non-student groups $25 (plus booking fee)

Bookings: www.theatreworks.org.au

Location: Theatreworks, 14 Acland St, St Kilda

Please Note: This production is performed at an outdoor location near Theatre Works; meet in the foyer at least 15 minutes before performance commences.