Three Gems from Anywhere Festival

we are all ghosts

The cast is never more than a metre from the audience

“WE ARE ALL GHOSTS’

by Josh Donellan 

The beauty of the Anywhere Theatre Festival is that every production is unique in its choice of venue and frequently that choice plays out in a powerful and significant way.

‘We are all ghosts’ is no exception.

Set in a 19th street in the ambling hills of inner city Paddington, the stage is set for an urban contemporary ghost story. The audience is led into the privacy and intimacy of the home by candlelit pathway, setting the stage for an expectation of secrets revealed.

This self-directed and perfectly cast vignette written by Josh Donellan gives ample scope for the characters played by Jessica McGaw, Helen Stephens and Daren King to explore the collective memories of lost friend Eric.

The setting and text combine in an intimate, atmospheric and subtle story which explores concepts of physics and metaphysics, friendship and mental health, love and loss. Contemporary, relatable and yet transcendent with the interweaving of poetry and science, past and present, the house and ultimately the audience, become the increasingly evident presence of ‘Eric’. Beautifully nuanced performances by the cast, who were never more than a metre from the audience, ensure that the intimacies of the individual anecdotes are powerful and affecting.

“THE BALD PRIMA DONNA” by Eugene Ionesco Paddington Substation

Directed by Heidi Manche

The Bald Prima Donna at the Paddington Substation is the perfect marriage of text and location. The stark white walls, minimalist set and all important clock provide an excellent playing arena for this absurdist farce. The highly skilled cast provide a thrilling fast paced romp through bizarre and hilarious scenes.

Surreal choreographyis seamlessly integrated throughout and the physical features of the building, stairs, balcony, massive entrance doors are used thematically and purposefully. The cast, Crystal Arons, Lizzie Ballinger, Jane Barry, Iain Gardiner, Robert Horton, and Alastair Tomkins deliver with perfect timing and aplomb, and appear to relish in this superb absurdist delicacy.

The Bald Prima Donna is a most welcome addition to the Festival’s programme providing Brisbane audiences with an opportunity to experience a style of theatre rarely on offer.

“BLOKE”

by Shane Pike and Zoe Tuffin
Shane Pike in Bloke

A man’s 21st century guide to emotional fulfilment (or not … Maybe it’s just about sex).

The venue for Bloke opens up a hidden nest of artistic wonders and re-use of industrial space tucked away behind Boundary and Mollison Streets West End.

Suddenly Brisbane has its own Manchester or Berlin ambience – a welcome relief from the spruced bare sanitized and polished concrete of state funded arts establishments. Here, are real stories, and real artists telling them.

Zoe Tuffin’s Director’s notes say (this) ‘is no romanticised, commercialized Crocodile Dundee’, and that is correct. The recurring phrase of the evening was ‘hurt men hurt’ and it succinctly encapsulates the dilemma the audience face.

Shane Pike as both actor and writer excels. This is a fast paced engrossing and highly relevant tale, in which humour, revulsion, anger and empathy are dealt in equal measure. Shane Pike never loses momentum as he pauses, reflects, jokes and teases and ultimately leaves us questioning good, evil, innocence and justice.

The chosen location for this contemporary tale of manhood again perfectly provides all that the most highly funded production could not. This is real, genuine, gritty, personal and intimate. Audience members introduce themselves to each other as Silvan Rus warmly announces his next song accompanying himself on electric guitar; this is where friends meet and mingle, and where it is safe to reveal inner torments over a beer. Perched on stairs, on beer barrels, cramped in corner couches, the packed audience strain necks to hear their ‘mate’ tell his tale.

This is story-telling at its best.

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