Tag: Four Letter Word Theatre

REVIEW: Michael Gow’s LIVE ACTS ON STAGE

Mythology unleashed

By Myron My

Orpheus is in love with Eurydice and with teaching mortals and God that we are the same. Zeus is having an affair with Ganymede. Hera wants to exact her revenge and Eris just wants her freedom.

Welcome to the world of the Gods or Four Letter Word Theatre’s production of Michael Gow’s Live Acts on Stage for Melbourne Fringe.

Live Acots On Stage

It is clear that everyone involved in the show has put much thought into its creation: the costuming by Emilija Tanner has an ethereal feel with the light, flowing fabrics on display and is complemented well by hair and make-up. Robert Alexander Smith’s set design is intelligently divided into four spaces and despite being in close proximity to each other, the distinction between each one is clear. Felicia King’s sound composition and Caitlyn Staples’ lighting design further enhance the story and are very effective in conveying the mood and tone throughout.

There are thirteen actors playing thirty-three different roles, some of these Gods appearing for a brief scene or two.  With such comings and goings on stage and along with my limited knowledge about the mythology, there were a few moments I was a little confused. However, this is fundamentally a story of the oldest themes in life and fiction: love, death, revenge and power, so it’s ultimately quite easy to fill in the blanks.

Of the thirteen actors, I was mesmerized by the flawless performances by Madaline R. Ryan and Cazz Bainbridge as Eris and Hera respectively. Even though I was not completely convinced with some of the other casting choices, these two definitely excelled. The power-play scenes between them and their taut dialogue were highlights of the show. The ensemble consisting of Danika Ray, Melissa Gardner, Kira Odling and Ingrid Taylor-Moss were also standout performances with the physical demands of their roles. It was interesting to see how they were incorporated into and utilised in various scenes, including the one in hell.

Live Acts on Stage is an intense ninety-minute journey to another time. The ancient mythology and contemporary text are perfectly blended to create a memorable evening of theatre. This is definitely a highlight of this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival and one that needs to be experienced – here’s hoping for a second season.

Venue: fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Season: Until 05 October | 8:00pm

Tickets: $40 Full | $35 Conc

Bookings: http://www.fortyfivedownstairs.com/events/ or http://www.melbournefringe.com.au, 9660 9666

REVIEW: Angus Cameron’s CHIASMUS

Taking theatre to the streets

By Myron My

Written and directed by Angus Cameron, Chiasmus is an original production presented this month by Four Letter Word Theatre in the unexpected ‘theatre space’ of an underground parking lot.

Chiasmus begins in a quite structured manner with the actors confined to performing in a large outlined white square, but by the start of the second act things are going outside the square – metaphorically and literally. The actors are suddenly very self-aware: they begin talking to the audience and using the whole carpark for their scenes, and the foundations of the play itself become unpredictable.

Chiasmus

James Gand-Hunt (Otto) and Eva Tokkola (Hannah) are both confident in their roles and appeared the most comfortable with their characters on this preview night. Sean Paisley Collins, although obviously talented as evident in previous productions I have seen, is however miscast as The Man. On this night, he just couldn’t quite seem to deliver the evil and sinister side required for the role.

Cameron’s direction was strong and used the space effectively to create a dark hostile environment. There were however quite a few moments where the actors are away from the audience and shouting over each other, and this made key dialogue incredibly hard to hear due to the echoing acoustics in this performance space.

There were sensitive topics brought up in the narrative such as abortion and child abuse but I don’t feel they were developed enough. With such a lot going on already in this play, if such issues are to be tackled they need to be explored and brought into focus rather than introduced flippantly.

Chiasmus does a great job at keeping us interested in what is happening and the hard work that Four Letter Word Theatre has put in to this unusual theatre experience is evident. Cameron stated he’d like to make his work an “even more polished, fully produced show” and I will be very interested to see this play reincarnated in a more measured and developed form.

Venue: Collingwood Underground Carpark, 44 Harmsworth St. Collingwood.

Season: Until 30 June | 7:30pm, Sun 6:00pm

Tickets: $15 Full

Bookings: email fourletterwordtheatre@gmail.com