reviews - blood brothers

 

Stagenoise, Diana Simmonds

 

Excerpt 

 

They – poor Mickey (Bobby Fox) and well off Edward (Blake Bowden) are oblivious to the grotty back streets where green grass and nice houses are always just out of sight or out of reach, and oblivious to the stark differences between their homes (an ingenious yet uncomplicated set by Anna Gardiner).

 

http://www.stagenoise.com/review/2015/blood-brothers

 

 

The Australian, Deborah Jones 

 

Excerpt

 

The action, enlivened by a tight four-piece band led by Michael Tyack, takes place over several decades on Anna Gardiner’s deliciously economic fold-out set.

 

 

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/stage/song-and-dance-twinned-to-muse-on-twists-of-fate/story-fn9d344c-1227216370065

 

The Sunday Telegraph, Jo Litson

 

Excerpt

 

Andrew Pole directs on an ingenious set by Anna Gardiner that swings open to reveal interiors...

 

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/arts/gutsy-musical-blood-brothers-proves-a-real-double-delight-for-hayes-theatre/story-fniv7r7y-1227219580705

 

 

Broadway World, Jacqueline Bublitz

 

Excerpt 

 

All in all, this Andrew Pole directed production of BLOOD BROTHERS benefits from the stripping back required by its venue. Anna Gardiner's set has just enough detail (the occasional glimpse of a framed picture of the Pope through Mrs. Johnstone's front door is a perfect, revealing touch), and Christopher Page's lighting is suitably moody.

 

http://www.broadwayworld.com/australia-melbourne/article/BWW-Reviews-BLOOD-BROTHERS-A-Reminder-of-What-Musical-Theatre-Does-Best-20150213#

 

 

Aussie Theatre, Cassie Tongue

 

Excerpt 

 

Anna Gardiner’s set is good use of the notoriously small Hayes Theatre space, with moving and retracting set pieces to represent the two homes on each side of the tracks, and the lighting is big and bold by Christopher Page, adding a sense of mysticism to the story.

 

http://aussietheatre.com.au/reviews/review-blood-brothers-hayes-theatre#.VOKtHkuxfwI

 

 

Daily Review, Ben Neutze

 

Excerpt 

 

...Anna Gardiner’s set is gorgeously evocative and a great use of the space....

 

http://dailyreview.crikey.com.au/blood-brothers-review-hayes-theatre-sydney/19014

 

 

Reviews - the crucible

 

 

Kevin Jackson's Theatre Diary

 

Excerpt

 

What is amazingly affecting with this Sport For Jove production is the committed passion that the entire company give to this play. Not only in the intellectual integrity and insight of the conception of the production, and virtuosic staging, on a three-sided stage, by Mr Ryan (do read his program notes), but, also, with the visual interpretations and application of imaginative skills in fitting the 'look' of the production to the rural circumstances of the particulars of the Bella Vista environs by Designer Anna Gardiner, both, with Setting and quasi-period Costume solutions of convincing acumen, and the subtle atmospherics of the Lighting by Sian James-Holland - no small feat in this 'outdoor' challenge. The Sound Design, from David Stalley is also a marvel to, retrospectively, apprehend. 

 

http://www.kjtheatrediary.com/2014/12/the-crucible.html

 

 

Stage Whispers - Review byJessica Lovelace

 

Excerpt

 

The design elements of the show work well together to create the world of the production. Sian James-Holland’s lighting is subtle and effective. The majority of the floor lighting is supplied only by candles, and the rest of the lighting is primarily birdie lights – providing an authentic seventeenth century feel. Anna Gardiner’s set is functional, beautiful, and more complex than it initially appears. Her costumes blend contemporary and costume elements together to create a traditional, yet striking look. The sound design by David Stalley is haunting, evocative, and incredibly effective.

 

http://www.stagewhispers.com.au/reviews/crucible-1

 

Jo Litson: Scene and Heard

 

Excerpt

 

Ryan and designer Anna Gardiner create a pressure-cooker environment with the audience close to the action, seated on three sides around a dimly lit central wooden stage lined with hundreds of candles in jam jars (lighting by Sian James-Holland). A hanging platform is cleverly used as a bed, dining table and courtroom seating. Gardiner’s dark costuming is also very effective.

 

http://jolitson.com/2014/12/23/the-crucible/

 

 

The AU Review by Naomi Gall

 

Excerpt

 

Attention should also be paid to those who work behind the scenes as the set design, lighting and construction is as imperative as those who take the stage. Amazing work by Anna Gardiner (design), Sian James-Holland (lighting design), Rick Locke and Stefan von Reiche (set construction).

 

http://www.theaureview.com/arts/reviews/the-crucible-bella-vista-farm-north-sydney

 

 

Stage Noise – Diana Simmonds

 

Excerpt

 

Seated close around a layered timber platform on benches, bleachers and folding chairs, the audience is neck-deep in the drama with the company of twenty fine actors. Candlelight and a minimal lighting rig and the scabrous monotone fabrics of their Puritan garb bring home both the hardship and the beauty of life in pioneer America - and Australia -where dust and mud are part of the decor and life was as easily snuffed out as the flickering flames. (A beautifully imagined and executed lighting design by Sian James-Holland; equally excellent stage and costume design by Anna Gardiner.)

 

http://www.stagenoise.com/review/2014/the-crucible

 

 

Sydney Arts Guide – Judith Greenaway

 

Excerpt

 

The costumes, designed by Anna Gardiner, are wonderful in this show. Black, grey and brown they are unrelentingly dull but the detail! Buttons, mittens, scarves, embroidery, scallops on the corsets. Each piece created by a loving hand.

 

http://www.sydneyartsguide.com.au/sport-for-jove-the-crucible-bella-vista-farm/

 

 

Sydney Morning Herald – Jason Blake

 

Excerpt

 

Anna Gardiner's design stays in tune with its surroundings, a wooden platform whose centrepiece is a suspended bench that serves as seating, sick bed and table. Illumination (Sian James-Holland) comes from a small lighting rig and a couple of hundred candles in jars lining the edge of the stage, which amplifies the sense of the religious considerably.

 

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/theatre/the-crucible-at-bella-vista-farm-review-well-told-in-ambient-setting-20141214-126uwt.html#ixzz3M2bDG5uO

 

 

Reviews - absent friends

 

Stagenoise – Diana Simmonds

 

Excerpt 

 

Absent Friends takes place in a sitting room where the era’s most unfortunate signature colour - burnt orange - is much in evidence. (A witty and well realised set design by Anna Gardiner, lighting: Peter Neufeld.)

 

http://www.stagenoise.com/review/2014/absent-friends

 

 

Sydney Morning Herald – Jason Blake

 

Excerpt

 

Director Mark Kilmurry has an ideal cast at his disposal and everything about this production runs like clockwork on a set that is period Australian Women's Weekly, right down to the knotted rug, treacherous orange pouf and fake pine paneling. 

 

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/theatre/ensemble-theatre-presents-timeless-study-of-bleak-friendship-20141211-124woq.html#ixzz3M2cLGh4L

 

 

The Daily Review – Ben Neutze

 

Excerpt

 

For the most part, director Mark Kilmurry has, along with the cast, found the subtle comedic rhythms in the work and drawn each character with great colour and detail — with the help of Anna Gardiner’s quintessentially 1970s designs and Peggy Carter’s hair and make-up.

 

http://dailyreview.crikey.com.au/absent-friends-review-ensemble-sydney/16725

 

 

SOYP

 

The first thing that strikes you about the play is the classic 1970’s set and costumes, designed by Ensemble favourite, Anna Gardiner, combined with a soundtrack of the era, epitomized in the sounds of Skyhooks, raw enough to be dirty and tongue-in-cheek to capture Ayckbourn’s damning indictment of relationships where one person has all the power and the other is the martyr of their own making.

 

http://shitonyourplay.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/ensemble-theatres-absent-friends.html

 

 

Oz Baby Boomers - By JOHN ROZENTALS

 

I’m always impressed how Ensemble Theatre inevitably seems to successfully turn its relatively small, tight stage into such effective, quite different spaces. This time designer Anna Gardiner has masterminded a wonderfully evocative recreation of a 1970s living room.

Add some brilliant costuming and there was certainly enough reality to induce a cringe from those who remember the decade’s excesses. Did we really lack that much taste? I guess so, but you must remember that they were the years of Gary Glitter et al.

 

http://www.ozbabyboomers.com.au/new_site/theatre/2014/12_14/friends/friends.html

 

 

 

Reviews - dark voyager

 

Suzy Goes See

 

Excerpt

 

....The production is designed beautifully, with Anna Gardiner’s dazzling set converting the venue into a luxurious Californian home, with furniture and fixtures that are appropriate to the period and social status being explored. Everything looks exquisite, extravagant and fabulously expensive, and the greed of its inhabitants become palpable. Lighting by Matthew Marshall is suitably colourful and dynamic. Marshall’s work is sometimes sensitive and sometimes daring, but it is always just right. The tone of the show varies frequently, and the lights are crucial to these emotive and atmospheric transformations. It must also be noted that the show’s stage manager Erin Harvey does a beautiful job of keeping technical aspects flowing invisibly and without a hitch......

 

http://suzygoessee.com/2014/08/02/dark-voyager-ensemble-theatre/

 

 

GNN

 

Review by Veronica Hannon

 

Excerpt

 

.....Director Anna Crawford has done a terrific job with her gifted cast and together they create a well-dressed hell in the small Ensemble space. For me the standout performance is delivered by Cronin, who is positively fierce as Davis. The design team (Anna Gardiner - set/costumes, Matthew Marshall - lighting, Margaret Gill - wardrobe) add to the mix a great sense of time and place. The accents are spot on (props to dialect coach Nick Curnow) and actors look terrific in their 1960’s threads, especially Giblin, which is fitting, because apart from being slightly to the right of Genghis Khan, Hopper was also known for her fashion sense......

 

http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/entertainment/review-dark-voyager-14680.html

 

 

Sydney Chic

 

Review by Ron Lee

 

Excerpt

 

.....I’m continually impressed with the way in which the Ensemble Theatre manages to put practical sets on that small stage, and Designer Anna Gardiner has come up with the ideal creation for this production.....

 

http://www.sydneychic.com.au/#!-Old-Hollywood-In-Sydney-Theatre-Review/c1n27/1C819039-B264-49F4-9580-F4E498C4BBCA

 

 

Sydney Arts Guide

 

Review by David Kary

 

Excerpt

 

.....Crawford’s creative team set up the right milieu for the cast to work their magic in. Anna Gardiner’s art deco, period set is outstanding. There was one of those wow moments when the back, beige curtain opened and revealed an addition to the set, the kitchen area. Gardiner’s costumes all were appropriate to character, including Davis’s daggy outfit. Davis was known to have a particularly poor fashion sense......

 

http://www.sydneyartsguide.com.au/dark-voyager/

 

Reviews - henry v

 

 

Sydney Morning Herald

Henry V review: energetic ensemble captures the excitement of Shakespeare

 

By Jason Blake

 

Excerpt

 

This is a touring show but you wouldn't know it to look at the detail in designer Anna Gardiner's bomb-out set. Costume, lights (Sian James-Holland) and sound (Steve Francis) are all very effective.

 

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/theatre/henry-v-review-energetic-ensemble-captures-the-excitement-of-shakespeare-20141024-11b1vq.html#ixzz3H7zHbDQ0

 

 

 

Review: Henry V (Bell Shakespeare)

 

Suzy Goes See

 

Excerpt

 

The production is visually beautiful, with accomplished and adventurous work from designers on all fronts. Anna Gardiner’s intricate set gives the stage an intimacy and provides performers with extensive possibilities for inventiveness. Gardiner’s costumes are not extravagant but accurately and astutely conceived, consistently effective in each character transformation and evolution.

 

 

 

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

Unmissable Shakespeare that blitzes the rest

By JO LITSON

 

Excerpt 

 

Anna Gardiner’s terrific set gives the cast bookcases, a blackboard, blankets, newspaper crowns and armour, and various other props, which they use with thrilling invention.

 

In a play in which Shakespeare asks us to use our imagination, the staging is quite brilliant. It looks improvised but it’s highly detailed and precisely choreographed.

 

 

 

BELL SHAKESPEARE’S HENRY V

Sydney Arts Guide

 

Excerpt

 

This world is captured with a wonderful set by Anna Gardiner that looks like wartime England and is quickly and almost continuously adapted by the actors into different manifestations. By moving chairs and bookcases they create a church, a royal court, a ship, a tavern and a battle scene.

 

http://www.sydneyartsguide.com.au/bell-shakespeares-henry-v/

 

 

 

Henry V scores top marks in schoolboy revision

Review by Jeanti St Clair

 

Excerpt

 

Anna Gardiner's brilliant set design creates a crumbling classroom bunker that contains the action effectively, squeezing the ten actors into a small performance area, and heightening the intensity of the students' situation.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/local/reviews/2014/09/26/4095145.htm

 

 

 

Henry V | Bell Shakespeare

Written by Marika Bryant   

 

Excerpt 

 

The creative team and cast of this latest adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Henry V brings this old set of values to a new set of ears (and eyes). The stage set is, as always, flawless, with minimalist setting, props and ultimate clever design allowing the cast members to re-arrange the stage to reflect every part of the whole: it is amazing what you can do with a few shelf-units, some parachute silk and string. Set design is a work of art! 

 

 

 

‘Henry V’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom, ITA

 

Excerpt

 

....Anna Gardiner’s design is illusory and unpretentious, whilst jaw-droppingly versatile.....

 

http://www.ita.org.au/2014/07/henry-v-reviewed-by-gordon-the-optom/

 

 

 

Australian Stage

 

Review by Cicely Binford   

 

Excerpt

 

Bell Shakespeare’s production of Henry V was put together by a very clever team of problem-solvers. Directed by Damien Ryan and designed by Anna Gardiner, these two work in tandem to bring entire battlefields and courts into a space equivalent in size to either a small classroom or a very large broom closet. Much of their work in this production is, in one word, ingenious. 

 

http://www.australianstage.com.au/201407306922/reviews/perth/henry-v-%7C-bell-shakespeare.html

 

 

 

Aussie Theatre

 

Review by Kevin Turner

 

Excerpt

 

.....Upon glancing briefly at the program and having my interest sparked by the explanation of the Second World War setting of this history play, I entered the space and the spark fanned to a flame by a lovely and engaging design (Anna Gardiner). The Fairfax's amphitheatre stage was well utilised so that the energy of the space flowed into the classroom/bunker where we would see Henry V unfold. I sat, ready to go, and with all trepidation banished.....

 

 

Australian Stage

 

Review by Heather Bloom

 

Excerpt

 

......With incredibly clever set design, the stage is transformed from 20th century wartime schoolroom to Shakespearian-esque palace/ship/battlefield with a few careful prop alterations. 

 

Bell Shakespeare's Henry V is a glorious and tangible production, and only further cements their dominance over the Shakespeare scene in Australia. 

 

 

Sydney Morning Herald

 

Review by Alanna Maclean

 

Excerpt

 

.....The classroom reading becomes and peformance, with the furniture, cupboards, shelving and a precarious ladder flung dangerously around Anna Gardiner's atmospherically curved and confined set by the students, to become whatever the action demands; a court, a battlement, a battlefield....

 

 

Canberra Critics Circle

 

Review by Len Power

 

Excerpt

 

.....The set design by Anna Gardiner is a marvel, capturing the look and atmosphere of a bomb site. Her work is complemented with a superb lighting design by Sian James-Holland......

 

 

Daily Review

 

Review by Bronwen Clune

 

Excerpt

 

Bell Shakespeare's Henry V is delightfully scrappy and relentlessly energetic in the way it uses every available resource to bring a fresh take to one of Shakespeare's most sombre plays....

 

.....The small touring set, designed by Anna Gardiner, and "improvised" props and costumes see the classroom effortlessly transform from bunker to battlefields. Bookcases become trenches, ships, beds and buildings; books become pillows and thrones; book pages become armour, crowns and royal garb. The costumes are 1940s school uniforms that are dressed up and down with paper and imagination. Scarves and cardigans become capes and army uniforms......

 

 

City News

 

Review by Joe Woodward

 

Excerpt

 

The innovative collaboration between director, Damien Ryan, and designer, Anna Gardiner, freed up a very strong cast to play and release the pent-up energy so often constrained by Shakespeare's texts. 

 

The production simply vibed with comic absurdity while not losing touch with a deeper almost sacred under-current of prevailing tragic consequence....

 

 

The Australian

 

Review by Deborah Jones

 

Excerpt

 

.....Anna Gardiner's design gives them little more than shelves to become city walls, a tavern, a king's receiving room and barricades on a battlefield and it works wonderfully. (Not to mention practical; there's a huge national tour coming up). The air of improvisation provides zest and immediacy, not to mention a fine reminder of the chaos of war....

 

http://deborahjones.me

 

 

Herald Sun

 

Review by Byron Bache

 

Excerpt

 

Anna Gardiner’s design is a deceptively simple and truly remarkable. Sian James-Holland’s lighting and Steve Francis’s sound design are subtle, effortless and wonderfully crafted.

 

This is why we still do the Bard’s plays — there’s truth and humanity in all of them still, it just takes the right set of ingredients. If every mounting was this good, you wouldn’t hear the words “I don’t like Shakespeare” ever again.

 

 

Arts Hub

 

Review by Satima Flavell

 

Excerpt

 

Henry V is a play that’s often produced, and most people who went through high school in the 20th century would have at least a passing acquaintance with it. Finding a new and different way to present it is quite a challenge.

 

In this production for the Bell Shakespeare Company, Damien Ryan has taken that challenge. But hackneyed adjectives like ‘new and different’ hardly touch on the reality of this amazing production. How Ryan managed to pull so many disparate ideas together and then present them as a cohesive whole beggars the imagination.

 

Of course, Ryan had a fabulous cast and a creative team that’s second to none, and his extensive experience must also have stood him in good stead. He has worked on more than a dozen productions of Shakespeare and has his own company, Sport for Jove Theatre. But this production of the Bard’s most popular history must surely surpass in quality anything that has gone before.....

 

http://performing.artshub.com.au/news-article/reviews/performing-arts/henry-v-244959

 

 

The West Australian

 

Review by David Zampatti

 

Excerpt

 

...There is much ensemble work, gender is largely dispensed with, stage furniture transforms from school desks to battlements to ships in instants, props are found, or made (Anna Gardiner's touring set, made to fit stages from metropolitan theatres to country halls, is all skill and cunning).....

 

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/entertainment/arts/a/24550369/bells-henry-rings-true/

 

Perth Culture

 

Review by Sabian Wilde

 

Excerpt

 

.....This is a truly beautiful production: the set design is perfect; the music cues and vocal arrangements and on-stage percussion bringing something sweetly hopeful, defiant and frightened in turns through the Chorus.

 

It isn’t possible to praise this production highly enough. It is a shame that so many will not have the opportunity to see it.

 

http://www.perthculture.com/review-henry-v-state-theatre-centre/

 

Reviews - cyrano de bergerac

 

SOYP

 

Excerpt:

 

.......I could easily list every cast member and the fine performances from each and how Ryan manages to use audience in the gentlest of ways to include without intimidating, how Barry French has used this gorgeous setting of the Bella Vista Farm to create the world of the stage, of homesteads, nunneries, battlefields and bakeries and how Anna Gardiner has provided a masculine European period design and how impressed I was with Toby Knyvett’s lighting. Every player wins a prize and the audience win the biggest prize of all and that is the privilege of seeing great theatre.

 

So head to Sport for Jove with the confidence that you are witnessing a troupe who know how to produce good theatre and that’s exactly what you’re going to get.......

 

 

Jo Litson: Scene and Heard

 

Excerpt:

 

Sport for Jove’s artistic director Damien Ryan has written a vibrant adaptation using verse and prose, which is faithful to Rostand’s original but moves the action from 1640s Paris to the Belle Epoque and the start of World War I.

 

With a keen sense of how to use the outdoor space, Ryan directs a production that is playful and full of verve yet ultimately extremely moving. Barry French’s set makes the most of the lovely surrounds at Bella Vista Farm, using the homestead balcony for the famous wooing scene (Rostand’s nod to Romeo and Juliet) and a shed for the war scenes, which are greatly enhanced by David Stalley’s sound design. The aptly named French also has fun suggesting the French setting with baguettes to the fore in the boulangerie, while Anna Gardiner’s costumes are a delight.

 

Reviews - a year with frog and toad

 

Stagenoise 

 

It works well in the Ensemble's unique auditorium which, with lighting and staging adapted from their Camp set (evenings) by Anna Gardiner and Matthew Marshall, becomes the woodland glades and dens where the simple stories of a pair of amphibian friends and their fellow creatures of the woods play out. 

 

The slick, energetic cast of Stephen Anderson, Jonathon Freeman, Crystal Hegedis, Jay James-Moody and Lizzie Mitchell sing and dance their way through multiple roles, notably Frog, Toad and Snail (whose show-long quest to deliver the mail is the best joke for all ages) as well as migratory birds and Mouse and Turtle. (Great costumes by Anna Gardiner.) 

 

SOYP

 

The creativity of Anna Gardiner’s design and Shondelle Pratt’s choreography with Anna Crawford’s direction and musical direction and before you know it, I’m six again and reliving truly wonderful moments of the fantasy of theatre, its catchy songs and dancing, gentle teasing of our idiosyncrasies and a lovely tale of loyalty, friendship and adventure.

 

Reviews - twelfth night

 

Suzy Goes See

 

....All design elements in the production are terrific. From sound and lights, to sets and costumes, all details and cleverly considered and beautifully executed. They do not upstage the actors, but they do not play second fiddle either. Nothing we see or hear is left to chance. Each moment is crafted with a desire for richness, if not perfection. This is a show that does not take us for fools, and we are never asked to make allowances for anything....

 

 

Stage Whispers

 

Review by Carol Wimmer

 

Taking Twelfth Night into the 1960s has given directer Damien Ryan full rein to use his well-proven vision and creative imagination. With designers Anna Gardiner (set and costume), David Stalley (sound), Toby Knyvett (lighting) and Christopher Harley (original music), he has moved Shakespeare's play into a setting where narcissism is par for the course! It's Puberty Blues, Gidget, surfboards, coconut oil.......and it fits Shakespeare's perceptive tale about self-love and unrequited desire like a pair of wet speedos! 

 

Daily Review

 

Review by Lloyd Bradford Skye

 

.....Before we get to the other actors, though, a big-up for the creatives and crew. Extraordinary and indespensable conrtributions are made by designer Anna Gardiner (both costumes and stage furniture is conceived and executed with meticulous attention to detail and wonderful wit).........

 

Bob Ellis - Table Talk

 

....The design, by Anna Gardiner, all billowing blue sea and ice cream trolleys, white gazebos and jutting wharves, is a masterpiece of portable fairground magic.....and my superlatives, my masters, are at an end. 

 

 

SOYP

 

.....The designers deservedly need a mention here. Anna Gardiner's summery design of Twelfth Night, found in platforms, pergolas, roller skates and ice-cream vens captured the lightness of the play.....

 

 

Reviews - camp

 

Sydney Arts Guide 

 

 

The lighting by Matthew Marshall is superb, the warm sunsets, the glow from inside the campervan.  So too is the set design by Anna Gardiner, very Australian landscape colours and props, which lend themselves to such a recognisably Australian play.

 

 

SOYP

 

The set design is also impressive. Anna Gardiner’s replica of a grassy camp site, complete with combi van has transformed this small space thoroughly. Other design elements such as Matthew Marshall’s lighting and Daryl Wallis’ sound completes the dimensions of the mis-en-scene by bringing the stage to life in varied and subtle ways.

 

 

Stage Whispers

 

The design team has captured the essence of Baxter’s setting and Kilmurry’s vision. Anna Gardiner’s set creates the scene. A stretch of worn grass is framed by a dusty old camper van with a makeshift annex and a backdrop of tents and low she-oaks under a high sky. Here, Matthew Marshall’s lighting creates atmospheric changes in time and mood, from the harsh bright blue of December daytime, to an impending storm, to moonlight and a soft, creeping summer dawn.

 

Reviews - tiger country

 

Sydney Arts Guide – by Lynne Belvedere

 

Excerpt

 

.....Stunning set design of the two tin homes, provides effortless transitions between the two households......

 

 

Sydney Morning Herald

 

Excerpt

 

Tiger, tiger burning bright -by Jason Blake

 

....From a production standpoint, this is an impressive effort. Anna Gardiner’s set of hinged sheet iron is ingenious and Liam O’Keefe’s lighting design effectively charts the play’s darkening mood.....

 

 

Suzy Goes See

 

Advance promotional imagery for Tiger Country has been polished and seductive in spite of its “rough as guts” subject matter. Accordingly, visual design of this production is also exceptional. Most costume pieces are well thought out, helping to  materialise some of the most frightful and revolting characters on the Australian stage. Set design is innovative, efficient, and creates the appropriately sinister and vulgar mood in which all the action takes place. Lighting design is sophisticatedly intelligent, operated accurately and sensitively by the show’s crew. Design and stage management for this low budget production is truly incomparable.

 

Reviews - the taming of the shrew

 

Inspired overhaul connects with Bard's funny bone

 

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW 

Bella Vista Farm Park, November 27, until December 29

 

It's a fair trip to Bella Vista Farm for many (next stop Kellyville) but outdoor Shakespeare specialists Sport for Jove make it worth the trek. Their Shrew is one of the most entertaining I've seen - and the funniest by a mile.

 

Director Damien Ryan and designer Anna Gardiner recast Shakespeare's Padua as an Italian film studio in the 1930s.

 

Baptista Minola (Christopher Tomkinson) is a movie director and a wealthy man. Suitors for the hand of his youngest daughter, the flighty starlet Bianca (Lizzie Schebesta), include rival matinee idols Gremio (Barry French) and Hortensio (Terry Karabelas) and, by proxy, a student, Lucentio (Christopher Stalley) - who in this version has his sister Tania (Eloise Winestock) impersonate him while he goes undercover as Bianca's German governess.

 

There's a lot less in the way of competition for Katherina (Danielle King). The elder and most troublesome of Minola's daughters is a headstrong aviatrix and

accustomed to flying solo.

 

Her one and only suitor is Petruchio (James Lugton), a dowry-hungry naval officer used to being obeyed. Sparks must fly and they do from the moment they clap eyes on each other.

 

Ryan sounds all the subplots thoroughly and funny business comes at you from deep in every frame. All the minor characters can be relied on to provide an illuminating moment or unexpected guffaw - the play's hapless, hopeless servants Grumio and Biondello (Michael Cullen and Ed Lembke-Hogan); the tailors (played as snippy French couturiers by Matt Edgerton and Amy Mathews); Petruchio's hard-pressed crew.

 

Ryan has cast his leads perfectly and Lugton is outstanding as Petruchio. He's plausible (not some madcap drunkard or anarchist), playful and can turn his humour on a dime. He is more than matched by King - who has a commanding way with Shakespeare's language - and whose Kate blazes with indignation, amazement and eventually admiration.

 

There's no enlightened finger-wagging over Kate's breaking-in and capitulation to her lord and master (played in Bella Vista's ancient wool shed, which serves as Petruchio's ship). Wisely, Ryan has it only make sense to those involved.

 

At the same time, you can't alienate at least half your audience and Ryan turns the ending very cleverly with a filmed sequence (one of several, some quite inspired) that puts Kate firmly in the driver's seat and finds a witty double meaning in her infamous line, ''place your hands below your husband's foot''.

 

This richly imagined production benefits from good event management too, though after the introductory address the crowd direction might feel less intrusive were it to emerge from within the world of the play rather than from outside it. Minor quibble. See this show.

 

Review by Jason Blake.

 

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/theatre/inspired-overhaul-connects-with-bards-funny-bone-20111129-1o51f.html#ixzz2SIEcfgs8

 

Excerpt from James Waites Review for Sport for Jove's Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth:

 

SPORT FOR JOVE"S INSPIRED SHAKESPEARE

 

I cite this as an example of just how gifted a director Damien Ryan is. He understands the play deeply, and he knows how to wrangle its wild side – its problematics. He also inspires great loyalty from his actors and, in turn, he knows how to draw out the best from them. The verse speaking, despite the outdoor conditions, was uniformly excellent. Rhythm and pace outstanding. Camaraderie and team work on a high. And best of all, and I say this in light of the strengths and weaknesses of the recent Belvoir As You Like it: above all. superb story-telling. We, in the audience, were drawn into an adventure peopled by gorgeous characters – but for all the fun being had, we never lose hold of the  story being told. And the points being made along the way.

 

One more credit: for both productions, Anna Gardiner’s excellent designs.

 

I won’t go on. You get the drift. I have to iron my undies for tonight. The Macbeth is good, the Shrew is great. Most important of all – from Sport by Jove’s artistic director Damien Ryan – more please!

 

http://jameswaites.ilatech.org/?p=7028

 

Reviews - Hamlet

 

Stagenoise by Diana Simmonds

 

Excerpt

 

I believe this new production from Sport For Jove is the best Hamlet I've ever seen. And also, Lindsay Farris's Hamlet is the most electrifying, memorable, sustained and intelligent realisation of the tragic Prince of Denmark I've ever seen..........

 

The final links in the circle of excellence are the set (Lucilla Smith), lighting design (Toby Knyvett), sound design (Caitlin Porter) and costumes (Anna Gardiner)........

 

http://www.stagenoise.com/review/1842

 

Reviews - The Ham Funeral

 

The Ham Funeral – Phillip Rouse gives a new spin on Patrick White. By Lisa Thatcher.  

 

Excerpt 

 

....Despite this interesting nuance, The Ham Funeral remains very much a post-colonial Gothic play and it carries many of the devices of post-colonial Gothic  such as identity,  haunting, the anima, rites of passage, the great house as the old land (decaying and dying – London), home, growing up etc. The Gothic is particularly invoked through non human characters such as an anima and a speaking house. It is here that sets and costumes become so important, Anna Gardiner doing an astoundingly good job of creating outfits that traverse time. At once, the play could be set in the 1800′s, the 1920′s, the 1980′s or 2200. Significant is The young man’s “normal clothes” that set him among an almost surreal dreamlike setting, giving way to a dialogue that is deliberately hard to place. The set is close to other productions of the play, the three-tiered decaying house, except that it has a dry rot look rather than a decadent slime or ooze. It makes the set look more Australian which posits itself well against the London-ish costumes of the chorus of men. Again, rather than square the play in a solid setting, it transports it across time and across nations – almost as if the dank decay of London were being examined by a future dry sandy decay of Australia............

 

.........I hadn’t seen The Ham Funeral performed before, so this was a real treat for me. It is a wonderful play and an exciting production and one that needs to be seen.

 

Kevin Jackson's Theatre Diary

 

Excerpt

 

....The set design of this production (not attributed) along with the costumes by Anna Gardiner and the lighting by Sian James-Holland have a very attractive aesthetic. The stage pictures that the director, Philip Rouse, has organised are arresting, painterly in their own way............