Short and Sweet top 110: Newtown Week 6

This week Short And Sweet presents a night of topical contrasts as audiences are taken through a series of shows and stories from national and international writers which provoke and entertain.

 Short and SweetNewtown Theatre, Sydney Wednesday, 9 February, 2011   This week Short And Sweet presents a night of topical contrasts as audiences are taken through a series of shows and stories from national and international writers which provoke and entertain.  Cats Are Forever, Men Are WhateverThis very watchable piece from NSW writer Sasha Poznyak is a humorous take on isolation, modern dating and relationships. A basic set left room for great performances from seasoned actors Richard Mason and Brooke Davidson, who bring some excellent comedic timing to a theme which probably resonates with bitter singles.  A hilarious philosophical cat made a great start to the night.
Skool PlayHunter Region Drama School brought a fun though not completely original satire, with kids in a mock children’s program singing about topical issues such as soldiers in Iraq and global warming. However it was executed with style and provided a lighter, showier edge to the evening. Director Daniel Stoddart and his group of talented young performers reminded the audience that drama is all about play and personality.
My name is artFrom American writer Peter Snoad comes a contemplation of the real value of modern art.  Some stereotypical casting but a worthy, provoking and audience-friendly piece which deals with the easily forgotten relationship between freedom of expression and democracy at a time when parts of the world are hungrily striving for just those things.  A minimal set encouraged the audience fill the space with their imagination.
The Lady In The FountainFrom writer performer Damian Madden at Studio Two Twelve comes this intense and dark play which functioned as a heavy moment in the night’s proceedings.  The script seemed literary and written for the page, but this did work well in contrast with the other pieces on the night.  An internal journey, reminiscent of Aronofsky’s latest film Black Swan in its study of the dark side of the artistic temperament, was interesting as the realisation of a full writer/performer work.  The minimal staging and use of lighting was effective in evoking the mirror between man and statue.
Margin WalkerAustralian writer Luke Scholes teams with local director Georgia Symons to produce a dreamy and beautifully staged piece which plays with dance, levels and physicality in order to represent the fragility of relationships and urban existence.  Performances were solid and reaching for shattered innocence.  It would be hard to imagine this play without the symbolic cloth which ties the characters together, possibly the innovation of the director.  A sensitive art piece to round out the first half.
Tango For 1Tango For 1 featured a standout performance, with director James Balian seeming to make the most of his characteristic actress to communicate a mature tango dancer’s life and loves. Her movements were stunning but it remains a mystery as to why she needed to remove her clothes during the performance.  Excellent passionate storytelling and physicality.
Three In OneThemes in this piece seemed to be female lust vs love, power and trial of the dumb male.  An interesting premise with three female archetypes interacting with the same man in different ways. The writer, Cheryl Pomering, is a strong, clear and experienced female voice and the minimal staging left the way clear for the text to emerge. Shotgun The BalconyA portrait of a typical Sydney situation, the crazy sharehouse.  Some interesting and original staging with video game motifs and the requsite intense isolation and conflict portrayed well.  A great cast of young performers and a twist at the end.
Pell Mell (on the way to Hell)A telling satire of contemporary conservatism.  Links between the Catholic Church, the repression of women and sexual minorities and conservative political values are played out amidst the symbolism of an aeroplane going between the circles of hell.  Sureralism, local content and good casting make for an intriguing concept; the main character could almost be seen as a right wing caricature but there are so many of these figures prominent in Australian life that it actually, depressingly, makes sense.
The Saunas Of SilenceSome good acting lent an amusing end to the night with this tale about looking for peace and finding luck in a sauna.  An excellent set and great casting helped writer/director Dan Byrnes gain a few poignant moments and a few laughs in this satirical look at human behaviour, attitudes towards the body, and the element of chance.

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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