Thursday, May 3, 2007

Where In The World Is Rhys Sandiego?

Rhys lives! Yes, it's true.
Where on earth have he been? I've been trying out various undercover identities, including a stint as an aspiring social work student, but have been found out and had to 'break cover' (spy-speak). As the dust settles, I have been keeping honest in a law firm typing out letters and words. I have been keeping busy working with Cowboy Mouth on a new piece that will be on around early September (the plugs blackmailing you all to come won't begin just yet... but soon!). I've taken a bit of time off from my tunes, but I am set to start playing a few dates later in the month.

But enough about me. Let's talk about my blog! I've been pretty neglectful of late, and would love to have written more on the things I've been seeing lately - I will try and remedy this in the days to come. For those curious, this is a very, very truncated set of thoughts on some recent expeditions (unfortunately a lot of this will only make sense to those who also saw these pieces)...

24.3 Black at the Malthouse
Not knowing much about the piece's subject (the murder of Betty Short), I really enjoyed this intriguing work. The central performance was hypnotic. The set of windows/mirrors in the middle, the real whispers (as opposed to stage whispers), the 'looped' nature of the show... it all certainly emphasised the mystery of the Black Dahlia. It was a great exercise in deconstructing evidence that was not static, but unchanging, incomplete and indecipherable. I also really liked the books cased in melting blocks of ice and the working mechanism that led to the water activating a terrifying alarm of cutlery (that's my best attempt at a description of it!). I enjoyed the freedom of roaming around the performers, to work more autonomously as an audience member. It was, however, a very dense work and I almost wish there were even more objects and 'artifacts' as part of the installation - more 'clues' to help illustrate the story.

24.3 180 Seconds in Heaven or Hell at NMTH
What a party! This gathering of artists to deliver a barrage of 3 minute performances had a carnival, almost (adult) rave feel to it - like a bachaanal even. Some of my favs were Lucy Guerin's vaccum man piece, Ingrid Weisfelt's mad nun, Angus Cerini and Chris Kohn's piece, and CW Stoneking - who was a bit of a revelation to me. Lawrence Leun was a fine host, and I particularly liked the last minute, informal feel of it. Hope it becomes an annual event.

29.3 Marcel and Albertine: Proust on Love at The Stork
My first initiation to Proust. The performances were great (particularly Nicola Gunn) and it the venue complemented the work perfectly - the intimacy and austere nature of the space particularly. It's examination of social class, scandal and sexuality has aged particularly well, and I was surprised at how contemporary and relevant it felt. Full of playfulness and melodrama, as well as authentic emotion.

9.4 The Ghost Writer at The Arts Centre
I was really looking forward to this as I had loved Contruction of a Human Heart by the same playwright. The piece was solid enough, as were the performances (particularly Belinda McClory). However, the space was far too big for the work, and director Julian Meyrick squandered alot of the play's life with his too-slow pacing. I sqiurmed at a couple of 'MTC moments' - for example when the mother of a dead daughter does a small monologue on the loss of her daughter - cue 'serious' music, lighting change... puke (apologies, I will try and clean up my language). Still, some fine writing and a nice set too.

15.4 The Pitch at the Malthouse
This was a real crowd pleaser from Peter Houghton. It was an energetic and sincere performance - Houghton has a great knack for conjuring up images and is a fine story teller. It was a well paced satire of Hollywood, as well as (a little less satisfactorally) a sympathetic look at a writer struggling for success and for love. The central character's back-story seemed a tiny bit underdone, and the set was great but revealed itself to be very versatile in the final scene (and as such I think Houghton could have benefitted from using it more. I really enjoyed myself and laughed alot, but was always a little aware of the 'strings' or the 'craft' - perhaps this too would have benefitted from a smaller space (it was initially staged at La Mama i believe - and you can't get much smaller than that!).

- End Part One
- Part Two (later this week) will include Exit The King, Tense Dave and OT.

Farewell friends, feel free to drop a message telling me what you're up to. Also I'd love to hear what others have thought of these shows.

Later all.