Showing posts with label Theatre in Sydney.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Theatre in Sydney.. Show all posts

Monday, 20 January 2014

Hotel Sorrento by Hannie Rayson - Review

Hotel Sorrento is playing at the Genesian Theatre until 22 February.  The Genesian is a little gem of a theatre right in the heart of the city.
Hotel Sorrento is a simple story of three sisters who re-unite in the family home, Sorrento in Australia. One of the sisters Meg has just been nominated for the Booker Prize for her latest novel 'Melancholy'. She said it wasn't autobiographical but as we learn as the play goes on it does reflect her own life.  Meg, has been living in London with her English husband, Edwin. The conversations around the differences between the two countries certainly made huge sweeping and very generic statements. As an Bristish ex-pat I am sure some of them were put in the play just to have a dig at the Poms.  For instance, when Edwin goes to Australia, he is certainly portrayed as the pompous Brit.  The three sisters have a secret about Hilary's husband who was killed ten year's earlier, though as they never discuss his death, Hilary is unaware of the real truth. 
There is a tragedy at the end of Act 1, but what I didn't understand is why Hannie Rayson didn't make more of it in Act 2. When you see the sisters you would have thought that they would have been in mourning. I first thought that maybe a considerable amount of time had lapsed, but as the Act went on I realised it was only a week later!
The play has the theme of loyalty particularly to country, which does come across very strongly. There is a fair bit of humour in it too, which helps lighten the mood and keep the audience interested.

The play, I would image is quite a headache for the director (Shane Bates) as there are many very short scenes. The timing of this production was good and I can see how important it was to get this right. The set was kept fairly simple, making it easier for the scene changes. There were a few issues which could be easily improved upon. One was the kettle, it is an electric kettle but the sound effect was one you put on the stove! The plastic fish, I almost laughed out loud when I saw it and I don't think it was meant to be funny! Also, when Marge is painting if she actually had some paint it might help Lynn Turnbull Rose look like she is actually painting.
The three sisters - Meg (Melanie Robinson), Hiliary (Sarah Purdue), Pippa (Gemma Munro) were very strong in there roles as was Oliver Beard, 15 years old, who played Troy.
Go and see it, see what you think, to find out more go to -

(Photo: Mark Banks)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Frankenstein by Nick Dear - Review

Frankenstein is a story which has stood the test of time. Written as a novel by Mary Shelley it was first published in London in 1818.  Since then various films have been produced.  British playwright Nick Dear adapted the novel into a play for the National Theatre of London in 2011, it was a huge success. Nick for the first time took the story and gave it a twist by making the monster the focal point and seeing life through his eyes. 
This production by the Ensemble Theatre is truly amazing. Two hours of tense, humourous and thought provoking theatre. Nick's interpretation really highlights how humans focus more on what people look like and less on what people are actually like. Only a blind person accepts the monster as he is. 
The stage is set, very dark and very simple. A lone cellist plays a haunting tune and then there before our eyes the monster is born. We see him exploring light, dark, sound, his own body and taking his very first steps. He can't speak so the whole scene takes place through mime and dancelike movements. He is very childlike though he is has a adult size body, learning everything just as a child would. Some of this learning brings joy like seeing snow for the first time, but some brings sadness. He soon learns that society will not accept him and chase him from the streets to the wilderness.  It is here that he meeting De Lacey, an educated man who teaches him to speak, read and write. The monster realises what it is to be human and fears that he will always be an outcast. His fear is realised when De Lacey's son and wife see him and drive him out. The monster then goes to the stories that he has learned and turns to revenge by killing them. He seeks out his creator Victor Frankenstein and to draw him out he kills his younger brother, William. Victor is mortified by what he has created, but agrees to give him what he wants, a mate. Victor starts to work on her,  but at the last minute realises he can't release another monster on the world and kills it. The monster seeks his revenue once more by killing his wife. Victor and the monster then spend the rest of their days locked together, forever moving North. 
Mark Kilmurry, the director, had the difficult task of moving things on and off stage seamlessly, without loosing momentum. The route he chose was to use the actors. They all took part in moving props, creating sound affects and even producing the weather! It was a very polished production. The only negative I have is that Lee Jones's portrayal of the monster was so good, the other actors had a hard job to match it. I do feel there were times that Nick had not given the dialogue for the other characters as much thought as he had for the Monsters, so it made it even harder for the actors. Saying that I think the balance Nick gave the play with some great humour was good. Lee Jone's performance really made this production for me, if I could give him an Oscar I would. 

Frankenstein is playing at the Sydney Opera House until 17 April for tickets click here