Review: The Empty City – The Human Company at Powerkids Festival @ Brisbane Powerhouse

The Empty City, directed by David Fenton, is based on the picture book of the same name by David Megarrity and Jonathon Oxlade. It explores an idea that has undoubtedly crossed the mind of every child: What if, for one day only, everyone disappeared and the city belonged to you? What would you do? Go on, you’ve already started picturing yourself eating and playing your way through a large department store, haven’t you? Jumping on all the beds, stuffing yourselves with gumballs, pouring your own McDonald’s thick-shake? Thought so.

Tom, our young protagonist, explores his options in the empty city between two projection screens that give the animated metropolis a 3D effect, allowing plenty of room for snazzy tricks and magical sleight of hand. Designer Jonathon Oxlade, lighting designer Freddy Komp, animator Luke Monsour and graphic designer Ray Pittman have done a fabulous job creating a city that is familiar yet mysteriously different; it could exist anywhere. The actors, Tom Oliver and Bridget Boyle collaborate inventively with their surroundings to tell Tom’s tale. Continue reading Review: The Empty City – The Human Company at Powerkids Festival @ Brisbane Powerhouse

Review: A Tender Thing – Full Circle Theatre at Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse

Images: Full Circle Theatre (supplied)

Of course I loved it. There’s very little not to love about an intelligent, heart-felt play, fine performances, and sensitive direction in a space that seems so absolutely tailor-made for this show. Brisbane Powerhouse’s Visy Theatre is an intimate, welcoming space where the audience is never far from the on-stage action and A Tender ThingBen Power‘s play (originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company) fits it like a glove.

Linda Davey directs Flloyd Kennedy and Michael Croome as the contemporary, 60-something, star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet who are living in blissful, loving retirement on a coast somewhere. Their love is, indeed, tender. The tides lap and wash the days as they pass – Scott Norris provides the soundscape design and Daniel Anderson lights the bedroom and surrounds of Romeo and Juliet’s beachside house – a beautiful design by Freddy Komp augmented by AV from mk2.

As Time – that old enemy – passes, their love, deeper than ever, is challenged by changing circumstances. I don’t wish to spoil the key event for audiences; it came as a shock to me and I think the play is more powerful when it works on audiences who are unsuspecting. I love plays that wrong-foot you so ingeniously … Continue reading Review: A Tender Thing – Full Circle Theatre at Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse

Niki-J Price (Interview 18)

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)