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The Foreigner a comedy by Larry Shue directed by Rob Warner.
There are kind of spoilers below. Mild ones. For those who don't want to be spoiled the short form is: Go see it, it's funny and it does my favourite play justice. Then come back and read my review.
Wed 4 May 2016, 8:00pm
Frid 6 May 2016, 8:00pm
Sat 7 May 2016, 8:00pm
Marloo Theatre 20 Marloo Road, Darlington, Perth
Today I saw the matinee for Darlington Theatre Players production of the Foreigner, my favourite play in all the world. I saw it once, in the 80's it must have been sometime, a professional production at the Regal Theatre in Subiaco. They have the poster for it up on their website.
I'd only seen it once, since then. I've done readings and read the script and even got a copy of the other Shue play. And it'd been a long time since I'd seen the last time. Must be at least 10 years. It either doesn't played or I miss it when it comes.
But by chance, I got wind of this production and dragged 4 other people to see it with me, only one of whom had seen it before and didn't remember it, alas. Because it's one of the funniest plays out there and it's so very sad that Larry Shue died so young because he was shaping up great as a playwright.
Briefly, The Foreigner is about a very shy Englishmen, who through the machinations of his more outgoing friend, masquerades as a "Foreigner" to avoid conversation during his holiday at a fishing lodge in the deep south of America. This has unexpected consequences.
The production by the Darlington Theatre Players rivals the professional production I saw when the play first hit Australia which started my life long love of this play. In fact I think it may have the edge.
The set is a dream - I don't know how many hours they must have spent on it. Humourous touches like the only maps available being those of Georgia, the state where the play is set. Lots of fish proudly mounted on the wall of the fishing lodge where everything occurs. Very rustic place. Super effects of the storm and other things-I-can't-tell-you-about-because-spoilers lighting and sound effects.
This is a play that needs careful direction which Robert Warner has certainly more than just cut the mustard. It also needs a sensitive feel for the words and emotion - it's very cleverly written and the characters - especially that of Charlie and Froggy have to be amazingly played.
Fortunately they have in this production hit upon two actors who are perfect for the job. Keith Scrivens, who plays Froggy is wonderfully energetic and you can't help but like him. Watch his expressions, he's wonderful.
But of course it's Joe Isaia as Charlie Baker who has the limelight and he's ~marvellous~. It's not often that you can get someone who can play a serious and sensitive character and couple it with physical comedy, and in this version they don't do the Beautsky Dottsky Marla perfomance with hand gestures, oh no, Joe Isaia as Charlie races from one side of the stage to the other as first Marla "Hopni Skipni tre dewoods" and then the slovenly Broshnei! Broshnei! (spelling approximate) creature on their fateful meeting during Charlie's story. It is one of the highlights of my theatre going experience. He is a great Charlie and it's him I'll think of as Charlie from now on.
Blake Prosser, who plays Ellard Simms, a young lad with an unspecified learning disability, maybe Asperger's, autism or something - not necessarily stupid, just different. And that's important, because this could have just turned him into a plot device, not a human being. And in this production he makes us see Ellard as a human being, and is a great partner in the breakfast physical comedy shenanigans. Like the Mirror Scene with Groucho? You'll like this.
Kylie Isaia plays Catherine Simms, Ellard's sister a bored and uncertain ex-debutante engaged to the local minister. She does a great job as a young woman trying to mask her uncertainties by a bored sarcasm and her delivery of Catherine's rather pointed remarks on occasion hits the nail on the head.
Richard Hadler as Owen Musser is really quite scary. I'm sure he's really a nice guy but the air of barely contained violence and the wilful ignorance of someone who is sure they're right is sobering. He was great in the role. The audience jumped when his character lost it and you could see it building in his expression, tone and entire body language. If they handed out menace Oscars Hadler would be a shoo-in.
Rodney van Groningen played David Lee, the minister engaged to the sarcastic Catherine. His is a complex role and it was brilliantly done, so much so that the audience were reacting to his very presence as he came on in the second act. His delivery was masterful.
Last but not least the wonderful Jacqui Warner played Betty Meeks, the widowed proprietor of the fishing lodge where the play's set. She could easily have overdone it, but played this Southern widow with restraint and great good humour. Again, what could have been a caricature came across as a very human person with more than their fair share of tragedy, gradually being warmed. It was lovely to see.
Timing, feeling, props, set, lights, sound and delivery. This is a fine production.
I love this play, and I love this production of it. I'm hoping to see it again before it closes.
Thank you Darlington Theatre Players, I will definitely be coming to see your production of Weird Sisters.
10/10 Splendid and finding that all your costume jewelry has turned into real jewels on the Sid and Nancy Scale.﻿
|Grey Lantern Production’s Saucy Jack and The Space Vixens
Saucy Jack and The Space Vixens is running for two more performances at Rigby’s Bar and Grill tonight - Friday the 19th Febraury 2016 and tomorrow night Saturday the 20th of February 2016.
We saw the opening night last night and if you want to see just how sexy nonconformist and unconventional takes on beauty can be you would really enjoy this show’s opening cabaret at 8:00pm. If you don’t want to see this because you think it’s a turn off, creepy or icky, then you probably need to see it to challenge your preconceptions a bit.
This is an 18+ show so enjoy some very titillating cabaret burlesque and adult themes.
Included in the cabaret - exceptional pole work (not your usual pole dancer), captivating fan dancer, a real wow of a belly dancer all a great warm up and bringing you into this world.
It’s a good thing they sell fans in their merchandise, that’s all I can say. A lovely touch - dancers coming around with trays of mini glitter balls, Space Vixen chokers, fans and so forth.
I’m not quite sure of the etiquette of applauding an erotic performer - is phwoarrrr inappropriate or would it be taken as just due?
Stu-Pendous, the official Magician of Saucy Jack’s circulates the tables during the intervals, performing some very impressive mechanical and sleight of mouth feats and some truly inspired patter.
Other performers will come and chat to you, never breaking character - for all intents and purposes, you’re at Saucy Jack’s - a disreputable dive of the spaceways. I mean even a Mos Eisley regular would avoid the place.
You might end up with a dancer on your lap, or be taken up to dance or given a massage.
The performers were extraordinary last night, fully professional and powering their way through faulty fire alarms and fireworks, a challenging venue for them, and never losing the audience for a second. Tight dance numbers and some lovely voices in the group and solo pieces.
Very engaging characters - to the wonderful drag queen, to the lovely saxophonist - and of course Jack himself and the Vixens! They’re fun roles and you can see the cast are having a (glitter) ball. And they’re really good at what they do.
There’s a very disturbing number with the murder victims as the dancers that’s genuinely creepy and moving as well that I found particularly good out of all the fun.
Remember to keep watching, even through the breaks. You’ll miss out if not. Remember they’re never breaking character, there’s plot going on. And some amusing physical antics.
Murder! DIsco! Glitter Boots! Mysterious Space Women! Dark and Sinister Doings! This deserves a cult following! Will get you dancing and thinking!
9/10 Great fun and Rocky Horror night at Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon on the Sid & Nancy scale.
|Last night we went to see http://www.fringeworld.com.au/program/event/9fe447c8-7005-4612-a6ad-2d7dd25254e6/ - Adventures of The Improvised Sherlock Holmes. This was pretty dear to my heart, because I'm very fond of Sherlock and of improv - so seeing it all come together was pretty neat.
SIr Arthur Conan Doyle hands out cards to write a title of his unpublished Holmes story on, which they'll then, if drawn, turn into reality. While I was a little disappointed that my suggestion of The Case of the Gabardine Life Preserver wasn't drawn from the hat we were soon drawn into the mysterious case of the Missing Mobile Phone.
The cast was lively and playful, full of esoteric bits of Victoriana trivia and not above trying to trip one another up from time to time. Inviting two characters to dinner when they were played by the same person, for example, all taken in good humour and to audience merriment.
There were bits where an actor would pause, squint and try to work out if something was invented yet, a familiar feeling to anyone rpging or writing in the era. What's clear is that these actors love the stories just as much as we do, and are revelling in the chance to play in Doyle's creation.
Me to "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle' - "I'm a great fan of your work"
'Sir Arthur Conan Doyle' - "Yes, I'm a great fan of myself."
There's shows on tonight, tomorrow and Saturday. I'm surprised it hasn't sold out.
Highly recommended 8.5 and going on a treasure hunt with Dr Joseph Bell on the Sid and Nancy Scale.
|On February 14th Rob and I visited the Kransky Sisters last show at the Fringe, and we were very glad we went.
The Kransky Sisters are an odd trio of performers - I first saw them on Spicks & Specks in passing and thought their humor was very amusing, and a little close to home for some of my relatives. But they stuck in my head from that one performance I saw years ago and when they came up in the Fringe I really wanted to see them.
Imagine 3 rather dotty old and somewhat sheltered spinster sisters with an unusual upbringing from the wilds of Queensland. Add to this rather lovely singing voices, slightly eerie pleasantness and the ability to play standard and non standard instruments. Also the hottest tuba solo you may ever hear.
I'm always interested in non standard instruments - the 60's vintage reed keyboard I think it was, some lovely theremin qualities from the musical saw, a kitchen pot and also a toilet brush. And classical instruments being played in a non standard way - some very lively tuba playing too, to cap it off.
Their renditions of songs they learned from the wireless are very funny and very clever. The argument two of the spinsters apparently have integrated into the middle of Bohemian Rhapsody is a fine example of the imaginative fun that's to be had.
And there are others. I hope to see more of this eerily endearing trio, and I really hope that they put out a CD of this Piece of Cake tour.
If there'd been CD's on sale I would have grabbed one. They did have tea towels and such like but not quite my cup of tea.
9/10 ebullient and on the Sid and Nancy scale - a celebratory Devonshire Tea with the Adams Family after we've all rescued Cora and Clarice from Steerpike.
| Welcome to Night Vale is a phenomenally popular podcast detailing the occurrences in a odd little desert town in the U.S, as heard through the broadcasts of an announcer on the community radio there.
Night Vale is a mysterious place full of strange people and creatures, and it appears to be where conspiracies go to breed, and there they breed true.
Despite the grave nature of some of the incidents Cecil the Announcer's voice adds humour and rich and resonant calm, and the writing is both funny, captivating and occasionally will say things that will make your brain turn itself inside out. The cut text is an example from their first podcast.
Anyway, you wouldn't think that such a podcast would transfer easily to the stage, but when Perth was fortunate enough to have their travelling stage show turn up at the Octagon last night, it certainly did.
The Octagon isn't a small theatre, and it was full.
Entertaining music by Dessa and Aby Wolf as introduction to the evening, and later as The Weather - not music I would have thought I'd enjoy but the darkly sardonic wit in some of the lyrics and the lucent feel of the music leave me wanting more.
Cecil, the main voice of Night Vale was hugely entertaining on stage - I really don't think anybody was disappointed in the audience. Some visual gags have been added for the stage show, and Cecil's mellifluous tones are enhanced by his just as graceful movements and gestures on stage.
Disparition's work with the mandolin and rest of the musical background was exemplary and the supporting cast also.
Night Vale welcomes your camera for still shots but requests that video and audio not happen. Oh, and the audience participation, join in. Yes, Australian audiences aren't that steeped in it, but it's okay, you'll have fun.
If you haven't heard the podcast and don't have time, don't worry, the performance is suitable for those who've no experience of the place.
Slick, well produced, and polished, a fine production worth seeing.
10/10 Recommended and jamming with Scully and Mulder on their 'day off' on the Sid and Nancy Scale.
|Monroe and Associates is a fully immersive interactive theatrical live action roleplaying experience. It's thoroughly enjoyable, well presented and exciting. You are briefed, enter the caravan, and from then on you're in the world of Monroe and Associates, your only contact with the world outside the caravan the telephone, and various characters who may turn up to knock on your door.
There are puzzles to solve, and decisions to make. The sound and the lighting are controlled by the supporting performer and the whole thing is just great fun. If you've ever wanted to be Travis McGee, Spencer for Hire, Sam Spade or even wanted to leaf through the Rockford Files or at least his caravan, this would be your chance. Or it would be if it wasn't as usual, sold out, and rightfully so.
I can't tell you anything about the plotline without spoiling it for you, but rest assured, you will make your own entertainment, and you will get your money's worth. You have amnesia, a hat and the key to a caravan. They tell you you're Frankie Monroe.
This is one of the most well thought out and crafted entertainments I've ever seen.
10/10 outstanding and spending a busy day at the office of The Middleman on the Sid & Nancy scale.
| Do you know the album by Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells?
Revolutionary for the time, the young musical prodigy created an amazing work - and I remember my music teacher in 1978 playing us the bit that everyone knows, or should know and telling us this was an important piece of music.
You know, where the instruments are named and then played with the recurring theme. Of course bits of the album were used in the Exorcist and the London Olympics and so forth.
I heard the whole album, both sides, and on vinyl and cd. I play it quite often and its successor albums, dvds, other works by Oldfield. And always under the impression that if played live you need a lot of people, and possibly a pipe band for some of the later pieces.
How wrong I was. When I heard that Tubular Bells for Two was coming to Fremantle I did a bit of reading, hey, I like Tubular Bells and wow, a live performance. But by two people? How could that be?
How it can be is by two extremely energetic and hard working people -Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts arraying a bunch of instruments around themselves, learning them, working out how to string it all together and a heck of a lot of practise. Then they bring it to stage and let us watch.
And it's an extraordinary performance. Playing to a full house of enthralled music lovers, some who'd never heard the original, the logistical nightmare of playing each part of the opus was evident. But not in the music because it was wonderful to hear.
This was the musical equivalent of spinning a lot of plates and neither one dropped a plate. A multitude of guitars were exchanged - just these two guys on stage, no one else handing them anything, no one else on stage except them and about 20 instruments.
No grand piano, but keyboards are much more portable. Yes, there was a mandolin, and the signature tubular bells. Watching the fellows race around from place to place, from instrument to instrument, plectrums firmly grasped in the mouth for ease of access because now it's glockenspiel time the energy transfers itself to the music, and a tension grows. So much could go wrong, but doesn't!
And if something does go wrong these guys deal with it - a foot pedal broke off the drum kit during the amazing crescendo of the Piltdown Man sequence. A raw primal segment - complete with vocals and these guys adapted and the audience wouldn't have noticed particularly unless the failed object hadn't been brandished wrathfully in front of them. But the music went on, because these guys are good. Daring and evocative.
This is music close to the edge, but damn it, it's from the edge you get the best view. And if it teeters, you find that these performers have wings and will lift both you and the music over any obstacle and give you a better view yet.
One fellow in the audience had been to see all 4 performances. I wish I had. If they come again I will. They have a website - http://www.tubularbellsfortwo.com/ and an album available. I bought it, and if you like Tubular Bells it might interest you to hear such a energetic version.
10/10 Exultant and watching a rock opera based on Five Miles Out with real planes on the Sid and Nancy Scale.
Tonight we saw Sweet Dreams, a tribute to Annie Lennox by very fine singer and pianist +Michael Griffiths​. A friendly and warm performer, and skilled and playful pianist that he embodies would draw the crowds, but top this with a fine voice with clear and sonorous tones and it's gold.
He is Annie Lennox's biggest fan, and sings a mix of her songs as a sort of biography with snippets here and there in a pleasing narrative. Now these are not sung parrot style but in a way that shows Michael's range and musical mastership both of voice and piano off to good effect.
Fans of the Eurythmics and of Annie Lennox will be interested in hearing the early works - I'd forgotten the power of the lines "You can hear the sounds of the underground trains... you know if feels like distant thunder..." and even the most uninformed will enjoy and probably be familiar with Sweet Dreams.
This was playing at The Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, and they presented it as cabaret style entertainment with chairs and tables up on what would be the stage normally, with "Annie" performing from near one of the wings. It was intimate and a very pleasant way to do things, and people enjoyed their drinks at the tables.
This was Michael's last show for the Perth Fringe this year, he's heading off to Queensland for his next show and try to see him if you're fond of the Eurythmics, because he does a fine and sensitive job.
Hope he comes back next year.
9/10 powerful and moving and finding the briefcase with the two figurines in it from the old Live From Heaven video on the Sid and Nancy Scale.
Outside mer-acrobats, a stilted jellyfish and a huge moray eel entertained passersby. I will definitely be looking into more fringe events in Mandurah. The food vans here have much more gluten free options than the Cultural Centre fringe ones do.﻿ #fringeworld #fringeworld2016 #hubbub﻿
|Well Flash in the Can is with us again and treated us to a show of Aaand Now for Something Completely Improvised. These are the people behind Aaand Now For Something Completely Wireless, also an improv masterpiece. In tonight's show a forgetful old grandfather, prompted by audience members sets the scene for the story to be acted out by these skilled performers. So we had the Story of Boris (whose dark secret was that he had 3 left feet) and The Mashed Banana. We learned from audience members that it was set in Aberdeen, in the U.K and begins in a library. The cast pulled this all into a dramatic narrative involving Boris the Librarian's plot to translate all of the books in the Aberdeen Library into Scottish as should be right and proper in that place, a childless couple, 7800 babies, Leviticus and quite a lot of mashed banana. With scene and costume changes too, and a side note from one of the actors, who was born in Aberdeen. This was all wrapped up in a satisfying and clever conclusion. These stories will be different each night, of course, and the actors all have their own shows as well other Flash in the Can shows so there's a lot of hard work and brains there.
8.5 (this was the preview, they will get even better) out of 10 super and watching the Radio Prune / Whose Line Is It Anyway Mornington Crescent championship playoffs on the Sid and Nancy Scale.
#fringeworld #fringeword2016 ﻿
|osferatu with live score composed and played by Viola Dana.
This was an amazing experience down at Scarborough Beach at the Sunset Verandah - Big Top tonight. You unfortunately don't have the chance to see this performance at the rest of the Fringe as it was one night only. Not the usual Fringe 1 hour show. Not something the performers could do over and over - this is intense work.
They played a very good restoration of the classic horror film Nosferatu, and the band provided the score to it - live and with no stops.
This adds true intensity to cinema. For nearly two hours the band played constantly building the sound picture and the soul of the film.
As the band took their bows, it was clear that despite making it look and sound easy, playing to an unremitting conductor was physically and mentally exhausting. But exhilarating too and the audience certainly picked it up.
I never knew anybody was doing this sort of thing locally and I'm going to keep my eye on them.
They will be doing Buster Keaton's The General at the Hyde Park Festival on the 14th and I urge you to go, because it is quite stupendous to have this cinematic experience. More info here http://www.vincent.wa.gov.au/Y.....ummer_Concert_14_Feb
Left to right - Tristen Parr on cello, Jozef Grech on guitar, Kathy Corecig on viola, Pete Guazzelli handling MC and percussion. Photo by +Rob Masters
10/10 fantastic and being invited to watch Young Frankenstein in company with the original cast on The Sid and Nancy Scale.
#fringeworld #fringeword2016 ﻿
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