Suzy Goes See’s Best Of 2014


2014 has been a busy year. Choosing memorable moments from the 194 shows I had reviewed in these 12 months is a mind-bending exercise, but a wonderful opportunity that shows just how amazing and vibrant, theatre people are in Sydney. Thank you to artists, companies, publicists and punters who continue to support Suzy Goes See. Have a lovely holiday season and a happy new year! Now on to the Best Of 2014 list (all in random order)…

Suzy x

 Avant Garde Angels
The bravest and most creatively experimental works in 2014.

 Quirky Questers
The most unusual and colourful characters to appear on our stages in 2014.

♥ Design Doyennes
Outstanding visual design in 2014. Fabulous lights, sets and costumes.

♥ Darlings Of Dance
Breathtaking brilliance in the dance space of 2014.

♥ Musical Marvels
Outstanding performers in cabaret and musicals in 2014.

♥ Second Fiddle Superstars
Scene-stealers of 2014 in supporting roles.

♥ Ensemble Excellence
Casts in 2014 rich with chemistry and talent.

♥ Champs Of Comedy
Best comedic performances of 2014.

♥ Daredevils Of Drama
Best actors in dramatic roles in 2014.

♥ Wise With Words
Best new scripts of 2014.

 Directorial Dominance
Best direction in 2014.

♥ Shows Of The Year
The mighty Top 10.

♥ Suzy’s Special Soft Spot
A special mention for the diversity of cultures that have featured in its programming this year.

  • ATYP



Photography by Roderick Ng, Dec 2014


Best of 2018 | Best of 2017 | Best of 2016Best of 2015Best Of 2013

Review: Heaven Help Us (Gherkin Global)

rsz_heaven_help_us_sirmaiadscn8386Venue: Bordello Theatre (Potts Point NSW), Mar 12 – 29, 2014
Playwright: Keith Bosler
Director: Keith Bosler
Actors: Lyn Pierse, David Woodland, Orlena Steele-Prior, Emma Galliano, Tai Scrivener, Nick Radinoff
Image by Sirmai Arts Marketing

Theatre review
From Goethe’s Faust to Dudley Moore’s Bedazzled, the story about a man selling his soul to the devil is a motif that western cultures are more than familiar with. For many, the journey through life is nothing but a navigation between good and evil, so it is no wonder that another play has surfaced, in which a character explores those dichotomous choices.

Keith Bosler’s work is not an attempt to offer up something new to this discussion. In his writing and direction, Bosler is an exorcist, determined to get to a conclusion where irrefutable goodness exists, and it triumphs in the form of romantic love. The predictability of his plot and obviousness in his story are disappointing, but the earnest voice we hear is ultimately a comforting one. There is an innocent, almost childlike tone to the show, in spite of the overt portrayal of Satan and his aides as lustful, crude and so very naughty. Bosler’s approach keeps the devil and his nemesis completely segregated, so the concepts of good and bad are never allowed to become complex.

The highlight of the production are actors Lyn Pierse and David Woodland who seem to be able to “sing the phone book”. Pierse’s God is ironically and perversely, the only multidimensional character in the show. She is simultaneously kind and caustic, and is keen to play with frivolity at every opportunity while also effectively poignant when gravity is required. David Woodland plays the devil with a lot of flamboyance. His work is filled with tricks and techniques to prevent the character from ever becoming too plain. Woodland is a highly entertaining performer, even if our devil here is written with little originality. The rest of the cast struggles to match up to these two scene stealers, but in the second half, Nick Radinoff comes to life with surprising and funny consequences, showing off considerable comic ability.

Heaven Help Us retells a story that is too familiar. It however does include an unusual transgender character Michaela, who was formally known as the archangel Michael. After years of doing good, she had transformed into the female form. The joke is somewhat reversely sexist, but amusing nonetheless. Grey areas are by nature controversial, but they are also much more interesting. There is no requirement that all art is made for controversy, but it should strive for something that is at least a little out of the box. The butterfly leaves its cocoon to take flight; the angel should follow.

5 Questions with Orlena Steele-Prior

orlenasteelepriorWhat is your favourite swear word?
‘Chupalo conchetumadre!!’ It’s one of the few phrases I know in Spanish.

What are you wearing?
100 denier opaque tights with reeboks and a stripy skirt and cardigan.

What is love?
Love is like a gentle sunny breeze on your face – it’s nurturing, compassionate and light.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
I last saw Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and enjoyed it – was demanding in parts though. I’d give it 3.5 stars.

Is your new show going to be any good?
My new show is going to be awesomeness! Funny, endearing, insightful, charming and sexy. Ooops did I just describe myself? 😉

Orlena Steele-Prior stars as the angel Michaela in Heaven Help Us.
Show dates: 12 – 29 Mar, 2014
Show venue: Bordello Theatre

On/Off (Bordello Theatre)

onoff2Venue: Bordello Theatre (Potts Point NSW), Nov 30 – Dec 15, 2013
Playwright: Lisa Chappell
Director: Scott Witt
Actors: Lisa Chappell, Marissa Dikkenberg
Image by Simon Dikkenberg

Theatre review
When an actor and a singer come together to create a work in the cabaret space, it is a sure sign that they are on a mission to break theatrical rules in order to create something unique and fresh. On/Off certainly gives us something new and innovative, but more than that, this is a work that entertains, fascinates, and connects on many levels. It takes its audience on an emotional roller coaster ride, well aware that it is the contrast of funny and sad that makes each reaction more powerful. We laugh and cry, and laugh again. With its unusual structure and excellent performances, the show forces us to let down our guard, and takes control of all our sentiments.

Scott Witt’s direction is superb. He constantly plays with juxtapositions, making use of the wildly different characteristics of the two actors, and the spacial concepts of on stage and off stage, and crafts a work that is as emotionally volatile as it is confident in its structure and plot. The journey is incredibly bumpy, but the destination is crystal clear. The experience of witnessing one actor on stage, and the other off, while listening to a familiar cabaret standard, is a pleasure that has to be seen to be believed.

Marissa Dikkenberg’s depiction of her character’s disintegration is marvellous. Her singing voice is strong, but she uses her skills carefully to maintain the believability of her character. Sara is a bland “Stepford housewife” type, who goes through a thorough and clamorous break down, progressing from a chirpy and sober state of delusion into a complete drunken mess. Lisa Chappell’s presence in the tiny Bordello Theatre is colossal, and her acting is faultless. Her drama and comedy are both high octane, but the gory authenticity she puts into her work makes every moment convincing. Chappell’s performance is determined to hit her audience like a ton of bricks. It is unabashed, unapologetic theatricality at its most flamboyant and audacious, and completely delicious.

This is alternative art, but formulated with the intention to communicate to wide audiences. It is a story about life’s disappointments, human resilience, and the value of friendship. These themes are universal, and also passionate. The words to one of the songs in the show sum things up best, “you’ve got to laugh a little, cry a little… and when the world is through with us, we’ve got each other’s arms.” Many things happen in On/Off, but what endures is The Glory Of Love.

5 Questions with Marissa Dikkenberg and Lisa Chappell

onoff1What is your favourite swear word?
MD – Fuck….said with a quiet & dramatic intensity when no one is listening…
LC – My favourite swear word is “bugger shit tit wees”.

What are you wearing?
MD – I would like to say I am dressed head to toe in something sexy & exquisite looking faaabulous but that would be a lie. I am in a t-shirt & tracky daks with mismatched underwear & no makeup! Puhleeeze don’t tell my Mum she is a style meister!
LC – I’m wearing floral cords and a baggy t.shirt. Yes I look slightly reminiscent of my grandmother’s lounge suite.

What is love?
MD – Love is action, it is also the ability to cherish and adore yourself and others without conditions.
LC – Love is my dog, George. Unconditional, loyal, affectionate, smart and makes you a better person.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
MD – Penelope by Siren Theatre Company. I LOVED it! I cherished & adored it without needing to change it… I still think about it, 5 stars.
LC – The last show I saw was Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead. I didn’t make the second half, not a Stoppard fan, too much head not enough heart for my liking. 3 stars because everything else was great other than the writing for me.

Is your new show going to be any good?
MD – It will be vibrant, honest , fun & it’s R18 so hell YES it’ll be good x
LC – My next show ON/OFF is the opposite of Stoppard, it’s completely visceral. It’s coarse, funny, full of heart, and has great music. A rollicking night out!

Read Suzy’s review here

Marissa Dikkenberg and Lisa Chappell are starring in On/Off.
Show dates: 1 – 15 Dec, 2013
Show venue: Bordello Theatre