Tag: Zak Zavod

REVIEW: Dramatic Pause Presents DO YOU FEAR THE DARK?

Fearsome fables of the night

By Myron My

We’re all afraid of something: no use in denying that. Sometimes it can be irrational and other times it can be rational and justified. In Do You Fear The Dark? we are presented with two short stories by theatre company Dramatic Pause that looks at both of these kinds of fears. Written by Hayley Lawson-Smith, the stories both focus on a mother’s relationship with her children, but in two very different ways.

Do You Fear The Dark

In the first and stronger story of the pair, “Perhaps”, a mother (Victoria Haslam) worries about what’s become of her two runaway daughters. Her minds races through various scenarios, some of which are humorous, like joining the circus, while others are more dire, like being taken by a man under the ruse that he had lost his dog. Her dark thoughts are acted out on stage by Ariel Simone and Shae O’Reilly as her daughters and Zak Zavod as quite literally everyone else.

With the darkness surrounding it, the second story, “Tom Tat”, has more of a fairytale feel akin to what the Grimm brothers might have created. Here, Tom Tat (Zavod) comes to collect a debt from Pandora (Haslam). While she fights him, he is adamant he will have what he is owed: her daughter’s soul. It’s a fierce power struggle between the two as to who will be victorious, however, there were times when the dialogue became repetitious and lessened the intensity of the overall story. This was originally a 20-minute play, but having seen it in this longer form, I feel the story would probably benefit more as the shorter and tauter piece.

The cast of four is great and the individual performances are impressive, however it is Zavod that demands all of our attention. His multiple-character work in “Perhaps” is just brilliant and his ability to switch from one end of the spectrum to the other in seconds showcases the talent he possesses. He elicits an equal feeling of fun and dread from the audience in his roles and his scenes with Haslam in “Tom Tat” remained a joy to watch.

Accompanying the actors on stage is musician Natasha Broadstock playing the bassoon and various percussion instruments, which effectively builds on the suspense. Furthermore, the ethereal choreography throughout the pieces is used purposefully, and nicely enhances the fear and trepidation that the various characters feel.

Despite my issue with some of the dialogue in Tom Tat, Do You Fear The Dark? does a fine job in creating a macabre environment for its audience. While one story is an exploration of the human psyche and how our thoughts can overpower us and the second ponders the extent a mother will go to to protect her child, both stories will gradually draw you in to their darkness.

Do You Fear The Dark? was performed at The Butterfly Club between 2 – 6 September 2015.

Advertisements

REVIEW: The Owl and the Pussycat Present FLESH EATING TIGER

Story gone wild

By Myron My

The Owl and the Pussycat returns for its 2015 season with the Australian premiere of Flesh Eating Tiger, written by Amy Tofte. I’m not going to beat about the bush with this one, I was sorely disappointed by this production and it is not at all what I have come to expect from this theatre venue.

Flesh Eating Tiger

My biggest issue lies with the script. When looking at individual scenes, it can be funny and sharp, but as an overall story it is just one big mess. Flesh Eating Tiger follows the relationship between two people, “A Woman” and “Some Drunk” and the destructive nature of obsession and love. However, before we can even get to know who these people are, the narrative is going off in so many frenetic directions that I could not keep up, and halfway through I frankly stopped caring enough about these people to even try.

The story is incredibly convoluted, which is surprising given how the scenes just seem to repeat themselves throughout the duration of the play. It almost reached the point where if  “A Woman” cried one more time or “Some Drunk” got angry and shouted, I probably would have done the same thing.

Zak Zavod (Some Drunk) and Marissa Bennett (A Woman) show promise for what is some demanding character work but it did feel like the story was controlling their character’s choices rather than the other way around. There were moments where they did well but overall the performances still lacked the emotional depth and complexity needed to sustain such roles.

It is under the watchful eye of director Jason Cavanagh that Zavod and Bennett manage to deliver some great moments in Flesh Eating Tiger. He’s clearly pushed them to get to the level they do and has built some incredible trust between them to perform some of the more intimate scenes. Cavanagh brings some great moments to life and the film-noir scene sits firmly in place as one of the highlights of this show.

Unfortunately though, I walked out of Flesh Eating Tiger not having learn anything or felt anything other than frustration and confusion. Sadly, this production feels more like a big presentation on pretentious self-gratification than the destructive capacity of relationships.

Venue: The Owl and the Pussycat, 34 Swan St, Richmond
Season: Until 7 March | Mon-Tues & Thurs-Sat 7.30pm, Sat 2pm
Tickets: $30 Full | $25 Conc
Bookings: http://www.owlandcat.com.au