Showing posts with label Old 505 Theatre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Old 505 Theatre. Show all posts

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Winter - Review

Reviewed by Erica Enriquez
Venue: Old 505 Theatre – 505, 342 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills. Runs until 22nd June 2014, 8pm Wed-Sat, 7pm Sun.  Tickets are $28/$18, bookings essential.  Doors open 1/2 hour prior to performance start time
Playwright: Jon Fosse
Director: Jonathan Wald
Actors: Susie Lindeman, Berynn Schwerdt

Theatre review
It’s amazing what can be said with very little dialogue, and even more intriguing what can be conveyed with the little dialogue presented. In Winter, writer Jon Fosse shows the audience the tragic, desperate, sometimes timid but always tense relationship between a man and a woman who shouldn’t have come together at all.

If you’re a fan of Fosse’s work, this one won’t disappoint – it’s perfectly in keeping with this Norwegian playwright’s stylized, almost bare-bones portrayal of two people in the midst of a clandestine affair (although, aren’t all affairs clandestine in the beginning, until it becomes just like any other relationship needing maintenance?).

When relationships are interpreted in film or theatre, the characters speak of their feelings for each other, whether good or bad, in often flowery, rambling prose, as if words cannot contain the depth of their emotions. In Winter, that same scrambling-for-the-right-way-to-say-it type discussion is pulled off with dialogue you almost imagine saying yourself in that situation – stilted, confused and sometimes anxious, as if every sentence uttered is fraught with fear of saying the wrong thing. Fosse’s script felt as if it was written like song lyrics, in that they were delivered like verse and chorus. Under Jonathan Wald’s direction, Susie Lindeman and Berynn Schwerdt as the despairing couple pulled it off well.

Lindeman’s character will resonate with many, particularly women. She is at once vulnerable, yet coy and a little quirky at times, and she’s fascinating to watch. Opening scenes show her as an almost coquettish vixen type, but as the play moves along (there’s only an hour of it, so it moves along nicely) you see another side of her character, one that demands not only affection but also respect.

By the same token, Schwerdt’s character is the one you think you know and recognize, but just like Lindeman’s character, he is also the party in the affair who needs attention too. They play off each other perfectly, one minute Lindeman is demanding, “I’m your woman!” to which Schwerdt responds with an infuriating, “Yes”, and just when you think you have decided on a side to stick by, Schwerdt is trying to find a reason for this whole mess, “I waited for you!”

Minimal set design and indeed the cast of two really bring out the struggle of these two characters trying to discuss what they are, and who they are to each other. Sometimes it takes away the white noise that plays in the brain when thrashing out relationship matters, and other times it is just white noise, highlighting the bewilderment that comes with relationships. Winter looks at how we communicate within our relationships, regardless of who’s giving it validity, or even how we meet and come to be in certain people’s lives. It’s about coming in from the cold, stripping off your bulky coat and laying all out on the table (or hotel bed).

Friday, 2 May 2014

Machine - Review

Review originally posted at
Venue: Old 505 Theatre (Surry Hills NSW), Apr 16 – 20, 2014
Playwright: Melissa Lee Speyer
Director: Rachel Chant
Actors: Lucy Heffernan, David Jackson
Theatre review
Suicide often finds its way into art. It is the most direct contemplation on the value and meaning of life, when questioning “to be or not to be”. Melissa Lee Speyer’s Machine is a pessimistic appraisal of life, and a work that embodies great sensitivity and beauty in its melancholy.

Rachel Scane channels that sense of resignation into her set design.It is basic and cold, but elegantly executed. Together with lighting designer Benjamin Brockman’s work, the space is cleverly transformed into a purgatory of sorts, with a sense of ethereality and impending doom.

Machine‘s story of suicide features Lucy Heffernan as Christine, and David Jackson as her guardian angel. The structure of the play interestingly places focus on the angel who takes us through events in Christine’s life, and her subsequent decision to end it. He also gives the impression from early on, that she is safe in his hands, even in the midst of her depression. As a result, the stakes are never high in the show. The assurance he provides, detaches us from Christine’s predicament, and even though Heffernan’s performance is committed and strong, we do not connect with her suffering. We know that Christine is being watched over, regardless of how things may end. Jackson has conviction in his acting, but the lack of experience and confidence is evident. It is noteworthy however, that Jackson’s smaller subsidiary roles are performed well when he takes the form of Christine’s encounters.

The Angel seems to be the problem. If it is the intention of the artists to create a work that is emotionally involving, we need more access to Christine. Her pain is universal, but we need to feel closer for the drama to work. She has much to divulge, but her Angel shields too much for her, and from us. The girl needs to stand alone.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Hilt - Review

Review originally posted at
Venue: Old 505 Theatre (Surry Hills NSW), Mar 12 – 30, 2014
Playwright: Jane Bodie
Director: Dominic Mercer
Actors: Alexandra Aldrich, Joanna Downing, Stephen Multari, Sam O’Sullivan

Theatre review
Jane Bodie’s script seduces with intrigue and structural complexity. Her characters divulge little of themselves, but we witness their interchanges at close range. At play is the way these contemporary Australians interact with each other, and we see how connections are formed in our modern lives. Bodie sets up what at first seems to be unconventional relationships, but over the course of her storytelling, we begin to question whether these are exceptional cases that we witness, or actually, a rare confession of common experiences.

Direction and performances tend towards naturalism, which makes Hilt “audience friendly”, turning challenging ideas into digestible concepts. Director Dominic Mercer succeeds in creating believable characters and communicating details of their stories, but could benefit from taking a little artistic license in expression. Real life sometimes needs sprucing up for the stage.

Mercer’s cast is a focused one, and all have clear trajectories with their individual motivations and destinations. Alexandra Aldrich plays Kate with a lot of graveness, which is an accurate depiction of the dark world in which she dwells, but prevents some of the dialogue from being more dramatic and punchy. Stephen Multari is effective in highly emotive scenes that require anger and frustration. Both actors seem constrained by the subtle and minimalist setting. Supporting actors Joanna Downing and Sam O’Sullivan provide excellent support and necessary lightness, helping add variety to the show’s palette of moods.

This is an Australian story that is as valid as any. It does however, have an unexpected sophistication in the incisive way it talks about family, marriage and sex. Nothing in the twenty-first century can truly be claimed as being unique to any cosmopolitan city, but Hilt certainly articulates a lot about what life today is like in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, etc. It provides a mirror into the things we do. Its accuracy and originality might be disorientating, but good art is known to do that.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Sidekicks by Stephen Vagg

Believe it or not there is a world premiere happening right now at the Old 505 Theatre in Sydney.  If you have never been to the Old 505 Theatre well you could be forgiven for not knowing its existence. It is hidden in a block, you have to buzz to enter the building and then make your way through the graffiti ridden corridors. It really is something you have to see to believe.
When you get there, if you get there, is it worth seeing Sidekicks. Well, yes! It is quite a complexly written play and certainly put the actors through their paces. There are only two and they are expected to play multiple characters, male and female. They have accents from a variety of different countries and they are almost on the stage for the entire length of the show. It was brilliantly cast with Emily Rose Brennan playing CB/ Hunter/ Marius and Marilla and Dan Ilic playing Mac/ Robyn and Tippi.
CB and Mac are both sidekicks, it that they both have friends Hunter and Robyn who they believe are ‘better’ than they are, they look up and look out for them. The play revolves around the characters how they meet and fall in and out of love. CB doesn't believe she is a Sidekick and want to solicit the help of Mac to save the day.  The story itself is very simple but the way it is told through short scene it what makes it more complex and it keeps it more interesting for the audience.  The actual script was well written and seemed very natural to the characters. There is a good dose of humour in the play along with a very funny sex scene!
The staging was very simple one bench and two screens; there was good use of a projector which depicted different scenes to give the audience a bit of a hint as to the venue. I did like the adhoc-mounting platform for the projector! 

You can catch Sideskick at the Old 505 Theatre until 18 November, click here for more info.