Tag: James Tresise

REVIEW: James Tresise and Sean M Whelan in ALL THE ANIMALS WE ATE

Getting in touch with our animal spirits

By Myron My

Last year, James Tresise’s mother passed away. During that same time, Sean M. Whelan’s pet spoodle passed away after thirteen years. In All The Animals We Ate presented at this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival, the two come together to grieve and mourn the passing of someone they love and to celebrate their life. Death may be the end of one thing but it not need be the end of everything.

All the Animals We Ate

There is a lot of heart in this show; it’s hard not to feel the sadness as Whelan recalls the moment he found out his beloved dog Cady had died. Despite the show being predominantly about the loss of animals, we are invited to link these experiences to any sense of personal loss we’ve had, let it be animal or human. This empathy is created in part through the animal impersonations the two performers take on throughout, emphasising their connections to human beings.

Technically, the show comes together in a very subtle but effective way. The music is nostalgic and creates a sense of yearning and supports the visuals that are being projected on the wall. If Whelan’s words alone are not enough to imagine the environment and emotions being described, the music and projections more than do that, transporting us away from the performance space and into their stories.

At times however, the story itself gets a little lost with everything they are trying to say. There are moments of dialogue that don’t seem to have a real clear purpose, such as the digression about dinosaurs, or that seemed awkward and out of place, such as the urination on the lemon tree anecdote.

There are some beautiful moments where the connection between being an animal and being a human is touchingly affirmed. With a little more clarity and structure established in the story Tresise and Whelan wish to tell, All The Animals We Ate can be a beautiful homage not only to Cady but also to everyone that anyone has ever lost.

Venue: Fringe Hub, Arts House, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne, 3051

Season: Until 24 September | Tues-Sat 6.30pm, Sun 5.30pm

Tickets:$25 Full | $20 Conc | Cheap Tuesday

Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

Review: LOVE ME TENDER by Tom Holloway

An important story works to be told

By Myron My

Directed by Patrick McCarthy, Love Me Tender explores the aftermath of the Black Saturday fires and the effects it has had particularly on one man and his family.

Love Me Tender

I appreciate the adage “show, don’t tell” in theatre, so for me, this performance unfortunately consisted of too much telling. I find prolonged exposition hinders the involvement that an audience member can have with a piece and makes us less likely to care for or invest in the characters.  My other issue with this was that the characters tend to spend a lot of time talking about other people and offering very little about themselves, including remaining unnamed the whole time. The obvious effort to represent universal experiences here isn’t entirely successful.

That said, actors Nick Pelomis and James Tresise had great banter and rapport together. Their scenes are reminiscent of Vladimir and Estragon in Waiting for Godot, bordering on the absurd but giving some relief from the more serious mood at hand. Sarah Ogden also provides a strong yet subtle performance as the Mother.

Lisa Mibus has created a great lighting design for this production, and there were moments where the shadows on the background dominated the scene that was being played out, adding an atmospheric sense of macabre and impending doom to the story. The set design by Ashlee Hughes was also impressive; minimal and subtly used throughout, including a lone tree void of any life after a fire has gone through as its centrepiece.

Love Me Tender attempts to cover a variety of topics including bushfires, love, family and the sexualisation of teenage girls but it doesn’t all flow smoothly and you do get confused as to what is happening. The disjointed stories made this narrative difficult to follow.

McCarthy has obviously worked hard with a difficult and ambitious script by a reputable Australian playwright, which should always be commended, but ultimately I felt Love Me Tender prevents the characters or story from developing to their full potential.

Venue: Theatreworks, 14 Acland St, St Kilda

Season: Until 2 March | 8:00pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc

Bookings: 9534 3388 or http://www.theatreworks.org.au