Tag: Sean Paisley Collins

REVIEW: Melbourne Writers’ Theatre Presents THE MELBOURNE MONOLOGUES

Six glimpses into secret lives

By Margaret Wieringa

Melbourne Writers’ Theatre has been around since the early eighties, with a vision of developing Australian plays and playwrights, and The Melbourne Monologues is part of their annual Page to Stage season. Six monologues were featured, performed by five actors, all directed by MWT Resident Director and Dramaturg Elizabeth Walley.

Melbourne Monologues

Each monologue was extremely different to the others, yet there were some strong similarities; damaged people, often putting on a strong face to the world whilst things fall apart behind. At times, the performances could have used more space to let the drama of each situation settle. Certainly, each performer captured a particular essence of the character and while no character was totally lovable, the audience was on the side of each and every one. Christine Croydon’s take on Post Traumatic Shock Disorder in returning soldiers, with Alec Gilbert as the soldier attempting to settle back into civilian life, churned from calm and almost collected to explosive outbursts of distress and anger. Similarly, I’m a Certainty by Bruce Shearer had Sean Paisley-Collins, a wannabe winner lurching from affable and hopeful to aggressive and pained.

Lost saw Miliyana Cancar playing a somewhat undefined character who seemed to be totally in control and yet without any power at all, and it seemed the ambiguity in the writing allowed Cancar to take the character wherever she wanted. Many of us have experienced the Cry of a Forgotten Woman – whether it be dementia, or abuse, or simply age and incapacity, the plight of the aging woman is often ignored, and it was curious to see Brenda Palmer play a woman who celebrated both the good and tragic parts of her past.

It is always a challenge to have a character that is quite unlikable pluck at our heartstrings. Carmen Saarelaht has written a woman who has a powerful husband and stands by his side, regardless of her regrets. Carolyn Masson played up both the strengths and flaws of the character, but for me she took the night with her delivery of her final line.

The evening was rounded off with the humorous I Love You, written by Neil McGovern. Alec Gilbert returned to the stage rapidly firing lines through a wire door to a mysterious, unseen character who he both loved, yet could not let in.

It’s important to support these emerging and established playwrights, and I looked forward to seeing where their future endeavours take them.

Where: The Carlton Courthouse Theatre
When: Tuesday October 20 – Sunday October 25
Tickets: $20-$25
http://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=156074

REVIEW: Angus Cameron’s CHIASMUS

Taking theatre to the streets

By Myron My

Written and directed by Angus Cameron, Chiasmus is an original production presented this month by Four Letter Word Theatre in the unexpected ‘theatre space’ of an underground parking lot.

Chiasmus begins in a quite structured manner with the actors confined to performing in a large outlined white square, but by the start of the second act things are going outside the square – metaphorically and literally. The actors are suddenly very self-aware: they begin talking to the audience and using the whole carpark for their scenes, and the foundations of the play itself become unpredictable.

Chiasmus

James Gand-Hunt (Otto) and Eva Tokkola (Hannah) are both confident in their roles and appeared the most comfortable with their characters on this preview night. Sean Paisley Collins, although obviously talented as evident in previous productions I have seen, is however miscast as The Man. On this night, he just couldn’t quite seem to deliver the evil and sinister side required for the role.

Cameron’s direction was strong and used the space effectively to create a dark hostile environment. There were however quite a few moments where the actors are away from the audience and shouting over each other, and this made key dialogue incredibly hard to hear due to the echoing acoustics in this performance space.

There were sensitive topics brought up in the narrative such as abortion and child abuse but I don’t feel they were developed enough. With such a lot going on already in this play, if such issues are to be tackled they need to be explored and brought into focus rather than introduced flippantly.

Chiasmus does a great job at keeping us interested in what is happening and the hard work that Four Letter Word Theatre has put in to this unusual theatre experience is evident. Cameron stated he’d like to make his work an “even more polished, fully produced show” and I will be very interested to see this play reincarnated in a more measured and developed form.

Venue: Collingwood Underground Carpark, 44 Harmsworth St. Collingwood.

Season: Until 30 June | 7:30pm, Sun 6:00pm

Tickets: $15 Full

Bookings: email fourletterwordtheatre@gmail.com

REVIEW: Barry Lowe’s THE DEATH OF PETER PAN

Boyish bildungsroman and lingering love story

By Myron My

Barry Lowe’s The Death of Peter Pan is a tragic and beautiful story of growing up and becoming a man. Set during the 1920’s, it follows the life of Michael Llewelyn-Davies – the adopted (and favourite) son of Peter Pan author, James Barrie – and his chance encounter with fellow student Rupert Buxton.

Death of Peter Pan Photo credit - MarcOpitz

Kieran McShane and Jordan Armstrong do a flawless job as the two protagonists, Michael and Rupert respectively. Rupert’s arrogance and brashness is a perfect contrast to Michael’s ambivalence and fear of what is happening, and this dynamic ultimately leads to a first kiss, first love and first heartbreak for Michael. There are some strong relationship-defining moments on stage, including the scene at the Parisian whorehouse and Michael’s swimming lesson. The affection and tenderness between the characters has a heartfelt authenticity, and this is mainly due to the talents of these two performers.

The two are supported by a more-than-capable ensemble cast including Sean Paisley Collins as Roger Senhouse, Michael’s flirtatious college friend. Collins is superb in his role: not overdone and revealing a serious and sensitive side that (when it does come to the surface) leaves quite an impact. Similarly, Ian Rooney’s J.M. Barrie is impressive as he plays out the nuances of a man still trying to live in his own Peter Pan moment.

Robert Chuter returns to the Chapel to direct The Death of Peter Pan and his focus on and image of this production is breathtaking. He has put together a very fine cast and crew, including costume designer Elissa Hullah and hair and make-up artist Rebecca Vaughan whose efforts warrant particular mention. The show does use blackouts between scenes and although I am not generally a fan of these visual interruptions, the haunting musical score by Andrew Bishop was able to keep us utterly absorbed in the moment.

The Death of Peter Pan is Australian theatre at its unrivaled best. It’s always a joy to be enveloped by a production that has brought everything so seamlessly together and its effects will still be felt long after having seen it.

Venue: Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran

Season: Until 2 June | Wed-Sat 8:00pm, Sun 6:30pm

Tickets: $30 Full | $28 Conc

Bookings: www.chapeloffchapel.com.au or 8290 7000