Year of the Family -the all new Kings Cross Theatre

There is a new and very welcome addition to Sydney’s independent theatre scene..Kings Cross Theatre. It is situated on the second floor of the Kings Cross Hotel, right opposite the iconic coca cola sign. The space is excellent with two facing, well raked banks of seats.

This play is a triumph and credit must go to the director Richard Hillar. Richard has been reviewed by me previously and last night’s event only secures further my comment that if he is associated with a play, it will be good.

The play, ‘Year Of The Family’ is by well known English playwright Anthony Neilson, and it is terrific. The action is swift,interesting and creates very dynamic scenes and plot twists.The play is a series of ‘vignettes’ where various characters interact and this requires constant movement whilst maintaining a sense of timelessness on stage.The direction really hits the mark, and without any significant sets and very simple props. This is true creativity!

In order to engage the audience whilst the plot pieces have not yet fitted together, the ensemble cast must really perform flawlessly…and they do. I have seen most of these actors in previous independent play, often in a Hilliar play, and they rise to the challenge . Brendan Miles, Brooke Ryan, Nicole Wineberg, David Woodland and Peter-William Jamieson all bring humour and poignancy to their characters.

I am so thrilled that there is another venue for me to see independent productions and I hope that Sydney will get behind these places and ensure their success!!


‘Whale’ is Bold and Beautiful

It is only February but already the new play at the old Fitz is going to be one of the best plays for 2016 .It is a play of epic dimensions even though it is set in a tiny apartment in small town USA. This production brings out all the layers of the story exquisitely.

The Whale in this play is three characters- the whale of Moby Dick, the whale of Jonah fame and an extremely overweight gentleman.

As the play opens a man is offering critiques for literary essays online to students. He is morbidly obese and he is short of breath. There is an immediate chasm between this man’s capable brain and a body that has been almost destroyed.The story that follows has several interesting and interwoven plot lines and the audience eventually can piece all the back stories together. There is alot of humour in the lines, and the audience cannot help but laugh but there is an ever present undercurrent of sadness so that all emotions get a work out!

It is an American play and the cast have mastered their accents so well that when I spoke to some of the cast afterwards it seemed surprising that they were not actually American. The acting is truly breathtaking. Some of the performers are very well known to Sydney audiences, such as Keith Aguis ( Bell Shakespeare etc) and Meredith Penman ( STC etc) and some relative newcomers, such as Chloe Bayliss  but these and the other cast members Alex Beauman and Hannah Waterman are all wonderful.

I do not normally comment on the production values but this play has been so carefully thought through and some touches- such as making the performance area smaller by actually building a bank of seats works exceptionally well.

As a youngster I used to watch Countdown, and Mollie would often exhort the audience at home to “do (themselves) a favour” and attend a concert/buy an album. Well do yourselves a big favour: see The Whale before it closes!