04 December 2011

December review previews

Musical Works:
Give My Regards to Broady
2 December
to 10 December

Hooray for Theatre Works. Along with their ongoing support of independent artists, they are supporting the development of new Australian musicals with the inaugural Musical Works season. Two developing shows were selected and working under the artistic mentorship of Aaron Joyner, from Magnormos, they have a season in St Kilda.

Give My Regards to Broady is about four friends, a Fitzroy share house and the dream to get off the couch and stay away from Broadmeadows – and break into the arts. It's been around for four years. I saw an early version. There were some terrific songs, but it lacked a cohesive story, was a wee bit self indulgent and its characters were inseparable from the performers. I wasn't keen to see it in the same form again.

But it's rare for a great musical to be a corker on its first or second outing. Until an audience react, it's hard to know what bits need to go. Lucky for us, Karin Muiznieks (writer, composer, producer) and James Simpson (composer) were happy to dump the "let's put on a show" tone and set about re-creating.

And what a change! 


The second Musical Works piece is House Warming by William Hannagan-McKinna and Belinda Jenkin, which is earlier in its development.

This time we're in a share house in St Kilda, but without reference or relevance to place, it could be anywhere. Tommy (Daniel Benge) is home after a backpack around Europe, his granddad died and left him a house, and five friends (Rachel Rai, Elle Richards, Belinda Jenkin, Dave Barclay and Drew Collet) are moving in with their compulsory sexual tension, comparison of crap parents and revelation of secrets.


The Story of Mary Maclane By Herself
1 December 2011
Beckett Theatre, The Malthouse
to 11 December

Mary Maclane would be the kind of Facebook friend you'd be tempted to block in case she tried to chat, but you couldn't do it because her bi-hourly updates about her cleverness and despair were too funny.

Born in 1881, teenage Maclane moved from Canada to New York and at 19 she'd sold over 100,000 copies of her first memoir, The Story of Mary Maclane. It was mostly read by young women, who also wanted to marry the Devil, and was criticised by those who were not. She continued writing, but worked in advertising as her dreams of literary fame were shattered as her subsequent works were not as popular.


Ride On Theatre refuse to be dull and have created a unique and compelling story that Maclane herself might even have found a moment of happiness in watching it.


The Economist
3 December 2011
MKA Pop Up Theatre, Abbotsfod
to 16 December

The channel 10 news and the Herald Scum declared MKA totally out of line for presenting a play about Anders Breivik, the man who killed 92 people in Norway on July 22 this year. Goodness knows we don't want angry youngsters questioning and confronting a world that allows for such depravity. What if a Melbourne hipster was inspired and got a similar idea? On behalf of us with half a brain, I toast a "Fuck You" to news reporters who chase controversy.

Unlike many journos, writer (and MKA Artistic Director) Tobias Manderson-Galvin read Breivik's diaries, manifesto and blog. He braved conservative writings and looked beyond the media image of the lone Aryan nutter. Until I saw The Economist, I passively went along with the terrorist kook theory. What am I saying, I'd forgotten about the attack a week after it happened and couldn't have named Breivik without the help of Google. But I know the name Martin Bryant, and an hour with MKA left me understanding and questioning so much more than any media report had.


It's a complex story but Manderson-Galvin finds the moments that develop the full picture without forcing meaning and lets his audience enjoy the kind of mind fuck that leaves you wobbly and wanting more.

Great news is that the season has been extended.


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