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Archive for the ‘Australian Theatre’ Category

Charitable Intent – Now Playing at The Concourse

charitable intent


PLACE: The Concourse, Chatswood

PLAY: Face to Face ( part of the Jack Manning Trilogy by David Williamson)  

PERIOD: Closes 27th September 2014


A conniving, narcissistic, backstabbing bitch is the central character in the third part of David Williamson’s Jack Manning trilogy. Bryony (Catherine McGraffin) has been appointed as CEO of a charity and her modern corporate methods cause conflict with the staid, long term members of the organisation. The harmonious operation of the organisation has become dysfunctional to the extent that the board requires a community conference in an attempt to restore balance.

A workplace squabble about organisational direction has spiralled out of control to the extent that there are screaming sessions and unworkable relationships. This scenario resonates well with the audience as everyone is familiar with this or a similar situation. The other appealing feature of this play is having a classic soap opera style nasty bitch as a central character. It is good to have a character that the audience can metaphorically hiss and boo at. Some of Bryony’s lines drew a groan or an intake of breath from the audience.

Williamson’s dislike of management jargon provides much of the humour in Charitable Intent. Much of it comes from Bryony, and she seems oblivious to the meaningless nature of corporate lingo but somehow seems to have captivated the chairman and the board with her management textbook drivel.

Jack Manning is again played well by Glenn Hazeldine. He maintains his pleasant persona through some heated exchanges and captures the right level of restraint and reticence to maintain control. The other central character Amanda is played Fiona Press who has captured the downtrodden and suffering employee who is the victim of Bryony’s cruel and malevolent behaviour. They are ably supported by Chloe Bayliss, Persia Blue, Ally Fowler, Noel Hodda and Jessica Sullivan.

This production of Charitable Intent opened 17th September until 27th September.

Face to Face – Now Playing at The Concourse



PLACE: The Concourse, Chatswood

PLAY: Face to Face ( part of the Jack Manning Trilogy by David Williamson)  

PERIOD: On now, closes 27th September 2014


Face to Face is one of David Williamson’s plays from his Jack Manning Trilogy. The Trilogy is based on community conferencing, where victims and perpetrators of a crime are brought together to attempt to achieve a resolution and to avoid the court process. This might sound like good and worthy material for a typical left wing Williamson play and it could be viewed as such but the sharp and intriguing dialogue lifts it to a higher level. As could be expected the boss is exploitative and the workers treated badly but these are secondary issues to the main drama.

Glen Tragaskis, in a catching performance by Andrew Cutcliffe, a young scaffolder has been fired and then rams his car into the bosses Mercedes. A community conference is held to try and resolve the situation and avoid court and gaol. Jack Manning, in an excellent performance by Glenn Hazeldine, starts nervously as he facilitates the conference, but generally directs the conversation assuredly as various unexpected side issues emerge. Bullying and pranking are common practices at the scaffolding site and these lead Glen to reacting violently and consequently being fired. These issues are further investigated and explored in the conference and it emerges that just about all of the characters in the play have acted dishonourably or inappropriately.

Willamson is in his best form writing the heartfelt, emotional and witty dialogue. Sandra Bates’ direction utilises this fine writing to encourage strong performances from the talented cast.

Adriano Cappelletta is excellent as Luka, a workmate of Glen, involved but not a ringleader in the bullying.. Jamie Oxenbould, Erica Lovell, Kristian Schmid and Catherine McGraffin  give strong performances. Warren Jones, Fiona Press and Jessica Sullivan each bring fine performances to the production.

There is a lot to enjoy about Face to Face. It feels as if the conference could erupt into a wild brawl or an all out screaming match, or possibly proceed in the opposite direction and with excessive hugging and crying but Williamson’s well crafted script avoids melodrama and keeps the audience fully engaged.

Face to Face, is part of  Williamson’s Jack Manning Trilogy along with two other plays, A Conversation and Charitable Intent. All three are showing until September 27.



Review by culture vulture, Mark Pigott

John Knowles’ one man show draws extensively from his childhood in Nova Scotia. The rambling monologue features many tales of his father, who ran away from home when he was fourteen to become a cowboy in the Rocky Mountains, his bizarre recollections of his school friends, his mother’s incomprehensible sayings and his many brushes with death. The humorous stories are mixed with some poignant tales, which is initially a little disconcerting considering this show is part of Sydney Fringe Comedy. However, Knowles has struck a good balance which works very well as a one hour piece of entertainment.
Knowles’ father was a larger than life character and as we discover cowboys don’t make good fathers. A good father wouldn’t replace the bow and arrow, which was confiscated after nearly killing someone, with a rifle. This one of John’s many stories that are funny but also quite chilling.
It is amazing that a self confessed nerd was bootlegging when he was in high school, exploding home made bombs and mocking an armed robber. Fortunately, Knowles weaves these events into an engaging and surprisingly sweet narrative. There are lots of quirky stories but the sense of shared intimacy lifts this show to different level.

Storytiller is on at The Factory, Marrickville until 14th September. The Sydney Fringe Festival runs until 5th October.

The Wharf Revue | “Open For Business”


Reviewed by culture vulture, Mark Pigott


Open for Business (Back In 5 mins) was staged against a Monopoly board backdrop and floor with a variety of topical squares to land on. Go To ICAC, Australian Water Holdings, Catholic Church, Slush Fund, Salvos and Commission Into Union Corruption were some of the tantalising options on the set.

The Wharf Revue follows a familiar format of sketches satirising, ridiculing and lampooning the Canberra politicians and a few other national figures. The audience were welcomed to the House of Review to the strains of Advance Australia Fair by the speaker, Bronwyn Bishop, played by the fabulous Amanda Bishop, and this was followed by a steady stream of impersonations and ridicule of politicians and media personalities.
The performances by Amanda Bishop and Jonathon Biggins were exceptional and were well supported by Phil Scott and Douglas Hansell. Phil Scott also displayed his considerable skill as a pianist.

Open For Business is not the funniest version of The Wharf Revue produced over its fifteen year history but there many amusing impersonations and some hilarious and very clever sketches. Jonathon Biggins as Bob Brown singing and dancing to Get Back Your Green Thang, Everybody Dance Now was bizarrely wonderful. Inbedded With The Morrisons in which Scott Morrison is in bed with his wife deflecting her questions as if she were a hostile journalist was very clever. Other highlights were a torch song from Miranda Devine and an opera sung in German gibberish but with very funny surtitles. Paul Keating’s speech to his fellow irrelevant Australians and his dance routine with Julia Gillard was classic Keating at his vitriolic best. Lines such as “the brains of the organisation left when Wilson Tuckey retired” are pure gems. However, a lot of the humour is of the Benny Hill ilk and a fair amount is just an impersonation relying on the audiences’ dislike of politicians. The writers may have been so despondent about the dire state of Australian political discourse that they felt it was inappropriate to make jokes about it.

The show will be touring around for the coming months and by the time it reaches The Wharf (Sydney Theatre Company) in October, I expect it to be a funnier more consistent show. The Wharf Revue opened at Penrith’s Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre on Thursday 4th September and after at other venues.

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