Tag: Michael Robins

Monster Media Presents ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST

Impeccable
By Ross Larkin

When a show is preceded by its own reputation as an iconic, Oscar-winning film, one might be forgiven for having reservations about subsequent incarnations of any kind. Thankfully, Monster Media’s interpretation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest puts all reservations to rest in a production that succeeds at the highest level.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.jpg

When Randle McMurphy (Michael Robins) is committed to a psychiatric asylum, he unwittingly provokes the menacing Nurse Ratched (Catherine Glavicic), who controls the ward with an iron fist, while forging the most unlikely of friendships in the process.

With award winning director Carl J. Sorheim at the helm, the play by Dale Wasserman and based on the novel by Ken Kesey is executed with delicate precision and just the right amount of integrity, light and shade.

The casting, in particular, is of exceptional note with an ensemble cast that bring complete authenticity and charm to the stage from the outset, including Eddie Muliaumaseali’i, Natalie BondNicholas DentonJack Dixon-GunnJosh FutcherDavid GannonKostas Ilias, Troy Larkin, Stephanie LillisPaul MorrisSeton PollockAngela Scundi and Ben Sofowora.

Michael Robins provides a fresh take as the mischievous McMurphy; a complex and demanding role which, in the wrong hands, could easily fail to affect. However, Robins makes the character his own and does very well in the process.

Catherine Glavicic as the subtly twisted Nurse Ratched is chilling yet sincere, offering an excellent concoction of kindness, authority, manipulation and bite, while Troy Larkin as the troubled Dale Harding is outstanding in a portrayal laden with conviction, torment and tenderness.

Add to the brew an alluring lighting (Jason Crick) and sound design, and a pace and energy to match, and Monster Media’s production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is most definitely not to be missed.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is playing now until June 11, 2017 at Southbank Theatre, The Lawler, 140 Southbank Boulevard, Melbourne. Tickets available at www.mtc.com.au or by phone on (03) 8688 0800.

Image by GW Photography

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REVIEW: Black Water Productions Presents KILLER JOE

Viciously funny

By Caitlin McGrane

If you are of a sensitive disposition, I advise you to look away now. Killer Joe by Tracy Letts is not for the faint of heart. A tale of depravity, sexual violence, misogyny and poverty, it catapults the audience to 1990s Texas. Those, like myself, more familiar with the 2012 film version starring Matthew McConaughey might be au fait with the subject matter, but it doesn’t stop the stage version being just as shocking, intriguing and downright funny.

Indeed, I was startled once again by how witty the script is; the gloomy staging rarely lets the audience feel quite comfortable in the company of the characters. And this is no bad thing: the audience ought to find them fairly reprehensible.

Killer Joe

‘Killer’ Joe Cooper, brilliantly played by Mark Diaco was equal parts charming and vicious; Michael Argus as Chris Smith both morally repugnant and sweetly caring; Sarah Hallam’s Sharla Smith was funny but almost wholly without sympathy; Ansel Smith played by Michael Robins was a loveable idiot and dangerously moronic. And then Dottie, everyone’s favourite character, indeed often the only character with whom the audience had any sympathy was played with just enough unhinged psychosis by Matilda Reed.

The staging was brilliant: I particularly enjoyed the use of the television (“Don’t you touch that television” might have brought in the biggest laugh of the night). The attention to detail on stage was also admirable and the use of props was interesting and inventive (special mention to the plastic sword); director Daniel Frederiksen has outdone himself. If you don’t mind being shocked and appalled, this production of Killer Joe is certainly worth hunting down.

Killer Joe is now showing at Revolt Artspace in Kensington from now until 23 November. Tickets (and Pozible campaign) at http://www.blackwatertheatre.com/#!bw-presents-killer-joe/c180r.

REVIEW: Theresa Rebeck’s SPIKE HEELS

Walking in someone else’s stilettos

By Myron My

Written by Theresa Rebeck (creator of TV series Smash) Spike Heels revolves around four people, and the intricate relationships they have with each other. Some are intimate, some are platonic and some are just beginning but – to an extent – they are all based on manipulation, power and lies.

 In this production presented by Q44 Theatre Company & Crazy Chair Productions, Nicole Melloy does a flawless job as foul-mouthed Bronx-born Georgie. With the risk of coming across as a frustratingly annoying and unappealing person, Melloy adds hints of fragility and vulnerability to everything she says and does, and ends up creating a character that we can empathise with and like. Anthony Scundi, as Georgie’s best friend Andrew, is also well cast as as the neat, nerdy academic who cannot swear properly.

Spike Heels

Georgie and Andrew’s lives are made more complicated by Georgie’s smarmy boss Edward (Michael Robins), and Andrew’s fiancé Lydia (Lelda Kapsis) and even though she has limited stage time, Kapsis creates some genuine touching moments between Lydia and Georgie.

Rebeck’s dialogue is full of fierce one-liners and a good balance of incredibly hilarious moments and incredibly dramatic moments, but it’s her consideration of power and how we all possess and use different forms of it against each other that is especially interesting to see play out on stage and watch how it affects each character.

Despite the brilliant writing, I did take issue with some of the plot points: in particular, the development of the relationship between Georgie and Edward. Without giving too much away, there are two moments that occur that made it difficult for me to accept the outcome of their relationship. It is because of this narrative problem that I feel the character of Edward never quite reaches the level of being a “real” person.

From a technical aspect, the set design by Rebecca Fortuna and Mara Kapsis is perfectly imagined and executed. Apart from having Andrew and Georgie’s personalities reflected in their respective apartments, they each have a large backdrop that the audience’s eye is constantly drawn to, that further builds on that character’s thought and ideals. In the case of Andrew, it’s an image of Nietzsche with the quote ‘sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed’, which is an idea resonating throughout Spike Heels.

Spike Heels is a highly enjoyable and intimate look into the complex world of relationships and ultimately the necessity of being true to oneself first and foremost. And tea.

Venue: Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran
Season: Until 14 Sep | Tues-Sat 8:00pm, Sun 6:00pm, Sat Matinee (13 Sep) 2pm, Wed Matinee (3 Sep) 1:00pm
Tickets: $37.50 Full | $32.50 Conc
Bookings: www.chapeloffchapel.com.au or 8290 7000