Tag: Paul Blenheim

Melbourne Fringe 2016: SAVING SPIDERS

Not all is as it seems…

By Myron My

In Saving Spiders, presented by Darebin Arts Speakeasy and GRANITE for the 2016 Melbourne Fringe, Tina is a young woman who is living her life as if it is one big party. Between her boyfriend Grant and best friend Gracie, their shared existence consists solely of sex, drugs and good times. There is little responsibility in any of their lives, just a lot of fun – until the moment the fun stops, and things can never be the same again.

Saving Spiders.jpg

Saving Spiders relies on its cast to ensure its success, as it is very much a character-driven piece. Fortunately Zoe Boesen, Paul Blenheim, Ryan Jones and Leila Rodgers (who also wrote the show) all embrace their characters wholeheartedly and their resonant interactions with each other feel as If they have known each other for years.

The intriguing story develops organically and this is due to Rodgers’ ability to write strong fleshed-out characters where much is understood about their relationships without Rodgers’ needing to explicitly state it. It feels like Rodgers is writing about us, or people we know, so we can instantly relate to their lives and actions.

As the narrative continues, Rodgers takes a less linear path as we begin to go inside Tina’s mind and see how she is slowly unraveling for reasons that are initially a mystery to the audience. Brigid Gallagher’s skillful direction is a highlight here, particularly the scene where Grant and Gracie begin to clear out Tina’s bedroom, exposing the cold hard realities of Tina’s life in the present and how the party is well and truly over.

Everyone wants to be surrounded by their best friends, those they can trust implicitly and always know will be there for them. Saving Spiders explores what happens when that is no longer the case. Powerful theatre that is highly entertaining.

Venue: Northcote Town Hall, 189 High St, Northcote, 3070 

Season: until 24 September | Tue – Sat 9:15pm, Sun 8:15pm 

Length: 60 minutes

Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc/Cheap Tuesday/Groups 4+

Bookings: MelbourneFringe Festival

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REVIEW: Little Ones Theatre Presents THE HOUSE OF YES

Dysfunctional comedy all in the family

By Myron My

It took me exactly 37 seconds to realize that I was going to be in pure bliss watching Little Ones Theatre‘s production of The House Of Yes, a bizarre yet hilariously witty play by Wendy Macleod.

The House of Yes_Photo Credit_ Sarah Walker Photography

It’s Thanksgiving in 1983, and Marty (Benjamin Rigby) has returned home with his fiancée Lesly (Anna McCarthy). As we meet the rest of the family – his mentally unstable and Kennedy-obsessed twin sister “Jackie O” (Genevieve Giuffre), younger brother Anthony (Paul Blenheim) and matriarch, Mrs. Pascal (Josh Price, in a superb casting decision) – the domestic Pandora’s box is well and truly opened in this satirical play on class, incest and mental illness.

For the most part, Giuffre succeeds in bringing out the fragility and loneliness in the challenging role of Jackie O but it is the scenes involving McCarthy and Blenheim that allow for a deeper honesty and vulnerability to be present. Unfortunately I was not at all convinced by Rigby’s performance as Marty, who really only shines in his scenes with Giuffre which are filled with an infinite amount of palpable sexual chemistry.

Price as Mrs. Pascal is truly an unusual choice, but at the same time a perfect decision to convey the dysfunctional ties of the family, and personify the desires and morals that otherwise seem to be lacking in the Pascal household.

Director Stephen Nicolazzo has done a great job in crafting the pace and delivery in The House of Yes, and there is never a dull moment on stage. The set and lighting design of the Pascal home further articulates the misguided values and the mindset of a family that is caught up in its own bourgeois reality. Eugyeene Teh’s all-pink set contrasts with the darkness that envelops the family, and the lighting by Katie Sfetkidis successfully builds the tension towards the climatic final scene, even with all the laughs and antics.

Little Ones Theatre have managed to bring their own unique touch to this compelling story of a family whose desires and wishes to lead the lives they want only ends in devastation for themselves and each other. The House of Yes gets a resounding yes from me.

Venue: Theatreworks, 14 Acland St, St Kilda.

Season: Until 13 December | Tues – Sat 8:00pm

Tickets: $30 Full | $25 Concession

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

REVIEW: Elbow Room Presents THE MOTION OF LIGHT IN WATER

Two strange tales interweave

By Myron My

Despite not being a massive fan of science-fiction, I really enjoyed The Motion of Light in Water. It was engaging with a well-written script, great work from a technical point of view, and the acting was of a high standard.

Jacinta Yelland as Rydra in The Motion of Light in Water_ Photo Credit LachlanWoods

Inspired by the life and works of writer Samuel R. Delaney and poet Marilyn Hacker, The Motion of Light in Water takes place in two parallel worlds. The first is set in 1964, where we meet ‘Chip’ Delaney (Ray Chong Nee), an African American, who is in an interracial and open marriage with Marilyn (Laura Maitland), a Jew.

It’s in 2116 when I became a little unsure of the second story, revolving around space captain Rydra Wong (Jacinta Yelland). Rydra is on a mission to crack a linguistic code that will prevent an alien invasion on humanity. Both stories look at complex issues of sexuality, identity and moral responsibility but in very different ways and if you’re not familiar with Delaney’s work, the narrative can get quite muddled in the space plot.

The whole cast do a superb job bringing the characters to life but Chong Nee in the dual role of ‘Chip’ and Brass is extremely charismatic to watch. His switch from one to other is seamless and he does a great job in portraying both. Yelland as headstrong Rydra is also a strong presence on stage and appears to love playing the role. I was also impressed by Paul Blenheim in his numerous roles, but particularly enjoying seeing him as The Baronees which provoked quite a few laughs from the audience during her short appearance.

The costumes designed by Zoe Rouse were satisfyingly authentic for the era of the 60s, and the metallic shimmering outfits in the future seemed very fitting and worked well with the set design by Matthew Adey of House of Vnholy.

Elbow Room has taken on an immense challenge with creating The Motion of Light in Water. Produced by anyone else, this queer sci-fi love story could have been a disaster, but with Marcel Dorney’s taut script and direction, this company have created a unique and thought-provoking piece.

Venue: Theatreworks, 14 Acland St, St Kilda.
Season: Until 27 July | Tues-Sat 8:00pm, Sun 5:00pm
Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc
Bookings: 9534 3388 or http://www.theatreworks.org.au