Fairytale of Sorts
Calendar, July 18, June 18, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: Fairytale of Sorts

28, 29, 30 June, 4, 5, 6 and 7 July, 8pm, with a 2pm matinee July 1 @ Limelight Theatre, Civic Drive, Wanneroo ·
Presented by Limelight Theatre ·

ONCE upon a time Perth playwright John Grimshaw had an idea – to stage a madcap fairytale that adults would enjoy.

The writer and director is presenting Fairytale of Sorts at Limelight Theatre, partly inspired by the films A Knight’s Tale and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

“Fairytale of Sorts harks back to those medieval times, as we join the good folk of Partridgedale and meet with a host of lovable misfit characters,” Grimshaw said.

It’s the second time Grimshaw has mounted the show – but this version has several key differences to the debut production six years ago.

“After that first show, I was encouraged by my publisher to re-write the final third of the play to make it easier to stage,” he said.

“It differs in that several madcap characters from version one have been omitted and their places taken by new madcap characters.

“The final scenes differ greatly from the original but great care has been taken to ensure the new version retains the fun and lunacy of its predecessor.

“I also had a hunch that Limelight Theatre’s ex-pat English theatre community may be receptive to a fun story set in medieval England – proof will be in the telling.”

The main challenge, according to Grimshaw, is for the cast members playing more than one character.

“Some characters are very different, in terms of accents and mannerisms, and some are in quick succession, requiring swift costume changes,” he said.

Performing at a variety of venues, including the Old Mill, Phoenix and Camelot Theatres and Midland Junction and Don Russell Performing Arts Centres, Grimshaw was named best new writer at the 2009 and 2010 Dramafests, the annual state drama festival.

He also staged 14 productions with his own company A lad in sane productions before its closure and has several plays listed with South Australia’s Moore Books and Lazy Bee Scripts in England.

Grimshaw said audiences should expect nothing but pure fun from Fairytale of Sorts.

“It may differ from many plays in that there’s no ‘take-home’ message,” he said. “It’s a play for those who adhere to the old saying laughter is the best medicine.”

Fairytale of Sorts plays at 8pm June 28, 29, 30, July 4, 5, 6 and 7 with a 2pm matinee July 1. Tickets are $21, $18 concession – book at http://www.limelighttheatre.com.au or on 0499 954 016 between 9am and midday, Monday to Friday.

Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.

More info: www.limelighttheatre.com.au

Pictured: Fairytale of Sorts features Regan Agostini as King Percival and Tori Brown as Queen Bodecia.

When he gets that way
News, Performing arts, Reviews, Theatre

A restrained battle of wit

Review: Susie Conte, When He Gets That Way ·
Subiaco Arts Cenre, 15 June ·
Review by Claire Trolio ·

Directed by Susie Conte, When He Gets That Way is one of seven performances by Western Australian theatre makers being presented this month as part of the Subiaco Theatre Festival. An unspecified period drama, the play pits a Downton Abbey-style upper-class mistress against her new handmaiden; the pair cleverly competing in a restrained battle of wit.

Lady Annabelle desperately seeks a life beyond her vacuous existence, craving a tryst and striving for the romantic connection that is alive in her mind. Socially upward scullery-turned-handmaid Christiane (whose peasant upbringing “wasn’t all peaches and creme”, she’ll have you know) seeks to move above mediocrity and has the charm to do so.

The dialogue between the two characters is packed with simile that gets increasingly preposterous (and hilarious) as the show unfolds. Using their diaries as weapons, the two women set creative entries against one another in an absurdist comedy where each yearns to be relevant in a society that doesn’t offer much agency to women of either class.

A private diary has long been a place where women are allowed to be themselves, to exercise freedom and voice desires, and the characters in When He Gets That Way use this tool to break free of patriarchal constraints, if only for a little while.

Both actors give fantastic performances. Lady Annabelle (director Lisa Louttit) embodies the excess that her upper class character oozes. Appearing with a comically oversized skirt, complete with tulle tendrils, Louttit’s shrill character teeters on the edge of overplay, but her experience on the stage shines through; she doles out as much ridiculousness as can be handled in a 75 minute show and no more.

WAAPA Music Theatre graduate Tarryn Ryan, playing Christiane, is a revelation. She allows her character to feign innocence and servitude whilst cleverly manipulating dialogue to convince the audience that there is more to this peasant girl than meets the eye.

While the sharp script delivered by two expressive actors kept me engaged, I spent the latter half of the performance waiting for another piece of the puzzle. When it didn’t come, I couldn’t help but feel that I had been left out of a private joke. I exited the theatre wishing I’d been in on it, just like Lady Annabelle listening to some salacious gossip.

Although When He Gets That Way has finished its short season, you can catch other works on the Subiaco Theatre Festival program before it finishes at the end of June. Check out Seesaw’s interviews with Andrew Baker, producer/performer of/in Gutenberg! The Musical, and with Timothy Green and Samantha Nerida, directors of Tissue.

Pictured top: Tarryn Ryan and Lisa Loutitt in ‘When He Gets That Way’.

Georgina Cramond
Music, News, Performing arts, Reviews, Theatre

Through the lens of anxiety

Review: Ribs, Interrupting a Crisis ·
Subiaco Arts Centre, 13 June ·
Review by Jenny Scott ·

Written and performed by Georgina Cramond, who sings under the stage name Ribs, Interrupting a Crisis is an engaging and earnest one-woman show, pairing heartfelt folk-pop songs with unflinching personal stories about managing mental health. Directed by Finn O’Branagáin, Interrupting a Crisis was first presented as part of the Blue Room Theatre’s development season last year, and saw Cramond win the 2017 Performing Arts WA “Best Newcomer” award.

In a deeply honest performance, Cramond explores her musical career as an emerging singer-songwriter through the lens of her struggles with anxiety. She starts at the very beginning – her first panic attack and, later, the first song she ever wrote.

Cramond is brave in her autobiographical openness, sharing the thoughts that appear in her moments of spiralling panic and the phrases (both damaging and reaffirming) that repeat in her head. She re-enacts moments of vulnerability with humour and sincerity, performing as herself hunched over a bathroom sink, giving fake thumbs up to her co-workers, and trying to explain her newfound anxiety to her mother.

Georgina Cramond
Since it’s estimated that three million Australians are living with anxiety or depression, Cramond’s experiences will feel all too familiar for many. Photo: David Cox.

There is an admirable frankness to her storytelling, and since it’s estimated that three million Australians are living with anxiety or depression, her experiences will feel all too familiar for many.

Alongside her stories of mental health hardship, Cramond takes us on a simultaneous journey through her progress as a musical performer. Prompted by her first therapy session, she returns to her childhood love of singing, experimenting with an old keyboard before taking a songwriting class and eventually performing in public. She punctuates her monologues with catchy original songs, which are sung live on stage with conviction (and are also available on Bandcamp).

This confessional show is a testament to the cathartic potential of songwriting, which Cramond has used to gain a sense of purpose and power over her fears. Importantly, she also reminds us that recovery is not linear, and that mental health issues don’t necessarily originate from a traumatic past. Presenting her story with unwavering honesty, Cramond’s Interrupting a Crisis plays a role in de-stigmatising mental health struggles, and will hopefully inspire others to talk (if not sing).

Interrupting a Crisis runs until 16 June 2018.

Pictured top is Georgina Cramond in ‘Interrupting a Crisis’. Photo: David Cox.

Georgina Cramond
Interrupting a Crisis is an engaging and earnest show, pairing heartfelt folk-pop songs with unflinching personal stories about managing mental health. Photo: David Cox.
The Farmer's Daughter
Calendar, Children, July 18, June 18, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: The Farmer’s Daughter

30 June – 20 July @ Spare Parts Puppet Theatre ·
Presented by: Spare Parts Puppet Theatre ·

The Farmer’s Daughter

The Farmer’s Daughter explores the bond between a girl and her grandfather. Audiences will experience a visual celebration of a family’s connection and powerful relationship to their environment.

Inspired by real-life stories from rural Australia, The Farmer’s Daughter tackles themes of change and resilience while celebrating the lives of the people who live and work on the land. Puppets, performers, lights and sound vividly recreate rural Australia and invite a deeper understanding of the families who call it home.

Duration: 50 mins (+10 min Q&A)
Perfect for ages 8 and above (Suitable for 5+)
June 30 – July 20
10am & 1pm daily
Plus 6.30pm performance on July 13, 18, 19 & 20.
No performances Sundays or public holidays.
Booking Essential
Please visit www.sppt.asn.au or telephone 9335 5044
Ticket Prices
General Admission: $25.00
Groups of 4 or more: $24.00
Groups of 10 or more: $23.00
$3. 95 booking fee applies to all bookings
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre
1 Short Street, Fremantle
(opposite Fremantle Train Station)

Unbreakable bonds of life on the land

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre will present its acclaimed five-star production celebrating the iconic Australian spirit of life on the land at its home theatre in Fremantle from June 30 for the school holidays and the first week of Term 3.

The Farmer’s Daughter was developed through a unique collaboration between the Merredin farming community and Spare Parts Puppet Theatre during a series of residencies in 2014 that saw the creative team immersed in the daily of lives of a classic wheatbelt town.

Inspired by real life stories, The Farmer’s Daughter explores themes of survival and resilience while celebrating the lives of the people who live and work on the land. The humorous and dramatic story is told through voice over of a CB radio conversation between a grandfather and a granddaughter, who share an unbreakable bond of connection to the land they love.

Through an innovative set, large scale puppetry, a superb soundscape, and vivid lighting, the production captures the atmosphere of the rural lifestyle. Knockabout physical performances by five performers transport you to farming life amid the hilarity of a sheep muster gone wrong or the beauty of a kangaroo in motion. The production was nominated for six Performing Arts WA Awards following its world premiere in 2014.

Artistic Director of Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Philip Mitchell said that The Farmer’s Daughter is a dramatic and humorous story based on real Australian stories and characters.

“The Farmer’s Daughter takes us on an epic journey through the lives of a family – the good times and the bad – with the tears and the laughter,” he said. “At its heart is a tribute to the human spirit that rises above adversity to find the joy in life, the humour in any situation, the beauty of the land, and the strength to go on. The emotional truth of this show will touch every member of your family and remain with you long after you leave the theatre.”

Perfect for ages 8 and above (Suitable for 5+), The Farmer’s Daughter is a special and very Australian experience for the whole family to share. The 50-minute performance (plus a 10 minute Q&A) is presented daily at 10am and 1pm, Monday to Saturday (no shows on Sundays or public holidays). There will also be special 6:30pm twilight performances throughout the season. For details and bookings 24/7 visit www.sppt.asn.au or call 9335 5044 during business hours.

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre is one of the longest running theatre companies in Western Australia and is Australia’s flagship puppetry company. Its extensive annual program includes four metropolitan performance seasons, industry training and puppetry workshops, and an extensive touring program across regional WA and the nation.

The Farmer’s Daughter is proudly presented in partnership with Cash Converters.

More info: www.sppt.asn.au/

Three sisters one brother
Calendar, June 18, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: Three Sisters One Brother

27-30 June, 7pm @ The Actors’ Hub, 129 Kensington Street, East Perth ·
Presented by The Actors’ Hub ·

WHAT happens when you take a famous Anton Chekhov play and set it in 1890s Queensland?

The answer lies in Three Sisters One Brother, written and directed by Ross McGregor at The Actors’ Hub this June.

Adapted from Chekhov’s Three Sisters, the play has been given an Aussie flavour to suit a variety of conditions, characters, historical facts and politics.

“If you’re interested in lasting classic plays, as those in many countries have been able to do with their own culture represented on stage for hundreds of years, this is an opportunity to see our own history,” McGregor said.

“The 1890s was a decade of amazing progress in Australia – women were allowed to vote in South Australia a year after New Zealand, there was a shearer’s strike for fairer pay, the Labor Party was born and electricity started to be introduced.

“Plus there were bushfires, droughts and squatters, which really highlighted the grit of the people.”

McGregor said the main challenge was providing a gift to the audience during every minute of their attendance.

“I want them to be able to follow the individual and conflicting journeys of the 14 characters, who are sometimes on stage at the same time,” he said.

“They should come out feeling they have understood the show, after being taken on an emotional, sometimes amusing and intellectual journey, with a new understanding of how powerful a satisfying play can be.”

Involved in theatre, TV and film since his school days, McGregor has worked professionally for more than 50 years as a producer, director, writer and teacher.

He has worked with Channel 7 and Channel 10, as well as Canberra Repertory, Hunter Valley, Darlinghurst and Stables Theatres, Tasmanian Theatre Company, The Q Theatre, Seymour Centre, National Institute of Dramatic Art and WA Academy of Performing Arts.

“Three Sisters One Brother is a chance to explore how a young family, ripped away from their homeland to settle thousands of miles away, are continually reminded this promised Eden seems to wilfully slip through their fingers,” McGregor said.

“It emotionally keeps pulling them back to what was never real.

“The production was also an opportunity to present Australia on stage.”

Three Sisters One Brother plays 7pm June 27, 28, 29 and 30. Tickets are $30, $25 concession – book at www.trybooking.com/VTCA.

The Actors’ Hub is at 129 Kensington Street, East Perth.

More info: www.trybooking.com/VTCA

Pictured: Talia Hart, left, and Jared Stephenson find Three Sisters One Brother – an adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters – hits the right note.

Matt Penny in Find the Lady
Magic, News, Performing arts, Reviews, Theatre

So much more than magic

Review: Matt Penny, Find the Lady ·
Subiaco Arts Centre, 6 June ·
Review by Jenny Scott ·

Find the Lady is a one-man show that weaves stage magic into the bittersweet monologues of a grifter who is propelled to fame, fortune, and ultimately, betrayal. Multi-talented local magician and theatre-maker Matt Penny stars as a small time con artist who stumbles into a career as a world class magician.

Opening with an explanation of the “three-card monte” scam (aka “find the lady”), and revealing his trick deck of cards, Penny’s hustler character first warms up the crowd with some classic playing card stunts. We then follow the swindler to a strange encounter that greatly enhances the scope of his illusionist skills. As his abilities advance, he becomes a prize-winning practitioner of magic – and the mark for someone else’s long con.

Fast talking and funny, Penny is an amiable storyteller who shares his tale as if over a pint at the pub. His casual banter is paired with nimble-fingered piano playing, nifty card tricks and simply eerie mind reading (a warning for the anxious – there is some audience participation involved!)

The winner of the 2018 Fringe World “Blaz Award”, presented to the best writing for performance by a WA writer, Find the Lady is charming and clever. With the magic tricks integrated into a narrative that transitions from cheeky to melancholy, it’s much more engaging than a traditional stage magic show. The combination of storytelling and apparent telepathy also makes this magic more unbelievable, as attested by the audible swearing of disbelief heard from an audience member on opening night.

This production is worth braving the winter weather to catch, and marks the start of what looks to be a strong Subiaco Theatre Festival season. Don’t let the rain tempt you to stay indoors this week – you’ll leave Find the Lady with a smile on your face and one question:

“How did he do that?”

Find the Lady runs until 9 June 2018.

Read an interview with Matt Penny.

Pictured top: An amiable story teller: Matt Penny in ‘Find the Lady’.

 

Samantha Nerida and Timothy Green
News, Performing arts, Theatre

Dirty little secrets

Porn is our collective dirty little secret… or is it? In the play Tissue, local theatre company Static Drive Co is asking, “If we strip away the stigma, does the sin lie in the products themselves, or the way we talk about them?”

First presented at the Blue Room in 2016, Tissue will play Subiaco Arts Centre as part of the 2018 Subiaco Theatre Festival this June. Nina Levy chatted to Tissue’s directors, Timothy Green and Samantha Nerida, ahead of the work’s return season.

Nina Levy: For those of us who didn’t see the first incarnation of Tissue, tell us about the work.
Timothy Green: Tissue follows the relationship between Zoe and Alex, from their first encounter, through the beautiful, messy, sometimes uncomfortable ups and downs that they experience, navigating sex, intimacy, and camera phones.
Samantha Nerida: It’s cheeky, and it’s complicated, and I think it’s a really fun powerhouse of a show.

NL: What made you decide to tackle the subject of porn and its effects on relationships?
SN: I first got hooked on this topic in my second year of WAAPA, during a time of growth and change and learning in my personal life. I was frustrated with the way people equivocated porn and shame, and the embarrassment people were made to feel about their sexual choices and interests.
TG: When Sam approached me to develop her original work into a full-length piece in 2016 we conducted a survey, and the amount of people who referenced pornography as contributing to a large portion of their “sex ed.” was really astounding. Ideally, we want to start healthy conversations.

NL: For those who did see Tissue 1.0, how will this year’s production differ from the original?
TG: The story of Zoe and Alex remains the same, but we are really excited for new sound design, some new sections of script, and two new performers. The original production of Tissue was also presented in traverse, whereas we will be presenting this season front-on to the audience.
SN: We’d love to have the audience staring at each other during our raunchier scenes, but that’s the price you pay for a festival setup!

NL: What led the two of you to collaborate? 
TG: Sam and I studied together at WAAPA, and during those three years we became really great friends, as well as having the chance to work together quite a few times. Although we have quite different approaches to making work, when we collaborate there is a middle ground that I think really pops. I am so lucky to be able to work with someone that I admire, respect and love hanging out with as much as Sam.
SN: Aw, shucks. Yeah, it’s a brilliant working relationship to have. I’m all about the words and the story, and Tim is one of the most talented visual makers I’ve ever met, so when we combine those skills I think we come up with something pretty neat.

Together with Haydon Wilson, the two of you co-founded Static Drive Co last year. Tell us about the company…
TG: Forming Static Drive Co really felt like a natural progression for the three of us. We had all been working together in various capacities for a couple of years since graduating from WAAPA, and forming a company has been really motivating, as well as giving us a platform to present work, the ability to brand ourselves and articulate the kind of work we want to make.
SN: Although our first few works have been playing it a bit safe, we’re really excited to use Static Drive Co as a base to make immersive and interactive works, and eventually move away from more traditional theatrical practices. But first, Tissue! 

Tissue plays Subiaco Arts Centre 20-23 June.

Pictured top are Timothy Green and Samantha Nerida.

When He Gets That Way
Calendar, June 18, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: When He Gets That Way

13 – 16 June, 9pm @ Subiaco Arts Centre ·
Presented by Lisa Louttit & Taryn Ryan ·

This Martin Sims Finalist is a light comedy with a poisonous bite, peppered with quaint drawing room ditties.

Two fancifully romantic, fiercely ambitious women strive to outplay each other using wit, charm, songs, and their beloved diary entries. The sublime meets the ridiculous as Lady Annabelle and her social climbing handmaid Christiane share secrets, gossip, and clash over ‘HIM’ in this hilarious take on class, womanhood and power.

When He Gets That Way is Downton Abbey meets Monty Python.

More info: www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/subiaco-arts-centre/whats-on/when-he-gets-that-way/

Actors in masks
Calendar, June 18, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: L’Appel Du Vide – The Call of the Void

22 and 23 June, 7pm @ The Actors’ Hub, 129 Kensington Street, East Perth ·
Presented by The Actors’ Hub ·

WELCOME to a world where your experience is your choice.

L’Appel Du Vide (“the call of the void”) is a sensitive, heart-warming exploration of the allusive dream and what we sacrifice to achieve what we imagine.

Directed by Amanda Crewes at The Actors’ Hub, the show is told through puppetry, masks and live performance and looks at friendship, loss and new perceptions.

“L’Appel Du Vide takes us on an adventure through the eyes of different characters as they play with the seductive call from the void,” she said.

“It’s a physical exploration of the idea that curiosity killed the cat and the cost of connection versus the cost of letting go.”

The main challenge, according to Crewes, is not limiting the world of our imaginations.

“It’s about exploring all the possibilities and taking it as far as it will go – really exploring the call of the void,” she said.

After graduating from the WA Academy of Performing Arts in 1998, Crewes went on to work professionally with Handzon, Kompany M, Melbourne’s Playbox and Barking Gecko Theatres and the Perth Theatre Company, as well as several professional independent theatre groups in shows such as Italian American Reconciliation, Wolf Lullaby and Conundrum.

With more than 20 years’ experience teaching and directing, she set up The Actors’ Hub in 2012 to provide a serious focus for those wanting to learn more about the acting profession.

“L’Appel Du Vide appealed because I love working with Basel theatre masks as a source of inspiration and the worlds they invite us into,” Crewes said. “There is such a great sense of mystery in the work.

“This is a magical show that will appeal to a wide audience by exploring themes we’re all familiar with, in a way that allows us to dream possibilities.”

L’Appel Du Vide plays 7pm June 22 and 23. Tickets are $30, $25 concession – book at http://www.trybooking.com/WBUJ.

The Actors’ Hub is at 129 Kensington Street, East Perth.

More info: www.trybooking.com

Top: L’Appel Du Vide sees actors Tyler Lindsay-Smith, left, Justin Gray, Ashana Murphy, Christopher Colley, Carlin Montiero, Bryce Fenwick and Quintus Olsthoorn working extensively with Basel theatre masks.

The winners of the 2017 PAWA Awards
Features, News, Performing arts, Theatre

And the winners are…

Seesaw warmly congratulates the winners of the 2017 Performing Arts WA Awards!

BEST NEWCOMER 2017
Georgina Cramond – Interrupting A Crisis, The Blue Room Theatre & Ribs

BEST NEW WORK 2017
Coma Land – Will O’Mahony

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (MALE) 2017
St John Cowcher – My Robot, Barking Gecko Theatre Company

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (FEMALE) 2017
Alison van Reeken – Let The Right One In, Black Swan State Theatre Company

BEST ACTOR (MALE) 2017
Brendan Ewing – The Eisteddfod, Black Swan State Theatre Company

BEST ACTOR (FEMALE) 2017
Adriane Daff – The Irresistible, Side Pony Productions & The Last Great Hunt

BEST DESIGN 2017
Jonathon Oxlade – Set & Costume – The Irresistible, Side Pony Productions & The Last Great Hunt

BEST MUSIC 2017
Rachael Dease – Composition & Sound Design – Let The Right One In, Black Swan State Theatre Company

BEST DIRECTOR
Jeffrey Jay Fowler – The Eisteddfod, Black Swan State Theatre Company

BEST INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION
Laika: A Staged Radio Play – The Blue Room Theatre & Second Chance Theatre

BEST MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION
The Eisteddfod – Black Swan State Theatre Company

Want to know more about the PAWA Awards? Read Seesaw’s interview with PAWA secretary and Awards committee member Nick Maclaine here.

Pictured top: The 2017 PAWA Awards winners. Photo: Monica Defendi Photography.