Arts & Culture

I and You by Theatre 180

I-and-You-Theatre-180

Upon heading to Perth's newest performing arts venue – Burt Hall on St Georges Terrace – I was struck by how intimate the setting is. Nestled in one of the rooms underneath the main hall, it is a perfect setting for giving the audience that real “fly on the wall” experience, since even the back row is only a few metres from the elevated stage.

This feeling of really being there works wonderfully well in Theatre 180's production of I and You, Lauren Gunderson's two-hand story of teenage angst, pain, hope and love. Set in 17 year old Caroline's bedroom, you really do feel that you are perched in a corner, watching the story unfold.

Caroline is currently sick at home, waiting and hoping for a desperately needed liver transplant. She is ill, tired and understandably bitter about her situation, isolated in her bedroom with only a mobile phone as a lifeline to the outside world. 

 

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The Children by Theatre 180

The-Children-Theatre-180

We sat within the cosy interior of the Burt Hall on the Terrace awaiting a double act by Theatre 180 - the first act up being "The Children".

My partner and I were pleased to have an evening together at the theatre – it was a bit of a treat to be out for the night after the recent covid restrictions in Perth.

The story unfolds as we meet couple Hazel (Jenny Davis) and Robin (Andrew Lewis) – who have retired and settled into life in their British seaside cottage after surviving a serious nuclear power plant meltdown.

They receive an unexpected visit from old friend and ex-colleague Rose (Vivienne Garrett), and that is when sparks fly for a myriad of reasons as her arrival disrupts their peaceful retirement.

Regrets, sacrifices, a life well lived with or without children, the pursuit of careers, love and passionate affairs – satisfying lives, moral and ethical dilemmas. The characters explore many themes in the kitchen of their simple cottage, reflecting on their behaviours (past, present and the future) and weighing up their personal gains against the greater good of humanity.

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Playthings - Black Swan State Theatre Co & Blue Room Theatre

Playthings-Black-Swan-State-Theatre-Company-The-Blue-Room-Theatre

Whoa.

That was my immediate reaction after Playthings. For various, mostly COVID-related reasons, I hadn’t gone to the theatre in over a year so it was good to get back into it with a production that exemplifies just how brilliant it can be.

Amidst Perth’s lockdown, there had been doubt about whether this show would go ahead. And with everyone in attendance required to wear masks, the threat of COVID lingered in the air. One of the first things we noticed when we took our seats was the eerie shadow of the trees arching over the two houses, setting the scene for what was about to unfold.

At the start of Playthings, 13-year-old classmates Lucy (played by Courtney Henri) and Arnold (Daniel Buckle) sneak away from home to meet in the bush. “Have you ever seen a dead body?” Lucy casually asks, before showing Arnold a dying kangaroo.

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The Cherry Orchard by Black Swan State Theatre Company

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The grounds and buildings of Dalkeith's Sunset Hospital provide the perfect faded grandeur for Black Swan State Theatre Company's adaption of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. Set amongst dilapidated old buildings that appear abandoned, as well as outdoors on land with million dollar views, it is ironic that the destruction of Ranyevskaya's cherry orchard for summer cottages would no doubt be repeated on these heritage grounds if local developers were given half a chance!

While Chekhov himself described his play as a comedy, there are no doubt plenty of tragic elements within it.

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Gagarine at Perth Festival

Gagarine-Perth-Festival

Teenager Yuri is on a quest to save his housing estate from being blown up.

That is the theme of the multi award winning French movie “Gagarine”.

Living under challenging circumstances every day, he dreams to launch into space - taking inspiration from his namesake Yuri Gagarin who was the first cosmonaut to launch into space back in 1961.

Directors Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh depict life on a social housing estate with stark reality as well as conveying the aspirations, mood and turmoil of Yuri’s inner life perfectly.

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Sweat at Perth Festival

Sweat-Perth-Festival

What has the world come to when success is measured by the number of followers that we have on Instagram?

Sylwia – a young and beautiful fitness motivator celeb on Instagram has 600,000 followers.

So one might be led to believe that being in the shoes of Sylwia as a social media influencer is glamorous and fun and a total blast right?

Swedish director and writer Magnus von Horn explores the topic of social media with vigour,  providing a provocative and at times hard hitting peek beneath the gloss into the pressures and challenges of being a prominent social media star.

We follow three days in the life of Sylwia – exploring her symbiotic relationship with her fans, whose adoration she needs for validation as much as they rely on her for motivation.

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Supernova at Perth Festival

Supernova-Perth-Festival

Like a supernova in the sky, Sam and Tucker’s long time committed relationship as a gay couple is ablaze with lots of special magical moments reflecting their shared history.

Their loving existence is suddenly shattered by Tucker’s diagnosis of dementia.

They embark on a road trip to see family and friends, painfully aware of their precious limited time together due to the rapid deterioration of Tucker’s condition.

Colin Firth (Sam) and Stanley Tucci (Tucker) do an amazing job of portraying the intimacy and complexity of long term relationships.

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