Brian Friel's 1979 play, often considered his masterpiece, is a study in character, storytelling and the theatrical form of the monologue, that revolves around the character of Frank Hardy: an itinerant 'faith healer' plying his trade in 1950s and 1960s smalltown Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Through four monologues, by Frank, his wife Grace and his former manager Teddy, we are offered differing perspectives on the man and his 'art': faith-based preaching and healing. Actress and director Judy Davis helms this production, which stars her husband Colin Friels as Frank, with Alison Whyte as his wife Grace and Paul Blackwell replacing Pip Miller (from the Sydney season) as the manager Teddy. Faith Healer premiered at Belvoir in 2016. Below is Time Out Sydney's 4-star review: Faith Healer is the kind of show that won’t, on the face of it, appeal to everyone: the idea of Colin Friels playing an Irish faith healer in a Brian Friels’ play that’s comprised only of monologues suggests that you’re in for a wordy evening of scenery-chewing performance. At 110 minutes with no interval, it’s not for the faint-hearted. But if this is your cup of tea, boy is it a good one. If you like seeing Friels chew scenery (his strong suit); if you are susceptible to plays about the human need to tell stories; if you fancy an Irish accent, and a cracking tale – you will love this show. Judy Davis, directing her husband alongside Alison Whyte and Pip Miller, delivers a straight-shooting production t
Read about The Book of Mormon $40 ticket lottery. It can be difficult for Australian audiences to receive any international musical without certain preconceptions: the rumours of greatness tend to wash onto our shores long before the tour has even been announced. When one of the biggest Broadway hits of the millennium rolls into town, the sense of expectation can be dangerously high. The Book of Mormon comes with the kind of ecstatic hype usually found accompanying a messiah. Instead, Elders Price and Cunningham turn up – which is possibly less shattering, but ultimately way more fun. The unlikely genesis of this mega-hit is well documented; suffice to say that Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the brains behind South Park and Team America, made an unholy alliance with Robert Lopez, the creator of dirty puppet porn Avenue Q, to create this monstrous satire of everything. The result is a show as perverse as it is heartfelt, as clever as it is moving. It really is as good as they say. The opening number, ‘Hello’, sets the tone as deftly and memorably as ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’defines the parameters of Oklahoma! The scene is familiar to us all: a bunch of trainee missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints are ringing on doorbells, keen to share the news “of this amazing book”. Their squeaky grins and infectious positivity are so aligned with the traditional image of the Broadway musical that the sparkly vests and tap routines that soon follow feel like a
Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting was published in 1993 but is actually set in the late ’80s. It’s a peculiar detail, because the subsequent hit film seemed to define the ’90s, with its driving Britpop soundtrack and grown-up, full frontal depiction of a drug scene that was already starting to fray at the edges. It’s hard to imagine, but it was a time when heroin was cool, and insouciant nihilism ruled the streets of Edinburgh. Adapted for the stage by Harry Gibson soon after the novel was released, the play certainly stays true to Welsh’s impenetrable phonetic prose; the Scottish accents are so thick you’ll be lucky to catch half the dialogue. This isn’t as problematic as it might seem – you don’t need to understand someone’s words to know they want to smash you in the face with a billiard cue – but it does tend to flatten some characters into merely gestural figures. Chris Dennis’s Begbie, in particular, comes across as more of a rabid dog than a brooding psychopath, barking guttural but indecipherable venom at anyone in sight. It’s effective, up to a point, but it’s played decidedly in a single key. The novel was really a series of vignettes, which works well for Gibson’s purpose here. The play isn’t so much a narrative as a layering of the visceral horrors of addiction on top of one another until the structural integrity gives way. Mark Denton (Gavin Ross) and his friends Sick Boy (Michael Lockerbie), Tommy (Greg Esplin) and the aforementioned Begbie hang around in pub
The influence of Sam Holcroft's science degree can be seen in this suburban comedy of manners, in which the relationships within one family are analysed accordin to the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The play debuted at the National Theatre in 2015; this local production stars Red Stitch ensemble members Rory Kelly and Caroline Lee, alongside guest actors including Jessica Clarke, Mark Dickinson, Jem Nicholas, Ian Rooney, Ella Newton and Lily McCarthy.