Tag: Jack Beeby

REVIEW: 5Pound Theatre Present 2SHORT RUSSIANS

An excellent odd couple of short plays

By Myron My

With 2Short Russians, 5Pound Theatre has brought two very different plays to the stage of The Owl and the Pussycat.

First we have the Australian premiere of ‘Vodka, Fucking and Television’ by one of Russia’s newest playwrights Maksym Kurochkin, which is followed by Anton Chekhov’s classic ‘The Bear’. With a very capable cast comprised of Jack Beeby, Clare Callow, Susannah Frith and Dmitri Pronin, each play offers a very different experience for the audience.

2Short Russians

In the first, our modern-day Hero (Beeby) is a struggling writer who blames three things for holding him back in life: namely, vodka, fucking  and television. These three vices (played by Frith, Callow and Pronin) physically manifest, and plead their individual cases as to why they should not be discarded. An impressive entrance by Fucking provided a few gasps from the audience and the use of different forms of media to represent Vodka and Television was quite unique and kept engagement levels with the audience high. Beeby handles his conflicted character with great aplomb and provides significant insight into the problems facing man in the modern age.

With its more classical backdrop, ‘The Bear’ is a farcical tale about a grieving widow, Popova (Callow), and Smirnoff (Pronin) the man who has come to collect his debt. The direction by Jason Kavanagh is quite different to the earlier play with some hilarious monologues and wonderful play with silences between characters.

Pronin triumphantly brought down the house with his fiery Smirnoff and Frith was perfect as the exasperated and mourning widow Popova. Their interactions together were a joy to watch and their comic timing was spot on. Beeby as Popova’s manservant Luka displays great versatility as a young actor and is definitely one to keep an eye on in future.

5Pound Theatre has returned for their 2013 Melbourne season with an impressive production in 2Short Russians and if they continue to provide plays and performances of this calibre, it is going to be a fantastic year for them.

Venue: The Owl and the Pussycat, 34 Swan St, Richmond

Season: Extended until 14 June | 7:30pm, Sat 2:00pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc

Bookings: http://www.5pound.com.au

Advertisements

REVIEW: RePlay Theatre’s THE WOMAN TAMER

Ambitious production of an Australian classic

By Myron My

Originally written in 1911, The Woman Tamer by Australian playwright Louis Esson has just been given a makeover over a 100 years later by RePlay Theatre for a limited run this week at The Owl and the Pussycat.

The play begins in the foyer of the theatre with a man and a woman (Jack Beeby and Clara Pagone) dressed in period costume, singing a song with a ukulele. However, they are also covered in ghoulish make-up and at the end of the song they guide us into the theatre. The two stand in the doorway strumming away until the doors close, evoking a strong and uneasy emotional response and offering a hint of the horror that is to come.

TheWomanTamer

Unfortunately, I found the story very difficult to follow due to the overwhelming visuals: the choreographed ‘dances’, the make-up and costumes, the music and at times, the two completely different scenes occurring at the same time. Whilst all this was engaging and captivating to watch, it resulted in me losing a lot of the actual narrative.

Robert Reid‘s direction is strong overall, but does allows things to get a little convoluted and left us trying to figure out what’s going on. There are some profound themes in this play including an examination of domestic violence against women, so adding all these other layers and levels to it jeopardized the focus on the issues and created a haphazard experience for the audience.

However, the cast (Beeby, Pagone, Tom Molyneux and Kate Brennan) were quite skilled in their roles. This play is peopled with emotionally and physically-demanding characters, and they were all committed, with particular mention going to Beeby who seemed to relish his character and really gave it his all.

RePlay Theatre have succeeded in producing an interesting contemporary reinterpretation of the original text of The Woman Tamer, but  unfortunately have managed to also ostracize the audience in our endeavours to connect with the play.

Venue: The Owl and the Pussycat, 34 Swan St, Richmond

Season: Until 25 May | 7:00pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc

Bookings: http://www.owlandcat.com.au/thewomantamer.html