22 December 2007

Short and Sweet 07 Week 3 Wildcards

Short and Sweet 2007 Week 3 Wildcards
22 December 2007
The Arts Centre, Fairfax Theatre

Short and Sweet 2007 finished with an afternoon of Wildcards that surpassed Week Three’s Top 10.
Mr and Mrs Metcalf Enjoy the Music of Elton John
Frank Legget’s work moved perfectly from excellent character portraits to well written action and poignant conclusion. It could have been much blacker with a couple of different choices, but still worked well as a relatively straight drama.
Break Up
Too often directors make a choice that distracts from the story. Nicola Fearn’s choice to perform the script in the audience gave the performers, and the audience, a much broader scope to explore. Steve Wheat’s script about a break up sex contract would have been just as funny and original on the stage, but no where near as fun.
Sorry, but we’ve heard it before. This story is regularly told on the 6.30 current affairs shows and in grade seven essays. Yes, women have issues with their body image. Yes, it’s hard to be fat and, yes, thin people also have trouble buying clothes. Issues need stories to make good and engaging theatre. The costumes were fun, but I didn’t know what they were trying to mean. Finally Dew Chaiyanara’s work came alive and interesting in the last moments. This is where it should have started.
The Knitting Circle
Another piece based on a well explored issue. This time it’s abortion. However, Susan Pellegrino’s piece approached it with originality and Brenda Addie directed it with a theatricality that made it fascinating, beautiful and strong. The choir like presentation of the dialogue, the costumes and tight staging showed that issue based scripts can make excellent theatre.
In the Closet with Pamela Anderson
Natalie Faulkner’s piece had the most original concept of the season. It opens in the dark and stays that way, as we discover our characters are shut in a closet. Fairy lights and shadows let the characters communicate and let the audience listen.
Of Art and Artifice
Christian Price and Megan Price write witty work. But wit alone doesn’t sustain. This was about a meeting between Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and Florence. Google told me she eventually became Florence Stoker. I think I understood most of the jokes (You’re such a blood sucker Bram), but so much of the humour relied upon the audience’s knowledge of these characters are and their future life story. If they were called Fred, Barney and Wilma – it wouldn’t have worked. And, I have to wonder why any author would try and pit themselves against the wit of Wilde. It’s setting up a comparison that is never going to work in your favour.
668: The Neighbour of the Beast
I love the 668 joke. So does Andy Piper. So much that the whole work is just a variation on one joke. At times it’s very funny, but why give away the joke in the title and opening of the play? Once we know the punch line, re-telling and re-telling the joke just gets tedious.
Andy Keegan’s took a confronting sexual encounter into the world of the ordinary. This is what made it so very interesting. It took us where we didn’t expect to go. To make the change and truth of the work more powerful, I would have liked to see the first half more confronting and more dangerous.
The Gravediggers
I don’t know what Angus Grant’s play was about. There was no action and two pretty standard characters who were gravediggers. There were some nicely written rants – but that’s all they were.
Wayne Tunks has written a delightfully satirical and nostalgic work that opens the snap tight Tupperware lid on its (still fresh) characters. Filled with the unexpected and the expected, Daniel Lammin’s direction sustained a perfect final play for the 2007 competition.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

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