Tag: Daniel Lammin

Daniel Lammin and MUST Present AWAKENING

A stunning reimagining

By Bradley Storer

Frank Wedekind’s play Spring Awakening – a tale of sex, violence, and the messy transition from child towards adulthood – is a classic of the twentieth century, incredibly explicit and shocking for the conservative times in which it was written and instantly banned. Awakening, an adaption of the original Spring by director Daniel Lammin comprised of five actors (Nicola Dupree, Samantha Hafey-Bagg, Eamonn Johnson, James Malcher, Sam Porter and Imogen Walsh) all sharing and swapping roles, seeks to unpack and re-examine the issues raised in the original play to see if anything has changed.

Awakening.jpg

Oddly enough, it is when the play sticks close to its source material that it feels slightly flat – the earlier, more traditional scenes seem to drag and lack energy despite the commitment of the cast and a wonderful sound design (constructed by Porter) that enlivens every scene. As more stylized and less naturalistic conventions take over, the true and more thrilling theatre begins to appear. Hansy’s masturbatory monologue has never been more intimate and enthralling, and the darkness and horror of the barn scene chills the blood, Wendla’s terrified whispers echoing in the blackness.

The second act, which breaks completely with the setting and costuming of the original text, is where Awakening truly comes into its own. Here Wedekind’s play is cracked open and re-examined in the light of modern society, the most obvious connection being the continuing prevalence of youth suicide and disconnection from each other even in an age where technology connects us in more ways than ever, depicted here in funny and finally tear-inducing series of text messages that pinpoint that tenuous dance between the desire to reach out and the fear of the vulnerability inherent in doing so. The cast are brilliantly versatile, swapping roles with ease, singing multiple harmonies on many occasions and even playing instruments for a Freddie Mercury song.

The final, brilliant revelation this re-examination comes to is an uncovering and denouncement of the original Spring Awakening’s support and perpetuation (whether intentionally or unintentionally, but it is made clear that this makes little difference) of rape culture, pointing out a hideous contradiction in thinking that feels both stunningly obvious and horribly insidious.

Lammin and the cast should be incredibly proud, Awakening is shocking in the best sense of the word: a true ‘awakening’.

Venue: Fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

Dates: 10th – 21st May 2017

Times: Tuesday – Saturday 7:30pm, Sunday 5pm

Price: $25 – $35

Tickets: 03 9662 9966 or fortyfivedownstairs.com

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REVIEW: Midsumma Festival’s THIRD REICH MOMMIE

Disturbingly funny

By Narelle Wood

With a title like Third Reich Mommie, I knew this performance was either going to be good, bad or completely bizarre; it was all three and didn’t disappoint. The storyline centres on the dysfunctional relationship between an ex-actress turned spy turned agoraphobic mother Bridgette (Christopher Bryant) and at-times sweet and at other times homicidal daughter, Cassidy (Trelawney Edgar).

Third-Reich-Mommie Credits Sarah Walker Photography

Caught in the middle of the neurosis is a sexually confused and charged boy, Jock (Nathan Burmeister), who’s captured the attention of mother and daughter, and the gestapo-esque housekeeper, Ada (Ashleigh Goodson) who juxtaposes her caring nature and sugary singing voice with random bouts of shouting in German.

The plot was initially hard to follow as it twists and turns in such a way that you know someone is up to something, but you’re not exactly sure what is afoot right up until the end when Bridgette Van Kamp’s sordid past and Cassidy’s ‘shining’ future is revealed.

The humour is, for the most part, completely inappropriate but also indiscriminate, targeting Jews, Nazis, homosexuals, Germans, mothers, fathers, and children, and the cast make no apology for this in their performance. Christopher Bryant’s physicality as well as his timing resulted in him delivering some of the show’s most controversial lines, jokes about incinerators and death camps, with comedic flair.

Daniel Lammin, the director, had warned us of some late changes due to unforeseen technical difficulties; the only thing I noticed was how smooth the lighting, scene and sound transitions were given the small number of people in the performance group. It was at times hard to hear, partly because of the acoustics of such a large room, partly the competing noise from the rest of the convent and partly the German accents.

For me Ashleigh Goodson stole the show, which was no mean feat given the strength of the other performers and the seemingly superfluous role that her character played. However it was Ada, and in turn Goodson’s portrayal of the character, that enabled me to slowly put together what appeared to be random schizophrenic conversations.

With good acting, bad characters and a completely bizarre storyline, it is definitely worth keeping an eye out for any future runs of Third Reich Mommie.

Venue: Abbotsford Convent, Rosina Auditorium CBD

Season: 16 – 25th January 2014

REVIEW: MUST Presents COLUMBINE

Thought-provoking art examines atrocity

By Scarlett Harris

The Columbine High School massacre of 1999 is a tragic watershed moment in school shootings—the one everyone refers back to—and that’s what Monash University Student Theatre (MUST) played on with their two-and-a-half-hour performance simply entitled Columbine.

Directed by recent NIDA graduate Daniel Lammin, Columbine uses interview transcripts from witnesses, articles written in the aftermath, and even a speech given by then-President Bill Clinton to shed light on the myriad feelings the massacre brought up for people the world over in a sort of doco-meets-immersive art amalgamation.

Columbine

The ensemble cast, all dressed in blue jeans and black singlets, did a stellar job at—I wouldn’t call it acting, but—making the audience feel as opposed to just observing. Columbine was more like an art installation or a live think piece than a mere theatre production. The minimalist staging, lighting and costuming allowed for those in attendance to draw their own conclusions and ensured questions about Columbine, violence, the media, youth, parenting, religion, guns and pop culture were left on our lips as we exited the theatre. So much so that one doesn’t necessarily even need to watch what’s going on onstage; you can just close your eyes and open yourself up to the emotion.

Columbine also employs the use of the 1990s cult music the school shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, listened to (remember Marilyn Manson as scapegoat for their actions?) which was performed to rousing perfection. “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails was a revelation.

While the show did go a little longer than was ideal (props for the comfy seats, though, MUST!), with all the content that allegedly inspired Harris and Klebold and all that has been spawned from their actions, I dare say Columbine could have gone on forever. No doubt their crimes will continue to reverberate and affect ever more artists and their audiences.

Columbine runs from Tuesday 3rd to Friday 6th September at 7:30 at MUST Theatre Space, Campus Centre Building, Monash University Clayton. Tickets $18 full, $14 concession, $12 Monash Student Association members via msa.monash.edu.au/must or at the door (subject to availability).