The Ides of March

Writer’s block is the bane of many writers; whether you’re staring at a blank page, hitting a wall, or just simply losing your steam it’s no enviable experience. However, if said writing is based upon a historical event there’s a simple solution. Time travel.

The Ides of March is a meta, witty, fourth wall-breaking romp of intelligent theatre. The premise is simple, William Shakespeare (Kieran Bullock) travels back in time with Cardenio (Paul Brown) to witness the murder of Julius Caesar (also Bullock). Unfortunately, Shakespeare makes a grave mistake, he becomes a suspect to the Detectivus (Jennifer B Ashley) and the Pomodoro (James Rosier). Mayhem ensues as the real culprits Cassius (Ashley), Brutus (Rosier), and Casca (Brown) try to sabotage Shakespeare’s every move to cover up their crime.

Slightly akin to that of an episode of Doctor Who, the escapades of these time-travellers are much richer in comedy. With only four key actors playing numerous roles (a great source of laughter) it’s commendable how easy it is to follow. The four reinvent themselves with ease utilising either a noir-like accent, a costume change, or a shift in mannerisms to switch between them distinctly. Their props and stage dressing are minimal but creative, and the intricacies of character changeovers (particularly in the final act) are handled exceptionally.

The cast of performers are well-rounded and bring plenty of charisma and talent to the stage. Ashley beams as Detectivus and Bullock’s hilariously narcissistic interpretation of Shakespeare as a struggling writer constantly taking notes runs the risk of being tired, but never does.

Certain elements of the narrative are slightly predictable in points, there’s the odd moment where you can expect it to go a certain way and it does. There is plenty to love with the odd twist or surprise that you won’t see coming as The Ides of March is a fantastic stage production that is bound to entertain.

4.5 / 5 stars


Words by Isaac Freeman

The Ides of March is showing at the Bakehouse Theatre until March 14

For more information and to book tickets click here

Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Hamlet

Some might argue that tackling Hamlet is a task best left to those who aren’t in danger of spilling their beer mid-monologue. If you’re looking for a performance free of dirty jokes, foul language, and sexual references you won’t find it at Shit-Faced Shakespeare. Instead, you’ll find a drunken cast member set loose for the specific purpose of derailing the Prince of Denmark’s search for vengeance with a little mischief.

This, of course, results in a keg load of hilarious unpredictability, showcasing the comedic brilliance and improvisational skills of both the drunk performer and the sober cast members, who must operate around the version of Hamlet the drunk cast member brings to life through a combination of actual Shakespeare and complete spit-balling.

The performance I attended featured a shit-faced Hamlet (played by James Murfitt), whose inebriated state resulted in a dramatic romantic sub-plot between Hamlet and Laertes,  the discovery of previously unearthed father and son issues between the dead king’s ghost and the prince, a brief chance for Ophelia to be an independent woman, and perhaps most surprisingly for one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, a happily ever after.

Despite the unpredictability of the sub-plots, the entire production operates like a well-oiled machine and any drunken detours taken toward jokes gone too far, or tangents carried on for too long, are quickly redirected by the sober cast, as well as the use of an air horn. The danger of the performer sobering up is likewise combated with a little audience participation, most of which is best left as a surprise.

So, if you don’t mind a little foul-mouthing and spilled beer, and if you’re looking for a show filled with an hour of riotous non-stop laughter, drunken shenanigans, a somewhat familiar story and a cast that’s having as much fun as the audience, then stop, and look no further; you’ll find it all in Shit-Faced Shakespeare.

4.5 / 5 stars


Words by Rachael Stapleton

Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Hamlet is running until March 15

For more information and to purchase tickets click here

A Booklovers Comedy Show

Connecting with people about books can be tricky. Sometimes people don’t like to reveal the books that they have a secret flaming passion for, or they like to hide behind books that they label a classic. However, all these literary expectations can be forgotten for the one hour that A Booklovers Comedy Show speaks.
Hidden away in a corner of the labyrinthine National Wine Centre, I discovered others who were just as fanatic about books and writing as I was. Featuring four comedic acts and one very friendly host, A Booklovers Comedy Show had me in silent, knee slapping laughter.
The crowd was quickly separated into groups; from the weekly book club devotees to the fantasy lovers to the something in between. The first two acts were Luke Morris, with his ample knowledge of wine making and unfortunate dating stories, and the bouncy Maddie HW, who joked about her experiences with starting stand up comedy. Following these, I had the pleasure of experiencing the defiantly Canadian Gillian English talking about how utterly Shakespeare is undeservedly milked; and she’s got a degree in Shakespeare, so I’d listen to her if I were you. Also gracing the stage was MC Hammersmith, the world’s skinniest and nerdiest creative rapper!
You do not have to know much about classy books to go to this show. The content is relatable and comes from all over the world. The acts change about each night, so each is something of a rarity with something new to see and hear.
If you have ever read a book, or never really liked the pompous and over-hyped Shakespeare, then this show is for you. Such a mixed crowd and the intimate space allows for a mixture of comedy and truth-telling that is unique and favourable.
If you’d like to see a comedy that will lighten up your night, I would recommend A Booklovers Comedy Show. Four stars from me!

 


Words by Sarah Ingham

Four stars.

A Booklovers Comedy Show is playing at the National Wine Centre every night until March 2 (excluding February 21). Tickets are available here.

The Ides of March

The Ides of March is a deeply enjoyable play that draws upon a host of cultural references to put layer upon layer on an already tightly-plotted and playful show.
With a cast of four and a room upstairs from Treasury 1860, the team prove deft in building ancient Rome and all its populace from the deep recesses of history.
Sadly, their run is limited to three shows at the Adelaide Fringe, the last being Sundays the 17th’s (today at time of publication) performance. After the performance the audience was informed this was their first sell-out show which seems absurd for a play of this quality. This a piece of theatre that draws upon things as broad as Doctor Who, ancient Roman history, hardboiled detective stories, and Shakespeare yet requires no assumed knowledge to enjoy. If you know nothing of Shakespeare’s works or the history of Rome, you will learn something. If you are already familiar with all this, you’ll enjoy hidden facets and jokes. This is a play for everyone and does an excellent job at managing to keep the interest and enjoyment of all in the audience.
The play moves at speed, making full use of its 50 minutes to play with history and with the expectations of theatre. Every element that could pose an issue for the production such as their limited cast (standing in for the majority of the ancient Roman populations), props, or simple limitations of the stage, are mined for comic material.
The piece plays with convention, finding humour in the nature of theatre, including an unexpected nod to audience participation. It’s clear from early on that this is a well-polished performance that plays with expectation and knows exactly how to use it to yield the greatest results. The audience was as diverse in age as possible and yet they managed to engage everyone at all times as there is something for everyone to enjoy.
A true highlight of the Fringe, be sure to catch The Ides of March before it’s gone. Hopefully they will be back next year and should they be, you can be certain tickets will not be so easy to come by.

 


4.5 stars.

Word by Liam McNally

The Ides of March is playing at Treasury 1860 until February 17. Tickets available here.

 

The Raw Shakespeare Project: Comedy of Errors

Comedy of Errors

Raw Shakespeare Project

11th January 2019

McLaren Vale Visitor’s Centre

The Raw Shakespeare Project, previously Little Fish, opened their Summer Season on the 11th of January, with a performance of Comedy of Errors at the McLaren Vale Visitor’s centre. If you haven’t seen a show here, it’s certainly something to put on your bucket list. A Shakespeare company often found out of doors, The Raw Shakespeare Project, with director Damien White, has brought a number of the bard’s plays to life over recent years, showcasing the acting of a number of local and talented actors each sharing a passion for Shakespeare.

The McLaren Vale Visitors Centre is one of four venues to host this performance, three of which are located in the iconic wine region forty minutes from Adelaide. Stage-less, The Raw Shakespeare Project makes use of the open grass at the rear of the building, using the beautiful backdrop of local vineyards, hills, and forestry to contrast with the varied and vibrant settings of various Shakespearean works.

Beginning at seven, the show was designed to take place as dusk fell, fairy-lights and “stage” lights prepared for the evening to come. With one twenty-minute interval in the show, audience members were given the opportunity not only to refresh their drinks, but also to marvel at the changing sky behind the centre as the sun set.

Comedy of Errors follow the story of two identical sets of twins whose lives have been spent apart. Antipholus of Syracuse (Jabez Retallick) and Antipholus of Ephesus (Ognjen ‘Oggy’ Trisic) and their servants Dromio of Syracuse (Phoebe Shaw) and Dromio of Ephesus (Isabella Shaw) are interchangeably mistaken after Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant arrives in Ephesus. As the hilarity of mistaken identity ensues, is becomes “clear” to Adriana (Kate van der Horst) that her husband has gone mad. With the help of her sister Luciana (Heather Crawford) and the Duke Solinous (Damien White), Adriana intends to help her husband overcome his madness. But will Amelia (Shannon Gray) have something to say about that?

With the ready dynamic of the Shaw sisters as the Dromio sisters, and the cheerful antics of White as Solinous, Comedy of Errors was in set in motion. The similarities between the Shaw sisters gave the comedy a feeling of authenticity it might have otherwise lacked.

Despite a few extremely minor hiccups, the show was certainly entertaining and engaging. With much of the audience entranced, the Raw Shakespeare Project certainly paid tribute to the bard. I would recommend experiencing the Raw Shakespeare Company if not for their performance, then for the rich value of the experience: watching talented actors convey stories that aren’t just familiar but ingrained into our culture.

Comedy of Errors will be showing on Saturday January 18th at Beach Road Wines, Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of February at Marion RSL, and concluding on Saturday 9th February at Fox Creek Wines.

Tickets for this limited time only show can be purchased online through their website: https://www.rawshakespeareproject.com.au/box-office

 


Words by Kayla Gaskell20181009_105310

Kayla Gaskell is one of the managing editors of Tulpa Magazine. She has a Creative Arts and Honours degree in Creative Writing from Flinders University. As well as working on Tulpa, Kayla writes for Fest, The Eye Creative, Readplus, and more.

 

Macbeth – The Raw Shakespeare Project

On the chilly night of the 1st of September, I journeyed to see the RAW Shakespeare Project’s production of Macbeth. It was everything you want in a play; passionate, intense, and transporting. The basic materials and the minimalist set made the actors the prime focus of the play. With the small room, close-set seats and nothing between the audience and the performers, it felt like you were right there in 9th century Scotland.

Despite the word ‘raw’ in the name, I didn’t expect the small and intimate set. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the effects that could be produced by good acting, a few set pieces and a couple of lights. The set consisted of a few benches and a centrepiece that looked like a fountain on one side and a garden wall on the other. The show was directed around this minimalist set, creating an atmosphere of no distractions between the audience and the actors.

The acting in the show was superb. The actors had an incredible aptitude for conveying the darkness and the emotional turmoil of the tragic play. There were a few points where the characters broke down and cried whilst addressing the audience: moments such as when Macduff’s wife finds out she is going to die, when Macduff finds out his wife has been murdered by Macbeth, and Macbeth’s slow descent into madness. The eye contact and the mascara running down bare cheeks charged the performance in a breathtaking way. The acting was so exquisite that these bare, emotional parts of the performance had the hairs standing up on the backs of my arms.

One fact that I was particularly interested by was that, besides Macbeth himself, the cast was entirely women. This cast a layer of feminism and female empowerment over the play. This appealed to me, especially in these times where female empowerment is such a political and social forefront of our society. The original lines were changed slightly so that the women were still female characters. For example, Macduff is a strong female warrior with a beautiful wife and the previously ‘King Duncan’ character was matriarch Queen Duncan. In this sense, the show had been adapted to reflect the modern, open-mindedness of our age, which was very uplifting both to myself, and to members of the LGBTQA+ identification.

The 17th century words of Shakespeare remained unchanged from the mouths of 21st century actors. Although a bit hard to follow because of Shakespeare’s overtly floral language and the dialect of Old English, the acting brought a slice of that time into that small room.

In conclusion, this was a great show that was intimate, emotional and capture the spirit of Shakespeare’s Macbeth perfectly. It was raw. It was Shakespeare. Why would you go and see anything else?

 


Words by Sarah Ingham.

Photo from The Raw Shakespeare Project website.

Keep up to date with the Raw Shakespeare Project via their Facebook page. Their next event is the Shakespeare’s Lovers Spring Fling Festival.

Your Bard

Treasury 1860’s front bar provides an intimate scene for our audience with the Bard. Will Shakespeare comes alive for an hour to discuss his career, the highs and lows of life, and the seemingly immortal question of whether he wrote his plays.

Your Bard deals in genius wordplay, Shakespearean in-jokes, and general theatrical joy. This is not a play (let alone a play within a play) – this is something quite different. Gone is the fourth wall and other expected elements of theatre and instead we have a real and true audience with Mr Shakespeare.

We are taken through his career, lost years, and emergence as a playwright. Dealing with mystery and questions as this performance does, it is only fitting that once we have some answers, we are provided only with questions. Did William Shakespeare write his own plays? Of course. That was always what I was taught by the most passionate lovers of Shakespeare I’ve known and an answer given from the performance’s start to its end. That’s not an end to proceedings, though. It’s merely a beginning, as much more fascinating questions are raised throughout.

The show is truly a thorough success. It’s true that those who already have a love of Shakespeare will probably get more out of it, but there is still plenty to enjoy for someone still new to the worlds of William Shakespeare. The fact that the show is able to work on so many levels, according to the audience member’s familiarity with the immortal Bard, is a testament to the absolute success of the performance.

For someone already familiar with Shakespeare, this is unmissable theatre. For someone new to Shakespeare, this is still sure to be an enjoyable, and even educational play.

It’s hard to define the performance by traditional standards as it feels so natural and perfected by performer Nicholas Collett that it’s easy to suspend all disbelief and simply enjoy your audience with the Bard.

In character, Collett takes you through Shakespeare’s career, noting such famed plays as Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, and Mac- sorry, the Scottish Play. He also takes you through Shakespeare’s life, such as his marriage to Anne Hathaway, the loss of his son Hamnet, and into his final few years.

It’s an excellent show, played to perfection, and there’s not really any other show that allows you to shake the hand of Shakespeare as he pops by the bar for a quick beer.

 


Words by Liam McNally

Four and a half stars.

Your Bard is playing at Treasury 1860 on February 27-March 1, and March 3 & 4. It is also at Rastelli at Stirling Fringe March 11 & 12. Tickets available here.