Tag: Attic Erratic


Two dark and hellish tales

By Myron My

It’s not as an easy thing to go and explore the darker side of your humanity. For most, it’s the potential repercussions of those actions that prevent us from going any further than a fleeting thought. Citizen Theatre, in association with 5pound theatre and Attic Erratic Theatre, present Inferno: A Double Bill, two distinctly different yet thematically similar plays that question what it is that makes us human and how far would we go to get what we want.


The first play by Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe, Crestfall, follows three women living in a tough and brutal town who are dealing with the abuse and hardness that characterises their location. While the performances themselves by Freya Pragt, Marissa O’Reilly and Marissa Bennett are highly committed and convincing, it was very difficult to engage with and remain engaged with the show the whole time.

Although the material is harrowing, and it therefore becomes difficult at times to listen to the women’s stories, the main issue for me was that the actors do such a good job with the accents, that at times you miss out on what is being said while trying to understand the thick brogue. It doesn’t happen often but it happens enough that I found it prevents you from being completely absorbed by what is happening.

With a minimalist stage design of bare white walls and a white-painted ladder, an unfortunately ineffective lighting design, and – while not a fault of the show itself but more to do with the choice of venue – the noise coming from the Speakeasy occurring one floor above, it was very difficult to stay absorbed in this world and fully comprehend the plight these women faced.

After a short intermission, the second of the double bill, Ariel Dorfman’s Purgatorio is performed, which, to be perfectly frank, is brilliant. Directed by Celeste Cody, it has the markings of an Attic Erratic performance with its emphasis on creating flawed and authentic characters that drive the plot.

Purgatorio finds a couple that must atone for their sins and learn to forgive each other if they are to be set free. The intelligent stage design for the show helps build the isolation and uncertainty that the couple find themselves in. The audience is split in two, sitting on either end of the stage and with a black scrim screen between the two performers, there are substantial periods of times where you can only hear and not see the other performer.

Pragt returns as the Woman and is just as focused and committed as she was in Crestfall. There is a moment when Pragt is handling a knife, and watching how she held and interacted with it displayed the level of skill and nuance she has in allowing the character take her over. Jason Cavanagh as the Man manages to convey a broken figure who is devastated but at the same time angry at what has been done to him, and finds the perfect balance of difficult emotions in his portrayal. The interactions between the two are gripping throughout and demand our attention.

While both plays in Inferno: A Double Bill take a look at what it is that makes us be human and questions why we do the things we do, i found the overall production of Crestfall to be rather disappointing. It seems rely too much on the skills of its excellent actors and not enough on creating the environment and mood of the piece. Purgatorio, on the other hand, brings together a variety of theatrical devices and creates a unique and visceral theatre experience. 

Venue: L1 Studios, 1/377 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, 3000
Season: Until 14 February | Tues -Sun, Crestfall 7.15pm, Purgatorio 9pm
Tickets: Both shows: $42 Full | $38 Conc, Single show: $28 Full | $22 Conc
Bookings: Citizen Theatre


Getting ready for a hit

By Myron My

In Here Comes Your Man for the 2013 Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Alex Roe plays a hit man – a very successful hit man who has a slight career crisis when he meets the beautiful Abigail.

Roe has some good storytelling abilities and the twists and turns in his story were highly engaging without any lulls in this cabaret tale full of crime, death and love. Roe incorporates a nice level of dry humour and drama and seems very relaxed with his delivery and interaction with the audience.

Photo by Shoot at Everyone Imaging

As a performer, when you start to involve audience members in your act you do run the risk of inadvertently breaking character but watching Roe on stage, I did not feel as if he was an actor remembering his lines but found myself quite invested that this man really was a conflicted contract killer!

Here Comes Your Man has a good variety of songs but some of them did slow down the proceedings and cause Roe to lose the intensity he had built up, especially in the middle of the show. It seemed sometimes that either the song was not well-matched to Roe’s voice or it did not add to the story. However the songs where this was definitely not the case and were show highlights included Fairground Attraction’s ‘Perfect’ and (aptly) The Pixies’ ‘Here Comes Your Man’.

Roe is joined on staged by accompanist Tom Pitts and I honestly have never seen a pianist get so wonderfully involved into the music he is playing – his performance was flawless and fluid from beginning to end.

On this occasion, Here Comes Your Man was performed as a workshop season with Attic Erratic with plans of a full season run at the Melbourne Fringe Festival later this year. The concept is unique and interesting and Roe has the skill and charisma to eventually turn this show into the cabaret ‘hit’ it deserves to be.

This production took place on July 3 and 4 at The Butterfly Club as part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival.


Choir politics prove to be worth singing about

By Myron My

A young girl sits on stage with her back to us. Her name is Susan (Sarah Collins) and she is desperate to join a choir. Again. This is the dark comedic story of a choir’s most dedicated member and the politics of community choral singing. This is Choir Girl presented by Attic Erratic and marks its return performance for this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Sarah Collins

What sets this comedy show apart from anything else you might see this festival is that Collins is accompanied by a 13-member all-girl choir live on stage. Dressed in very conservative outfits and with their hair tied back in tight buns it’s quite hilarious to see them launching into songs like “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You” and the vocal highlight of the show “Hit Me Baby One More Time” when they get all sultry and as sexy as can be in their demure dresses. It’s a great comedic and narrative device using the choir as Greek chorus to help convey and commentate on Susan’s inner thoughts.

The narrative could have been quite confusing had it not been for the techniques and the skills Collins possesses for storytelling. It also says something about Collins’ wonderful stage presence that she can perform in front of 250 people on opening night and have everyone’s attention and yet be able to create a sense of intimacy in the large venue she’s performing in.

Some great lighting design is apparent throughout Choir Girl, including warming reds to show Susan’s “passionate” moments and the delicate use of the lonely spotlight at the end to impart a sense of vulnerability and humanity to her.

My only issue with the performance was that it did feel like it dragged just a little bit, where even shaving five minutes of the running time would have made a world of difference for pace and comic timing. However, Choir Girl is still a thoroughly entertaining show and it’s a nice change from the usual stand-up formula and familiar comedy shows on display this festival.

Venue: The Supper Room, Melbourne Town Hall. Cnr Swanston & Collins Sts, Melbourne

Season: Until 15 April | Monday 7:00pm

Tickets: $23 Full | $20 Concession

Bookings: http://www.ticketmaster.com.au,http://www.comedyfestival.com.au1300 660 013 or at the door