Review: Thank You For Being A Friend (Matthew Management / Neil Gooding Productions)

goldengirlsVenue: Seymour Centre (Chippendale NSW), Feb 13 – 28, 2014
Playwrights: Thomas Duncan-Watt, Jonathan Worsley
Directors: Neil Gooding, Luke Joslin
Performers: Julia Billington, Chrystal de Grussa, Donna Lee, Darren Mapes, Nigel Turner-Carroll

Theatre review
The Golden Girls was a big TV hit series in the 1980s, and has left an indelible mark on audiences everywhere. Many of us remember catchphrases, character traits, relationship dynamics, and plot structures. Indeed it is nostalgia that gives this revival in puppetry form its appeal. There are minor references to contemporary culture (like a “cell phone”, Fifty Shades Of Grey and Kim Kardashian), but effort was put into a show and script that is absolutely faithful to the original. The set is a delightful re-creation. We even get ad breaks that feature commercials from the era, of defunct fashion labels and forgotten brands.

All four puppeteers have a thorough understanding of the roles they assume. The mannerisms and voices they replicate are funny and thoroughly delightful. Donna Lee’s depiction of Sophia is endearing and, like on the TV show, delivers the biggest punchlines. Darren Mapes facial expressions are so reminiscent of Beatrice Arthur’s Dorothy, one probably looks at him more than his puppet. Julia Billington never fails to get a laugh whenever she brings up St. Olaf as Rose, and Chrystal de Grussa’s Blanche is a hilariously overblown version of Blanche Devereaux, whose “man-eater” antics remain uproariously ridiculous. Also noteworthy is Nigel Turner-Carroll, the fifth member of the cast who tackles a host of male support characters with aplomb and great humour.

The production is part of the 2014 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras program, not only because of Blanche’s gay son’s appearance, but also because of our memories of the original series’ efforts at discussing issues such as coming out, same-sex marriage, AIDS and discrimination against people with HIV. This loving tribute has rekindled a strangely deep relationship between audience and those golden girls. These ladies are fictional, but they are also dear friends.

www.thankyouforbeingafriend.com.au

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

5 Questions with Darren Mapes

darrennmapesWhat is your favourite swear word?
The “C” word. Anyone who is offended needs to play the c*nt game. I’ll teach you how to play over a couple of drinks 🙂

What are you wearing?
Bonds. I’m a simple guy.

What is love?
Sister Mary Bruno told me “God is Love” as she beat me with a ruler.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Carrie the musical, 4. I’ve always wanted to have Kathy Bates over for dinner, but now I’ll just ask Margi de Ferranti instead, her performance was incredible.

Is your new show going to be any good?
It’s gonna be hilarious. The Golden Girls and puppets? How can you go wrong? 🙂

Darren Mapes is performing in Thank You For Being A Friend, part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014 festival.
Show dates: 14 – 28 Feb, 2014
Show venue: Seymour Centre

5 Questions with Jeffery Self

jefferyselfWhat is your favourite swear word?
Mother fucker. Even though I’ve never actually fucked my mother and I have no interest in doing so.

What are you wearing?
It would only depress you to hear.

What is love?
Diane Keaton.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
I saw Beyonce in concert last night and it literally FORCED ME to want to have reckless gay sex.

Is your new show going to be any good?
It won’t be as good as Beyonce but it’ll be better than reckless gay sex.

 

 

Jeffery Self 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

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014 Theatre Highlights

Here’s a list of theatre productions in the 2014 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras festival season.
These are the most exciting events in the Mardi Gras calendar for me, and I cannot wait to go see them!
Other events including cabaret performances and visual art exhibitions can be seen at www.mardigras.org.au.

Falsettos Darlinghurst Theatre Venue: Eternity Playhouse, Darlinghurst Date: Feb 7 – Mar 16

Falsettos
Darlinghurst Theatre
Venue: Eternity Playhouse, Darlinghurst
Date: Feb 7 – Mar 16

Privates On Parade New Theatre V enue: New Theatre, Newtown Date: Feb 11 – Mar 8

Privates On Parade
New Theatre
Venue: New Theatre, Newtown
Date: Feb 11 – Mar 8

Pinball Duck Duck Goose Theatre Co Venue: TAP Gallery Date: Feb 11 - 28

Pinball
Duck Duck Goose Theatre Co
Venue: TAP Gallery
Date: Feb 11 – 28

The Death Of Kings Adam Deusien Venue: Gingers Oxford Hotel, Darlinghurst Date: Feb 13 - 19

The Death Of Kings
Director: Adam Deusien
Venue: Gingers Oxford Hotel, Darlinghurst
Date: Feb 13 – 19

Discovering Eugenia Devisor: Mark Tedeschi QC Venue: Police and Justice Museum, Sydney Date: Feb 13

Discovering Eugenia
Devisor: Mark Tedeschi QC
Venue: Police and Justice Museum, Sydney
Date: Feb 13

Jump For Jordan Griffin Theatre Company Venue: SBW Stables Theatre Date: Feb 14 - Mar 29

Jump For Jordan
Griffin Theatre Company
Venue: SBW Stables Theatre
Date: Feb 14 – Mar 29

The Dead Ones Vitalstatistix Theatre Company Venue: Seymour Centre, Chippendale Date: Feb 18 - 22

The Dead Ones
Vitalstatistix Theatre Company
Venue: Seymour Centre, Chippendale
Date: Feb 18 – 22

Everything I Know I Learnt From Madonna Devisor: Wayne Tunks Venue: Old Fitzroy Theatre, Woolloomooloo Date: Feb 18 - 22

Everything I Know I Learnt From Madonna
Tunks Productions
Venue: Old Fitzroy Theatre, Woolloomooloo
Date: Feb 18 – 22

Desperate Houseboys Matthew Management & Neil Gooding Productions Venue: Seymour Centre, Chippendale Date: Feb 18 - 28

Desperate Houseboys
Matthew Management & Neil Gooding Productions
Venue: Seymour Centre, Chippendale
Date: Feb 18 – 28

Bata-Me! (Popwitch) Director: Diego Bagagal Venue: TBA Date: Feb 25 - 28

Bata-Me! (Popwitch)
Director: Diego Bagagal
Venue: TBA
Date: Feb 25 – 28