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Showing posts from April, 2012

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: THE AVENGERS assemble on the big screen

I like superheroes. I grew up with reruns of the 1960s Batman TV series. The Superman films were released when I was really young. The Amazing Spider-Man, Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk were nighttime TV shows. And one of the defining motion picture releases of my teenage years was Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989.
I was never a big comic book reader as a kid – I’ve probably read more comic books, uh, graphic novels in the last ten years than any time before that. But superheroes were always very cool. And Burton’s Batman took my favourite superhero very seriously. Well, until Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins appeared – taking it ultra-seriously and much darker than I’d ever hoped for.
As a non-comic reader, I find it hard to align myself as a DC (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) or Marvel Universe (Spider-Man, X-Men, The Avengers and its consitutent parts) person. They appeal to different parts of my brain. In effect, DC’s superheroes are often lone warriors and the Marvel Universe…

Who goes to theatre on a Thursday? BOY GIRL WALL at MTC

Sometimes theatre can make you forget where you are, who you are with and why you are even there. Sometimes it’s immersive and subtle and you’re a voyeur. Sometimes it’s dark, mysterious, puzzling and scary.
And sometimes it’s one guy playing twenty-five characters, many of which are animals, inanimate objects or days of the week, and he’s telling you a story about light, sound waves, aliens, string theory, space, the universe, time, a boy, a girl and a wall.
Our narrator (Lucas Stibbard) doesn’t want you to confuse him with male protagonist Thom or think too hard about him as female protagonist Alethea. And yet, when he’s being them, when he’s telling their stories, you can forget, just for a moment, it’s one actor playing all the parts.
And yet, the show is built around watching the pieces of stage craft work. It’s a full energy performance with a chalkboard set, a chair, an overhead projector, a set of handlebars and some chalk. It’s music and sound effects from just offstage – an…

A Room Full of Razorblades: John Logan's Red at MTC

There is a moment late in John Logan’s Red, the story of the late expressionist painter Mark Rothko and a (fictional) assistant, Ken, where the script wants the audience and Ken to think something terrible has happened to Rothko. And yet somehow, in this production by the Melbourne Theatre Company, I was entirely unconvinced by the moment and unmoved by the possibility.
It’s not that the story lacks depth or the production lacks engaging performances. Both Colin Friels and Andre de Vanny are wonderful to watch – and the play is rich with ideas. Even if the notion that art should be inspirational and not just a commodity is a well-worn idea, the conflict in Logan’s play still makes the story interesting to listen to and with a strong lighting design (Matt Scott) and a beautiful sound design (Tristan Meredith), this production is beautiful visually and aurally.
But I wasn’t moved. I wasn’t inspired. It made me think but it never made me feel. And there are moments in the play – one tow…

Have I Got a Film for You: COMPANY on the big screen

I’ve slowed down my theatre-making and theatre-going in the last few weeks, though with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival now open and work beginning on my next two projects, I am slowly getting back into the swing of things. My downtime has been helpful, getting back my energy to put into new shows and planning an overseas trip for August.
The new shows are exciting, but nothing I’m willing to discuss in public just yet. Apart from the fact my producer would kill me, there’s a time when new projects should be nurtured without them being picked apart by fellow-theatre makers, friends or the public. I am nervous enough handing off a first draft of a play, let alone having people pour over my thoughts and ideas.
My trip? A return to the centre of the theatre-making and theatre-going universe – New York City. I first travelled there in 2010 and even upon leaving the city, I was making plans to return.  This time, I’m travelling with my sister, who hasn’t been to NYC before – s…