Showing posts with label David Williamson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Williamson. Show all posts

Monday, 5 May 2014

Cruise Control - Review

Transatlantic trauma

Cruise Control
by David Williamson
Ensemble Theatre
reviewed by Ben Oxley

credit: Ensemble Theatre

Cruise Control brings together seasoned stalwarts, eccentric characters and a zinging script. Chloe Dallimore purrs as the love-lost Imogen, aside Michelle Doake as Fiona, the respectable, cuckolded editor. No confrontations between rivals, but Kate Fitzpatrick brings breezy class to Silky.

Peter Phelps' straight-shooting Darren shocks neurotic Sol (Henry Szeps) and challenges David's son, Felix Williamson's lecherous, loathable Richard with typical 'Aussie abroad' bluntness.

Williamson's own onboard dining disaster comes to The Ensemble at a time when holiday cruising in the post 9-11 era is the socially acceptable choice. Like the jokes, "there was a Englishman, an American Jew and an Australian", the humour wears thin as the real drama emerges, and we genuinely connect with the pathos of the piece.

What works well is the timing of so many of the lines. "You're more of a reptile thesaurus" quips Silky to Richard, pinpointing the aggressive predator with vocabulary to burn. Fine dining, like the delivery allows the audience to savour the lines. We love to hate Richard, and experience the rancour and disdain of this
loathsome Lothario.

Genuine tenderness emerges from the brief encounter of Sol and Fiona, as she gently coaches his novel aspirations. Dentistry and drama is not an obvious connection, nor is surfware and syndication with Darren, but all tension leads to how they treat Richard's flagrant indiscretions.

Like the champagne, we have a near-perfect cast to lead us onboard (and off), with marital struggles, cavorting and cajoling in the best Williamson way. The lovely foil of Kenneth Moraleda as Charlie to the haughty Richard, the crass Darren and suffering Sol make the week that was plausible.

Williamson the playwright doubles as director, and achieves slick pace, as if the ship's staff had changed the sheets and cleaned the glasses. Marissa Dale-Johnson's design matches the style with a glamorous backdrop of luxury liner, a dinner table featured, with cabin and deck relief.

Lighting from Ross Graham spotted the curious conversations, and we have a Muzak-style soundtrack the like of which we could expect onboard. For the large outlay, and the Titanic proportions perhaps we should have Andre Rieu and Tchaikovsky.

If you can spare two hours, spend it in the company of some of Australia's finest actors and don't let your emotions go overboard.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Managing Carmen - Review

Reviewed by Regina Su
It was my privilege to watch a Williamson at The Ensemble, to witness first hand this renowned play-writer’s ability to create slick characters with comic timing and witty repartee, and to watch it be brought to life by a stellar cast. Managing Carmen, a play by David Williamson, explores the perils of personal identity when coming into conflict with the media and stardom. Although this play has a strong sporting context and some dated language, the accessibility of humour, the relevance of social a conscience and powerful performances guarantee a night of entertainment; Williamson deserved his standing ovation he and the players received.  From the page, to the stage, we know Williamson has done something right, when he captivated audiences for the duration of two hours. With the aid of some very potent performers, Williamson held us in the palm of his hand, causing us to roar with laughter, and be gripped by silent tension. Even though I was not the target audience, the infectious laughter of the majority grew on me as the story progressed and we saw characters under pressure, we laughed with them through decisions and we empathised with them through their vulnerabilities. As a vintage Williamson, attending Managing Carmen is a chance to experience first hand the quick wit and polished scenes, especially in par with the adept skills of astute design team; commmendations to the theatricality and execution of stage/lighting design. The actors, many faces of whom you’d recognise from popular Australian film and television, captivate the audience and carry them along a very fast-paced story, giving the audience time to laugh, or even involve themselves in ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s. When I left the show, I listened to the whoops of congratulations to Williamson, as many ladies commented on a night of “fun” and “hilarious entertainment”. As the storyline grew more comical and fantastical, the more intensity the actors showed and The Ensemble has successfully upped the anti once more with a heart-warming piece from an iconic writer.

Monday, 14 May 2012

When Dad Married Fury - Review

When Dad Married Fury written by David Williamson is playing at the Ensemble.  If you want a good giggle you need to see this.
The play is about two brothers who are desperate to get their fair share of their father's inheritance. They are about to meet their fathers new young bride, will she be the gold digger they expect? Both sons, Ian (Warren Jones) and Ben (Jamie Oxenbould) are married. Ian's wife Sue is a lawyer and is just as determined as Ian in making sure they get their fair share of Alan's ( Nick Tate) estate.  She doesn't beat about the bush and when asked if she is only interested in the money replies "quite frankly... yes." Ben is married to Laura (Di Adams). Laura's father has recently committed suicide having lost everything by making a bad investment on Alan's advice. Of course this creates quite a bit of tension between Laura and Alan especially as Alan didn't loose any money when the GFC hit.  Amongst all the humour this was a serious theme to the play.  The play also explores the relationships between husbands and wives and married life. Some of the scenes were very funny. The first scene with Laura and her Mum, Judy (Lorraine Bayly) was very sad but had heaps of humour. I loved the comments about the white splats all over the bathroom mirror and other references to the frustrations of living with a man! Enter Fury,  who turns out not to be quite what Ben and Ian expect. You will have to go and see it to find out more!

The production is simple with very little staging but is not a bad thing as the dialogue is so strong it carries the play. It is fairly fast moving and very entertaining. The cast is well chosen Cheree Cassidy makes a very good slight off the wall Fury and Lorraine Bayly plays a very good grieving widow.  It is a good solid production which I think most people will enjoy.