Tag: Christopher Grant

REVIEW: Bitten By Productions Presents THE LAST SUPPER

Compelling tale of a crime lord and his cohorts

By Myron My

Being a leader is not the easiest thing. Especially when you are a leader of a mob group or crime syndicate and have to determine who is genuinely looking out for your safety and to constantly second-guess in whom you can put your trust. In Bitten By Productions’ The Last Supper, crime lord Dorian is facing these problems. What follows is an evening of truths being spoken, lies and deception being revealed, and an examination of the extremes to which people will go to be a leader and claim power.

The Last Supper

Dorian (Gregory Caine) has invited his most inner circle to a meeting: his “trusted” associates and partners. Those invited include his brother Brody (Karl Sarsfield), Madam President, Claudia (Ashley Tardy), the Head of Intelligence, Novak (Kashmir Sinnamon) and the Chief of Police, Vaughan (Christopher Grant). Once Dorian is finished with his interrogations, this may indeed be the last supper for some of them, as failure to perform their jobs results in death.

Gabriel Bergmoser‘s script has some great moments of tension, especially between Brody and Dorian, and the build-up to the conclusion is quite compelling. Bergmoser’s language is highly descriptive and the scene where Dorian retells the story of the pool of glass is so vivid and feels so real that the visuals created in my mind were highly intense. However, this narrative flashback feature is also the difficulty I had with the structure of The Last Supper: the many conversations about past events referencing at least half a dozen non-present characters. At some points, it felt like we were spending too much time focusing on the past than on the present, and not working with these interesting characters actually on stage.

With The Last Supper being seen as a conclusion to a loose trilogy by Bitten By Productions, I wonder – despite being told it is not necessary – if having seen Below Babylon and Beyond Babylon would have made this narrative easier to follow.

Sarsfield brings lots of emotion and honesty with the nervous Brody, who is eager to break free from the life of crime and be a good husband and father. As the story progresses, this desperation to lead a normal life is handled capably by Sarsfield. Similarly, Sinnamon and Grant do well with their supporting roles, each bringing their respective characters to life quite convincingly.

Despite some extremely powerful monologues, I felt some of Caine’s emotional responses as Dorian did not always feel authentic and his motivations and actions were not always clear or seemed to contradict themselves. Tardy does a great job as Claudia, but unfortunately fails to bring credibility to the character. I feel this is more a casting issue though, as she appeared to be too young for the role.

Less than a year ago, I watched Bergmoser’s Reunion and I saw potential in his writing. The Last Supper is clearly far more ambitious than this previous play, but fortunately there has also been a strong improvement in his skill as a writer. Even with the somewhat confusing and discursive narrative structure, the suspense, and the pay-off for the audience at the end, is worth it.

Venue: My Handlebar, 581 Sydney Rd, Brunswick.

Season: Until 16 May | Wed-Sat 7:30pm

Tickets: $20 Full | $18 Conc

Bookings: www.gabrielbergmoser.com

REVIEW: Bitten By Productions Presents BELOW BABYLON

Society’s seedy underside smoothed over

By Narelle Wood

Below Babylon by Gabriel Bergmoser promised to be a gritty and fast-paced play looking at the morality of the underworld; however it wasn’t quite fast enough and had potential to be far grittier.

Below Babylon

The play is set in a low-life bar in the alleyways of a cartel-run town from which there is no escape. Harry (Christopher Grant), the barkeeper and moral compass of the show, attempts to save his eclectic patrons, whether it is the young prostitute Lila (Nalini Vasudevan) or the wayward ex-cartel assassin Lincoln (Justin Anderson). Other assorted characters such as Mac (Hamish Buchanan), Clara (Dhania McKechnie) and Chloe (Melissa Howard) come and go in an attempt to thicken a plot based around Lincoln waiting to die.

There were a couple of inconsistencies in both setting and character portrayal that made the dystopian atmosphere a little hard to believe. For instance, the bar seemed far too clean, Lila seemed far too at ease with working the apparently dangerous streets, and Harry, who was pursuing a quieter life, was far too eager to involve himself in other people’s business. The inconsistencies in characterisation were perhaps highlighted by the wealth of experience Anderson and Buchanan each bought to the stage, both delivering completely believable performances. Likewise, what was lacking in the bar was highlighted by the impressive attention to detail in creating the right atmosphere through soundtrack, lighting and the use of props, especially the cap guns and fake-blood.

The show was completely stolen by Steve Young’s portrayal of Reagan, who epitomised the saying ‘honour amongst thieves’, and this gave credible motivation to his violent outbursts and demands of respect. Reagan’s sometimes-playful, sometimes-sinister banter with the other characters provided the tension that was lacking in the first half. The clear purpose of Reagan’s character in the plot meant that I found myself connecting with him more than any other character, and consequently I found myself wishing that evil would triumph.

Below Babylon was perhaps a bit more charcoal than noir, but if dystopian worlds are your thing then it is definitely worth a look.

Venue: Revolt Theatre, Kensington

Season: 7.30pm 19th February until 1st March (no shows Sunday or Monday)

Tickets: $25 adult

Bookings: www.revoltproductions.com/melbourneevents