Apr. 11th, 2009 06:44 pm
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And another one:

I'm stoked by getting mentions in these.... :).


Apr. 7th, 2009 01:46 pm
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Found 3 reviews of the show - all very favourable!

The Age comedy festival blog
MUSU review

I'm posting this more so they're in 1 space for my future reference than anything else, but have a read if you'd like!
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2008 was good to me. A year of crises, yes, but crises precipitates change. And change is never boring....

Some things didn't change. A lot didn't change for me actually. I still have 2 arms, for example. This is a good thing.
My turn to ramble! )
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Saw it tonight and then walked a long way home in the rain....

In short it was hit and miss, but when it hit it hit hard and it hit well.

The play is set in the immediate aftermath of the Trojan War, and tells the story of how the Trojan women are divided up as spoils among the greek victors.

The set was built of lockers (I mean school lockers), and spattered with blood. It was all very industrial and very stark. Echoes of Abu Graib, Guantanamo or any such 'compound' (what a word - compound yeah..). I don't know what the stage area was. A yard? A place to execute the prisoners?

Enter Hecuba, queen of troy. Wheeled, with her crown and robes on. Sack over her head. The 'attendant' wearing a Hanibal Lector-esque mask, wheeling her out then set her up, and took a photo with his mobile phone. These attendants appeared time and time again. Brutalising the women, shipping them about, and putting them in boxes to be loaded onto the Greek ships. A theme that recurred through the show, and it worked really well. Hecuba was then stripped of her rainment, which was put in little plastic bags like in a prison, And left standing shivering in her underwear. This idea of the women being treated as cargo - as objects and as spoils of war and as subjects for mobile phone pictures came across strongly again and again. And it was very effective.

Hecuba was the star of the show - and she was the highlight. She was accompanied by a chorus of 3 women, who sung (their songs ranged from Louis Armstrong to Slovenian folk music) intermittently, often against the sound of gunshots ringing out off stage. 1 woman played Kassandra, Andromache and Helen. Menelaus was the only other speaking character aside from Talthybius - who was never on stage but whose voice came through a speaker suspended from the ceiling. He was dispassionate and unsympathetic - nothing like the Talthybius of Euripides' play...

And here's where we hit the issues. I think this production would have benefited from breaking from the text entirely and concentrating on the message it was trying to put across. A message about brutality, and what happens to captives and captors - the powerless and the powerful - with the Trojan War as the backdrop. The moments of actual text were the weakest. Actors were over-stylised, static and very 'serious' when these moments occurred, and it just didn't mesh with the production. Hecuba's most effective monologues were her arias.

The relationships between Hecuba and the other women were also awkward. Kassandra was too 'Look at me I'm so crazy sooooo crazy did I mention I'm crazy....! Ha ha! crazy!' (made me think if Lisa's Ophelia from the Simpsons), and as a result she was unclear. She was brutalised and she was broken, yes - but she was also (apparently) delivering text - which in this show became superfluous. The pattern was kind of maintained. Andromache was pregnant in this production. "Gothic Pregnant Andromache" as Helen dubbed her. I think this was done entirely to set up a punch to the stomach she received from the guards at one point. And then Helen seemed to be coked up (or something - she was high I'm sure of it) and kind of helpless - I think the whole scene would have been more interesting if she'd had higher status, especially with Menelaus.

So yes - issues around the text, and a couple of bits of brutality that I think were a bit gratuitous and non-essential to the play. But as mentioned when it did hit, it hit hard.

Oh and Menelaus looked like Grand Moff Tarkin from Star Wars Episode 4. And he was in a wheel chair. It was cool.
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I found another reivew! Yes ANOTHER ONE!!!!

That means we've had 4 of them. The first one that came out early in the season was very favourable. The next two that came out 3/4 of the way through the season were not so favourable.... I have vented to the cast about these, and they've vented back. And the nature of the feedback from these reviews didn't upset me too much because they illustrated a degree of success in what I was trying to present with the production.

Then today I just happened accross another one that was very favourable indeed! So I was a shade chuffed.

It's not online, it's a print review only (as far as I can tell) and it's in this weeks edition of 'Inpress' - so if you've got the chance and the time have a squiz, we're on page 74.

Select quotes:

'I expected to have to work harder and laugh less'

'The performances are just right, out there and masterful'

'tight pacing means wordiness is nicely balanced with action'

'with this production of the oldest of plays you do get surprises.'

So - I've said it already, but well done everyone!


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