Review: The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot (Gamut Theatre Co)

Venue: Darlo Drama (Darlinghurst NSW), Dec 8 – 17, 2019
Playwright: Stephen Adly Guirgis
Director: Glen Hamilton
Cast: Edgar Antonio Atienza, Nicole Florio, David Hodgkins, Melinda Jensen, Erica Nelson, Stephanie Reeves, Hugo Schlanger, James Sugrue, Paula Williams, Mark J. Wilson
Images by Craig O’Regan

Theatre review
Cunningham is a lawyer in the celestial realm, working hard to get Judas out of hell. The courtroom in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot, is situated in purgatory, where all things are undecided, and fates can be reversed. Themes of betrayal and regret feature prominently in this Christian story, as we imagine the fallout after Judas’ deathly kiss. It is a humorous piece, although never sacrilegious and consequently predictable, with its meditations on the ancient narrative.

Directed by Glen Hamilton, the production is faithful to Guirgis’ writing style, playful but also searingly earnest. Some scenes pack more punch than others, for a show that struggles to be consistently engaging. An ensemble of eleven take on twenty-seven roles, with varying levels of effectiveness. Stronger performers include Melinda Jensen and Stephanie Reeves, particularly memorable for their moments in drag, playing Pontius Pilate and Caiaphas the Elder respectively, both suddenly powerful with their interpretations of fossilised men.

A scene involving Cunningham in a fiery exchange with Satan, is a stand out, with actors Erica Nelson and Nicole Florio bringing vigour and authenticity to the play’s climax. James Sugrue is somewhat hesitant as Judas, but leaves a good impression with his exacting portrayal of Sigmund Freud.

However we might choose to think of Judas, has no bearing on the man himself, and can only ever be a reflection of how we regard our own lives. We rely on religion to help us turn chaos into order, so that a semblance of peace can be attained, for few of us can bear to look reality squarely in its eye. Villains allow us to think of ourselves as good, so that we may walk the earth with resilience and fortitude, but to be able to see fallibility in the self is emancipatory, and necessary in finding the capacity to love.

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: Love Song (Gamut Theatre Co)

gamut1Venue: TAP Gallery (Darlinghurst NSW), Jun 11 – 22, 2014
Writer: John Kolvenbach
Director: Glen Hamilton
Cast: Melinda Hyde, Ford Sarhan, Ben Scales, Romney Stanton
Image by Farland Photography

Theatre review
John Kolvenbach’s Love Song is beautifully written. Witty and thoughtful lines, colourful characters, imaginative scenarios with humour and poignancy, and surprising plot trajectories, all make for a play that is irresistibly charming, and rich with potential for creative interpretation. Kolvenbach’s script about relationships and eccentricity is crafted with intelligence. It has a refreshing originality, but it also bears a universality that ensures a wide appeal.

Direction by Glen Hamilton is elegant but fairly subdued. There is some attention placed on lighting effects, especially during scene transitions, but Hamilton focuses almost entirely on working with his actors to form interesting and dynamic personalities. The four main characters are distinct and memorable, each with their own rhythms and quirks. Ford Sarhan plays Beane, the young protagonist, and he is completely delightful. Sarhan is charismatic, understated, and tremendously funny. His comic timing is a highlight of the production, often delivering big gleeful laughs at unsuspecting moments. Ben Scales’ work as Harry is sensitively considered yet playful. He has a thorough connection with the text, and his articulation of the writer’s ideas is clear and powerful. This is a cast with good presence and buoyant energy, and their performances have created a show that is entertaining and consistently engaging.

Love Song does talk a little about romance, but that is not the whole of its message. It is interested in the way people’s lives are nourished through relationships, and through love. The concept of love is explored at depth. We watch how it affects us comprehensively, and how we transform in its presence. Most significantly, we learn how it (love) is essential for life to flourish, no matter what form it may take, and no matter how much effort is required for it to materialise.

5 Questions with Romney Stanton

romneystantonWhat is your favourite swear word?
I’m not sure i can say it, my mother would hit me, not that she’s into that or anything. There’s two words actually that go hand in hand perfectly – c*nt features.

What are you wearing?
I wish I could say it was something interesting… jeans, spotty jumper, converse and my favourite necklace from the NYC library (it has a quote from Hamlet engraved on it). Oh and I have odd socks on yay! I love odd socks.

What is love?
When your loved one hands you the last hot chip or olive from their plate, then you know it’s true love.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
His Mothers Voice at ATYP by Bakehouse Theatre Co. I wish it was still running because it was incredible and I would have loved to have seen it again. 4 stars out of 5 baby!!!

Is your new show going to be any good?
Ahhhh, maybe ask me on opening night!?! I bloody well hope so! Couldn’t ask for a better group of actors to work with, great director and awesome characters and script… how could anything go wrong?!

Romney Stanton is appearing in Love Song, by Gamut Theatre Co.
Show dates: 11 – 22 Jun, 2014
Show venue: TAP Gallery