Tag: Lucy Gransbury

REVIEW: The Australian Shakespeare Company Presents CARIBBEAN PIRATES AT THE POLLY WOODSIDE

Here be pirates!

By Kim Edwards

The weather may have looked a little threatening, but not so the rambunctious and rapscallion band of pirates that have taken over a Melbourne icon this month. Carribean Pirates at the Polly Woodside is a fun family event for these school holidays, as a lovable crew of boisterous bucchaneers steal a treasure map, stage a mutiny, sing sea shanties and defeat the villain both on shore and onboard the historical sailing ship.

Carribean Pirates on the Polly Woodside PHOTO CREDIT_MattDeller

The opening of the show and warm-up audience interaction with Scurvy Dave (Andrew Kronert), Empty Drawer (Caspar Conrick) and Major Key (Jon Peck) was utterly sensational: the banter and comic chemistry between the three performers was superb, and their musical abilities and hilarious ad-libs throughout the show won my heart entirely. Glenn Elston‘s script has plenty of familiar piratical devices at play: I particularly liked the pantomine inclusion of Larry the cabin boy/Sally (the engaging Lucy Gransbury). the faithful ‘he’s behind you!’ jokes, and a few prop surprises late in the show. However, the storyline is convoluted and seemed to miss a lot of opportunities for clear set-ups, running jokes and more significant audience participation that would have kept the ‘new recruits’ more fully involved throughout.

The cast are high-energy and strongly committed to making the most of all they, have under the strong direction of Doru Surcel who is also the swashbuckling and evil Captain Cutthroat: Christina Marks works valiantly with the rather unsatisfying character of the Gypsy Pirate, the sword-fight choreography is excellent, and the impro demands of the location and excited young viewers were met with aplomb (the fist-shaking quips at the barrage of low-flying helicopters were an especial highlight.)

Overall, the unusual setting is delightful, there’s slapstick provided for the kids and real wit for the adults, and when the plot begins to drag or the exposition thickens, the cast are quick to rev their audience back up again as soon as the opportunity arises. Comfy shoes, hats and sunscreen, and coats are necessary bring-along booty for any outdoor theatre in Melbourne. A group ticket for four is $90, but the show is a good 90 minutes long, the wonderful performers are working hard to entertain on multiple levels, and your little pirates will even go home with a few golden pebbles as souvenir treasure.

DATES: Tue 13 – Fri 16 Jan 2015 at 6pm

Sat 17 Jan 2015 at 10am & 6pm

Mon 19 – Thur 22 Jan 2015 at 10am

Fri 23 & Sat 24 Jan 2015 at 10am & 6pm

WHERE: 21 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf
(on the Yarra in front of the Melbourne Exhibition Centre)

TICKETS: 038676 7511, www.shakespeareaustralia.com.au or Ticketmaster 136100

REVIEW: Tell Me About Yourself for MELBOURNE FRINGE

Dating dilemmas divulged

By Myron My

Sarah Jackson and Lucy Gransbury are young, free and single women. In order to rectify the latter, they decided to bite the bullet and sign up for a spot of speed dating. In their Melbourne Fringe show, Tell Me About Yourself, they shared the experience with us, introduced us to a number of other people from their evening and reminisced about horrible past date experiences.

Gransbury and Jackson really shone when they were being themselves. They seemed wonderfully natural and their witty retorts to each other are exactly what close friends would do. Full of energy and enthusiasm, they obviously loved doing what they were doing: the audience immediately warmed to their cheeky sense of humour, and their interactions with us were fun.

Tell Me About Yourself

However, many of their impressions were not as strong. The stereotypes and clichés came thick and fast and therefore any authenticity and realness these people might have had was lost. At times, the characterisation dangerously straddled the line of offensiveness with the portrayal of Siamese twins from New Zealand and Bertha, who was of questionable mental ability. The cheap gags started to overrun the intelligent and sharp comedy from the beginning of the show and sadly that is where the humour remained.

That said, the use of the projector to flashback to various dating disasters and other moments of their lives was done well and created an added layer to the story. It’s always nice to see performers try and be different and succeed in the way they present their show.

Ultimately though, there was nothing new about Tell Me About Yourself. It’s all been done before and unfortunately in regards to this show, has been done better. Jackson and Gransbury are both talented and funny women and given some more experience, I do believe they will do well in the comedy circuit as long as they attempt to remain honest with the characters they portray and seek out more depth and sophistication in such topical shows.

Tell Me About Yourself was performed at Gertrude’s Brown Couch from 1-6 October as part of the 2013 Melbourne Fringe Festival.

REVIEW: Cheeky Theatre Company’s COME BLOW YOUR HORN

Welcome to the ’60s!

By Jennifer Coles

Set in the swinging ’60s and covered in class and charm, Cheeky Theatre Company’s presentation of Come Blow Your Horn is a wonderful return to the fast-paced action of that era. Slick, sophisticated and witty, Neil Simon’s much-acclaimed play is in good hands as handled by the Cheeky Theatre crew, with solid direction, performances and design. Telling the tale primarily of the Baker brothers, Buddy (a hilarious and endearing Simon Alderman) leaves home for the first time as an innocent 21-year-old to move in with his older playboy brother Alan (played with gusto by Antony Talia).

Come Blow Your Horn

In the wrong hands, this play could quite easily become a mess. The dialogue is fast and thick, and requires constant diction and attention. Thankfully, the cast adhere to the brash and bold Brooklyn style and are not afraid to enjoy the dialogue they’ve been given. The jokes are paced well, with clear evidence of solid direction by Craig Irons, and the characterisation is well emphasized and exaggerated for comedic effect. The subtle mannerisms of Buddy’s bundle of nerves are offset wonderfully by the smooth movements of Alan, and the pair have wonderful interplay. In fact, the interaction between the Baker brothers is the highlight of the show, as it is so expertly written by Simon and here delivered by Alderman and Talia. It was also fantastic to see wonderful performances from Lucy Gransbury as the strong and determined Connie, and lighthearted Lucinda Burney as the contrasting Peggy.

Since the Warehouse is a somewhat unusual space to work in, The Cheeky Theatre Company used it to their advantage. Because there was no stage to speak of, the actors weren’t afraid to get close to the audience, and it was like we’d been transported back to the time period and were quietly observing this little piece of history. However, this proximity did sometimes result in the actors ‘stepping out of the light’ every so often, which can be fixed easily. And apart from a few opening-night jitters, the space was used well.

For a first performance, this production of Come Blow Your Horn was incredibly strong, and will no doubt have a stellar season. So take trip back to the 60’s with the Cheeky Theatre Company- it’s a blast!

Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street

Season: Until September 14
Tues – Sat: 8pm, Sun: 5pm

Price: Full $32, Conc $26

Bookings: http://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=58045