Short & Sweet: Newtown Week 6

Check out Short & Sweet reviews for Newtown this week..


Short & Sweet
Newtown Theatre, Sydney

Wednesday, 10 February, 2010

Come Together, Fall Apart
A couple at breaking point recap their relationship in order to understand what went wrong. Melissa Lee’s script delivers some great moments, but would have been more emotionally effective had it been more truthful. The arguments between the couple were generic and lacked real depth. The piece was at its strongest when the couple explored the funny and sexy side of their time together and at its weakest when both were reduced to fake tears.


Written and directed by Frank Otis, ‘Morals’ explores a family of serial killers who still believe in certain ethical guidelines. The piece was not subtle, and while it was intended to shock, it appeared to try a little too hard, receiving only a few laughs instead. Moments of melodrama, such as a character’s obvious attempts to sneak offstage gave the piece a pantomime feel and the inclusion of a lesbian subplot was crude and borderline offensive.

A woman has just discovered that her husband has a terrible condition. Luckily she has an understanding friend to help her through. B.C. Thompson’s play took an hilarious look at modern hypochondriacs and a tendency to blame our inadequacies on medical conditions. Romy Bartz and Kim Taylor were both outstanding in their roles and director Russell Smith delivered a slick and simple play, brimming with character and comedy.

The Big C
Deborah (Jackie Loeb) is feeling ill and alone. When her husband Max (James Belfrage) comes home, we find out why. This was the first of three plays in the evening to involve a character with cancer, and the only one to use it as an off-beat comedic device. Shaun Tinkler’s script showed promise of interesting characters that may have come across with stronger performances.

Daniel Saunders script sees two men shipwrecked at sea with no hope of rescue. As things go from bad to worse, the instinct for survival kicks in. A classic situation that translated well into a short play. The end was a too obvious from the start, and subtlety could have brought in some more interesting relationship dynamics.

Luke and Penny have OCD. When they meet on a blind date, they gradually find out just how much they have in common. Adele Vuko’s script, directed by Alex Wallace, delivered two wonderfully off-beat characters and some brilliant comic twists of plot. Vuko was quirky and gutsy as Penny, whilst Will Howarth had the audience completely under his control with his effortless comic timing. A charming and very funny piece of theatre.

Mr & Mrs Metcalfe Love the Music of Elton John
Frank Legget’s play was a unique and touching look at a quirky couple who are very much in love. Performed as a video recording, the inclusion of a live video feed added an interesting documentary/reality feel to the play. Director Felicity Nicol kept the movement and action streamlined allowing the focus to fall on the relationship between the couple and the camera. Karen Cobban gave a fantastically odd performance as Kylie Metcalfe and Graham Yates was sweet and engaging as Keith Metcalfe.

The Petrified Book
In a futuristic and homogenised society a woman stumbles across a book that tells of the world as it once was. Directed and written by Carol Dance, ‘The Petrified Book’ set up an interesting atmosphere of time and place. Unfortunately ten minutes did not seem to be enough time to explore the dynamics of the new world represented, and as a result much of the play took the form of actor Sandy Kerr explaining the missing pieces directly to the audience. The result was a heavy and awkward load of exposition.

Two limpets sit and discuss travel, theatre and marine biologists. Richard Graham’s simple concept worked well as a short play and was humorously brought to life by director Ian Gompertz. The costumes transformed Blair Milan and Chris Smith into convincing limpets, although more controlled movements of the fake eyes would have made the creatures more believable and added to the humour of the piece.

Waiting for the results of a trial, a man and woman speak only in stressed sentences of single words. Mary Zegura’s play masterfully built tension through its abrupt dialogue. Mollie King and Sam Duncan both gave strong believable performances and handled the dramatic ending with skill.


Alex is obsessed with her gorgeous boss Dan. As she takes us on a tour around the office we learn that Dan does not reciprocate her affections. Kate Toons script was brought to life by Niki Simpson’s brilliant portrayal of Alex. Director Catherine Hollyman created a play with spirit and humour that left the audience smiling.

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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