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Showing posts from May, 2018

Going Down by Michele Lee – Malthouse/Sydney Theatre Company

This is the story of a writer, a woman, who has writer’s block and feels under pressure to write the next thing. She creates situations in her life to write about and ends up developing the show we’re watching.
The main character is a fictionalised version of the playwright and the play contains a crazy sex scene, fantasy sequences where the writer loses her mind and an important cameo by a member of the large cat family.
If you think all of these elements would add up to create a brilliant show, you’d be right. Except that brilliant show isn’t Michele Lee’s Going Down, it’s Lally Katz’s Atlantis.
The element that is unique to Lee’s show is her background and the key struggle she has is with the expectation that she must delve into her heritage to write her next work or any work at all.
Going Down is a reaction to Michele Lee’s experience with her book, Banana Girl, which received criticism from inside and outside the local Hmong community for not representing her “ethnic experience”.…

The Bleeding Tree by Angus Cerini - Arts Centre Melbourne

A steep patterned uneven floor descends and ascends into the black void. No one is prepared for the deafening crack of a rifle shot that echoes through the farmhouse. A mother and her two daughters appear from the darkness; husband and father lying dead at their feet. A bullet through the neck.
Our three narrators loom above us, angry and defiant, shouting at the corpse of the man who abused them. They are glad to be free of him. But this story doesn’t feel triumphant; it’s steeped in fear and dread and a town closing in around them.
Mother and daughters must work together to get rid of the body and protect each other when other townsfolk show up, worried about the kind of man we so often hear described in the media as a “good bloke”. This small town feels complicit in the cycle of abuse that this gunshot has fixed for now.
Angus Cerini’s The Bleeding Tree is darkly poetic in its language, crafting a fable of sorts. Its reaction and reflection on domestic abuse is visceral without f…

BLISS by Tom Wright, based on the novel by Peter Carey - Malthouse

Harry Joy is dead but not for long. He’s quickly revived into a new life, one that resembles Hell or an advertising company pitch meeting. Or maybe it was like that all along?
Based on Peter Carey’s debut novel from 1981, playwright Tom Wright and director Matthew Lutton have teamed up again – after Picnic at Hanging Rock – to adapt a classic Australian book to the Malthouse stage.
But where Picnic was sleek, sharp and focused, Bliss is leaden and long.
The early introductory scenes felt like Wright and Lutton were aiming for a poetic companion piece to their Gothic melodrama, with interlocking monologues picking apart the kind of Australia that is only reminisced about. Bliss is set in the 1980s, in the suburbs of Sydney. The costumes allude to the decade without being a parody of it. The local references evoke the era.
As Harry stumbles through this newly recognised Hellish existence, we’re treated to some wryly amusing meta-theatrical nonsense; he thinks his family are actors and…