No Plain Jane

Theatre reviews and musings (mostly) from Adelaide

Tag: Lucia Van Sebille

Review: Take Up Thy Bed & Walk

This review contains mild spoilers. 

Take Up Thy Bed cast: (clockwise from top left) Gerry Shearim, Kyra Kimpton, Jo Dunbar, Emma J Hawkins & Michelle Ryan. Photo by Heath Britton.

At the opening of the double doors is Kyra Kimpton. She welcomes us into the space in small groups, where we are invited to walk around and discover. On five pillows on five beds screen projected short films animated through embroidery about young women, you can listen through headphones, read the captioning, read the braille, or, at one watch the Auslan interpretation; Michelle Ryan holds up embroidered sheets with sayings about women with disabilities; in one corner is a model of the set; in another is a live scorpion – don’t touch! reads the warning. No one says as much, but what we’re doing is part of a tactile introduction to the set and to the playing space: this functional introduction to the space presented for the blind and vision impaired before audio described shows is here part of the work itself.

Take Up Thy Bed & Walk is, by all accounts, the first “fully accessible” theatre work in Australia. While we have, in recent years, seen an increase in the amount of productions offering increased accessibility such as captioning and audio description, these performances are still infrequent in proportion to the larger season.

Take Up Thy Bed integrates access elements through the show: the four performers are joined by Auslan interpreter Gerry Shearim, who moves around the action; most of the dialogue is either captioned or projected behind the stage, with different fonts highlighting emphasis and meaning; the performers often audio describe their own actions; the music is heavy with base, reverberating through the chairs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review: 12th Night

While travelling on a boat from London in the 1920s, twins Sebastian (Alex Possingham) and Viola (Lucia Ven Sebille) are separated and shipwrecked, finding themselves on the island of Illyria.  There, believing each other dead, the pair go on their separate journeys.   Our path primarily follows Viola, who, masquerading as a page to Duke Orsino (Max Garcia-Underwood) establishes a new life as Cesario.  We follow as Cesario falls for Orsino, who is in love with Lady Olivia (Carolyn Duchene), whom also has a crusher in the form of steward Malvolio (Guy O’Grady).   Lady Olivia, however, has her eye on Cesario.  Or is that Sebastian?

Promo image, or what you will.

This production by Urban Myth Theatre of Youth, as a part of their biennial Shakespeare series, has found itself a very strong young cast.  While Duchene tends to delve a bit too far into hysteria, Lady Olivia’s hysterics – both in love and in loneliness – are given beautiful form.  More likely to be laughed at than laughed with, Duchene’s Olivia is nonetheless a sympathetic character with whom the audience rallies to find her match – something which is true of (almost) all characters.

Read the rest of this entry »