Tag: Stephanie Lillis

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.

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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: The Seven Ages of Joyce for BLOOMSDAY

Piecing together the broken life of a brilliant man

By Ross Larkin

It is, at first, anyone’s guess as to what one can expect from The Seven Ages of Joyce, a theatrical exploration of the life of Irish novelist and poet, James Joyce for this year’s  Bloomsday in Melbourne Festival.

Best known for his 1922 novel Ulysses, many (with the exception of Joyce aficionados), may not be aware of the controversy his work attracted, largely due to his use of obscenities and interest in the abject.

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This fact alone, however, suggests a (potentially) very dry two hours of biographical examination indeed, and it was fair to wonder if much padding might be required to sustain such an engagement.

Yet, perhaps surprising to us all is the extent of Joyce’s irreverent and quirky personality, and moreover, the bloodline of torment and mental dysfunction from which he came.

Undoubtedly, director Wayne Pearn faces a challenge in staging a fragmented re-telling of Ulysses along with Joyce’s writing process and life throughout. Incidental characters are rife, as is Joyce’s famous stream-of-consciousness in a dialogue-heavy and, at times, erratic production.

Fortunately, Pearn’s casting alone saves The Seven Ages of Joyce from a potentially immediate death, for this character driven-play with music and singing relies on extraordinarily versatile actors, who must decipher and showcase some heartily challenging text and structure.

Much of his cast of nine require the skill and commitment to interchange between as many as ten characters, consistently manipulating vocal tone, accent, physicality and objective – an assignment for only the brave and experienced performer.

Kevin Dee, as the novelist in question, faces the arduous task of writing out loud and recalling passages at great length, yet does so with ease, while Corrine Davies and Stephanie Lillis, who play a variety of the major female roles, excel at moving between comic charisma and gut-wrenching tragedy.

The supporting cast, however, not only compliment and genuinely support the leads, they provide a much-needed injection of pace and spice, with outstanding performances throughout.

With a simple backdrop, ambient lighting, and intermittent live music and song, the players and creators of The Seven Ages of Joyce manage to bring to life eccentric individuals, manic colour and heartbreaking drama.

The Seven Ages of Joyce opens tonight at 7.30pm, and thereafter on Saturday June 15 at 6pm and Sunday June 16 at 1pm and 6pm.
45 Downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
Bookings: fortyfivedownstairs.com or 03 9662 9966.