Girls Do Gertrude!
Black Apple Theatre
24 January 2011
Northcote Town Hall
to 29 January
Forty women spent six days in Falls Creek with Gertrude Stein. The result is Midsumma's in Girls Do Gertrude! at the Northcote Town Hall.
I haven't read any Gertrude Stein, but I saw Midnight in Paris at the flicks and read Alice B Toklas's recipe for dope brownies (that she didn't write), which both leave me wanting to be in Paris in the 20s trading wit and boho style tips with the cool artists. Although I suspect I'd want to slap Hemingway.
Girls Do Gertrude! brings Stein dancing into the now and will leave you wanting to charleston the night away with an enticing girl in a pastel, drop waist gown. Just try to get a seat in the front row if you're not blessed with height.
Negative Energy Inc is on Sunday and Monday. Go. And do the double with Mother/SON or The Year of Magical Wanking.
The Year of Magical Wanking
17 January 2012
Theatre Works, St Kilda
to 29 January
Neil Watkins's The Year of Magical Wanking perfects Theatre Works Men at Work glorious Midsumma threesome with a bold and moving verse monologue that confronts his addiction to the painful, anonymous sex that Watkins let "fist my soul" and left him wondering about his relationship with Jesus.
With irresistible alliteration like "addicted to my dick" and the discovery that the anagram of his name perfect (you can figure it out), Wanking's poetry is funny and confronting, and his reflections about intimacy and fear are so real that you don't need your own cock to recognise the hurt or grasp onto the hope.
Have no shame in watching Watkins self indulgence; it's only awkward for a moment and you'll leave feeling all the better for it.
Negative Energy Inc
15 January 2012
to 4 February
Being a white boy from Brighton is so damn hard that it's left Ash Flanders in a foul mood for 30-odd years. Like me, Ash generally hates things and people and is only happy when he's sharing the pain with a long rant and an obscure show tune. Negative Energy Inc is the stand up story of why he draws his mandala in black and it rightly left the opening night crowd stomping and cheering.
Negative Energy Inc started when Ash's boyfriend Daniel told him about The Secret. That's not some Midsumma-boy thing, I mean that book rich white women (and Oprah) love that's all about vision boards and controlling your life with a few nice thoughts. I hated it from the time a yoga teacher got into it and said that the only thing stopping me from holding standing bow for ever was my thoughts. She didn't put on 30 kg and grow a scabby trunk from her third eye, so I guess my thoughts still aren't good enough.
Ash creates an stab-in-the-heart antidote to harmlessly dull theatre as this laugh cos-it-hurts-to-cry show tickles your brain 'til you're squealing and makes you want to share a bunk with him at Christian camp.
Ash is also very sensible (there's your quotable) and performing only on Sundays and Mondays; those nights when other shows (and theatre restaurants) have nights off, leaving us stuck with telly or thinking about going to the tennis – so there's no reason not to get yourself to St Kilda and dose up on his misery.
They are in the works, but rent-paying work blah, blah, blah...
But if you're considering a Midsumma fling, get to Theatre Works for any and all of the Men at Work series.
Mother/SON is lovely
Negative Energy Inc is better than the first season. Opening night had people stamping and hollering in the good way.
and I'm seeing The Year of Magical Wanking tonight. There's no way that a show called The Year of Magical Wanking could be anything but satisfying.
On the less penis-themed side of town, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll opened last night at the MTC. Ray Lawler and John Sumner were there to see it and I've never been part of such a loving and genuine ovation. It's always been one of my favourite plays and remains so. It's so worth seeing. I'd happily go again.
Summer of the Seventeenth Doll
MTC presents the Belvoir production
16 January 2012
Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse
to 18 February 2012
Sometime in the 70s, the ABC filmed the MTC production of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll; my grandmother made me watch it with her. I didn't really get it, but I liked it, especially as 1950s Melbourne and 1970s Adelaide weren't that far apart. Years later in high school, The Doll was an English text and I aspired to be Bubba; I still didn't really get. Now that I'm older than Pearl and Olive, I get it, and the opening night ovation for this production and for writer Ray Lawler confirmed that it's still one of the best plays out there and a piece of Australian theatre history that should be compulsory.
Urban Display Suite
Ross Mollison International
MTC Theatre, Lawler Studio
14 January 2012
to 21 January 2012
The zeitgeist bought its three-bedroom deco flat in St Kilda before the boom and has never left. Property prices: you're either smiling as you sip Moet or googling "sell my kidney" and realising that, even with the first home buyers grant, you need another 25 body parts to get a deposit. Michael Dalley's real estate musical satire Urban Display Suite returns for its third season with a sharp wit that leaves its audiences grinning and ready to buy.
Jeffrey Solomon and Theatre Works
11 January 2012
to 21 January
Theatre Works's Men at Work Midsumma season kicked off on an unseasonal chilly night with a warming tale of family love and the question of why anyone would answer the phone if their mum rang while they were having sex.
Mother/SON has toured the US and the UK and been seen in the Phillipines and Sri Lanka. Written and performed by Jeffrey Solomon, it's a mostly autobiographical story of his coming out to his mother and how both learnt to accept the other's imperfections and continue to love each other regardless. Solomon plays both roles.
Take your mum.