Tag: Tim Constantine

Tangled Web Theatre Presents BETRAYAL

Pinter’s work at its finest

By Ross Larkin

Harold Pinter is a somewhat acquired taste. The Nobel Prize-winning British playwright’s work was distinctive in its knack for simplicity and complexity all at once. Betrayal is possibly Pinter’s most interesting example of his preoccupation with the fragility and emotional inconsistency of the human condition and the relationships implicated by it.


Betrayal examines a chronologically reversed seven-year period in the affair-laden lives of married couple Emma and Robert and their close friend (and Emma’s lover), Jerry. Deception and infidelity are second nature and compulsive to the trio to the extent where the characters themselves lose track and create their own undoing.

Tangled Web Theatre’s production, directed by Bruce Cochrane, succeeds in capturing the mood of the piece: one of subtle tension, heavy pauses and intricate exchanges. Presented sparsely and deliberately, the atmosphere and direction would have made Pinter himself proud.

However, it’s the performers who really shine here. Supported by Michael Fenemore’s solid portrayal in the difficult role of Robert, Eleni Miller, who plays the unapologetic and somewhat sociopathic Emma, is suave yet guarded with a calculated and emotional repression that is natural, absorbing and devastating. Her understated performance is hypnotic and exactly the right measure of Pinteresque.

Tim Constantine as the deceptive Jerry is exceptional, capturing the charm and truthfulness of the character without ever succumbing to any obvious or intentional malice or trickery, but rather, allowing the text to allure and reveal while maintaining Jerry’s authenticity and self-perceived ingenuousness.

The pair are mesmerising from the get-go with a believable and palpable dynamic, rich in nuance and wonder, managing to woo the audience to care and empathise, despite their deceitful, self-absorbed ways.

Betrayal in all its uncomfortable loitering and tension may not be for every taste, but for those who like their theatre raw, brooding and close to the bone, it’s just the ticket. Playing now at the Northcote Town Hall until November 19th nightly at 8pm with 2pm weekend matinees. Booking at www.northcotetownhall.com.au or (03) 9481-9500.


REVIEW: Boutique Theatre Presents THE PAVILION

This is how the universe begins…

By Amy Planner

The time-honoured story of high-school sweethearts reuniting at a school reunion is one we all know well. But this time round there is something exceptionally different. Peter and Kari were the perfect high-school couple; simple feelings, easy lives, big futures, until a baby was on the way and grim decisions were made. We meet them twenty years later at their high school reunion with bad choices, long-lost feelings and a narrator with her own version in hand.

The rustic and intimate setting of the Abbotsford Convent comforts, as you delve into the familiarity of the characters and their relationships. Stripped down, The Pavilion by Craig Wright explores life and its many choices, how those choices change our paths and how those paths are infinite but never definite. Underneath the poetic narrative is a story that explores much more than its immediate self and asks much bigger questions.

The Pavilion

It is an arduous task picking a stand-out performance with a cast of just three, however Claire Pearson’s truly multi-faceted portrayal of The Narrator is something undeniably unique. She navigated seamlessly from an Australian narrator through a myriad of American characters, both female and male, which entered realms of explosively drunk, explicitly stoned, ridiculously sassy, painfully neurotic, and in some places even darn right batty. Katherine Innes and Tim Constantine’s rendering of Kari and Peter are subtle yet intense when appropriate, leaving space for the forceful emotions they are forced to remember and discover.

Nico Wilsdon’s costuming is just colourful enough to give background and make you wonder just where the characters have come from – The Narrator’s gold ensemble is particularly charming. The story and its life-pondering questions are comforted by clever set design (Nicholas Casey) and astute direction (Byron Bache). Despite some momentarily ostentatious dialogue, Craig Wright has delivered a thought-provoking script filled with tiny nuggets of hilarity and true-to-life existential calamities.

Boutique Theatre has brought this international hit to the Australian stage with comedic flare and great philosophical resolve.

Venue: The Industrial School, Abbotsford Covent
Season: 30 October – 14 November, Wednesday – Saturday, 8pm
Tickets: $28 Full, $25 Concession
Bookings: http://boutiquetheatre.com.au/the-pavilion/

REVIEW: Mockingbird Theatre Presents THE TEMPEREMENTALS

Unmissable Midsumma fare

By Ross Larkin

“Before Stonewall, a braver bunch of us stood up to the plate… before there even was a plate”.

The Temperamentals is a curious little piece based on true events. Written by Jon Marans in 2009, it made a significant impression off-Broadway, and has maintained a cult following and critical respect since. Local favourite Mockingbird Theatre provides the perfect team to re-imagine this important story as an inclusion in the 2014 Midsumma Festival and a Melbourne premiere.

The Temperementals

The Temperamentals is set in the USA in the 1950’s, when homosexuals were forced to lead secret lives of façade and repression in a society of bigotry. However, five young men dared to reveal their truths and confront the world around them, by founding the first gay rights organisation called the Mattachine Society. The group is accelerated into ambition when its member, Dale Jannings (Sebastian Bertoli) is arrested by an undercover cop in a public toilet.

Bertoli is exceptional as the unassuming Jannings, with the ability to maintain striking presence and poignant subtlety at once. In fact, director Chris Baldock’s casting overall is outstanding. The small ensemble of five, most of who play a variety of characters, exhibit genuine versatility and chemistry with highly accomplished direction.

Tim Constantine in particular, who plays Austrian fashion icon Rudi Gernreich, engages charisma, shame, passion and hurt with an understated three-dimensional beauty that allures audience members during his journey. Angelo De Cata, as Mattachine Society protagonist Harry Hay, is also a solid centrepiece, embodying a brave but pained man with excellent conviction, while supporters Angus Cameron and Jai Luke add a kick of colour and humour to the otherwise intense circumstances.

The Temperamentals is a slow-burner, with more telling than doing, and may not grab you until you’ve truly fallen for its beloved characters. However, it’s most certainly worth holding tight for, because fall you will – in another highly praiseworthy example of Chris Baldock and Mockingbird’s ability to stage some of the most noteworthy theatre in town.

The Temperamentals is playing now at The Brunswick Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre (corner of Glenlyon and Sydney Roads, Brunswick) as part of the 2014 Midsumma Festival.

Tue 21 Jan – Sat 25 Jan at 8pm
Sun 26 Jan at 5pm
Tue 28 Jan – Sat 1 Feb at 8pm