Tag: Scott Gooding

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.


Don’t look back…

By Myron My

The thing I love about Attic Erratic productions is that each new offering is so diverse and different to what they have previously performed. From Choir Girl to Domino, and now The City They Burned: an immersive theatre experience that is a modern retelling of Lot and the fall of Sodom.

The City They Burned

We are invited into Lot’s house for dinner and drinks; we are his friends and work colleagues. There is, however, a sense that something unsettling is afoot as we are greeted by his daughters, Thamma and Pheine (Shoshannah Oks and Brianagh Curran). The two women create a tense environment with their demeanour, attitudes and looks, in particular Oks, whose stare was so confronting I often had to look away.

The rest of the cast are more than impressive with their roles, including Scott Gooding as Lot and Jessica Tanner as his wife Ado, who remarkably shines most in her catatonic state in the second act. So convincing and powerful were the performances that during intermission, two police officers arrived, having been contacted by a nearby resident concerned at the “disturbances” they were hearing.

Fleur Kilpatrick’s script is an engrossing story and even though my knowledge of Lot and Sodom was limited I was transfixed by the unfolding events. The first act is a unique experience for audience members as we are free to roam around the lounge room set and see and hear different conversations, and moments. Even with the interaction with the actors, we are silent witnesses to the depravity and carnage that is building up. The second act is more conventional in its delivery but the intensity being conveyed by the actors is palpable.

Rob Sowinski is to be commended for such authentic set designs for both acts. They are able to support and strengthen the mood created by the acting and writing, and a lot of detail has been put into their creation.

As a side note, I think it was a great initiative of Attic Erratic to hold a “pay what you can” performance on the evening I attended, which allowed for the production to take place with audiences that otherwise might not have been able to attend.

Attic Erratic seems to be more and more synonymous with creating brave new theatre experiences for audiences and under the direction of artistic director, Danny Delahnuty, The City They Burned is most definitely this.

Venue: Cavern Table Performance Space, 127b Campbell St, Collingwood

Season: Until 23 September | Monday 8:00pm

Tickets: $24 Full | $21 Conc until 16 Sept; $27 Full | $24 Conc between 18-23 Sept (as part of Melbourne Fringe Festival)


Review: WORLD WAR WONDERFUL by Karin Muiznieks

Let the battle begin!

By Brad Storer

World War Wonderful! stands as a dark parable about blind patriotism and the cycle of violence surrounding warfare. Luckily for the audience, the near-Brechtian bleakness of its vision comes clothed in hilariously quotable dialogue and insanely hummable tunes.

Greeted upon entry with the projected image of the American flag and accompanied by manic ragtime music, audience members are cast as soldiers watching a USO entertainment show.

Tonight’s performers are the Wonderful Sisters, a trio of energetic, harmony-singing siblings in the style of the Andrews Sisters (their bitter rivals). It is World War Six, Winston Churchill is President of the United States (played on video here by Casey Bennetto) and after many years of profitable war-mongering, the frightening prospect of peacetime is approaching.

The setting gives writer/composer Karin Muiznieks many opportunities to create pastiches of 1940’s musical styles, such as patriotic anthems, novelty songs, dark tangos and syrupy torch songs – all served up with deliciously twisted lyrics and pointed political satire.

Subjects include the advantages of a decorated military love-partner with (several) amputated limbs, sexual ‘warfare’, and a ‘Mr Sandman’ take-off describing the perfect political leader while making jibes at the modern American political landscape. Even those unfamiliar with this period of music will find themselves laughing at the wit and audacity of these seemingly peppy songs.

The three leads, as directed here by Scott Gooding, are all impressive in their individual roles: Louise McCrae as Fanny, the innocent youngest sibling, Laura McCulloch as the cunning middle sister Ruth, and Penelope Bruce as the morally ambivalent eldest sister Gloria. Their interactions and family feuding are perfectly played out as they seek to maintain their wealth and power in a world on the verge of peace.

By the time we reach the end of the show, the sinister conclusion seems both comically logical and chillingly unavoidable. Despite some minor technical problems on opening night, which were competently covered over by the performers, the gruesome message of World War Wonderful! was perfectly executed by all involved.

The Lamond Room, South Melbourne Town Hall

Friday 22/Saturday 23 July, 9.30pm

Tickets: www.melbournecabaret.com, ph. 1300 640 801 or at the festival box office (South Melbourne Town Hall)