Tag: Lindsay Templeton

REVIEW: Monash Shakespeare Company’s TITUS

Ferocity unleashed

By Amy Planner

Violence has many forms and this production holds no punches in exploring the history of humanity and our gravitational attraction to that violence. Written and directed by James Jackson, Monash Shakespeare Company presents Titus, a non-conventional and radical reworking of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.


Broken down in to three distinct acts, Titus explores the Shakespearean tragedy in a vastly postmodernist way. The focus in its many forms is violence; Act I presents The Symbolic in an almost wordless adaptation, Act II delves in to The Objective with a script-ridden dialogue surge, and Act III tackles The Subjective in a physical exercise of rather ferocious proportions.

In true post-modernist form,  Titus does away with answers and instead raises many deep-seeded and philosophical questions about humanity, honour, love, family and violence.

The small cast (Elizabeth Brennan, Emily Stokes, Lindsay Templeton, Meaghan Laurie and Tom Molyneaux) offered a range of talents and although some performers were stronger than others, there were a number of memorable moments. The lighting was stark but appropriate and the use of sound and music created an eerie ambiance.

Designed by Nathan Burmeister, he unique staging comprised of a beach-worth of sand, a brick or two and metres of Dexter-esque plastic lining the spray painted walls. The distinctive take on Shakespeare was matched only by the interesting use of space. Unfortunately, the meekly tiered seating did leave those behind the front row gasping for news on the activity happening down front, but were left out of the loop.

Being ready for the metaphysical interpretation did not prepare for the blitzkrieg of symbolism, figurative actions, metaphorical moments and deluge of questions thrown at the audience in rapid succession. Perhaps a more defined focus on one or two theatrical elements would have allowed the unsuspecting audience to follow the hasty plot and really grab a hold of some of those big subjects.

If you play shy to a bucket-load of blood, have a phobia of sand or hold on to haunting memories of the dreaded Beep Test then perhaps Titus isn’t for you. But if you are in need of a little philosophical punch to the face through a never-before-seen Shakespearean awakening, then Titus should be right up your postmodernist alley.

Titus by Monash Shakespeare Company
Season: 9-12 and 14-18 July 2015 7.30pm (2pm show on 11th July)
Venue: Second Story Studios, 3/159 Sackville Street Collingwood
Tickets: $21 Full, $17 Concession, $15 MSC Member
Booking: trybooking.com/HYJQ

Image by Sarah Walker and Debbie Yew

REVIEW: Barking Spider Visual Theatre’s PSYCHOPOMP & SEETHING

Down into dream worlds

By Myron My

Barking Spider Visual Theatre has consistently created shows and performances that have a lingering effect on their audiences. Collaborating with MUST (Monash Uni Student Theatre), their newest production Psychopomp & Seething delivers on this reputation yet again. In two short pieces, they transport the audience to two very different dream-like worlds that are paradoxically calming yet unsettling.

Psychopomp & Seething

The audience seating area has been specifically designed for this show and only seats twenty people in its very intimate structure. As we take our seats, the doors close in on the stage, boxing us in, and we begin to move. Yes, the seating bank moves. With nothing but a blue spotlight sporadically shining above us, I get images of the boat ride in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the hurricane from The Wizard of Oz, which is fitting as this is the type of intriguing experience I’ve come to expect from Barking Spider.

Once we “arrive” at our “destination”, the doors open to Seething. The stage is bare except for a woman (Vanessa O’Neil) standing in a lit up sound booth. She begins reading a poem revolving around sex, the body and image. As she begins, a person (Kate Brennan) appears from the darkness and brings her words to life through dance and movements. Brennan is like a marionette to O’Neil’s words and there is a strong sense that the two need to co-exist in order to be here. The words spoken have a lingering effect on my mind and I find myself lost and overcome by the visual and aural beauty on stage.

Upon its conclusion, the doors are shut and we are transported to Psychopomp, which has a very different feel to Seething. This is a two-by-two square box stage, with each square occupied by a performer (James Cerche, Nicola Grear, Aislinn Murray and Lindsay Templeton). In a whimsical setting reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, the four individuals recount their own experiences with death where, as in the previous piece, they are bound together yet separated from each other.

The stunning set designs, detailed costuming and makeup, and strong performances in particular by Murray and Templeton, make Psychopomp highly memorable. However, I feel more clarity was needed with the narrative. It took quite some time to understand who these characters were and what their story was. After the audience being so visually overwhelmed, with a 30-minute show there is a need to be more direct and clear with the story.

While walking home after the show, and even as I write this review, there is still much of Psychopomp & Seething that remains in my thoughts. The fact that this is not the type of theatre that leaves you the next day makes it a must-see experience. Barking Spider constantly aim to produce original and unique theatre for its audiences, with no performance experience the same. It is risky but so far, they are hitting all the right spots.

Venue: La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street, Carlton

Season: Until 1 March | Wed-Sat 6.30pm & 8pm, Sun 4pm & 5.30pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc

 or 9347 6948

Image by Sarah Walker