As I Skype with Niki-J Price she tells me she is enjoying a little stillness in the Brisbane rain - 'a bit of a homesick moment,' she says - she's Welsh by birth. Niki-J's taking a short break from rehearsals as part of the Empire Burning company. There's a run-through that night, 'and it will be my first ever appearance on the Sue Benner stage.' Niki-J is one of the cast in Eugene Gilfedder's new play which opens on Friday at !Metro Arts as part of their Independents' season for 2011. 'I'm more than thrilled to be working with such an amazing cast. What a gift it is to be sharing the stage with some of Queensland's finest male actors - including young Finn (Gilfedder-Cooney) who is not afraid to take such bold steps.' I think to myself that she is probably going to be right at home in this company. Niki-J herself is a fine actor - on stage as bold and courageous as they come. I'm keen to find out more about her and to find out what feeds her artist's imagination. I begin by asking her a question that's been puzzling me for ages. What's the 'J' in Niki-J stand for? She tells me it's for 'Jayne' but she only added it when she was 18. 'At the time I thought a second name would be nice,' and so she became Nicola Jayne Price - a good Welsh name, I note and one that morphed over time into Niki-J. As a child, she wasn't sure what she wanted to do with her life. 'It was a small, mid-Wales country town - all a bit incestuous; you'd walk down the street and see someone you were related to.' When she was 13 she discovered the local youth theatre, and that was it. It was there that her eyes were opened to a wider world, and where, she confesses, she learned to drink and smoke. The first play she appeared in happened to be Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood, the same play, incidentally, in which she appeared in December last year for Fractal Productions in Ipswich and at the Old Museum in Brisbane. Continue reading Niki-J Price (Interview 18)
Empire Burning Written and Directed by Eugene Gilfedder SEASON: Friday 13 to Saturday 28 May WHEN: Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm BACKCHAT: Wednesday 18 May, Artist Q&A after performance WHERE: Metro Arts, Sue Benner Theatre TICKETS: Adults $20 Concessions $16 PERFORMERS: Damien Cassidy, Dan Crestani, Michael Futcher, Eugene Gilfedder, Finn Gilfedder-Cooney, Sasha Janowicz, Niki-J Price and Steven Tandy SOUND DESIGN BY John Rodgers and Ken Eadie LIGHTING DESIGN BY Geoff Squires VISUALS/PROJECTION DESIGN BY Freddy Komp Groups 10+ $12 Cheap Tuesdays $12 door sales only Preview $12 (Tuesday 10 May) Further information: http://www.metroarts.com.au
Originally published 30 April, 2010My theatre companion and I are currently trying to get through burgers the size of our heads before we attend this evening’s performance of Waiting for Godot. It’s been a long week, and we’ve spent the last half an hour whinging at each other about work. There’s a pause in the conversation and a thought rises to the surface: ‘I’m not sure if I really want to sit through Beckett tonight,’ I proclaim with a sigh. This is nothing against the Queensland Theatre Company production team. Joe Mitchell, the director, has already proven he’s a deft hand with Beckett in the past. The line-up of the cast is tremendous, and I’ve heard nothing but good things. But I’m slightly hesitant because I’ve fallen victim to the most common misconception held around Beckett: that I’ll leave the theatre wanting to kill myself. A synopsis of Waiting for Godot reads like a guaranteed boring night out. Most beautifully described as the play where ‘nothing happens, twice’, the play concerns itself with two men waiting for the mysterious Godot to show up. And that’s it. Continue reading Review: Waiting for Godot – Queensland Theatre Company
Originally published 15 February, 2010
Toby Schmitz as Hamlet Photo: Amelia DowdLet it be known, nothing sums this show up better than its poster: a soaking wet Toby Schmitz (very Trainspotting) arms raised as he pulls his hair back ... with just a fine whisper of pubic hair on show. Whilst grabbing my tickets from the box office to see this not-so-subtle erotic piece of marketing on sale for three dollars a throw, I could understand how (if I were a Year 11 school girl) I'd have begun hungrily digging through the bottom of my school bag, gathering change from my tuckshop visit in order to pick up a copy. You get this feeling throughout the show: it’s sexy, cutting, and brutal, and it's made for the 21st Century Twilight obsessed kid. Ophelia is seen texting on her mobile phone, the Gravedigger grabs a quick digital pic with Hamlet, letters and messages are sent over an odd Star Trek-like video system. In addition (and I promise I’ll get to the finer points of the actual performances in a moment) it would be hard to find a group of more beautiful actors without resorting to Photoshop. Berthold has assembled a sexy cast, and he knows it. Skin (and on one occasion, full frontal nudity) is shown without hesitation, often in pairing with the four or five rock-opera style contemporary songs.
Hamlet’s play, in particular, makes you feel like you’re at some kind of incestuous drunk dance concert, and I’m not totally certain that this isn’t exactly how Shakespeare would have liked it.You can’t begin to truly look at the show without placing it in its larger context. Continue reading Review: Hamlet in the box ‘Ugly-beautiful’ La Boite Theatre