Showing posts with label Julie Baz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Julie Baz. Show all posts

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Something Natural but Very Childish - Review

Something Natural but Very Childish is inspired by and based on short stories by Katherine Mansfield. The stage production was written and adapted by Gary Abrahams. The piece was skilfully directed by Julie Baz.  This is the Sydney première of an award winning Australian play.

I have to say from the outset that I expected more from an award winning play. The dialogue was very well written but it was just lacking. The stories revolved around three couples which were very predictable so there was no surprise or wow factor. The music too was a little too loud and very repetitive, perhaps even unnecessary in places.  That all said there were some outstanding elements and moments in the play. Notably the acting, directing and the costumes.

Something Natural by Very Childish looks at the lives of three couples set in Edwardian England.  Edna (Leah Donovan) and Henry (Kieran Foster) a young couple who first meet on the platform waiting for the train home. There relationship is based on dreams and the excitement of  first love.  I loved Henry's character it reminded me of Norman Wisdom. Mr Bullen (David Jeffrey) and Mrs Bullen (Carla Nirella) who play the dysfunctional married couple.  They spend their lives seeing how they can wind each other up. Mrs Bullen wants to escape and almost has an affair with Mr Peacock (Michael Faustmann) but realised when it comes down to it she just can't do it. The last couple Anne (Margaux Harris) and Reggie (Tim Cole) who are in the typical scenario they love each other but they never actually get together. Anne again is a great character, full of life and very bubbly. This is in stark contrast to Mrs Bullen who is miserable for much of the play.  The female actors in this production were very strong particularly Margaux.

The Edwardian costumes were very good, particularly the female costumes which were very elegant. Julie Baz did a great job directing this production. It is a fairly small stage at the Old Fitz but she managed to segment it and overlap the couples with their comings and goings seamlessly.

Something Natural but Very Childish is playing at the Old Fitzroy Theatre 129 Dowling Street Woolloomooloo until 25 May.  

(photo by Katy Green Loughrey)

Monday, 21 January 2013

Review - Sydney Shakespeare Festival, As You Like It

Sydney Shakespeare Festival takes place in the Bicentennial Park in Glebe and what a superb setting it is; watching the performance with a backdrop of both the great bridges of Sydney. If you want a romantic night out you really can go passed this. There were a few couples cuddled up under the stars on Saturday night. But the festival is great for all friends and families, there were all there.  The picnic blankets were out (along with the fruit bats!), some even bought full lounge beds! It is BYO food and drink which everyone brought and nibbled at during the show. The scene was set, all we needed now was the entertainment.
I must say, I haven't seen As You Like it before and I didn't know the story,  but I had no trouble following this performance.  Considering the actors were competing with airplanes and birds, with no microphones and no huge lighting set it really was acting in the raw, and it was brilliant.
Sydney Shakespeare Festival is directed by Julie Baz closely supported by David Jeffrey, without these two the Festival just wouldn't exist which would be a huge shame.
The music was composed by Sarah de Jong. I really enjoyed the "sing song" melody it was very jovial and fitted well with the play and helped the calm romantic atmosphere of the evening. There was a short interval, which on a Saturday night, they are almost forced to have as Darling Habour erupts into a firework display!
All the actors performed well and seemed to enjoy the performance as much as we did. There was one actor that stood out which was Emily Elise as Rosalind, she really brought her character to life and was a joy to watch.
Book yourselves in for a great night of Shakespeare and for all you romantics out there it would be a good night to propose!
Children, people with disabilities and 'older' people can enjoy the night for free, for more info and booking go to

Friday, 4 May 2012

The Liar's Bible by Fiona Samuel

- presented by the Sydney Independent theatre Company
Dates: 1st-19th May
Where: 8A/32-60 Alice St Newtown
Tickets: $29 full, $23 concession, $20 cheap Tuesdays

Fiona Samuel, winner of the Special Prize for Woman Playwright has written a complex play with an intertwining set of characters, whose lives develop over a short course of seven weeks. Themes explored are love, sex, art and poetry (the fun ones) but also death, drugs, alcoholism, anger and depression (the not-so-fun-ones).

On paper, the storyline and dialogue is intellectual, witty, thought-provoking and dabbed with dark humour and sounds like an interesting play to see. Unfortunately, the performance detracted a little from what would have otherwise been a successful, dramatic production.

Director Julie Baz admits the intricate journeys of each character are somewhat confusing and posed the difficulty of determining the overriding theme and point of the play. She has embraced this fact and believes the hard-to-follow storyline contributes to the overall production and mirrors what often happens in life; where we struggle to identify meanings and have difficulty analysing our experiences. Such is life.

I understand that not everything has to be crystal clear and that a good play will exhibit depth and generate thought; however I was relying on the portrayal of the characters to tie everything together and to help me appreciate the character's situation, and I'm afraid there wasn't enough of a connection present. Some scenes appeared forced and mechanical; the actors didn't seem to have a great bond with one another or their character.

Paul Armstrong, who played housepainter Gus, stood out as the most experienced actor and he embraced his character completely despite it being one of the minor characters when compared with the others. His depiction made his scenes the most interesting to watch.

The staging was brilliant considering the space of the theatre - there were roughly 50 tiered-seats - and was creatively set to host all five locations in the play. Such a small space was chosen especially so the audience would feel slightly claustrophobic, just like each character, and the actors would be able to give an intimate performance. The effect was appreciated and well received. The only negative comment I have about the theatre and set design was that the seats were very uncomfortable - bring a pillow!

Overall, a very intriguing story but the performance didn't quite hit the mark.

Reviewed by Lana Hilton

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

This Week's Interviews - 16 January

On our radio show, The Hubbub, on Triple H 100.1 fm we had three special guests -

Carla Davern a performer on the Rhythmboat Cruises for their Abba and Retro Cruises. Hear how Carla copes with performing in the Harbour! Listen here

Abigail Campion, the director of the children's festival Night Owl. Find out what is happening in Sydney's newest precinct Darling Quarter. Listen here

Julie Baz the director of the Sydney Shakespeare Festival. This is an annual festival, hear about some of the challenges about putting on an outdoors performance. Listing here

Visit again next week to find out who we had on the show.

(please note the links will become inactive in about 3 months time, call 02 99403649 if you would like to listen)