Review: Pinball (Duck Duck Goose Theatre Company)

pinball1Venue: TAP Gallery (Darlinghurst NSW), Feb 11 – 28, 2014
Playwright: Alison Lyssa
Director: Sarah Vickery
Actors: Ali Aitken, John Michael Burdon, Leo Domingan, Emma Louise, Faran Martin, Karoline O’Sullivan

Theatre review
Pinball first appeared in 1980/81, providing an early voice for the plight of lesbian mothers, who had faced oppressive heteronormative forces in their fight for rights to custody of their children. Alison Lyssa’s words are powerful and devastating. With the passage of time, her feminist point of view as expressed in the play may resonate differently from original intentions, but her depiction of misogyny and homophobia in Western and Christian societal structures remains accurate, scathing and raw.

Sarah Vickery’s direction, like the pinball, brings colour, movement, bells and whistles to the work, effectively preventing the play from lingering too much in dark and dour territory. There is however an unevenness and disunity in acting styles, which results in confusion with storylines, and performers detracting from each other’s work. Karoline O’Sullivan plays melodrama well and excels with a sense of fragility and earnestness, but without the appropriate support from the rest of the production, her performance seems off-kilter. John Michael Burdon works extremely hard in all of his five roles, and is delightful in scenes that require his assertive flamboyance, but less effective when restraint is needed.

Pinball machines are frustrating. They deny your will and go where they wish, despite all your attempts at imposing control over their journeys. This is also true of revolutionary politics and art. Feminism and queer politics seek to destabilise and correct the failings of our status quo, and theatre has the responsibility to challenge and advance conventions when things become too cosy and predictable. Sometimes it’s just not about you liking it.

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5 Questions with Major Scales

majorscalesWhat is your favourite swear word?
I don’t use swear words, just the words around them (Son of a *** / Mother ***).

What are you wearing?
I’m relaxing at home in my smoking jacket and pince-nez.

What is love?
Love is never having to say “You’re wearing THAT?”

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
4 stars to the man on the street who swallowed a balloon whole. 5 stars for getting it back out.

Is your new show going to be any good?
That’s for history to decide.

Major Scales is appearing in The Vaudevillians, part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014 festival.
Show dates: 18 Feb – 2 Mar, 2013
Show venue: The Vanguard

5 Questions with Jinkx Monsoon

jinkxmonsoonWhat is your favourite swear word?
Not to be too on the nose, but I would have to say shit.

What are you wearing?
Three girdles, five pairs of tights and Opera gloves.

What is love?
I wish I knew.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Briefs. 5 out of 5. It has everything I love in a circus show, plus ten times more man butt.

Is your new show going to be any good?
That’s for history to decide.

 

Jinkx Monsoon is appearing in The Vaudevillians, part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014 festival.
Show dates: 18 Feb – 2 Mar, 2013
Show venue: The Vanguard
Image by Jose A. Guzman Colon

5 Questions with Ben Hall

benhallWhat is your favourite swear word?
Oh! Fuck wank bugger shitting arse head and hole! Courtesy of Bill Nighy.

What are you wearing?
A smile. Because I worked out how to avoid answering this question.

What is love?
A decision.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Cyrano De Bergerac by the Sport for Jove Theatre Company out in the Blue Mountains. Five Stars. I have two methods for a good show 1. when I’m not critiquing every scene and 2. I don’t check my phone. Didn’t do either. Was easily one of the funniest plays I have seen in years and set that against the mountain backdrop, you don’t even notice that the sun has set behind you.

Is your new show going to be any good?
Put it this way it has a cast including Katrina Retallick and Margi Diferranti (that alone should get you in the door), a lyric that will have you laughing hysterically and crying in the same number, plus Tamlyn Henderson and I boxing half naked which then turns into passionate lovemaking… and that’s just the 3rd number.

Ben Hall is appearing in Falsettos, from Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s 2014 season and part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014 festival.
Show dates: 7 Feb – 16 Mar, 2014
Show venue: Eternity Playhouse

5 Questions with David Ouch

davidouchWhat is your favourite swear word?
Stupid B!*ch – when you make it roll into one word. Hah! It just so plosive, aggressive and feels good in the mouth.

What are you wearing?
Right now I am in my undies and a t-shirt. I was getting undressed but got side tracked.

What is love?
I believe love is the human thread that bonds us all together.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
The last show I saw was Grease the musical. It was such a fun, playful show and very audience interactive. I was very proud to see a couple of my friends up there making their debut. I gave it a 4.5 out of 5.

Is your new show going to be any good?
Privates On Parade is a part of the Mardi Gras festival for 2014. It is full of fun, flamboyance and has a strong heart. If you like a bit of drag, a bit of skin and hot guys singing then you’ll love the PRIVATES on parade.

David Ouch is appearing in Privates On Parade, from New Theatre’s 2014 season and part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014 festival.
Show dates: 11 Feb – 8 Mar, 2014
Show venue: New Theatre

5 Questions with Margie Fischer

margiefischerWhat is your favourite swear word?
I said ‘that’s fucked’ when I didn’t get the funding from ARTS SA (SA’s arts funding body) to tour my show to Mardi Gras. This was followed by ‘fuck you, I’m doing it anyway’.

What are you wearing?
I am wearing a swimming costume and track suit pants. The costume is a few years old and a bit saggy however I haven’t been able to face trying on a new one in a change room as yet. I think I’ll stick to the old one for this summer.

What is love?
Someone seeing me in my current swimming costume and tracksuit pants and adoring me totally.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
I saw Yana Alana’s show Between The Cracks at this years Feast Festival and I loved it. I give it 5 stars. Yana’s show is superb, she sings, talks to the audience and reveals all literally.

Is your new show going to be any good?
My show is excellent. It truly lives up to its publicity. I know this as I have done 3 seasons of it in Adelaide and Melbourne, and many audience members told me so, plus the reviews did as well – a rare combination.

Margie Fischer is presenting The Dead Ones, part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014 festival.
Show dates: 18 – 22 Feb, 2014
Show venue: Seymour Centre

5 Questions with Stephen Anderson

stephenandersonWhat is your favourite swear word?
Flip. I’m currently rehearsing with two brilliant twelve year old actors, so I’ve really tried to cut down on swearing in front of them. It’s been fucking difficult.

What are you wearing?
A black latex catsuit. I’m on my way to rehearse with the twelve year olds.

What is love?
According to a lyric from Falsettos, “Love is crazy. Love is often boring. Love stinks. Love is pretty often debris. Love reads like a bad biography. Love is blind.” So there’s that question answered.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter by Kneehigh. 4 stars. I left in awe of the wit, charm, heart and theatricality.

Is your new show going to be any good?
I certainly think so. It’s beautiful, poignant and deeply funny. It’s a family drama about love, forgiveness and negotiating adulthood. It’s about relationships – gay, straight and in-between. Full of brilliant songs, it’s also performed by a talented, delightful and almost shockingly attractive cast. And me.

Stephen Anderson is appearing in Falsettos, from Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s 2014 season and part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014 festival.
Show dates: 7 Feb – 16 Mar, 2014
Show venue: Eternity Playhouse

5 Questions with Faran Martin

rsz_faranelise_headshotWhat is your favourite swear word?
Motherfucker. It has dawned on me how inappropriate it is, but I can’t lie about the fact that I favour it.

What are you wearing?
I am wearing my pyjamas, which is an old Boy From Oz show shirt. Can I live that down?!

What is love?
Undeniable and unequivocal. Magic.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
King Kong gets 3.5. I’d give it 5 for passion to the cause, achievement and a truly beautiful creature in Kong, but a few essentials fell by the wayside to present the wonder of technology.

Is your new show going to be any good?
It’s ridiculously good. The crickets are raving already. I just gave a solo preview outside my bedroom window and they’ve not shut up all night.

Faran Martin is performing in Pinball, part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014 festival.
Show dates: 11 – 28 Feb, 2014
Show venue: TAP Gallery

5 Questions with Alice Livingstone

alicelivingstoneWhat is your favourite swear word?
Fuck – straightforward, one syllable, and can be spat, groaned, muttered or screamed with equal effect.

What are you wearing?
Whatever’s clean that the cat hasn’t then had a nap upon.

What is love?
Family and friends who stick by you no matter what.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Summertime In The Garden Of Eden presented by Sisters Grimm as part of Griffin Independent. 2 stars – was disappointed, after absolutely loving their Little Mercy at STC last year.

Is your new show going to be any good?
Well, it’s got songs, dance, blokes in frocks and very naughty laughs, not to mention a bit of nudity, so for a Mardi Gras show, that should fit the bill. I think a wider audience will also enjoy its great entertainment value.

Alice Livingstone is directing Privates On Parade, from New Theatre’s 2014 season and part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014 festival.
Show dates: 11 Feb – 8 Mar, 2013
Show venue: New Theatre

5 Questions with Cole Escola

coleescolaWhat is your favourite swear word?
Dad.

What are you wearing?
A tasteful bolero jacket made of recycled human flesh and a pair of wedge sandals from Jessica Simpson’s Payless collection. For makeup I chose a neutral lip color and coupled it with a smokey eye. Instead of blush or bronzer, I finished the look with a thick layer of battery acid to give it that “I just died in a car accident” effect. No pants.

What is love?
Full disclosure, I’ve never even heard that word before. Sorry, I guess we don’t have it in the states.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
The last show I saw was Waiting For Godot on Broadway starring Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart. I give it zero stars. Take that, McKellen!

Is your new show going to be any good?
I wish I could lie, but unfortunately the show is going to be extremely good. Honestly, it will be a transformative experience for everyone involved. We’re going to break down some walls and make some truly heartening discoveries. No pants.

Cole Escola is performing in Desperate Houseboys, part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014 festival.
Show dates: 18 – 28 Feb, 2014
Show venue: Seymour Centre