5 Questions with Nick Curnow

nickcurnowWhat is your favourite swear word?
I’m quite partial to “zounds.” But I mostly use the ol’ faithful fuck.

What are you wearing?
A smile. Also jeans, t-shirt from MonsterThreads in Newtown and colourful Bucketfeet sneakers.

What is love?
Love is blindness – I don’t want to see. Won’t you wrap the night around me? Well that’s what U2 said, but I prefer the cover by Cassandra Wilson.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Angels In America: Part 2. Five stars, absolutely. Stellar cast in a wonderfully realised production. Gave me shivers.

Is your new show going to be any good?
It’s going to be brilliant – it’s been a long time coming! I first saw the play performed about 10 years ago and it’s been percolating at the back of my mind ever since. Really happy to finally be bringing it to life with director Alexander Butt.

Nick Curnow is star of Fully Committed, part of Sydney Fringe 2013.
Show dates: 26 – 28 Sep, 2013
Show venue: New Theatre

Update: The show is revived at The Old Fitzroy, 24 Feb – 1 Mar, 2014.

5 Questions with Briana Bluebell

Briana-Bluebell-by-LadyphotoWhat is your favourite swear word?
Puck (F**k in the version of summer heights high)

What are you wearing?
Black. It’s chic.

What is love?
A life long devotion where you will do anything for that person. Love is giving and selfless.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Australia Burlesque Festival, 4 out of 5.

Is your new show going to be any good?
Not good, great! I’ve never had a flop yet!!




Briana Bluebell is starring in Noir et d’Or (BlaknGold Cabaret), part of Sydney Fringe 2013.
Show dates: 26 Sep, 2013
Show venue: Slide

In Between Days (King Street Theatre)

inbetweendays1Venue: King Street Theatre (Newtown NSW), Sep 21 & 28, 2013
Playwright: Leanne Mangan
Musical Director: Cassady Maddox
Actors: Leanne Mangan, Cassady Maddox, Josh Shipton

Theatre review
In Between Days is an example of the kinds of alternative voices that can appear in the Sydney Fringe Festival. The stage opens with a poster of The Cure’s Robert Smith dominating its backdrop, and he stays in position overlooking proceedings in this musical. 2 women share a home and a penchant for the goth aesthetic. They do not explicitly discuss the nature of the subculture of which they belong, but it is inscribed upon their being, and also in the music selection of this production.

The women’s singing are the absolute highlight of the show. Their voices are pleasant and occasional harmonies are always tight and beautiful. Accompaniment is simple, usually only with an acoustic guitar, but the arrangements are perfect for the small venue. Song choices are appropriate for the story, and all tend to be very melodic, which ensures immediate appeal.

Stand-out performance of the production belongs to Josh Shipton, who displays more experience than the other players. His character Johnno delivers the laughs, and endears himself quickly to the audience. The writing does not give any of the actors much to work with, but Shipton is able to turn his moments into brief instances of magic.


Skazka: Told By Night (Scarecrow Theatre)

skazka1Venue: New Theatre (Newtown NSW), Sep 18 – 28, 2013
Dramaturg: Finn Davis
Director: Jonathan Dunk
Actors: Zerrin Craig-Adams, Finn Davis, Jonathan Dunk, Lucinda Howes, Caitlin West, Jem Rowe

Theatre review
Sometimes a quiet revolution takes place, and it creeps up on you in the darkness of the theatre and taps you on your shoulder. Scarecrow Theatre’s show in this year’s Sydney Fringe is so utterly original that it makes you feels like you had been hiding under a rock, while a group of youngsters were out creating something so beyond expectation and convention, that when you encounter it for the first time, you get the sense that the times, well, they are a-changin’.

Skazka: Told By Night is a work that springboards from real and imagined folk tales, and uses them to explore the space between form and content in the theatre. These six performers have created a visual piece with an emphasis on physicality and movement rather than dance. Also important are the sounds they create with speech and song, but the relationship between what we see and what we hear is not always of a logical coherence. There is however, a powerful consistency in a certain melancholy and beauty, which the six actors achieve with an amazing uniformity in their style of performance. This group demonstrates a chemistry so intense and deep, that they feel almost like a singular idiosyncratic organism, all pulsating with a common heartbeat. It is an unusual language they share, and we read them with fascination and awe.

Sets, props, and lighting are used minimally, and the only sounds we hear are from the actors. Yet, the show is mesmerising. It puts you in a strange state of trance, where you are absorbed into the activity on stage, and stop thinking. It is a kind of meditation that takes place, and a stillness that is experienced, even while fighting, tears and death are on show. It also bolsters your imagination. We effortlessly create in our minds, menacing forests and bitterly cold lakes around the actors. All dark, and all beautiful.

Art rewards those who choose to travel the road not taken. We live in an age of post-modern fatigue that no longer believes in originality, but in Skazka, something fresh and radical is created, and we fall into its spell of dreamy night stories.


Slutterati (New Theatre)

slutterati1Venue: New Theatre (Newtown NSW), Sep 19 – 23, 2013
Writer: Michael Gottsche
Director: Louise Fischer
Actors: Matt Charleston, Rebecca Clay, Amy Fisher, Jorjia Gillis, Kate Skinner, Stephen Wilkinson

Theatre review
The title of the piece evokes the modern phenomenon of celebrity and glitterati that is less about a glamorous “smart set”, and more about the sleazy, cheap, and vacuous “content generators” of news and media. It is also about the rise and rise of gossip in the media landscape, and its perverse pervasiveness in our daily lives.

Michael Gottsche’s script begins with the familiar story of a sporting celebrity in the limelight for less than dignified reasons. We are introduced to the stereotypes: an ex-Olympian, an aspiring d-list actor, 2 media spin doctors,  a tabloid journalist; and the story unfolds like an amalgamation of the many scandals that have surfaced in recent times, of which none were of great consequence to the public. Slutterati discusses how “news” is created, that it is generated by commercial interest rather than a straightforward reporting of important events.

Rebecca Clay plays Talia-Jayne, the commercial television personality who presents herself as a journalist. Clay successfully portrays the dichotomy of misplaced self-importance with a good dose of low-life wretchedness. It is a thoroughly enjoyable performance that is convincing, but also knowingly tinged with camp commentary. She looks every bit the part, but we revel in the actor’s awareness of her character’s absurdity.

Stephen Wilkinson as Clark, the shady talent manager, provides the play’s most dramatic moments. His vigour creates a tautness to the drama, and scenes without his energetic presence tend to come across less focused. Wilkinson has a knack for introducing urgency to the plot, as well as the crucial sense that the stakes are high, so that the audience’s attention is tightly gripped.

The play comprises many quick scenes, and this is problematic for the live stage. Time and space change often and these sometimes occur inelegantly. However, the story is told with clarity and the plot structure is strong. Our interest in the characters grow, and we invest emotionally in their experiences. This is a critique of Australian media, and although it does not propose alternative strategies, the statement it makes is valid and timely.


5 Questions with Craig Annis

craigannisWhat is your favourite swear word?
I can’t usually swear in my day job BUT the best non-swear word I ever heard was a guy I knew who said the word ‘crumb’ as an expletive when he got killed in Call Of Duty. Try it, it’s the funniest thing ever!

What are you wearing?
Oh, behave! If I’m being COMPLETELY honest – my gym gear, just got back from a workout. I should have made that sound sexier… I’m wearing whatever Ryan Gosling was wearing in that movie when everyone thought he was at his sexiest. You should totally imagine his body with my head on it.

What is love?
I think this link explains it best… God Bless Haddaway!

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Hmmmmm… are bands included? If so, The Lazy’s were truly FANTASTIC. They’re an Aussie Gen Y rock band who are so FREAKING AWESOME that Eddie McGuire once stopped in a laneway to listen to them and then got them on his radio show the next morning. I’ll be lucky enough to walk on stage to one of their tracks each night!

Is your new show going to be any good?
I can’t answer that! I’ll sound like a wanker… BUT it does have the BEST punchline I’ve ever written in it. When the comedy gods delivered it to me I had to pull over. Which was awkward, because I was on the Harbour Bridge and apparently traffic cops don’t have the same sense of humour. In short, my show’s a heartfelt celebration of life. It’s fun, thoughtful and involves an encore with a puppet that you never thought possible!

Craig Annis is appearing in Nanna’s Boy, part of Sydney Fringe 2013.
Show dates: 25 – 27 Sep, 2013
Show venue: Bedlam Bar

Keira Daley Vs The 90s (Seymour Centre)

keiradaley3Venue: Sound Lounge, Seymour Centre (Sydney NSW), Sep 18 – 21, 2013
Writer: Keira Daley
Musical Director: Mark Chamberlain
Performer: Keira Daley

Theatre review
Keira Daley’s last show was entitled Lady Nerd and that has become the moniker which she proudly uses for all her cabaret acts. The connotation of a socially awkward person is amplified on Daley’s stage, and it becomes a starting point for comedy as well as fertile ground for idiosyncratic material.

Daley is a performer bursting with enthusiasm. The passion she brings to the stage proves that theatre is where her heart is, even if she portrays herself as someone who is probably more suited to the accounting or technology industries. In Keira Daley Vs The 90s, she performs a mixture of original songs and hits from the 1990s, from luminaries like Des’ree, Soundgarden, Frente, Jamiroquai, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In between each song, she reminisces about her days in school and teenage life, ensuring an abundance of goose bumps and cringing laughter especially if the audience is between the ages of 30 and 50.

The show ends with a moving original composition, and the slightly sentimental tone works well amongst all the giddy hilarity. In fact, one comes away from the show hoping that the artist’s softer feelings had been allowed to present themselves throughout the show. Daley’s back up band is delightful and contribute a wonderful effervescent energy, even though one does wonder if they had even been conceived when the Friends television show first appeared.


5 Questions with Marco Fusco

What is your favourite swear word?
It’s more a phrase: shit mother fucker fuck shit!!

What are you wearing?
Jeans, Black t-shirt Cardigan and my favourite creepers!!

What is love?
A many splendid thing!!! It lifts us up where we belong.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Hot Shoe Shuffle I would give it 5 starts out of 5!! Loved it.

Is your new show going to be any good?
Come see it and you be the judge.


Marco Fusco plays Richard “Dick” Scrotumsberry the 3rd in The Sexual Awakening Of Virgina Poppycock, part of Sydney Fringe 2013.
Show dates: 25 – 28 Sep, 2013
Show venue: Seymour Centre
Image by 3 Fates Media.

Jane Austen Is Dead (Brave Theatre)

janeaustenVenue: New Theatre (Newtown NSW), Sep 16 – 23, 2013
Playwright: Mel Dodge
Director: Patrick Davies
Actor: Mel Dodge

Theatre review
Romantic love for the modern woman is a tricky thing. While Jane Austen’s books are still adored, the meaning of marriage has changed drastically over the last two centuries and we now negotiate relationships afresh without religious or traditional constraints. This opens up a liberated new world, but it also presents a kind of quagmire where some of us are left baffled and defeated.

Mel Dodge’s work expresses this experience perfectly. It is a thorough exploration into the world of a single woman in her 30s who is looking for love, but who in the process, also questions her own motivations and decisions. The script is an honest one. It gets to many ugly truths that audiences will identify with, but wraps it up in humour and wit so that the predicaments portrayed are never allowed to painfully wallow or to turn into misery.

Dodge’s performance of her own script is stellar. She has crafted a protagonist Sophie, who is endearing from the very start, and we develop a warm affiliation that keeps us engaged through every second of the show. The plot freely jumps across time and space, with Dodge playing a whole raft of characters, all believable, familiar and funny, making this one-woman show hugely entertaining and impressive.

Patrick Davies’ direction fleshes out all the cleverness and all that is amusing in the script. The transitions between characters, and the different levels of engagement with the audience are skilfully constructed so that our attention is kept tightly under control and no moment is wasted.

A single flaw would be the play’s abrupt ending. Sophie comes to a conclusion that is at once meaningful and interesting, but it all winds up too swiftly. Although perhaps, it could just be the audience enjoying her company too much and are unwilling to say goodbye.


5 Questions with Jonathan Dunk

jonathandunkWhat is your favourite swear word?
‘Fucking hell’, for gravitas.

What are you wearing?
Vaguely skinny jeans and an un-ironed shirt. The shirt is blue.

What is love?

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Miss Julie, four stars, I think. Good handle on the Australian class system.

Is your new show going to be any good?
It has a clumsy kind of pathos. Read Suzy’s review here.


Jonathan Dunk is directing and acting in Skazka: Told By Night, part of Sydney Fringe 2013.
Show dates: 18 – 28 Sep, 2013
Show venue: New Theatre