Belvoir’s 2015 Season

Possibly one of Belvoi’s bed seasons for a few years

Read the season book here as an interactive PDF – it’s your guide to theatre in Sydney for 2015.

TN Review: Hamlet [Bell Shakespeare]

Hamlet PRODReview – Hamlet [Bell Shakespeare]

Hamlet is, arguably, Shakespeare’s most famous play. Despite the fact that there are a myriad productions performed across the globe every year, one forgets just how many iconic lines and phrases it holds. And yet, with his new production for Bell Shakespeare, director Damien Ryan has managed to wrangle wonderful amounts of subtext out of the script, allowing us to see the play anew.

In the title role, Josh McConville is electric. He’s not your typical choice for the Prince of Denmark, and is certainly different from famous renditions we’ve seen before – Branagh, Gibson, Kinnear etc. McConville’s Hamlet comes across as a pernicious, petty, immature prankster, whose indecisiveness to take action comes more from his actual ineptitude than an internal moral conflict. This is certainly not a bad choice, and makes Hamlet’s moments of self-reflection all the more poignant. McConville’s performance is passionate, and undeniably intelligent. His handle on the text far surpasses anyone else on the stage, and he holds the somewhat haphazard production together.

Ryan’s Denmark is polluted with corruption and spies, and the palace is littered with bugs and listening devices, which isn’t a new concept. But strangely it all seems to disappear without explanation in the second half. The only possible reason for this (spoiler alert!) is Polonius’ death, as he seemed to be the main culprit behind it. The paranoia is established in the very first scene, when characters run around searching for microphones listening in, but in the chaos of the second half all is forgotten.

Matilda Ridgway does well as Ophelia. She tries constantly to find moments to speak out against her oppression, but is forever being silenced, mostly by her father. Polonius showers gifts and money and praise on his son Laertes, but neglects and abuses Ophelia, to the point where is it hard to believe that his death would be the cause of her madness. Their relationship establishes that she is Polonius’ pawn, a mere things that her cares not for. This undermines Ophelia’s ‘mad’ scene entirely. While Ridgway’s performance was delicate and moving, the notion that she is feeling this much pain for the loss of her cruel father is unfathomable.

Unfortunately, this production is a little messy. While McConville’s performance is not to be missed, his skill and handle on the text only stands to throw in to sharp relief the other, less informed performances. For the most part, it feels like a recitation of Shakespeare’s words. When Gertrude (Doris Younane) comes on to speak to Laertes about his sister Ophelia, there is a reason the language is so beautiful and descriptive. Alas, Younane spoke them as if reading off a menu, which is a real shame.

McConville’s portrayal of a childlike Hamlet, and Ryan’s inclusion of contemporary phrases such as “Chookas!” certainly make the play appealing to a younger, modern audience, which is a clever choice. Alicia Clements’ set is stunning and cleverly used, and is complimented superbly by Matt Cox’s lighting. Nigel Poulton has put together a brilliant fencing duel at the end, and while this production may not stand the test of time, it is certainly worth seeing. For newcomers though, don’t read the blurb! It’s riddled with spoilers!

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Running until December 6th at the Sydney Opera House.

Alana Kaye – Theatre Now

Your Voice: Do you agree? Have your say in the comments below.


The Buzz from Sydney

Roadkill Confidential is a wonderfully weird combination of political art commentary and intrigue that sounds like an unlikely fusion, but works in spite of its oddness. Truth, art and pesky neighbours feature in this play about artist Trevor, whose new work is anticipated with breath that is bated; but why is she being monitored by a government agent gone rogue? (Yes, Trevor is a woman).

US based Writer Sheila Callaghan has an impressive CV, she has written more than a dozen plays and is a writer/producer for Showtime (Shameless). She has been declared one of ’18 successful women who are changing the world’ by Marie Claire magazine. It is no wonder with her scathing yet funny attacks on suburbia, capitalism and the art world, she poses provocative questions in darkly humourous and contemporary settings.

Roadkill Confidential features some fun yet intense performances, Sinead Curry was hilarious as Trevor’s ditzy neighbour Melanie, and Alison Bennett as Trevor was superb. The play wouldn’t have worked if not for the intensity and focus of Bennett. In addition to great performances was a visually inventive use of the space, though seating in the venue was on the cramped side.

Director Michael Dean stated that the production has been ‘difficult, exhausting, maddening and frustrating’. A huge thank-you Michael, and to the cast and crew, for persevering and giving the audience something different in the name of your art.

Featuring: Alison Bennett, Sinead Curry, Michael Drysdale, Jasper Garner Gore and Nathaniel Scotcher.

Creative Team: Michael Dean (director), Amy Green, Catherine Steele, Richard Neville and Mandylights, Benjamin Garrard, Amanda Laing and Emily Elise.

Roadkill Confidential is presented by Lies, Lies and Propaganda in association with bAKEHOUSE Theatre Co, by arrangement with ORIGIN Theatrical on behalf of Samuel French, Inc and is on at the Kings Cross Theatre (Kings Cross Hotel) until 28 November, for more info and tickets see:

The Buzz from Sydney

Article Originally Published Here

TN Reviews: Love’s Labour’s Lost

Review – Love’s Labour’s Lost
Must See

Love’s Labour’s Lost is one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known plays, but Sport For Jove have brought it triumphantly to life in the first show of their Summer Season.

It is a play that is rarely performed in this country, as Director Damien Ryan explains in his program notes. It is incredibly verbose and has vast passages of text talking about text, but its plot is unique, and the conclusion is unexpected. The play tells the story of the King of Navarre and his group of friends who have forsworn the company of women entirely for three years, on pain of being shamed in front of the entire court. Along comes the Princess of France with her ladies, and (predictably) chaos ensues.

“It is the women who rule this play,” Ryan says, and that is true insomuch as the female characters hold the power. They vehemently reject the use of the word “fair” in relation to themselves, and demand more from their men than praise and material goods. But while the female cast were strong, it was the men who dominated.

Berynn Schwerdt was exquisitely funny as Don Adriano De Armado, the gallant Spaniard who falls in love with a wench. Schwerdt flounced ridiculously about the stage, stomping and salsa-ing, with a comedic skill that was sophisticated and detailed. Aaron Tsindos, as Don Adriano’s right hand man, gave a master class in making the most of a small character (although he did get a chance to shine in Shakespearealism – more on that later). James Lugton as Holofernes was delightful, truly rejoicing in his scholarly duties. Lugton’s handle on the text is superb, and he gave a lovely performance. Tim Walter was a passionate Biron, and his struggle to rationalise love was moving and thought-provoking. He dealt with lengthy passages of text extremely well.

As for the women, collectively they were delightful. Emily Eskell as the Princess was headstrong and commanding, and was supported well by her ladies-in-waiting. Together they had some lovely moments of girlish abandonment. But Gabrielle Scawthorn as Longaville was the standout. Ryan has changed the gender of Longaville; a choice, he says, which is “inspired by Shakespeare’s own context.” Scawthorne’s entertaining performance, and Ryan’s direction, makes total sense of this change, and it does not seem out of place. The choice is a very clever, very relevant one.

The entire production oozes energy from the very beginning. There is a thirty-minute teaser preceding the main show, the aforementioned Shakespearealism. Written by Josh Lawson, it is an Elizabethan spoof about Ralph Shakespeare, William’s fictional brother, striving to stand on his own as a playwright. The comedy is absurd and hilarious, and all the actors (Lembke-Hogan, Tsindos, Lugton and Scawthorne) do an incredible job. It’s the perfect taster to begin the night, so get there early.

Melanie Liertz’s costumes are absolutely stunning, and perfectly elevate the production’s traditional Elizabethan style.

From beginning to end the entire evening is a delight. Ryan has created a wonderful piece of theatre, with a play that is obviously dear to his heart. Shakespeare’s text is poetic and playful, exploratory and revealing. Sport For Jove has, once again, come at us guns blazing. And although some may be unhappy with the new stage setup at Bella Vista, it should not detract when performances like these are being achieved. Do not miss it – it’s worth the drive.

Playing at Bella Vista Farm Park until December 30 then Everglades Garden Theatre from January 9 – 24.

Alana Kaye – Theatre Now
Your Voice: Do you agree? Have your say in the comments below.

Sorting Out Rachel

Sorting Out Rachel

David Williamson

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19 Jan – 17 Mar 2018

Refer Calendar Below


Venue: Ensemble
Theatre Company: Ensemble

Duration: N/A

When it comes to business Bruce knows what to do. You’ve got to out-bite the sharks and twist a good deal before you get screwed. But as the years go by and his legacy starts to loom, his thoughts turn to his exasperated daughter, her social climbing husband and his granddaughter, Rachel, who unfortunately takes after him. Perhaps it’s time to make amends. Can Bruce solve his family issues without giving away a long-held secret?

Nadia Tass

Cast includes
Chenoa Deemal
Glenn Hazeldine
John Howard
Jenna Owen
Natalie Saleeba

Ticket Prices

Performance Calendar