As the theatre of Broadway New York is closed until 2021, Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy and Live Nation is forced to significantly cull their workforce, the theatre world looked to us this Sydney Fringe season in a global partnership seeing many of its productions streamed across the Global Fringe partner network for all to enjoy while adhering to the capacital restrictions for live performances at venues. Our spring lockdown kicked off with a bang in the new Sydney Fringe format, after a number of cinematic blockbuster releases were rescheduled for the third or fourth time this year, before capping it all with a boogie in our chairs at a local...
Queers on the Fringe, Old 505 Theatre - Newtown
A variety show of music and stand-up was opened by the personable Maeve Marsden taking the audience on a whirlwhind of harsh truths, satire and giggles. It was nice to see the uncensored side of The Chaser's, Nina Oyama using words like "lick" and being very in your face with bi humour. One highlight to Brendan Maclean's songs on ukulele spoke to many with a love song dedication inspired by an ex, jokingly naming Tom Ballard. And what a treat to end the night with a drag show performance featuring a LIVE performance by Victoria Zerbst and her rendition of Vanessa William's, Colors of the wind.
Train Lord, Old 505 Theatre - Newtown It was a struggle connecting with Oliver Mol's character at who comes across as a poorly imitated Eminem navigating the Sydney rail network as a train guard. The monologue seemed confused at times and patchy in others. Train footage and soundscapes transformed the stage bringing to life the world of this train guard. When it all came together, it demonstrated the potential of the script. His articulation is strongest and most moving when taking us into that place of self awareness and mortality. It's here where we are shown the inspiration for the author's story and what he's trying to say and we accept all its flaws with its tenderness. And that's exactly what we came for and why original works of the fringe are critical.
New Theatre est. 1932 is a long standing pinnacle of independent theatre in Newtown and Sydney. Last year, 2019 delivered some splendid favourites with outstanding stagings of the Grapes Of Wrath and Little Miss Sunshine. Returning from the enforced grave as a covid-safe venue 2020 the classics continued with the deep and complex yet outwardly simple human stories of Neighbourhood Watch. Coming up next is Animal Farm followed by Picnic At Hanging Rock.
Monday 19 October the iconic venue becomes the new home for the important local Silver Gull Play Award with over 40 new plays submitted this year. Playwrights are the beating heart of theatre, and the 2020 shortlisted plays are:
Victim by Jeanette Cronin
God’s Gruesome Shadow on the Wall by Kian Farzam
The Scream by Justin Fleming
Gods and Little Fishes by Jamie Oxenbould and Richard Sydenham
The Park by Simon Thomson
New Mutants, Dendy Cinemas
If you have cash to burn and have seen everything else that's been released this Spring, why not support the local cinema down on King Street? If your'e looking to be disappointed and have every expectation and standard you've set from the X-Men franchsie up to this point, then New Mutants is for you! Headlining the cast is Game of Thrones expat, Maise Williams, who, like the ensemble cast is wasted on a doozy teen horror of B-grade proportions. Considering the year has played out so far, the ability of this film to cure a recent spell of insomnia was very welcome and in keeping to the disaster that this year has been so far.
The Priscilla Experience, Imperial Hotel
One thing that is difficult to get use to, are the dancefloor-less venues. From that we've seen a number of spaces re-invent themselves with experiences like this one. This weekend saw the final performance in this run which featured a lineup of 6 drag performers produced by Oliver Levi-Malouf (aka. Etcetera Etcetera) entertaining diners paying tribute to the venue which became the icon for one of the nation's earliest LGBT films in the 1990s with the welcome cocktail in the 3 course dinner and show tickets, aptly name, Priscilla. Though a few scares, Newtown avoids any longterm hotspot labelling and the show did go on - smashingly.
Photo Neighbourhood Watch courtesy New Theatre © Chris Lundie