No Plain Jane

Theatre reviews and musings (mostly) from Adelaide

Tag: Stuart Day

Review: Holding The Man

Timothy Conigrave and John Caleo met in the mid-1970s at their all-boys school in Melbourne.  He was an aspiring actor; he was the star football player.  He went on to study at NIDA and work as an actor, theatre maker and writer; he went on to be a chiropractor.  Together since high-school, Holding The Man was Conigrave’s memoir of their relationship of fifteen-years, ending with the death of Caleo from an AIDS related illness in 1991.   Conigrave passed away with the same disease a few months before his book was published in 1995.

The memoir was adapted for the stage by Tommy Murphy, and is being presented in a new production directed by Rosabla Clemente for the State Theatre Company of South Australia in their final production for 2011.

Covering twenty-two years in just over two hours, at times Murphy’s script can do little but cover the most basic surface level of the relationship.  The most satisfying aspects of the script is how Murphy not only plays with a balance of comedy and drama, a comically heightened act one giving way to dramatically heavy act two; but also balances naturalism with theatricality.

Rather than shying away from existing in a live theatrical medium, Murphy’s script fully embraces the theatre.  The action takes place over twenty years in countless locations and with dozens of characters, and this is all presented in the one space with a cast of six.

Joining Luke Clayson as Tim, and Nic English as John, are Catherine Fitzgerald, Nick Pelomis, Geoff Revell and Ellen Steele, taking the men on their journey through high school, university, theatres, and hospitals.

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Review: Harbinger

I’d been suffering with a fever and stomach bug the week before I saw Harbinger, and it was rather horrible, but coming in waves, so I started Harbinger okay.  It then hit me again towards the end of the play, so there was a portion which I struggled to absorb.  It then stuck around for most of the week after I saw the play, and when I finally thought I’d kicked it, it came back while I was writing this review.   I apologise in advance for the level of delirium this was written in.

The Harbinger promo flyer

A short re-enactment, detailing where the marketing for Harbinger came from (in a way which actually, I am informed my Matt Whittet in the comments, is not the way marketing happens at all.  Life is so much funnier in my own head!)

In 2009

Sean Riley: “Look, I’m really sorry Chris, I know I said I would have Skip Miller’s Hit Songs for you, but it just isn’t going to be ready by next year’s season.  Do you think I could have some extra time?  Just until 2011.”

Chris Drummond:  “That will be fine, Sean.  We’ll find someone else to write a play really really quickly.”

Back in the Brink office

Drummond:  “Who do you think we can get?  That Whittet kid, he’s writing something for that Windmill lot, isn’t he?  If we overlap their season with our rehearsal period, we wouldn’t even need to pay for his accommodation to be in Adelaide or anything.  And Windmill always gets good reviews, so we can surely sell some tickets off that!”

He calls Whittet.

Drummond: “Matthew!  Look, we’re not going to get this play we’re supposed to show next year ready in time.  I know we usually go through a long and exacting development process, but you can write us up something really quickly, yes?”

Keep Reading! (I promise there is an actual review in here)