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Arts Review: On the Couch with Beng Oh

  • June 25, 2014
  • news

See interview in its original context here by Arts Review.

On the Couch with Beng Oh

Who is Beng Oh?
Beng Oh, n. 1. a gay Asian-Australian director who resists labels. 2. a stubborn craftsman and persistent artist. 3. a work in progress.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Package my personal narrative for ease of consumption. Create a body of work which, for better or worse, is inextricably identified with Beng Oh.

Who inspires you and why?
French director Ariane Mnouchkine and her company, Théâtre du Soleil. They work collectively and collaboratively, often with writer and philosopher Hélène Cixous , and produce epic spectacles for the stage. Their work is rich in detail and draws on many influences, not least their ensemble of actors from over 20 countries. They are passionate, political and not afraid to grapple with ideas and intractable problems. Their work embraces complexity and is unforgettable ex. Le Dérnier Caravansérail (The Last Caravan Stop) which was seen at the 2005 Melbourne Festival.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Keep a small carbon footprint and keep making theatre. I subscribe to Ronnie Burkett’s definition of art as your personal contribution to the ever continuing conversation about life.

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Theatre Alive: ENCORE

  • June 23, 2014
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See interview in its original context here by Theatre Alive. LA MAMA AND FORTYFIVEDOWNSTAIRS JOIN FORCES FOR ENCORE ENCORE is an exciting new creative partnership between two of Melbourne’s thriving independent performing arts venues; La Mama and fortyfivedownstairs. The inaugural ENCORE program will allow audiences…

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Toorak Times: The Three of Us – Review

  • June 20, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Matthew Grant for The Toorak Times.

★★★★

Wandering up and down the fortyfivedownstairs staircase to an open warehouse space that twists and turns and reinvents itself with each new show is a fun, Melbourne thing to do.

fortyfivedownstairs is currently playing The Three of Us , a Deany-Martini stirred n shaken, kinda show. You can rock along and be assured of a good night out. It’s a bottle of bubbles, a gaggle of giggles and a “yabba-dabba-dadda-dabba said the monkey to the chimp”, hoot of a good time.

The Three of Us showcases the works of three of Melbourne’s up-n-comin’ players: Michael Dalton, Luke Gallagher and Rachael Dunham. Essentially it’s a pint-sized Rat Pack cabaret show.

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Toorak Times: ENCORE

  • June 18, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Jo McMahon for The Toorak Times.

ENCORE is breathing new life into Melbourne’s performing arts

ENCORE is the new creative partnership between two of Melbourne’s most successful independent performing arts venues, La Mama and fortyfivedownstairs.

Creative director of fortyfivedownstairs Mary Lou Jelbart explained that the program intended to give another run to some of La Mama’s most successful shows, this time being George Tabori’s Mein Kampf and Maude Davey’s My Life in the Nude.

“These two shows weren’t just picked because of their popularity, but more importantly because of their superior quality and their originality,” Mary Lou Jelbart said.

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TimeOut Melbourne: The Leenane Trilogy – review

See review in its original context here by Tim Byrne for TimeOut Melbourne.

★★★★

This back-to-back trilogy, starring Noni Hazlehurst, recaptures Martin McDonagh’s childhood filled with humour, darkness and violence

Martin McDonagh is often mentioned in the same breath as Quentin Tarantino, and indeed the poster for his Connemara trilogy invokes the filmmaker directly. I guess it’s the deliberately uncomfortable mix of violence and humour, the deadpan nihilism, which brings the cult director to mind. Of course, it could just be the body count.

McDonagh has a few films of his own under his belt now, but his career began with The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Set in the county in which his father was born, his first play drew heavily on the cultural and linguistic nuances of Connemara; bleak and insular, full of petty and long-standing grievance, made up of people struggling to live with themselves and each other.

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THE AGE: The Lonesome West – review

See review in its original context here by Cameron Woodhead for The Age.

★★★★

The Lonesome West review: Family feud heats up in compelling black comedy

Kin Collective’s production of the The Lonesome West, the final leg of the Leenane trilogy, brings to life a brutally amusing Cain and Abel story set in the same shit-splat Irish town as the first two.

The Connor brothers, Coleman (James O’Connell) and Valene (Mark Diaco), are always at each other’s throats. They can’t help themselves. Even freshly returned from their father’s funeral, with the parish priest (Dean Cartmel) in the room, they’re at it hammer and tongs.

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The Age: A Skull in Connemara

See review in its original context here by Cameron Woodhead for The Age.

A Skull in Connemara is the second and least well-known play in McDonagh’s Leenane trilogy, and the most ghoulish and macabre of the three. It delves (quite literally) into the graves of the unquiet dead of Leenane, whose estate is rightly to be envied by those still living in the town – riven as it is by small minds and wagging tongues, crushing boredom and endemic malice.

Every year, the town’s gravedigger Mick Dowd (Chris Bunworth) exhumes the remains in a section of the local cemetery. It’s a murderous chore made worse by the presence of the thick-skulled chatterbox Mairtin Hanlon (Tom Barton), and his dour copper brother Thomas (Pete Reid).

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Toorak Times: The Leenane Trilogy – Review

See review in its original context here by Leonard Miller for the Toorak Times.

REVIEWER RATING
Overall rating:
9
Amazing
Experience:
9
Amazing
Quality:
9
Amazing
Recommend:
9
Amazing
Usefulness:
9
Amazing

Martin McDonagh is something of a wunderkind playwright. At only 44, he is remarkably accomplished with successful film adaptations, West End and Broadway productions and Laurence Olivier and Critics’ Circle Theatre awards under his belt. In staging the entirety of his trilogy of plays set in and around the Irish coastal village of Leenane, the Kin Collective has made an ambitious choice which succeeds in doing justice to his well wrought epic.

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ArtsHub: The Leenane Trilogy – Review

See review in its original context here by Jennifer Porter for ArtsHub.

Tackling themes of co-dependency, alienation, escape and faith, the trilogy is superbly executed by the Kin Collective.

The Kin Collective is currently staging Anglo-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh’sThe Leenane Trilogy at fortyfivedownstairs. The three plays are set in the first half of the 1990s in the district of Connemara, a small community on the west coast of Ireland.

The trilogy tackles themes of co-dependency, alienation, escape and faith. McDonough (best known for the film, In Bruges) explores how dependency can engender hatred and cruelty and lead to degradation of the human condition until its humanity is almost unrecognisable. In this world, escape comes only with alcohol (clung to and coveted like a like a life-giving elixir), migration away from homeland and family, or more tragically, through mental breakdown or death.

Image: Dean Cartmel, Mark Diaco and James O’Connell in the Kin Collective’s The Lonesome West. Image by Lachlan Woods.

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Onya Magazine: The Beauty Queen of Leenane – review

See review in its original context here by Jess Sykes for Onya Magazine.

The Leenane Trilogy – The Beauty Queen of Leenane

The first instalment of the KIN Collective’s Leenane Trilogy was so beautifully done that it has created an almost unbearable amount of anticipation for the next two plays.

Even as we entered the theatre, the wonderful Noni Hazlehurst was waiting on stage. She certainly created a far cry from her much-loved Playschool days, looking like she’s been passing the time shooting up with Jemima, after kicking the stuffing out of Big Ted.

She inhabited the role of Mag; the bitter, self-pitying, manipulative mother to Michala Banas’ Maureen so fully it was enthralling to watch. Martin McDonagh’s words and story were as dark and hilarious as always, but it was each of the four actors on stage that created such an intense and beautiful play to watch.

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THE AGE: The Beauty Queen of Leenane – Review

See review in its original context here by Cameron Woodhead for The Age.

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Beauty Queen of Leenane review: Noni Hazlehurst stuns in Irish revival

To stage the trilogy of plays that launched the career of Martin McDonagh (In BrugesThe Pillowman) is an ambitious project, especially for an independent theatre company. If the KIN Collective’s production of The Beauty Queen of Leenane is any guide, you should rush to snap up tickets to all three.

McDonagh’s imagination can be morbid, violent and grotesque. He has the darkest kind of sensibility – so dark it doesn’t feel right to call The Beauty Queen of Leenane a “black comedy”. The play’s utterly classical sense of structure, and the blighted rural Irish lives he draws, might place it closer to tragedy, but that doesn’t feel quite right either. Even “tragicomedy” would feel like an evasion.

No question you’re in the presence of a formidable drama, though, and some superb acting. The abusive relationship at the heart of the play is a gift for performers. Noni Hazlehurst and  Michala Banas dominate the stage as Mag and Maureen Folan, a mother and daughter bound together by mutual loathing and need.

If there’s any justice  Hazlehurst will win some sort of award for this star turn. The detail and presence she brings to the wounded, malicious, manipulative old matriarch are just staggering. She sits in her armchair like a noxious toad, consuming every atom of available oxygen.

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HERALD SUN: The Beauty Queen of Leenane – Review

See review in its original context here by Kate Herbert for the Herald Sun.

Rating: ★★★★

Theatre review: The Beauty Queen of Leenane (part one of trilogy), at fortyfivedownstairs

MARTIN McDonagh’s grim comic-tragedy, The Beauty Queen Of Leenane, seethes with the suppressed rage between a controlling mother and her hapless, middle-aged daughter.

In their isolated and dilapidated cottage in Connemara, on the windswept coast of Ireland, Mag (Noni Hazlehurst) and Maureen (Michala Banas) live out their miserable, repetitive daily lives of sniping, cruelty and mutual loathing.

Hazlehurst totally inhabits the manipulative, whining and contrary old harridan, Mag, delivering a superbly nuanced performance that makes us laugh and wince at Mag’s sneering secretiveness and shameless cruelty.

Michala Banas and Noni Hazlehurst in The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Picture: Lachlan Woods Source: Supplied

 

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AUSTRALIAN STAGE: The Beauty Queen of Leenane – Review

See review in its original context here by Melita Pereira for the Australian Stage.

Left – Michala Banas and Noni Hazlehurst. Cover – Linc Hasler, Michala Banas and Noni Hazlehurst. Photos – Lachlan Woods

The Beauty Queen of Leenane is the first play in Martin McDonagh’s “Leenane Trilogy”, a series of plays that confront the sometimes gruesome mediocrity of domestic life in rural Ireland. The Beauty Queen of Leenane portrays the story of Mag and Maureen Folan, and exposes the depraved cruelty of a mother-daughter relationship that has been pushed beyond the extremes of loathing.

The play opens with the sight of disheveled Mag Foley, sitting in her rocking chair with cantankerous anticipation. Her mouth twists in animated complaint as her daughterMaureen enters the house. The younger woman hunches slightly, acceding to the demands of her mother, her vibrancy vanishing under the oppression of her mundane responsibility. With this first caustic scene, the fictionalised world of McDonagh’s Leenane clicks into action.

Presented by Kin Collective and performed at fortyfivedownstairs, The Beauty Queen of Leenane is an edgy and confrontational theatre experience. Built on the solid foundation of McDonagh’s exuberant and razor-sharp dialogue, The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a raw black comedy, always playing in the shadows of violence and grotesque honesty.

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CRIKEY: The Beauty Queen of Leenane – Review

See review in its original context here by Ben Neutze for Crikey.

3 1/2 stars

There’s something delightfully ‘90s about the way Irish playwright Martin McDonagh’s 1996 play The Beauty Queen of Leenaneunfolds. The blend of black comedy, horror and heightened drama/melodrama emerging from domestic situations which McDonagh trades on is constantly familiar and feels pretty retro. But it’s the precision with which McDonagh pulls the elements together, the (somewhat predictable) twists and turns, and his undeniable wit that makes The Beauty Queen of Leenane a thrilling and enduring piece of theatre.

As the first play in McDonagh’s The Leenane Trilogy, it brings to life the people of Ireland and the community of the small, but beautiful village in Western Ireland, surrounded by sweeping green hills. It’s also where McDonagh spent his holidays as a child. Mother and daughter, Mag (Noni Hazlehurst) and Maureen Folan (Michala Banas), are living, or rather, surviving, in McDonagh’s Leenane. Maureen, a 40-year-old virgin who’s had to overcome her fair share of hardships is stuck looking after her sick 70-year-old mother. Their relationship is strained, to say the least, with Mag manipulating her daughter and doing all she can to prevent Maureen’s happiness and keep her to herself. We know that there’s beauty outside the front door of the Folan’s claustrophobic cottage, but it’s a beauty that’s trapped the people of Leenane.

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Herald Sun: Kin Collective present Martin McDonagh's The Leenane Trilogy

See article in its original context here by Michelle Pountney for the Herald Sun.

Kin Collective tackles theatre marathon with Leenane Triology

THREE plays, back to back, will test the skills of independent theatre group the Kin Collective.

The 10-member group will tackle Irish playwright Martin McDonagh’s Leenane Trilogy over little more than two weeks, including three marathon Sundays when all the plays will all be performed on the same day.

The three plays, set in rural Ireland, are described as being “flamboyantly gruesome dark comedies” with murders, spite, and complicated relationships aplenty.

Each play — The Beauty Queen of Leenane, A Skull In Connemara, and The Lonesome West — will have its own short season as well as the triple-header Sunday performances.

Three directors lead three separate casts, including some big stage and television names who formed the Kin Collective after meeting at an acting masterclass with US acting coach Larry Moss.

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TimeOut: Mein Kampf

See interview in its original context here by Andrew Fuhrmann for the TimeOut Melbourne.

Glenn van Oosterom on Mein Kampf

Tom Shilling, Noah Taylor, Bruno Ganz and now Glenn van Oosterom. They’ve all played Hitler

After a sell-out run at La Mama in 2013, George Tabori’s controversial comedy, Mein Kampf, directed by Beng Oh, returns for an encore season at fortyfivedownstairs. Twenty-seven years after it premiered, Tabori’s farcical take on the sorrows of young Hitler is still as impertinent and improbable as ever, a play crammed with pratfalls and poignancy. Time out speaks to Glenn van Oosterom as he prepares to reprise his role as the frustrated-art-student-cum-tyrant-to-be.

Hi Glenn, how does one prepare for playing Hitler?

Phew. I don’t know? You take a really long time to decide if you want to do it, decide against it, and then you throw yourself into it. You do research, you study the script, you learn about the playwright.

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TOORAK TIMES: Review- The Consul

See article in its original context here by Lisa Romeo  for the Toorak Times.

3 1/2 stars

The Consul is a Pulitzer Prize Winning opera written by Gian Carlo Menotti; its first performance was seen in 1950 in Philadelphia and two weeks later it opened in New York City where it enjoyed a successful run of nearly eight months.

The Gertrude Opera welcomes to the stage its own season of The Consul now showing at Fortyfivedownstairs. It may be stripped bare of ornamentation, with no elaborate costumes, no thick, velvet curtains or fancy props, but this English speaking adaptation has all the drama and tragedy expected of an opera – the splendid soprano voices, the expert conducting of Rick Prakhoff and the great acting by a large cast of performers. It doesn’t have an entire symphony orchestra but none the less the piano playing of Katherine Day is so sweet and sublime that it assists the story in all its dark and compelling truths.

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THE AGE: The Consul Review

See article in its original context here by Barney Zwartz  for The Age.

3 1/2 stars

Anyone who thinks opera is an elitist art form should visit Gertrude Opera’s new production of The Consul by Menotti: the budget was apparently so tight that an oily rag would have been a luxury. Yet, by dint of fine singing and intelligent direction, the Gertrude Opera – the performing arm of the Melbourne Opera Studio – has pulled together a compelling account, and performed it most ably. I can’t say entertainingly, not for any flaw but because this opera is so unrelievedly grim and tragic.

Written in 1950, The Consul is about a callous and indifferent bureaucracy whose refusal to treat like human beings the people desperately seeking visas is pointedly and disturbingly reminiscent of Australia’s refugee policy.

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HEIDELBERG LEADER: The Consul

See article in its original context here by Natalie Filmer for the Heidelberg Leader.

American soprano Alissa Andraski lives in Ivanhoe East while doing The Opera Studio program, performing in Gertrude Opera’s The Consul at fortyfivedownstairs

AMERICAN soprano Alissa Andraski has travelled the world for her career for the past seven years.

After classical voice training at the famed Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan in the US, Ms Andraski completed a vocal performance degree in Italy.

She then moved to Germany to study voice and language, and performed there as well as in Austria, Switzerland and Holland.

The 27-year-old’s pursuit of her craft has now brought her to Ivanhoe East, where she will live for eight months while undertaking The Opera Studio’s performance program in Melbourne.

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THE AGE: Treading the Boards

See article in its original context here by John Bailey for The Age. Another tour in the nude When Maude Davey performed her My Life in the Nude show at La Mama last year, it was supposed to mark the retirement of the famous…

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Theatre People: Dylan Watson Talks The Beauty Queen of Leenane

See article in its original context here by K.E. Weber for Theatre People.

Martin McDonagh’s  disturbingly dark comedy, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, is coming to 45downstairs later this month as part of The Leenane Trilogy of plays.  Fresh from the new Angelina Jolie directed film Unbroken, actor Dylan Watson  joins Noni Hazlehurst and Michala Banas in the Irish village of Leenane.

Watson plays Ray Dooley who he describes as a young troublemaker. Ray lives under the shadow of his brother Pato who is a bit of a catch in the small town they live in. Ray has many aspiration but, unlike his brother, he seems locked into the force that is Leenane and is ultimately destined to live out his days in the kind of harrowing psychological pit that this small Irish town may symbolize.

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Theatre Alive: Monday Musings with Mark Diaco

See article in its original context here by Theatre Alive.

Melbourne independent company KIN Collective are gearing up to tackle not one, but three of Martin McDonagh’s brilliant plays in their next season.

The company features an eclectic mix of well-known actors from stage and screen, including the likes of Noni Hazlehurst, Michala Banas, Marg Downey and Keith Brockett.

We managed to nab some time with ensemble member Mark Diaco to chat about rehearsals, great writing, and the perks of working in the independent sector.

The KIN Collective is a fairly young company on the Melbourne Indie scene, tell us a bit about how and why you formed, and previous work?

I don’t know about young, this our third year as a company so as far as indie theatre is concern that would make us veterans I’d say!

In terms of work though, our only previous production to date isGlimpse; a self-devised piece written by the collective. It’s not out of laziness that we have only mounted one production, some of it’s got to do with availability, but I’d say when you have this many creative voices in a group it does tend to take time for a collective voice to submerge, and congeal.

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Toorak Times: HEX Review

See article in its original context here by Leonard Miller for the Toorak Times.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Celebrating its thirtieth year, the Next Wave Festival was established to foster creativity and experimentation with a focus on young emerging artists. In choosing choreographer James Welsby as a Next Wave Kickstart recipient and in programming his remarkable new work Hex, the festival has given everyone a birthday present. Full of energy and wit, the piece covers old ground in a new way and promises something of the grand new narrative which is the theme for this year’s Next Wave.

Hex is a discussion of the HIV/AIDS crisis which shook the western world from the early eighties to the mid nineties. It is a topic that has had many performative renderings, but Welsby still finds something new to say and a new way to say it. Lasting about an hour, the work draws strongly from the club dance styles of the period and almost uses them as its language. This also makes for a high energy show and all three dancers impress with their fitness and discipline.

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ArtsHub: HEX Review

See article in its original context here by Mark Brandi for the ArtsHub.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Hex explores the pain and struggle of fighting against adversity. Is is also a joyful celebration of what it means to be free.

For those who remember the HIV/AIDS awareness campaign of the 1980s, the Grim Reaper evokes a powerful emotional response. To this day, it remains a potent symbol of fear in our community.

With that fear, sadly, came much misunderstanding. Gay men in particular were stigmatised and singled out, as society tried to come to grips with a deadly pandemic.

In Hex, dancer and choreographer James Welsby ambitiously sets out to bridge the generational gap between those who lived through the crisis and Generation Y. He is determined that the struggles of activists in the 80s and 90s are not forgotten, and that his generation do not take for granted the relative liberalism they enjoy.

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TimeOut Melbourne: Interview THE THREE OF US

See interview in its original context here by Rose Johnstone for TimeOut Melbourne.

Spend a night among three cabaret stars to decide which one shines the brightest

On stage, Michael Dalton is best known as frock-toting diva Dolly Diamond. Rachel Dunham is the closest thing to Oprah you’ve ever seen – if Oprah had an incredibly powerful singing voice. Luke Gallagher is a storyteller with a swoon-inducing singing voice. We chat to the triple-threat trio to hear about the highs and lows of being in a cabaret supergroup.

You’ve all performed in the Melbourne Cabaret Festival before, but not together. How did this come about?

Michael: I perform as Dolly Diamond, but I wanted to do a gig as Michael. Luke and I wanted to perform together, and then we went to watch Rachel do Oprahfication, and fell in love with her. The girl can sing and the girl knows how to perform!

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Guardian Australia: HEX Review

See article in its original context here by Jane Howard for The Guardian Australia.

★★★★

Hex review: the Aids crisis revisited through dance

Hex is a powerful work that looks at the Aids crisis from a generation away, and explores its legacy and impact

James Welsby was born the same year as the Grim Reaper advertisement played on Australian television warning about the dangers of HIV. For his generation, it was so powerful that the image of the epidemic lingered on, even among those too young to have been conscious of it when it first appeared. Gen Y grew up in the wake of the Aids crisis: taught about its devastation, but removed from the events.

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Gay News Network: HEX

See article in its original context here by Stephen Russell for the Gay News Network.

EXPLORING HIV/AIDS THROUGH THE WORLD OF DANCE

MELBOURNE: The rise of HIV infections among young people was one of the motivators for dancer James Welsby to create his latest work, Hex. By Stephen A Russell.

Dancer and choreographer James Welsby was born in 1987 in the midst of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the year the infamous Grim Reaper bowling ball ad campaign launched. While he has no direct memory of these events, including the death of a family friend in the early 90s, the powerful documentary How To Survive A Plague triggered an interest in uncovering the devastating history. This, coupled with an increase in HIV notification rates in recent years, saw him contemplating a seeming lack of awareness amongst Gen Y.

“I found myself questioning why so many people are having unsafe sex again,” he says. “It seems to be quite common, almost as if safe sex is out of fashion.”

He wonders, too, if the rise of GPS hook-up apps might have played their part. “We have more platforms than ever before and can hook up very easily, which is great, but we’re sort of in new territory. It’s possible that could be related. It’s a very complex and nuanced issue.”

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ArtsHub: Savages take on King Kong in Green Room Awards

  • April 29, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Annie Louey for the ArtsHub.

An independent play has taken out almost as many Green Room Awards as the stage production ‘King Kong’ at last night’s ceremony.

Presented annually by the peer-based Green Room Awards Association, the Green Room Awards recognise excellence within Melbourne’s professional performing arts sector.

Savages, written by Melbourne playwright Patricia Cornelius and directed by Susie Dee took out four awards in the independent theatre category at last night’s awards ceremony at the Comedy Theatre. The writer and director both received awards in their respective disciplines. The other two gongs were given for set and costume design, and lighting.

Cornelius joked, ‘We wanted to beat King Kong!’

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SAVAGES takes out four Green Room Awards!

  • April 29, 2014
  • news

Savages won four Green Room Awards in the following Independent Theatre Categories: Writing/Adaptation on the Australian Stage - Patricia Cornelius Direction - Susie Dee Set and Costume Design - Marg Horwell Lighting Design - Andy Turner Read more about the…

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TimeOut: The Leenane Trilogy

  • April 28, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Andrew Fuhrmann for the TimeOut Melbourne.

Noni Hazlehurst knows what she wants and the way she wants to get it

The theatre of playwright Martin McDonagh is a famously savage place, full of violence, loathing and loneliness. It’s a haunted, darkly comic world, one lit in flashes by a kind of lurid blarney, a verbal pyrotechnics that leads one reeling, like Drunk Jack himself, into the secret fens and bog-pools of the modern Irish imagination.

His unusual talent first announced itself in The Leenane Trilogy, which premiered at the Druid Theatre Company Galway and went on to find success on Broadway and the West End.

In late May, local company the Kin Collective will be presenting all three Leenane plays in an ambitious new program at fortyfivedownstairs.

In the first play of the trilogy, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, a conniving old mother, Mag, played by Noni Hazlehurst, clings desperately to Maureen, her embittered daughter, played by Michala Banas, a lonely spinster dreaming of a better life.

The resentment between the two stunted creatures is obvious from the first.

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TimeOut: KaBooM

  • April 12, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Tim Byrne for the TimeOut Melbourne.

★★★★

KaBooM – Stories from Distant Frontlines is described as a physical performance event, seven vignettes from seven different directors on the topic of war and its aftermath. It is decidedly outward looking, as the word distant in the subtitle indicates, but it is also deeply attuned to the ripple effects of warfare that still disturb and haunt the Australian psyche.

The sheer number of international conflicts to which Australians have been witness can be staggering to contemplate, and KaBooM makes no claim as some kind of exhaustive ledger. Instead, the approach is deliberately piecemeal, spanning decades and continents, focusing on the personal over the geopolitical. Faced with such individualised trauma, the reasons for going to war seem utterly perverse, and KaBooM rightfully turns its back on them.

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Toorak Times: KaBooM

  • April 11, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Lisa Romeo for the Toorak Times.

Kaboom is about war, about true individuals who have fought on the frontline, and who have been forced to leave their country to escape conflict in the attempt to build new lives in Australia.

The show’s aim is to position the audience as witnesses to the atrocities of war, and the stories told touch upon some of the world’s greatest disasters – the Holocaust, the Vietnam war, Saddam Hussein’s army, the explosion of a Russian Navy ship in WWI that took the lives of over 600 men – right through to stories from commandos in the Israeli Army.

Seven independent theatre directors each create their own theatrical piece, tied together by the very powerful acting of Deborah Leiser-Moore who is the centre piece of each story, and delivered by the use of screen projections, video and television. There is no fourth wall in this production and the intent is to engage and involve the spectators by channelling them from one intimate space to the next, each set with its own props, thus creating a series of short and gripping events.

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RealTime Arts: KaBooM

  • April 3, 2014
  • news

See article in its original context here by Keith Gallasch for RealTime Arts. RT PROFILER 2, 26 MARCH 2014 The soldier inside Keith Gallasch: Deborah Leiser-Moore, KaBooM: Stories from Distant Frontlines I recently met with a very happy Deborah Leiser-Moore to…

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