Review: Cribbie – 4MBS Classic Arts – Cremorne Theatre

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of going to the theatre and hearing stories told about your own folk and your own place and in the voices and the vernacular that belong to your own sense of belonging. I’m not a Cribbie (Cribb Islander) kid from the play of the same name by Michael and Margery Forde. I’m from Sandgate – one of the lot from another of the bayside suburbs – the furthest northerly on Brisbane’s Moreton Bay.

My place Sandgate survived – although I see it’s gone all gentrified in parts. The tidal mudflats in all their gooey, fragrant glory and the protection of Moreton island meant that it would never have the glamour of the surf beaches far to its north and south. Cribb Island, though, went under the tarmac at Brisbane Airport sacrificed, because of its proximity in the name of progress. Stories of the Cribbies and their life in the old, outrageous ruin that was Jackson’s Estate remain in the Forde’s gentle love-poem/play to its memory. Continue reading Review: Cribbie – 4MBS Classic Arts – Cremorne Theatre

Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble at Roma Street Parklands Amphitheatre

Main Image: Silvan Rus and Rebecca Murphy – Benjamin Prindable Photography

Perhaps the most-produced and certainly (in this theatre-goer’s humble opinion) the most accessible of Shakespeare’s comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the latest from the Brisbane-based QSE under the artistic direction of Rob Pensalfini. Rob has also directed and composed the original music for this production but, according to a declaration in a Q&A post-show session he almost didn’t do either.

When the idea first came up at a company meeting, he said he’d rather ‘gouge his eyes out with a spoon.’ The Romantic 19th century fairy ‘sheen’ of most productions that he’d seen or been involved with just hadn’t clicked.  With this production, Rob took up the theme of ‘discord in the land of shadows.’  I’m pleased to report he’s got both eyes still and that his brushed-up Dream is fresh and great fun.

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Matt Gaffney, Laura McKenna, Colin Smith, Brandon Dowery

It’s high-energy with action that never stops till that final ‘Curtain’ – spot on! Some of the ensemble play multiple roles and join in the offstage band that accompanies the action. With choreography and movement by Zoe Tuffin this dream is physical and dance-like helping, as does the music, to manifest the differing tempo-rhythms of the play’s worlds.

The twelve-strong ensemble trip the light fantastic, cavorting, frisking and frolicking their way through the faerie kingdom of Oberon (Zac Kelty) and Titania (Ruby Drewery). Mr Kelty and Ms Drewery double as often happens in productions of this play with Duke Theseus and his Amazon Queen bride-to-be Hippolyta. They are joined by Louise Brehmer as a spring-heeled Puck, Brandon Dowery (in an impressive first showing for QSE)Matt Gaffney, Sam Jeboult, and Laura McKenna as assorted goblins, fairies and mechanicals.  Colin Smith gets to wear the asses’ head as a robust Nick Bottom, and Nick James, Silvan Rus, Rebecca Murphy, and Johancee Theron battle it out – athletically and delightfully – as the quartet of lovers and, of course, end up happily ever. Now, you must know the story, so don’t look for a plot summary. If it’s not familiar to you, go and read it here but, better still, get along to the Roma Street Parklands and see for yourself. Continue reading Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble at Roma Street Parklands Amphitheatre