Tag: Gasworks

Hungry Wolf Theatre Presents ORPHANS

Fraternal bonds are set to break

By Myron My

The bond between brothers, or any siblings for that matter, is a bond for life. After all, as the adage goes, you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family. Lyle Kessler’s Orphans, two brothers share the pain of having a mother who has died and a father that has abandoned them. While both of them choose to deal with the pain and protect themselves and each other in different ways, emotions gradually reach boiling point where something has got to give.


In Hungry Wolf Theatre‘s current production, Mark Davis as younger brother Phillip continues to impress me with his ability in bringing his varied characters to life. It’s testament to his skill and talent that Davis is physically and emotionally the complete opposite to the character I last saw him in: Q44‘s brilliant production of Sam Shepard’s Fool For Love last year. The machismo and hot-bloodedness of Eddie is nowhere to be seen in Phillip, an innocent, sheltered individual who falls somewhere on the high-functioning Autism disorder spectrum. It is almost like the performer has ceased to exist as each movement, each stare, each thought process is overtaken by Phillip and for a show that goes for over two hours, it is a challenging feat that Davis smashes through.

Danny Zivaljevic as the older, more volatile brother, Treat, has a strong presence on stage and physically captures the anger that is boiling inside the character. It’s an anger that we recognise if Treat doesn’t control soon enough, will eventually be his undoing. I confess I would have liked to see Zivaljevic try and work more with the subtleties and the nuances of these anger issues that would have allowed Treat to feel like a better-rounded character. Meanwhile, Sebastian Gunner is much at ease with Harold, finding the perfect balance between his comedic, threatening and sensitive nature.

The committed performances from the actors are unfortunately let down by a script that for me lacks true suspense or tension and doesn’t seem to lead anywhere – nor does it explore the characters’ relationships to the depth that I feel would be more rewarding for the audience. However,  Peter Blackburn’s strong direction here and use of the space builds a claustrophobic and still somewhat suspenseful environment within the confines of the brothers’ living room.

Despite the script not being as engaging as I would have liked it to be, the captivating performances alone are worth seeing in this production of Orphans by Hungry Wolf Theatre.

Venue: Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham St, Albert Park, 3206
 Until 23 April | 3pm and 7.30pm
 $30 Full | $20 Conc

Bookings: Gasworks Arts Park


Balanced and poised

By Myron My

With twenty-five years combined experience between them, Kali Retallack and Zoe Robbins are the two performers of Asoré: A Series of Rare Events. They have put together a circus show that is quite unlike any regular circus event. Set in the 1920s, we experience a quirky performance that is quite simple in delivery and yet one that requires great skill, timing and strength. The show predominantly consists of two techniques, hoola-hooping and foot-juggling, with some variations thrown in throughout.

I’ve seen quite a few circus shows, but Robbins’ foot-juggling is performed with precision timing and includes tricks that I have never seen before. My anxiety levels were on high alert when she began juggling various items with her feet, including two umbrellas.


Meanwhile, the juggling of fellow performer Retallack is possibly the most impressive act of the performance.

Whilst Retallack is also hypnotising when doing her aerial work on a hanging hoop, there were a few mishaps with wayward hoops during her standing routines. However, as with any circus show, mistakes and accidents happen and the attention is then on how the performers deal with it. Retallack remained composed at all times with a smile on her face and her confidence remained high.

The girls work the audience well with their interludes allowing the audience a breather from the intensity of what we are seeing. I particularly enjoyed the archival footage of various big-top circus acts, such as the woman who is balancing a chair in her mouth whilst she dances. Although a little too long, it works well with the theme of their 1920s travelling circus. The music used throughout is also a great contributor to supporting this appealing historical theme and environment. However, there are times when the artists attempt to talk over the music and become incredibly hard to hear. They either need to have microphones on or the music needs to be at a lower volume.

Asoré is an enjoyable 50 minutes of circus acts set to a different backdrop to that which we normally see. Its polished simplicity is  what makes it stand out above the rest.

Venue: Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham St, Albert Park

Season: Until 05 October | 8:00pm and Saturday 2:30pm

Tickets: $25 /$20 Conc

Bookings: www.gasworks.org.au, 9699 3253 or http://www.melbournefringe.com.au, 9660 9666

Review: TRANSIT at Gasworks

Buy the ticket, take the trip

By Christine Moffat

Transit is a story about travellers being thrown together by chance and trying to stay together on purpose.  This hour-long production for Midsumma Festival tells the stories of three young Australians living abroad, but it is also the universal story of the first taste of the ‘foreign’.  The three Aussies learn that sometimes travel is difficult, sometimes it’s sublime, but it’s always life-changing.

The show, devised and written by Troy Nankervis, is based on interviews conducted with travellers he met whilst travelling himself in the UK.  The result is a script with sections that are a little undramatic; perhaps these sections follow the interviews too faithfully.  That being said, most of the show is interesting and touching, and ably performed by the three actors. 


Ewan Whittle is amusing and surprising as the slightly disconnected Tyler.  Ella Di Marco is very watchable in her stage debut as Nicole.  Ezel Doruk who plays Kieran, also does well with difficult task of playing several small characters that help the story flow.

The overall style of this production is a slightly stilted mix of naturalistic and stylised elements.  I much preferred the stylised elements.  For example, director Cameron Stewart created a great series of silent tableaux performed during monologues with the non-speaking actors. I think the two styles would have combined much more successfully if both elements were heightened.

Everything is there in this show, but when working from real life, writers and directors often feel that dramatising will take away from the truth.  However, this  is theatre: I think that Nankervis has a knack for finding the important stories, and should give himself permission to ‘crank up’ his script so that more is at stake for the characters.

I believe that if the script had a little more bubbling beneath the surface, and the production smoothed out its style choices, this show has the potential to be challenging and moving play.  As it stands, Transit is a great piece of new Australian theatre, and an entertaining 60 minutes promising great things in the future from all involved.

Dates: Sat 23 Jan – Fri 1 Feb, 7pm

Venue: Studio Theatre, Gasworks Arts Park, Cnr Graham & Pickles St, Albert Park

Tickets: $22 /$17 Conc

Bookings: www.gasworks.org.au/events/transit