Werewolves

“As night falls on the town of Millers Hollow, there’s trouble afoot and werewolves are stalking the innocent villagers.” – Nicholas Philips

Werewolves is an interactive party game, hosted by Nicholas Philips, in which the players must find and kill the werewolves before the village is decimated. I attended the February 19 performance given at the Ruby Room at Holden Street Theatres. The experience was nothing like I thought it would be.

The premise of Werewolves is pretty good to say the least. There are several different characters: Villagers, a Seers (who can see other people’s cards), Cupid (who can make two people lovers), a Witch (who can cure or kill someone), Hunter (can kill someone before dying) and Werewolves (who kill other players). I was given the Hunter card, which saved me halfway through the game.

Werewolves is a game where the enjoyment comes from the audience. My experience was enhanced by the great audience. The people overall were engaging and enthusiastic about it. One or two people brought some unnecessarily long-winded conversations into the game, which took me out of the experience and was irritating; however, the host handled it very professionally.

Due to low numbers, the event almost didn’t happen. Thankfully, some staff members from Holden Street Theatres joined in bringing their enthusiasm.

The Werewolves experience changes with each game, which makes it a refreshing change for the Fringe. In my game, for example, our village got decimated (thanks to yours truly) and I was the only one left alive. It was these tense moments which heightened my enjoyment. Could you trust your fellow player, or should you suspect everyone?

If you’re interested in giving something different a go, or just want a fun game with strangers or friends, then Werewolves is a must see. There is a lot of enjoyment to be found within this game and is both tense and edge-of-your-seat entertaining. I would love to play Werewolves again this Fringe to see how different it is.

 

4 / 5 stars


Words by Cameron Lowe

Werewolves is on until March 15

For more information and to buy tickets, click here

Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum with Expats

Drink Rum with Expats is one of the many highly acclaimed productions currently on show at Holden Street Theatres. Presented by Sh!t Theatre – the collaboration of UK based duo, Becca Biscuit and Louise Mothersole – this production offers itself as a recount of Becca and Louise’s venture to Malta, a small, idealistic, sun-kissed island in Europe. Specifically, the pair take us to Valletta, ‘The European Capital of Culture’. This comical telling quickly shows its full depth as the pair take a deep dive into the political climate of this small country.  The production highlights the profound cultural tensions that lie beneath a country’s touristic offering and also explores the constructions of expats and immigrants.

On our entrance we were poured a beer and given cheese: Sh!t Theatre were welcoming in us in with the same pleasant rituals that expats experience when establishing their communities abroad. Soon after introductions, Becca and Louise begin to unpack the privilege of an expat and the marginalisation of an immigrant, yet they are not arrogant or overpowering in this political discussion. ‘Expats’ and ‘Immigrants’ are lined up alongside of each other, exposing their constructed similarities and differences – it is suggested that the former comes from a ‘rich’ country, and the latter from a ‘poor’ one. This is symbolically presented many times throughout the production, such as when we see our expats wearing life jackets and drowning themselves in alcohol, while the screen behind them plays a photo reel of immigrants drowning at sea. Before we know it, Becca and Louise plunge into one of Malta’s, and the world’s, greatest predicaments: who is entitled to citizenship?

This piece of theatre is by no means traditional; instead, it is a rich melting pot of various theatrical genres, mediums and devices. There is song, dance and elements of physical theatre. The set, in its structure, is rather simple but decorated with humble props that bring the space to life, with each prop serving as a connection to travels or the political discussion at hand. The use of real audio recordings, photographs and videos from Sh!t Theatre’s travels contributed not only to the humour of the piece, but in realising the authenticity and intensity of the unfortunate truths that sit behind the comedy.

A specific note of praise must be given to the inclusion of song within Drink Rum with Expats. Revised lyrics and touching harmonies were applied a familiar sea shanty tune and the audience were invited to sing along, establishing a sense of community and belonging within the quaint theatre. The singing was at times jovial but also offered the sensation of nostalgia and a melancholic connection formed within a patriotic community when under threat.

The execution of this production was sharp and seamless.  It was fast paced and engaging with an improvisational tone. It felt like highly organised chaos, a whirlwind, allowing 75 minutes fly by in an instant. The organic chemistry between Becca and Louise was evident, heightening the comedic appeal of the production. The fact that there was, arguably, no fourth wall ever built to be broken encouraged a relationship to be formed quickly between performers and audience members. Such a relationship enabled the uncomfortable undertones of this piece to be received without resistance. A hearty commendation should be given to Becca and Louise for their writing. Layering comedy with harrowing political commentary takes remarkable intelligence and acute social awareness.

Sh!t Theatre were right to present such a show to Australian audiences. An ‘Australian expat’ and ‘expats in Australia’ are common pairings. However, the relationship between Australia and immigration is not nearly as friendly and sometimes forgotten. Australian citizens have often exercised the privilege of living and travelling abroad, immersing ourselves in a foreign culture and then returning home to be welcomed with open arms by everyone in our country – even those working at airport security – all because of our Australian documentation. Becca and Louise’s experiences were much the same.

It has never been more important for people to see such pieces of art, and Becca and Louise make this piece of political theatre an absolute pleasure to watch.

 

4.5/ 5 stars


Words by Michelle Wakim

Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum With Expats runs until March 15.
To find out more and to purchase tickets click here.

Review: Tender Napalm

From the very opening, Tender Napalm twists like a bite to the lips. Within this play, both beauty and brutality lie close to one another. Love and hate, violence and tenderness, are the shared blade of a doubled-edged knife.
The players of Tender Napalm are an unnamed man and woman, played by Mark Healy and Carol Lawton respectively. Outside of the immediate narrative, much of the backdrop of the relationship history of these characters is left unspoken. Instead, it simmers under the surface tension of the push-and-pull of their power dynamics. The aftermath of tragedy lies underfoot as love, sexual desire, and violence play out between the characters. Their histories are gestured at but largely remain unspoken; even at the end, you do not know the precise details of what has happened to them. Healy and Lawton carry this tension in an incredibly dynamic, believable performance. There is a real feeling of deep connection between them, both of love and resentment. Their chemistry is such that, at times, the audience is like an eye through a keyhole; transgressively voyeuristic.
The tension of this play is masterfully maintained; the interplay of love and violence depicted is adversarial and uplifting at turns – but never boring. Just when the characters seem to have plumbed the depths of animosity, something softens. Similarly, tenderness is turned to confrontation in moments. Raw emotion is tempered with biting humour. 80 minutes goes swiftly. There is a tangible sense that Healy and Lawton sunk their teeth into the meat of their roles, and it is a delight to watch. Lawton brings a pleasingly vicious delight to moments of savagery that have men in the audience crossing their legs. Healy especially impresses; the honesty of his acting during some of the play’s quieter and more emotional moments is riveting to behold.
At times Tender Napalm is uncomfortably, unflinchingly vivid, in others it is tenderly, poetically beautiful, but it is gripping in all moments. The play closes the way it opened, on a man and a woman in a quiet embrace. This is what it means love, to hold, to hate; “a bullet between the lips… without breaking a single tooth”.

4.5 Stars

 

Words by Taeghan Buggy

Tender Napalm runs from the 19th to the 29th of June at Holden Street Theatres. Tickets and times can be found here.

The Archive of Educated Hearts

The Archive of Educated Hearts is an exquisitely touching piece of work. This theatre and installation act is tucked away in one of the snug and charming spaces at the Holden Street Theatres. In this half an hour production, Casey Jay Andrews, both writer and performer, shares the true stories of four women and their battles with breast cancer; these women are all influential figures in Andrews’ life.

The intimacy, created by both the physical space and the way the stories are told, was overwhelming. The small audience of only six were seated in a crescent shape around Andrews, allowing her to offer every person eye contact and directed expression, having a remarkable effect on our emotional investment. The performance space was filled with homely treasures – pictures, trinkets, old toys, books – the floor covered with beautifully detailed rugs, and the seats were old sofa chairs that many of us associate with our grandparents’ houses. It felt like a feminine space. It was the perfect place to discuss the long lasting and wide spreading effects of cancer.

Andrews brought together a range of artefacts to tell these stories, with voice recordings from the real-life characters and pictures making for an intensely authentic experience. As the audio played, Andrews sat at a small table laying out pictures under a camera that projected her content onto a screen in front of us.

Between the personal stories and reflections, the audience learnt about the Educated Heart, a concept from Gelett Burgess’ book Have You an Educated Heart? Complimenting her personal stories with the ideals of an Educated Heart – kindness, instincts and relations to others – was a remarkable paring by Andrews, as it added a further layer of sentimentality, allowing us to understand the way we receive and process life’s challenges. Andrews herself opens up to us about her own heart, and inarticulate one.

Andrews’ writing is rich in imagery and delicate in tone, with her use of language allowing audiences to feel a deep connection to her and the experiences at the heart of this piece. In her delivery, Andrews presents a version of herself that reflects genuine kindness and vulnerability, yet great composure and comfort; in summary, her character and narrative voice is a flawless fit for this production.

The Archive of Educated Hearts brings us back to the humble art of storytelling, and the power of shared connection and human experiences, particularly those generated in times of grief. Expect the odd tear, a struck nerve or a lump in your throat. In this homely space listening to Andrews’ gentle recount, you will feel as if you have found the company of an old friend, someone you can sit with for hours and discuss life with a cup of tea in hand.

5 stars


Words by Michelle Wakim

The Archive of Educated Hearts is showing at Holden Street Theatres until the 16th.

Peter Goers in Look Ma, No Hans!

On an impressively hot day in the middle of Adelaide’s latest heat wave, Peter Goers took to the stage to tell the audience a series of inter-linking stories that prove amusing, moving, and always engaging.
Goers is a master storyteller with an almost unrivalled ability when it comes to stories that feel intrinsically Adelaide-focused. There’s no show at the Adelaide Fringe this year that is more fulfilling of the ‘Adelaide’ part of the name.
The show feels fundamentally like sitting down to hear the yarns of a friend over a coffee or a beer. There’s something very engaging, and very personal about the way Goers goes about his show that feels essentially inviting. It feels more like an hour of sharing than a performance as Goers tells stories of first- and second-hand experiences.
It’s a simple format, built of a number of stories Goers moves effortlessly between and it benefits from that. It doesn’t need anything additional. This is an audience with Peter Goers and if you know anything about Goers’s radio show and other appearances, an additions would an unwelcome distraction.
Anyone who can hold an audience’s interest across one hour in the punishing Adelaide heat is clearly a master of their craft. We’re treated to stories about books, about a swimming pool in Turkey, and he takes time to add a discussion of war and those who have to endure it.
The show skews towards the older generations, as Goers makes mention of, but it never does so in a way that would alienate younger audiences. People of all ages should appreciate this.
At the performance’s conclusion, Goers greeted everyone as they left. It goes further to make clear how much a consummate professional he is. It also reinforces the feeling that we have been treated to an intimate hour of story-telling by a welcome friend. Look Ma, No Hans is a rewarding, generous offering from a very Adelaidean performer.

 


Words by Liam McNally

4.5 stars.

Peter Goers in ‘Look Ma, No Hans’ is playing at the Holden Street Theatres every Saturday and Sunday until the end of the Adelaide Fringe. Tickets available here.

Eurydice

Set in ‘The Sunken Garden’ at Holden Street Theatres, Eurydice is an intimate performance that feels like a story being read only for you. Written by Alexander Wright with music by Phil Grainger, Eurydice shows a modernisation of the Greek mythological tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. The performance is a prequel to their sister-show Orpheus, focusing instead on Eurydice’s side of the story as it intertwines the lives of goddesses, superheroes and everyday people.

Serena Manteghi plays Leni/Eurydice and Casey Jay Andrews rises to the task of playing the remaining ensemble of characters: mother, lovers, old man, goddess. Manteghi and Andrews switch between dialogue and narrative storytelling and become their characters effortlessly. These women deliver a beautiful spoken word performance and act with deep emotion, accompanied by music that perfectly sets the tone and songs that amusingly complement the modern setting of this tale.

Perhaps the most touching part of what is in every aspect a beautiful play, Manteghi and Andrews shared the stage harmoniously and were genuinely thrilled to be performing together. While courtyard is small, the energy is high.

The stripped-down nature of the set allows focus to be placed on the dialogue, which is necessary, as the play reads in a poetic and almost a stream of consciousness manner; in rising and falling waves of emotion – and you wouldn’t want to miss a word.

Eurydice is a wonderfully written story about forging your own path and becoming your own hero. It is a unique and uplifting performance that takes an ancient tale and makes it its own.


Four stars

Eurydice is showing at Holden Street Theatres until March 3, and again from March 12-16, for more information and to purchase tickets follow the link.

Words by Kirsty van de Veer

 

Once Were Pirates

Life is strange and living it is hard – especially if you’re actually a pirate whose been transported in time to the 21st century. This is the premise that Once Were Pirates revolves around. Presented by Gobsmacked Theatre Company (previous recipients of the Holden Street Theatres Award at the 2016 Adelaide Fringe), the play tells the story of Shane (Kyron Weetra) and Gareth (Joshua Mensch) who are as marooned in time as they were supposed to have been in the past. They must navigate the uncharted waters of what it means to be a part of the 21st century and the complicated space of trying to forge identities in a world where their old life means nothing. As Shane and Gareth try to understand the world they live in – boat people, modern pirates, call centres – they reveal just how bizarre and complicated life actually is.

Once Were Pirates follows Shane and Gareth’s from their get-rich-quick scheme of winning a million dollars in a game show, to Gareth’s acceptance of the need to fit in with their new society, Shane’s inability to do the same, and then the play’s bitter-sweet conclusion. One of the utter strengths to this play was the portrayal of Gareth and Shane’s relationship to one another.  Even as they cavort and fight, their connections to one-another are undeniable. The play is staged in a small theatre space – less than twenty people would fit comfortably in the room – and this immediately helped to create a sense of intimacy between both the actors and the audience.

The parts of the play that became utterly entrancing to watch were when both character’s blustering fell aside to reveal raw human truth. Weetra’s portrayal of Shane’s struggle to deal with a world that scares him, an uprooted identity, and a fear of being left behind by Gareth was well handled. Mensch in particular was captivating in the play’s more serious moments; Gareth’s attempt to find his place in society and his difficulties in supporting Shane were raw and honest within his confessions. With such strong depictions of these attitudes, the reversal of their positions at the end of the play were all the more striking.

There are a lot of layers to this show – so many that it almost felt like not enough attention could be paid to all of them. Shane’s first monologue was especially intriguing when combined with the peppering suggestions of gender, sexuality issues, and masculinity – but with only an hour’s run time, most of the attention rested on opening up the ‘larger questions’ of place and society.

Once Were Pirates is a unique exploration of societal norms where the darkly comic humour is set against complex, serious, matters. It left me with a deep sympathy for everyone completely terrified while trying to function in our deeply screwy society, a question as to whether call-centres need to exist, and a desperate need to use the phrase ‘trifecta of fuckery’ as soon as possible.

 


Words by Taeghan Buggy.

Four stars.

Once Were Captains is playing at Holden Street Theatres every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, until March 11. Tickets available here.