Tag: original work

Review: NOA at La Mama

Interesting possibilities end up all at sea

By Myron My

I love it when there is something unique or different about a performance and when we were asked which way we would like to enter the stage, I thought that NOA would be one of those experiences. We could enter the conventional way or go up some stairs, down a ladder and be led to our seats in the dark.

There was much anticipation about what was about to transpire as everyone got seated and the performance began. Unfortunately, for the next 45 minutes I sat there often confused, sometimes uninterested and ultimately left wondering about too many things.

NOA

NOA attempted to look at themes of loss, friendship and survival, yet I struggled to find any definitive moments where any of these were explored. Excluding the last few minutes of the show, we were witness to two siblings (Karen Sibbing and Joshua Ferenbach) playing different characters in short skit-like scenes, including Mike the Magician and his “amazing” 3 cans/2 coins trick but nothing particular came from any of this.

The flimsy plot revolves around Noa and his sister – who live inside a bunker built by Noa and are honing their survival skills for their own experiences. The character development was minimal at best and just when I thought we were going to get some idea as to why these characters were doing what they were doing it went back to the surreal character dress-ups. However I must say the commitment which the performers played their troubled characters was a highlight of NOA.

Eugyeene Teh’s set design was the other highlight. Much time and effort had gone into replicating a bunker and encapsulating its claustrophobic and tight environment. Lighting designer Amelia Lever-Davidson further amplified this sensation with her atmospheric changes from darkness through dullness to dazzling brightness.

Overall and unfortunately, NOA felt contrived and had a level of pretentiousness to it that prevented me from connecting with the piece. I appreciate that theatre should investigate unknown areas and be innovative and explorative but unlike Noah’s Ark, this ship sank very quickly for me.

Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street St, Carlton

Season: Until 21 December | Tues, Wed, Sun 6:30pm. Thu-Sat 7:30pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Concession

Bookings: http://lamama.com.au

Review: THE STAIRS ARE MOVING by Neil Triffett

Promising new theatre and impressive performances

By Myron My

The Stairs Are Moving is a new play by writer and director Neil Triffett. Combining experimental techniques with traditional theatre, the story follows two siblings who reunite due to the passing of their Aunt Petunia.

Triffett has taken the unusual course of having minimal stage direction. For most of the show, the characters would use direct audience address to further the story. It was quite intriguing to hear these series of mainly monologues unfold, however it felt like a lot of the action disappeared, as it became more and more a series of “talking head” scenes. It got frustrating watching the actors say they were doing something when I just wanted them to physically do it.

Performer Charlotte Nicdao was the shining star of this production. Her ability to switch from not only calm and diligent Tulip to erratic and obsessive Tulip, but also to one of the crazy aunts was a joy to watch. Similarly, Carolyn Masson as the recently deceased Aunt Petunia provided great insight and emotion to a character that you therefore sympathise with despite the secrets she holds.

The scenes with lewd, crude and rude Aunt Olga and Aunt Tiffany (Nicdao and Masson) were definitely needed to lift the mood and the energy of the play. Having said that, there were moments of strong conviction from Sarah Plummer and Maurice Mammoliti as the two siblings. It was evident that there was a strained relationship between the characters but it would have been great to explore that more organically as revelations came quickly and out of the blue.

The lighting played an important part in the show, illuminating different spaces on stage to designate time, place and character, and setting the different moods and tones. There were moments where the wrong area was lit up and the actors began their scenes in the dark and the dark lighting sometimes detracted from the intensity of the scene, as we could not see the actors’ faces clearly.

The Stairs Are Moving is a highly original play with some very strong performances from its cast. Although not the easiest story to follow, Triffett should be congratulated on creating something very different for audiences to see.

Venue: La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond St, Carlton.

Season: Until 3 November | Wed – Sat 8:00pm, Sun 2:00pm

Tickets: $20 Full | $15 Concession

Bookings: www.trybooking.com/bvml