Turquoise Theatre
Fringe World, News, Reviews, Theatre

A dark double take

Fringe World review: Turquoise Theatre, Lake Disappointment ·
The Blue Room Theatre as part of Summer Nights, 5 February ·
Review by Jenny Scott ·

Lake Disappointment is a one-man show starring Joel Sammels as a body double, a man whose professional value is determined by his resemblance to a particular movie star.

As the Double shares his inner thoughts while substituting for the star in the production of a new film, it quickly becomes clear that he is confusing the boundaries between himself and the man he looks like.

Hyper-aware of his physical appearance, fixated on his minor achievements, and desperately waiting for his celebrity lookalike to arrive on set, the Double’s undoing is disquieting and inevitable as his grip on reality starts to slip.

Sammels gives an impassioned performance in this production, which was directed by Susannah Thompson and written by Lachlan Philpott with Luke Mullins.

It is particularly striking to hear the Double’s monologue while watching him enact the banal, repetitive tasks that are required when shooting close-up movie footage – holding and releasing a heroic pose, or grasping his fingers around a coffee cup again and again.

While Sammels evokes sympathy for a man who attaches far too much meaning to childhood recollections and casual encounters, there is some tonal confusion in the production’s attempts to balance humour and poignancy.

Although billed as a dark comedy, the script offers less laugh-out-loud moments and more wry smiles in recognition of familiar tropes, as the Double’s narcissistic traits and the trappings of showbiz are painted in broad strokes.

Lake Disappointment plays The Blue Room Theatre until February 9.

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Turquoise Theatre
Calendar, Fringe World, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: Lake Disappointment

5 – 9 February @ The Blue Room Theatre ·
Presented by Turquoise Theatre & The Blue Room
Summernights ·

Originally commissioned by Bell Shakespeare, award winningAustralian writer Lachlan Philpott teams up with Luke Mullinsto write a searing dark comedy about double identity. You know — like Twelfth Night…..

So there’s this extra, this double, and he sometimes gets mistaken for the actual movie star, which is pretty cool, but then, sometimes, he makes that mistake himself. A sharp and witty look at the painful side of our contemporary culture, where insta, snapchat and abs make or break you. Or even worse — no one even notices.

A side-splitting look at fake tan and having the magic ‘it’ quality, and the sadder side — where if no-one sees you, who even are you? You know? Turquoise Theatre returns with a funny and disturbing look at a lost man who wishes he were more.

More info
W: fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/lake-disappointment-fw2019
E:  turquoisetheatre@gmail.com

Picture credit: Rebecca Mansell

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News, Performing arts, Reviews, Theatre

A middle-aged view of adolescence

Fringe World review: Seventeen by Turquoise Theatre ·
The Blue Room Theatre, 7 February ·
Review by Nina Levy ·

Wednesday evening saw me catch two shows in quick succession. James Berlyn’s yourseven, a one-on-one, interactive work performed by WA Youth Theatre Company, was first at 8pm. I then cantered lightly from PICA to the Blue Room Theatre to see Turquoise Theatre’s Seventeen, a work in which actors over 60 play 17 year olds. I was both charmed and moved by the artistry, sensitivity and maturity demonstrated by the young performers of yourseven, and took my seat for Seventeen immersed in that post-show glow.

The premise of Seventeen, by Australian playwright Matthew Whittet, is promising. Six teenagers celebrate the end of high school in a traditional way, sneaking to the park to hang out with friends and get pissed. The twist, as aforementioned, is that the characters are played by actors old enough to be their grandparents, a recipe, I imagined in advance, for both interrogating assumptions about both generations and a whole heap of comedy.

The opening is strong – heads bowed, thumbs flying over invisible phones, the six characters are clumped together, a flock that shuffles and turns as one. Once the script kicks in, however, it becomes apparent that this evocative piece of movement is not a portent of things to come.

Having just watched eight exceptional young people perform, the portrayal of teenagers in Seventeen made me cringe. As a former high school teacher (and a former teenager!) and an aunt/surrogate aunt to a number of over-12s, I’m familiar with adolescence in its varied forms. While I recognised some of the typical teen traits in Whittet’s characters – self-absorption, insecurity, moodiness – they seemed like cardboard cut-outs, stereotypes. Feeling my lovely post-yourseven glow rapidly fading, I felt affronted on behalf of the young people in that cast and on behalf of all teenagers. Is this really how Whittet (who is in his early 40s, like me) sees young people?

It should be mentioned that the cast of six (I could not find any record of their names online and there was no program) come from a community, rather than professional, theatre background and are to be commended for their gutsy and often comical performances. The script gives little to work with in terms of character development as the friends (with the exception of Ronnie, the kid ostracised by his peers) swear, whine and drink their way through a night of teen angst. In the main, however, the actors were believable as 17 year olds, although more research into current teen slang might have been beneficial (does anyone under 35 know what the word “snog” means?).

While the actors did what they could with the script, it felt, nonetheless, like they were distanced from their characters, in part, no doubt, because the script has no sense of empathy with the experiences of teenagers today.

While the concept of Seventeen is clever, the play misses the mark by presenting a version of adolescence that feels distinctly middle-aged.

Seventeen’ closes 10 February.

Photo: Jessica Wyld

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Calendar, February 18, Performing arts, Theatre

Fringe World: Seventeen

 6 – 10 Feb @ The Blue Room Theatre •
By Matthew Whittet •
Presented by Turquoise Theatre •

One unseen generation plays another.

Lying to their parents and meeting up at the park after dark on their last night of High School. Tag, reminisce, drink, listen to beats – break up.
Actors over 60 play 17 year olds in one night of high stakes.

More info: turquoisetheatre.wixsite.com/mysite-1

Photo: Jessica Wyld

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