Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
By Mike Bartlett, Melbourne Theatre
Company Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne, and Feb 13 until Mar 22, 2014 Reviewer:
Kate Herbert on Feb 13 Stars:** This review was NOT written for, or published in the Herald Sun. Sorry it took so long to publish here. KH
of this play made me think of James May on Top
Gear, when he stacks a Bugatti Veyron, sighing with exasperation and
exclaiming, “Oh, cock!”
But Mike Bartlett’s
play with its childishly provocative title, Cock, (attention-grabbing anyone!) lacks
even the wit and complexity of May’s blunt expletive.
triangle with a twist is no novelty – except when it involves a man who cannot
choose between another man and a woman.
indulgent and repetitive with thoroughly dislikeable characters that spend
their time bullying each other or simpering and whining and repeating the same
until the end.
LeticiaCáceres’ production is awkward and colourless (surprising
given its content) and the static and unimaginative direction and stilted
performances do nothing to enhance Bartlett’s repetitive and adolescent script.
glib dialogue is repetitive and riddled with clumsy interruptions, unfinished
sentences and unresolved thoughts that do not illuminate the characters,
relationships or issues.
Based on characters from Dario Fo & Franca Rame's Female Parts
Arts Speakeasy 2014
Northcote Town Hall, until
Feb 23, 2014
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Review also published in Herald Sun online on Mon Feb 10 and in print on Tues Feb 11. KH
Evelyn Krape on stage in More Female Parts
It is a joy and a
privilege to watch Evelyn Krape on stage in More Female Parts, performing updated,
rebooted and aged versions of characters that she originally performed in the
Local playwright, Sara
Hardy’s script delivers three, new monologues based on Female Parts written by
Italian playwrights, Franca Rame and Dario Fo, in 1977.
Can’t Sleep, Can’t Sleep
showcases Krape’s entertainingly idiosyncratic clown style as a rattled,
60-something grandmother who becomes increasingly frantic hunting for lost keys
and preparing chaotically for a job interview after decades of unemployment.
This piece is based on Fo
and Rame’s original monologue about a frenetic, young mum, but Hardy’s piece is
a satirical, political biting commentary on the shrinking workplace for older
Australians, the chauvinism of employers and their obsession with youth. Sigh!
The second piece,
Penthouse Woman 2044, is comical but grimmer, as Krape portrays a woman
incarcerated by her absent husband in her plush apartment where she
communicates through a talking computer while her husband keeps her under 24
combined with her brittle comedy, makes this a disturbing glimpse into the life
and mind of a woman who is oppressed by not only her controlling husband, but
her own fears.
The final work, Hip Op,
based on Fo and Rame’s The Same Old Story, sees Krape as narrator of a fairy
tale about a little girl who leaves her gingerbread house, her ordinary parents
and awful big sister to make her mark in the Ivory Tower of academia and in the
big corporate world.
This allegorical tale is
another political statement, this time about women hitting the glass ceiling in
the workplace, and Krape is hilarious playing the quirky characters, especially
the girl’s wickedly scatological dolly who guides her on her journey.
Lois Ellis’s direction
highlights Krape’s comic skills but the production could be more imaginatively
staged and could tighten up the inordinately long scene changes between the
first two stories.
Krape is a magnetic
performer and a stalwart of Melbourne theatre who we see infrequently on stage
these days. Directors, take heed.
Brooke Berman, Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre, Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre,
until March 8, 2014
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Feb 7 Stars: ***1/2 Review also published in Herald Sun online on Mon Feb 10 and in print on Tues Feb 11. KH
Brett Cousins & Kate Cole in Out Of The Water. Pic David Parker
Falling in love can be
gentle and comforting but it can also be desperate and ravenous, as Polly and
Graham find out when they reunite in Brooke Berman’s play, Out of The Water.
Kate Cole is satisfyingly
unpredictable and feisty as Polly, the New York cafe-owner who tumbles into a
torrid affair with her former stepbrother, Graham, who is played with
vulnerability and restraint by Brett Cousins.
15 years ago, Polly’s
mother divorced Graham’s unpleasant father, but the pair collide at Graham’s
dad’s funeral in Liberty, Iowa, where Graham lives with his deluded, depressed
Christian wife and his family.
Despite their former,
mutual loathing and vastly divergent lifestyles and beliefs, Polly and Graham’s
loneliness and need for intimacy launch them into a passionate, emotionally
dangerous and inevitably foolhardy liaison.
When Graham’s conservative,
Jesus-loving, teenage daughter, Cat, (Emily Milledge) arrives to retrieve her
dad, it is evident that the relationship is doomed and Polly cannot haul Graham
out of the water to save him from drowning in his own life.
The problem for Polly is
that she cannot save herself from drowning either.
allegorical references to Odysseus being held captive for years by the nymph,
Calypso, are tenuous, unnecessary and inaccurate, given that Graham pursued
Polly to New York and stayed by choice, despite her protestations.
The performances are
nuanced and engaging, and director, Nadia Tass, skilfully focuses on the
complex emotional layers that are buried beneath these three, confused and
structure allows time to pass as Polly and Graham’s affair evolves from rampant
lust to joyful, but still passionate domesticity, however the long scene
changes that Tass carefully masks with music, become tedious after a while.
There is a sense of
foreboding throughout for the couple whose need for connection makes them
clutch at each other to save themselves from isolation – in a marriage in
Graham’s case, and in a teeming city for Polly.
of The Water is a snapshot of a love affair that will resonate with many people
who risked their hearts on a hopeless love.
Tass - Director Brett
Cousins as Graham Kate
Cole as Polly Emily
Milledge as Cat