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fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne | 03 9662 9966 | info@fortyfivedownstairs.com

Alexander Nettlebeck Trio

The Alexander Nettlebeck Trio played in the theatre last night. It was their first gig in their new line up, which comprised pianist Alexander Nettelbeck, bassist Jonathan Zion and drummer Simone White. "Full of life, energetic and undeniably talented, the…

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No longer a man in a hurry

"ACTORS are used to playing many different roles, no matter how far from their own personalities. But Samuel Johnson is rehearsing for a role he says contains uncanny echoes of his own life. ''I was born to play this role,''…

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Arts Hub Review: MEN

A review of our current production of Men from ArtsHub: Men By Shelley Blake ArtsHub | Tuesday, March 16, 2010 There’s something quite raw about Brendan Cowell’s debut play Men, now playing at fortyfivedownstairs. After a brief season in 2009,…

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Congratulations to our Green Room Awards winners

Last night at the Arts Centre Playhouse was a triumph for productions presented at fortyfivedownstairs last year: For their work in Progress and Melancholy (November 2009), Bagryana Popov was awarded Best Director (Independent Theatre) Todd Macdonald (Lopakhin) won Best Actor,…

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MEN in the social pages

MEN in the social pages of The Age. Clockwise: Rush's Catherine McClements, Jay Bowen and Rodger Corser at the premier of MEN; Underbelly star Asher Keddie and MEN director Sarah Hallam; Josef Ber congratulates his Rush co-star Samuel Johnson; Television…

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Capital Idea Review: MEN

The below review is by John Bailey and was posted on his blog, Capital Idea, on Friday 19 March 2010: This one's arriving a little late, but I've been super busy of late with this great new hobby. It involves…

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Antipodes Festival Booklaunch

The Antipodes Festival held a vibrant and full-to-capacity launch of Australian Cypriot writer Andrea Demetriou's poetry collection The Mountains Couldn't Walk Away in the fortyfivedownstairs theatre last night. The book was launched by Tim Colebatch (Economics Editor, The Age), Christos…

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Searchlight Festival

In February this year fortyfivedownstairs and Tashmadada are (very proudly) presenting the second Searchlight Festival. The programme is looking super... check it out on the Searchlight Festival website: searchlightfestival10.wordpress.com The Festival begins on the 17th of February 2010. Tickets will…

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12 Greenroom nominations

A heartfelt congratulations to all the 2009 Greenroom nominees. We are delighted that three productions seen at fortyfivedownstairs in 2009 have received nominations. Bryant and Frank's Once We Lived Here received 5 nominations, all in the Music Theatre section; +…

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More Searchlight photos…

Benn Bennett and Wes Snelling in Black Bag. (Note the sparkly 'Ken Done' pants in the 3rd photo.. just luverly) Jodee Mundy, Mal Webb and Francesca Waters in Sandra Fiona Long's Tyrant with Sharks Ellie Nielson in Waiting for Isabella…

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Searchlight: The Home Stretch and Directors Cut

Sally Smith in Director’s Cut The fortyfivedownstairs foyer as Sally Smith lead the crowd into the theatre for Director’s Cut. David Wells in Director’s Cut David Wells in Director’s Cut Sally Smith in Director’s Cut Sally Smith in Director’s Cut…

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The Memory Progressive

The Memory Progressive by Phantom Limbs opens tonight at 8pm to a full house. See more gorgeous images and information about the show on Phantom Limbs' blog. Tickets are $23/$18, and are available to purchase here.

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Now accepting proposals for 2011

We have just added our proposals forms for 2011 to both the gallery and theatre pages of our website.  Which means of course we are now accepting exhibition and theatre proposals for next year. Bear in mind when putting in…

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Judas Iscariot review by Shelley Blake

Review from Arts Hub, written by Shelley Blake:

One of history’s most famous apparent betrayals has been brought to the Melbourne stage in Stephen Adly Guirgis’s 1995 production The last days of Judas Iscariot – and it seems quite fitting that a company called Human Sacrifice Theatre would be the ones to bring it home. After all it is a tale about sacrifice and redemption, isn’t it?

The production, now playing at Fortyfive downstairs, is cleverly crafted and set in the court room of “down town” purgatory. The case, God and the kingdom of heaven and earth vs Judas Iscariot, opens with a grasping monologue from Judas’s mother, Henrietta Iscariot (Gail Beker) and as the audience seems settled in their juror’s chairs, the drama begins.

A dialogue driven performance allows the cast to jump back and forth between stories, anecdotes and tales of their time and relationship with the one and only Judas Iscariot. At times, the character’s lack deliverance in their monologues and the persecution sits a little too softly on the surface.

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Othello: Moor than the role of a lifetime

Article by Michelle Griffin, published in The Age, 7 June 2010:

AS A 1.9-metre-tall Tongan, 27-year-old actor Anthony Taufa is very conscious of resisting typecasting. ”I’ve always said I’m more than a security guard,” says Taufa, who has just graduated from NIDA’s prestigious acting course.

”I want to show the world that Islanders are as liberal and complex as any other nationality in Australia. ”I do want vulnerable roles, I do want to be in love, to do romantic leads.”

But there is one role Taufa happily accepts as his lot in life: Othello, the Moor of Venice. At 27, he is about to play the 50-something soldier for the fourth time, as the lead in The Kingsmen’s production at fortyfivedownstairs.

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Review: Othello by The Kingsmen

Below is a review of Othello by The Kingsmen, written by Liza Dezfouli for Australian Stage Online.  See the original review here.

Othello | The Kingsmen
Written by Liza Dezfouli
Thursday, 10 June 2010 11:02

The geometric 90s looking set design tell you immediately that you’re in for something new and different with this production of Othello. The windows of the theatre space at 45 Downstairs are festooned with tapes of black and primary colours, suggesting the bars of a prison, the narrow window openings of a castle, or the timbers of a ship. Lighting is simple and there are few props. The action happens on the bodies of the actors, tightly choreographed into a piece that at times almost veers into dance. The actors tumble and roll; there is clowning and buffoonery a-plenty. The extensive development of a vocabulary of body language provides an original and vivacious aspect to this presentation of Othello’s dark story. The marrying of Shakespeare to physical theatre is an ambitious undertaking with a whole new level of performance to keep track of along with the demands of the language. It does make for a particular effort from the audience and, although the physical aspect is meticulously designed to support the script, the clowning is at times distracting; it may be that the cast hadn’t quite settled into the form and was having to work hard to deliver the story on so many levels.

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Review: Manbeth

The review of Manbeth below is written by Joanna Bowen for Australian Stage Online.  See the original review here. Manbeth is a riot of masculinity; within minutes, you can smell the testosterone. This retelling of Macbeth is set in a…

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Review of Manbeth on Captain's Blog

This review of Manbeth is from White Whale Theatre’s Captain’s Blog.  See it in it’s original context here.

I was, I have to admit, a little worried as I made my way down the familiar set of stairs at 45 Flinders Lane last night.

The idea of an all-male Macbeth, set in a jail, has some cheesy potential.  In theory, it could have been cheesier than a deep fried wheel of King Island Blue Brie.  But a number of my most trusted carrier pigeons had informed me that this was not the case.  And, I’m happy to say, they were right.

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Interview: Julian Meyrick on Curtain Call

An interview with Do not go gentle… director Julian Meyrick from Crikey’s Blog Curtain Call.  See the interview in its original context here.

Next week, Melbourne’s fortyfivedownstairs will present the world premier of Do not go gentle… , written by Patricia Cornelius and directed by Julian Meyrick. It’s an award-winning script using Robert Falcon Scott’s final — and fatal — Antarctic expedition of 1910-13 as an allegory for life in an aged care facility and the final journey that five of its residents take through dotage into death.

Cornelius employs Scott’s tragic end to amplify the struggle of her five geranauts against the dying of the light. In Antarctica, twilight lasts for weeks, the colours are spectacular and the views infinite: the terrible sublime of an endless sunset. On reaching the pole, Scott wrote in his diary: “Great God! This is an awful place.”
The script won the 2006 Patrick White Award and was also short listed for the Griffin Award. Despite critical acclaim, it has waited four years for its first production.

Dr Julian Meyrick
is and has been a passionate contributor to Australian theatre for more than 20 years, as a practitioner, historian and theorist, critic, administrator and occasional polemicist-cum-pamphleteer. He is currently a Research Fellow at La Trobe University and has previously been Associate Director and Literary Advisor at the MTC, directing many productions in Melbourne and around Australia. As an historian, he has written histories of Nimrod Theatre and the MTC, as well as Trapped by the Past: Why Our Theatre Is Facing Paralysis, a bracing 2005 Platform Paper written as part of Currency Press’s quarterly essays on the performing arts.
We interview’d the engaged and engaging Meyrick during rehearsals for Do Not Go Gentle.
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Interview: "I know some really stupid old people"

See the below interview by John Bailey with some three of the Do not go gentle… cast and the director.  See the interview in it’s original context on Bailey’s blog, Capital Idea, here.

Do not go gentle…is written by Patricia Cornelius, directed by Julian Meyrick and produced by fortyfivedownstairs. The play runs from 6 – 29 August.

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A few weeks ago I sat down with director Julian Meyrick and some of the cast of Do not go gentle…, opening tomorrow at fortyfivedownstairs. At the table were:

Rhys McConnochie, 73

Malcolm Robertson, 77

Terry Norris, 80

And Mr. Meyrick.
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Do not go gentle: Australian Stage Online review

Read the review of Do not go gentle… on Australian Stage Online below.  See it in its original context here.

Written by Liza Dezfouli
Saturday, 07 August 2010 15:20

Left – Terry Norris, Anne Phelan and Rhys McConnochie. Cover – Pamela Rabe and Rhys McConnochie. Photos – Jeff Busby

Inspired by those famous words of Dylan Thomas and the story of Captain Scott’s trek to Antarctica in the early 1900s, Do Not Go Gentle by Patricia Cornelius is a beautifully rendered theatre piece. With a variety of dramatic responses to its themes this play gives a lovely sense of what’s possible on stage: images, music, opera, and simple poetic language; there is much to love about Do Not Go Gentle.

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Review: Do not go gentle… on Crikey

This review of Do not go gentle… was written by Andrew Fuhrmann for Crikey.  See it in it’s original context here.

DO NOT GO GENTLE-®Jeff Busby_120

Photo by Jeff Busby: Malcolm Robertson, Pamela Rabe, Terry Norris and Anne Phelan

Dylan Thomas’ famous exhortation that old age should burn and rage at close of day is here filled out with a specific and passionate argument by playwright Patricia Cornelius: the rage against the dying of the light is the rage of memory, of memory projected forward into action, into the renewal or reconsideration of old convictions, into reconciliations, into fresh desires, into affirmations, and into new adventures.

This is the much-anticipated premiere production of 2006’s Patrick White Award winner, Do Not Go Gentle. It’s an unflinching, imaginatively drawn, life-and-death scenario, similar in the directness and ardency of its argument to Cornelius’s work with the Melbourne Worker’s Theatre and related in its arrangement to her contribution to Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?

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Review: Do not go gentle… in The Australian

This review of Do not go gentle… was written by Alison Croggon for The Australian. See it in it’s original context here.

The poetry of age in an uncertain world

PATRICIA Cornelius’s award-winning play borrows its title from Dylan Thomas’s poem Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night. Perhaps the most beautiful villanelle written in English, Thomas’s poem celebrates the vivid life of old age, pressed hard up against death: “Old age should burn and rave at close of day”.

Likewise, Do Not Go Gentle . . . explores the flare of vitality that reaches a desperate intensity in the face of death, through seven characters who live in an old people’s home.

The central character, Scott (Rhys McConnochie), is obsessed with the tragic heroism of Robert Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole, a race he lost to Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, and that ultimately cost him his life.

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Review: Do not go gentle… in The Age

This review of Do not go gentle… was written by Martin Ball for The Age. See it in it’s original context here.

Do Not Go Gentle

REVIEWED BY MARTIN BALL

August 9, 2010

An extraordinary cast

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

By Patricia Cornelius
45 Downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane. Until August 29.

DYLAN Thomas’s famous poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night is a passionate clarion call to live life to its utmost, even into old age. Such a philosophy of not going quietly – spelled out in the poem’s refrain, to ”Rage, rage against the dying of the light” – provides the starting point for Do Not Go Gentle, Patricia Cornelius’s wonderful new play about a group of characters in a nursing home, facing the trials and tribulations of old age.

The genius of Do Not Go Gentle, however, is that the characters double their roles in telling the parallel story of Scott of the Antarctic’s doomed expedition to the south pole and this astounding leap of poetic imagination sets up abundant connections between the image of Scott’s men trudging wearily one foot after another into blinding snow, and the creeping onset of senescence that dims the light for so many of our older folk.

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Review: Do not go gentle… on the ABC

This review of Do not go gentle… was written by Prue Bentley for 774 ABC Melbourne. See it in it’s original context here.


Pamela Rabe as Bowen in Patricia Cornelius’ Do Not Go Gentle. Photo by Jeff Busby.

We fear the unfulfilled life.

In the world as we know it, full of aspiration and glamour, there is something monstrous about coming to our end full of regret.

In Do Not Go Gentle, the latest work from Patricia Cornelius puts a group of ageing characters out on the ice to face their lives, their choices and their challenges. And they do it through the goggles of the ill-fated antarctic explorer Robert Scott.

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Review: Do not go gentle… on Theatre People

This review of Do not go gentle… was written byNatasha Boyd for Theatre People.  See it in it’s original context here.

Submitted by K.E. Weber on Tuesday, 10th Aug 2010

Do not go gentle…grapples with existential questions of love, death, loss, happiness and the lust to live life to its fullest.

The intention of former arts broadcaster and writer, Mary Lou Jelbart, who is the founder of fortyfivedownstairs, has been successfully realised in a short space of time and obtained a well deserved reputation as creating a venue that produces a varied range of independent theatre and art space. And it was this that created much enthusiasm amongst the packed audience which greeted opening night of Patricia Cornelius’ avant-garde piece “Do not go gentle….” this weekend.

Cornelius, after all, has been working on this script for six years, including being rewarded as the proud recipient of both the Patrick White playwright’s award and RE Ross Trust Playwright script development award. Cornelius surely felt her work was in safe hands as good friend and experienced director, Julian Meyrick, who has brought two of her pieces to life previously, as well as other works for MTC, STC, and State Theatre of South Australia, was at its creative helm. Not to mention the high calibre and experienced cast that were attracted to this piece and on hand to bring this piece to life.
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