Tag: Cat Commander

REVIEW: La Mama Presents TROLLS

Under the bridge and behind the keyboard

By Myron My

In 2013, four writers (Alan Grace, Nic Stevens, Elaine Cope and head writer Neil Triffett) created fake online personas and went on the internet coaxing out trolls and exploring what freedom of expression can actually mean. Most of the dialogue in Trolls is a verbatim conversation the actual writers had, and with this core material, Triffett has created an absorbing and discussion-provoking play.


The whole cast (Scott Gooding, Cat Commander, Gabriel Partington, Emma Tufrey Smith and Laura Jane Turner) – must be congratulated on their efforts. No-one missed a beat with their almost frenetic performances of the various characters they played, from the reenactments of the interactions the writers had, to portraying the writers themselves and presenting their findings to us. Commander and Turner were particularly impressive in their achievements.

Fleur Kilpatrick’s effective direction is evident throughout Trolls. As with her writing, Kilpatrick has a knack for creating sophisticated experiences for audiences which allow us to see and to consider things we wouldn’t otherwise. She has clearly given the actors the confidence and support to further explore their characters and successfully take us along for the bumpy ride.

My only concern was that the script seemed to lose itself at times and I was left feeling confused as to which story it was I was following and which ‘character’ was being depicted. I can only imagine what a huge task it was for Triffett to go through all the correspondence and conversation and whittle it down to 60 minutes but I’m sure as the work develops, the script will get tighter and more finessed.

Trolls focuses on some important issues underpinning online communities and social media usage and also explores the somewhat blurred line of when and how one actually becomes a troll, and when good intentions give way to darker motivations. I will be very keen to see how this work progresses into its next phase.

Trolls was performed for the first time as a partly-staged performance and part-reading for La Mama Theatre’s Explorations seasons which supports new works in various stages of development.


Sweet meandering romance

By Myron My

The opening moments of You Took The Stars succeed in setting a romantic and whimsical environment as we are led from the front of the North Melbourne Town to the neighboring alley. Taking a seat at one of the four candlelit tables, we are serenaded by musician Matt Furlani singing Sarah McLachlan’s “Ice Cream”, and then witness the first encounter of Maisie and Paul, and their ensuing relationship.

You Took The Stars

But this is not a traditional love story, or even much of a story for that matter. Writer Cat Commander has chosen to tell this story through the characters rather than through narrative. This sounds very interesting in theory, but in this instance, it was difficult for me to feel an emotional connection to Maisie and Paul, as they perform the various scenes their imaginations create and found myself unable to maintain the level of interest I initially had.

This is through no fault of the acting by Kasia Kaczmarek and John Shearman who do an exceptional job as the two lovers and their performances are what had me most engaged with this show. Alice Darling’s direction further strengthens the chemistry between the two and ensures that issues from performing in such a long, narrow outdoor venue are minimized. It is encouraged, and at times, necessary, as an audience member to move around to get a better view of what is happening as well as hearing the dialogue that is drowned out due to outside noises.

Despite its shortcomings, You Took The Stars is a nice enough show that (literally as well as metaphorically) takes you outside of all the craziness that happens at Fringe and gives you a moment to reflect. And make sure to rug up: this is an outdoor performance.

Venue: Meet on the steps of North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne

Season: Until 26 September | Tues-Fri 7:00pm

Tickets: $18 Full | $15 Conc

Bookings: http://www.melbournefringe.com.au