Review: Holding the Man – La Boite Theatre at the Roundhouse

Main Image: Jerome Meyer and Alec Snow. All images by Al Caeiro

I confess to loving a good play title; it can occupy a fruitful seminar for ages – that’s the recovering academic in me talking.

I’m also very fond of theatricalism in design and execution – the challenge and frisson created when it bumps up against realism in a production and, as it pulls naturalistic acting into its embrace, gets to be over the top and obvious, understated and true. Sometimes you can be wrong-footed but the dance is always enjoyable. And so, on opening night of La Boite’s latest Season 2013 offering Holding the Man by Tommy Murphy and directed by David Berthold, I found a lot to like.

Mr Murphy’s much-admired play has a new production by Mr Berthold who has directed it previously to great acclaim: at Griffin Theatre and the Opera House in Sydney (2006) and subsequently in Melbourne, the Brisbane Powerhouse and in London (2010). This was my first time. The play has been adapted from the late Timothy Conigrave‘s biography of the same name. It is also unknown to me though it’s gone to the top of the must-read list. I want to hear more of the singular voice of Conigrave who, in the play at least, is not the most likeable of characters but certainly a most compelling, and isn’t that the way with so many of the best roles going?

Alec Snow_Holding the Man_Image by Al Caeiro
Alec Snow

Alec Snow, making his professional debut at La Boite, is cast as the man who is held by John Caleo (Jerome Meyer) the light to his dark, the chalk to his cheese, the athlete to his artist. Mr Meyer is also making his first professional appearance in this production. And here’s where the play’s title is food for thought. ‘Holding the man’ is a term taken from AFL football – it defines a transgression that incurs a penalty. Conigrave the actor and Caleo the footballer (and Essendon fan) were lovers. The many personal and societal transgressions that accompany the lives of the protagonists from childhood through adulthood provide the narrative with its subject matter and tension. Continue reading “Review: Holding the Man – La Boite Theatre at the Roundhouse”

Review: cloudCUCKOOland – heartbeast Vicious Theatre at Trinity Hall

A karaoke musical based on Aristophanes’ The Birds entitled cloudCUCKOOland? I don’t really know what I expected.

Stepping out of a rainy night into the beautiful Trinity Hall in The Valley, packed for opening night of this original work, I was excited – as we know, I love a musical. Unlike any of the dodgy joints where my girlfriends have deigned to grab the mic and give Madonna’s Borderline a good flogging, this glittering karaoke bar was shiny and new, complete with slick barman and posh drinks. cloudCUCKOOland was written by Michael Beh (the company’s artistic directed) and co-directed with Michelle Carey who also plays Stevie in the show. It is heartBeast’s eighth show. Continue reading “Review: cloudCUCKOOland – heartbeast Vicious Theatre at Trinity Hall”

2012 Groundlings – and the award goes to …

Congratulations to all of the winners of The 2012 Groundlings, Queensland’s only peoples’ choice award for the best of Queensland-made theatre.

Thanks as well to all who nominated and voted. You are helping to keep the conversation and the spirit alive! Heartiest thanks to you.

It was clear from the nominations and the voting process that fan bases for particular artists and their work are very strong. There were some instances of multiple nominations and ballot stuffing during the voting. Our automated process picked these up and they were disqualified.

Greenroom is very grateful to Claire Christian, Director of Empire Youth Arts who performed the scrutineering task for the final ballot with such aplomb!


Outstanding Contribution by an Actor

Bryan_ProbetsBrian Probets (As You Like It1984)

Outstanding Contribution by an Actress

Nelle_Lee-2010_smallNelle Lee (1984)

Outstanding Contribution by a Director

Michael-Futcher_150x150Michael Futcher (1984)

Outstanding Contribution to Set Design & Outstanding Contribution to Costume Design


Josh McIntosh (Body of Work includes Hairspray1984; The Never Ending Story)

Outstanding Contribution to Lighting Design

Jason_GlenwrightJason Glenwright (Body of Work includes A Tribute of Sorts; 1984)

Outstanding Contribution to Sound Design or Composition

Guy_WebsterGuy Webster (Body of Work includes As You Like It1984Kelly)

Outstanding Contribution to Multimedia Design

pete-foleyPete Foley (Body of Work)

Outstanding Contribution to Innovative Theatre Practice

shake&stir_montage1984: shake and stir theatre company for providing quality productions and access to theatre for young Queenslanders

Best New Play in an Inaugural Queensland Season

1984 1984 by George Orwell adapted by Nick Skubij and Nelle Lee – shake and stir theatre company

Best Production

19841984 by George Orwell adapted by Nick Skubij and Nelle Lee; shake and stir theatre company – Directed by Michael Futcher

Best Musical Theatre Production

UndergroundUnderground – Motherboard Productions – Directed by Jeremy Neideck – Produced by Dave Sleswick

Best Co-Production

a_tribute_of_sortsA Tribute of Sorts – La Boite Indie and Monsters Appear

Outstanding Contribution to Queensland theatre

Bille Brown AMBille Brown AM (1952-2013) for his contribution to our theatre, his inspiration, and his legacy



For Bille – with love

Bille Brown AM

Some people have kindly asked for a copy of the speech I gave on Monday this week at the memorial for Bille held at QPAC’s Playhouse.
I was frankly at a loss to know where to begin when I was asked by Wesley Enoch Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre Company to contribute to the memorial. Of course I wanted to speak about the man and the artist I’d known for so many years but what to say?
Eventually a theme emerged – ‘Bille the Actor’ – and, after reading back over our conversations over the years, I decided to reflect upon and use his own words. Many were taken from Bille’s Facebook snippets over the past 4 or so years. They reveal much about the way he thought about the work – its anxieties and joys, the pride and passion and the deep fondness he felt for home whether he was overseas or here at home in ‘the old house,’ as he called it, at Ascot.
I’m posting the speech here on Greenroom in memoriam

THIS IS THE STUFF: a memorial for Bille Brown AM – actor and playwright

Bille and I began our lives in the theatre as actors at Queensland Theatre Company. That’s when, at the end of 1971, I first saw his work beside Geoffrey Rush, another young member of the company. Bille was a most unusual ginger cat in THE WRONG SIDE OF THE MOON. We went on to work together in a half dozen or so productions for the Company, and later I directed two of his plays TUFF and EGGFROTH THE FRITHED. These, along with SPRINGLE form a trilogy of plays for young people that were commissioned from Bille by QTC. Continue reading “For Bille – with love”

Review: The Pitch and The China Incident – Queensland Theatre Company at QPAC Cremorne

Image: Queensland Theatre Company

Sometimes you see a production that so beautifully pulls form and content together that it becomes the perfect icing on a delicious cake. This is the way I feel about Queensland Theatre Company’s first for the 2013 Season, a double-bill by Peter HoughtonThe Pitch (directed by Catarina Hebbard) and The China Incident (directed by Daniel Evans).

Both plays are about role-playing. To hit their marks both require actors of imagination with a mastery and control of stagecraft – the key ingredients for great role-playing. Both plays are monodramas – extended monologues – requiring stamina and all the power of concentration their cast can muster. The one-person play is the supreme test for the actor; the risks are high but the rewards marvellous if it all works. Fortunately and marvellously for us Barbara Lowing and Hugh Parker fit the bill and their roles like a glove.

Two characters Bea Pontivec (Ms Lowing) and Walter Weinermann (Mr Parker) are under pressure: he’s a writer preparing to pitch a new movie to potential producers; she’s a high-level, political PR consultant jockeying clients and a family wedding. Their respective clocks are ticking – Walter’s got an hour to get his movie together; she to wrangle a genocidal African general, the President of the US, the UN, her in-laws, stroppy daughter and …. you get the idea?

Continue reading “Review: The Pitch and The China Incident – Queensland Theatre Company at QPAC Cremorne”