Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Friday, 12 October 2012
Never Did Me Any Harm, Oct 11, 2012 ****
Majeure and Sydney Theatre Company, by Melbourne Festival
Theatre, Oct 9 to 13, 2012
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Oct 11, 2012
Stars:**** Version of this review published in Herald Sun on Sun, Oct 14, 2012
NEVER DID ME ANY HARM is a
peculiar melding of contemporary dance with word-based theatre, is based on
real interviews with parents about their attitudes to parenting and to their
Director, Kate Champion,
weaves personal stories and observations together with abstract physicalisation
in an episodic structure that is often charming and warm, with a high
recognition factor for parents in the audience.
The stage, an Australian
backyard, is intermittently transformed by Ben Cobham’s complex and
mind-bending lighting, into a surreal, non-literal place that reflects and
exaggerates a parent’s rage or confusion, love or desperation.
One early scene is an
inspired collision of abstract movement and voice when two dancers physicalise
a recorded dialogue between two parents.
In another dynamic,
physical encounter, a father interacts with his daughter, at first playfully,
but finally vents his frustration by shaking her while startled witnesses
observe. (Shades of Tsiolkas’ novel The Slap).
In addition to recorded,
voice-over dialogue, there are several compelling monologues performed live,
including Catherine McClements’ distressing narrative as a mother who discovers
her teenage daughter’s precocious, sexual activities when she reads her diary.
Crowley performs an
impassioned diatribe describing his anger and despair about the way in which
children are cosseted and indulged these days, and how education is obsessively
Snippets and quotes from
parents revealing their fears, idiosyncrasies and the challenges of parenthood
in a modern world, elicit the laughter of identification from adults in the
The balance of the
physical with the verbal is not perfect, and the parents depicted are
relentlessly middle class, but there are several enchanting moments in this
By Kate Herbert
Creative Team includes:
Director, Kate Champion; Choreography, The
Company; Set & Lighting, Ben Cobham; Composer, Max Lyandvert Cast includes:
Catherine McClements, Tracy
Mann, Vincent Crowley, Alan Flower, Marlo Benjamin, Sarah Jane Howard, Josh Mu