Depression's a funny thing
Danny Episode is a theatre reviewer in Melbourne. Danny writes for Beat but because the management are fascists there and are only interested in squeezing in more advertising, not everything Danny writes get's published. So he's putting them up here online.
The Time is Not Yet Ripe
Red Sky Morning
Rio Saki and Other Falling Debris
Sammy J in The
At The Bosco
For Comedy Festival
If cute puppets that swear sometimes and take you on a bit of a magical journey that’s a little cynical at the same time, then Sammy J in The Forest of Dreams is for you. If you grew up force fed Disney movies till you wanted to choke on your own ink and paint puke, then you know you’re at home from the very first opening number.
Sammy J, Moosehead recipient and apparently a star of TV’s Spicks and Specks, teams up with award winning puppeteer Heath McIvor to present exactly what you expect from a cute musical comic and a collection of “each cuter than the last” puppets. Sammy J, in an attempt to escape an unpaid power bill, throws himself into a magical portal and ends up in the
It’s fairly standard fair plot wise for a fantasy and that leaves us on comfortable ground to sit back and enjoy the puppety fun. The gags lag a little somewhere around the middle of the show which is more than likely due to the need to get on with the plot after a certain point. Of course the Bosco is hellishly hot on a sold out night, which it was and I suspect will continue to be, which probably doesn’t make it easy to keep up that sparkle white musical comedy smile around the thirty minute mark. Never the less, a little comedy paunch around the middle of the show is forgivable as the audience never gets actively bored and I’m probably a hell of a lot more critical than most of the audience who ooohed and awwwed their way right on through.
The songs are catchy, the puppetry excellent and if you don’t come away from the show at least humming Fuck You Disney then you weren’t damn well paying attention.
Of course, we never actually get to see Sammy J get home or to find out if the power company have turned his lights back on, but then I guess that leaves us room for a sequel. It’s a show that certainly deserves one.
At La Mama
Until March 23
Nightshift is one of the seminal theatre companies you read about in second year Australian Theatre History, arguably born out of the Pram, at least partially funded by according to Tim Robertson’s book, arguably born directly out of Lindzee Smith and Phil Motherwell.
Like a monster of seventies stadium rock Nightshift reunite at La Mama for a come back gig in memoriam of their fallen leader a year after his passing. With such a sweeping sense of local history attached who could resist seeing the return. After all, in thirty years time, this is what the Melbourne Independents are gonna look like.
And the view isn’t pretty. I mean, these guys were never the beautiful people, but there was a fire of passion in the heart and a spark of youth in the eye back then that look to have both long since been extinguished.
Well, you can’t stay young forever.
Danny held off on reviewing Nightshift to the end out of respect for the gone dentist and his sense of past glory. Plus, also, he’s a slack bastard as I’m sure you the benighted reader are no doubt aware. But now we’re only a couple of days from their close, Danny’s gonna say what he thinks.
I’ll start with the positive stuff. Motherwells writing is extraordinary. Where oh where are the writers that can pull of such blatant down and out aussie battler-ish-ness without seeming self conscious. No where, that’s where. Only someone of Motherwell’s ilk can do it without seeming like a tool. Not only do Motherwells words sing and clash and riff and roll the way only the poetry of the loser can, they have that undeniable ring of authenticity Motherwell earned through really living that life.
But the highest compliment I can pay Motherwells writing is that it manages somehow to still be heard through the appalling acting, the half hearted direction and the general evidence of under rehearsal.
Actors stumble on lines, not once or twice but constantly, songs by Joe Dolce are tunelessly droned, and only one performer is at all watchable (with sonorous voice and giant stage presence from such a tiny body). It’s awful. It’s practically unwatchable. It’s ultimately a tragedy because Motherwells writing deserves so so much more than Motherwell’s directing can deliver.
Checkov Recut: Platonov
The Bones Love Gringo
Already over, if you didn’t see it, you missed out buddy…
I doubt this review will do the guys at Lady Muck much good seeing as how their season’s already well and truly over, but maybe, just maybe, if they’re looking for quotes to put on their next press release, they can come to good old Danny and put up a television is furniture word or two. After all, to the best of director Sarah McCusker’s knowledge, no single other review dragged themselves out of the arts center to see the show and that’s a real shame.
The political imperative behind a David Hicks in
I longed for the hero to break into Gitmo and discover an empty cell and I sort of got my wish. I wont say more incase it gets remounted, it damn well deserves a remount.
Tom Maclachlan, the writer, worryingly notes that the idea for the play came to him while being interrogated by Cuban lieutenant in
But I digress. Maclachlan has an eye for the ironic and a promising command of the dramatic and these are infinitely more important tools to the playwright than his ideology. However, McCusker’s direction was the must see element of the piece. Practically no set or props or anything fancy, just the beautiful brickwork of the stunning fortyfivedownstairs downstairs theatre, lit amazingly and using every inch of the playing space. It really was a great piece of work, tucked away in the fringe, and it deserved a hell of a lot more reviewers than good ol danny.