Venue: New Theatre (Newtown NSW), Jan 14 – 18, 2015
Festival Director: Pete Malicki
Image by Sylvi Soe
Week two of 2015 Short+Sweet Theatre features a wealth of talent. There is exciting writing, clever direction, inspired acting, and sharp costuming to be found peppered through the night. Although no single work is able to be outstanding in every creative capacity, memorable moments are many, and the event continues to be an important one for Sydney artists and audiences alike.
Robert Renshaw’s Chat To Death teeters on the precipice of pornography, but the dangerous eroticism he explores is thrilling and beautiful, although quite explicit. The context he builds is not perfectly resolved, but his use of language more than satisfies. In Ryan Pemberton’s Business Meeting, a macabre and very quirky take on what happens in corporate boardrooms is beautifully directed by Pemberton whose sense of humour is odd, unique and very appealing. Direction is also a highlight in Rachel Welch’s So Says The Sea. James Hartley finds nuance in a deceptively simple script, and portrays surprising depth in just ten minutes. His cast is a strong one, especially Petrie Porter and Aleks Mikic who both impress with committed and meaningful interpretations of what could have been quite plain characters.
Other fabulous performances include Matthew Friedman, whose own piece The Least Impossible Thing That Happened This Evening opens the programme with vibrant energy and genuine enthusiasm. Equally buoyant is Jo Ford’s Chance You Can Dance, whose outrageously camp actors Hilary Park and Drew Holmes deliver irresistible laugh out loud sequences with their charming references to familiar cultural archetypes. Gavin Vance’s Screamers! The Wizard Of Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! (pictured above) stars the unforgettable Joseph Chetty who plays an Australian version of Dorothy Gale, blending drag comedy with a bawdy cabaret approach to present a scathing critique of the Abbott government, culminating in a live rendition of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ that is thoroughly and utterly electrifying. Dorothy’s call for a better national leader is a convincing one, and for a quick minute, she makes us believe in the pot of gold that lies at the end.