Tag: Anjelica Angwin

Melbourne Fringe 2016: BOMBSHELLS

Impressive performances of women on the verge

By Margaret Wieringa

Down a few side streets in Brunswick in an art space called Wick Studios, ROARE Productions are staging the classic Australian play Bombshells by Joanna Murray-Smith for this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival. The work is a series of six monologues from women pushed to the edge, and Kaarin Fairfax has directed this group of six young performers to find interesting and different interpretations of the collection of characters


The show starts strongly with Ruby Swann playing Meryl Louise Davenport, the young mum struggling through the constant, frenetic monologue, judging herself and comparing herself to everyone around her. It’s such a bittersweet, tragic and yet very hilarious piece and Swann balanced the humour and pathos beautifully – in a magnificent white jumpsuit, and literally at the end of her rope.

Next, Ruby Duncan was Tiggy Entwhistle, a recently separated woman who is discussing how succulents changed her life. Duncan’s performance was extremely still and monotonic throughout, which was both a strength and a weakness- it gave the writing a far deeper sense of pain, but at times, missed the humour. Certainly, it was a strong performance from Duncan in an unexpected interpretation of the piece.

The first act finished on Anjelica Angwin’s school talent performance as Mary O’Donnell. We’ve all known these young, extremely self-confident teens who are ready to take on the world of the stage. Perhaps we may have even been her… Angwin captured the arrogance and outrage of the teen performer beautifully. And her dance number was delightful.

Returning from interval we meet Theresa McTerry, portrayed by Emily Riley. Starting on stage dancing in her underwear and drinking champagne, we watch Riley go through a wide variety of emotions as she ends up in a magnificently large wedding dress marrying Ted. As the character became more and more overwhelmed by the day, Riley’s performance became bigger and louder and funnier and more tragic, as needed.

Angie Glavas played Winsome Webster, the button-down widow who has seemingly settled into a pattern that will last the rest of her life. It’s always difficult to have actors play characters so distant in age from themselves, and while it was impossible to ignore that I was watching a young performer, she had a weight to her voice, a pacing and a pitch that conveyed an older character. Glavas was able to do real credit to the humour of the writing with her performance – giving a sense of upright respectability with the occasional naughty wink.

The show ends with a showstopper – travelling Vegas-style singer Zoe Struthers played by Olivia Ramsay. I found this monologue felt somewhat out of place, as all previous five are relatively normal, everyday characters but Struthers is extreme – and Ramsay played it to absolute extreme, with smeared make-up and cartoon-like facial expressions. Possibly some of the potential tragedy of this character may have been lost through the melodrama of the performance, but it also was hindered by some technical issues. Unfortunately during the performance there were several technical cues missed which did slow the flow somewhat, but I am sure that they will be sorted as the season progresses.

There are a lot of choices at Fringe time, but if you are interested in checking out the work of some raw young talent, get yourself to Wick Studios for Bombshells.

Bombshells is playing in Studio A at Wick Studios, 23-25 Leslie St, Brunswick

Monday-Sunday at 7:30 and Sat-Sun Matinees 1:30 September 22-27

Tickets are available through melbournefringe.com.au

Preview $20, Full $25, Conc. $25 Cheap Tuesday $15

REVIEW: Human Sacrifice Theatre Presents THE LONG RED ROAD

Worth the wait

By Myron My

The Australian premiere of Brett C. Leonard’s The Long Red Road follows six individuals all facing their own demons and struggles. Set in the heart of America, the name of the play is a Native American term for the journey toward redemption and inner peace. In this instance, the focus rests on the relationship between brothers Bob and Sam, and the effects of a tragic accident.

The Long Red Road

The first act begins with numerous mini-scenes peering into the lives of the six characters, and as such, the story moves at an incredibly slow pace. The attempts to provide insight into the turmoil and anguish they are facing result in actually knowing very little about these people, so until the end of the first act, I cared very little about these people. To be perfectly honest, I could have done without this act altogether and would have preferred to get right into the heart of the story found in the second act.

Having the stage set in the middle of the space with the audience on either side gave a voyeuristic feel to the show, with these characters’ lives on display for everyone, with nowhere for them to hide. The downside is, depending on where exactly you were seated, you could miss out on some small but pivotal moments as I did between characters Bob and Tasha.

The set design itself though worked well with the bedrooms of each home situated on opposite ends of the stage and the universal communal areas being shared in the middle of the space, giving you the sense of interconnectedness between these people. Another effective staging decision was the projections on both sides of the wall, further enhancing the environment we were in. In particular, this was perfectly executed in the final dramatic moments of the show.

Under the direction of David Myles, the whole cast does very well with their American accents and in their portrayals of the emotionally demanding characters. Anjelica Angwin and Marissa O’Reilly’s unfortunately few scenes together spoke volumes with very little dialogue in their relationship as estranged mother and daughter, Sandra and Tasha. Liza Meagher as the innocent Annie is a nice contrast to the damaged Sam, played by Mark Diaco. Diaco and Lee Mason (Bob) are the standouts as the two siblings who play their roles with raw honesty and convincing emotion. Rounding out the cast is Red Horse as Clifton, who also performs the evocatively haunting musical score for the play.

The Long Red Road is a tragic story about the effects of alcohol not only on individuals but also on those around them and in some aspects, on society itself.  Some excellent performances and highly effective technical designs make it worth getting through those first forty minutes.

Venue: fortyfive downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: Until 9 August| Tues- Sat 7:30pm, Sun 5:30pm
Tickets: $33 Full | $28 Conc
Bookings: fortyfive downstairs or 9662 9966