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: Cain And Abel (Belvoir St Theatre / The Rabble)

rabbleVenue: Belvoir St Theatre (Surry Hills NSW), May 15 – Jun 8, 2014
Creators: Kate Davis, Emma Valente
Director: Emma Valente
Actors: Dana Miltins, Mary Helen Sassman
Image by Brett Boardman

Theatre review
In certain religious texts, Cain and Abel were the first children born of Eve, and Abel was the first human to die. The brothers’ story is one that has undergone much speculation and scrutiny, with Cain’s motives for murder being the key point of contention. In Kate Davis and Emma Valente’s subversive vision, the first children are daughters, so it is a woman who inflicts the first act of violence. They do not investigate the reasons for the infamous slaying, but explore instead, by substituting male for female, meanings and expressions of gender and its social perceptions in relation to human traits and behaviour.

This is a theatrical work that is heavily influenced by fine art. Dialogue is sparse and reliance on words to create and communicate meaning is minimal. Davis and Valente are concerned with arresting the senses and talking viscerally, resulting in a fascinating show that is almost hypnotic in its appeal. Shades of Japanese Noh theatre can be observed in the mesmerising leading ladies, Dana Miltins and Mary Helen Sassman, who work with a grave stillness that has more to do with spirituality and metaphysicality than storytelling. In this Cain And Abel, we are required to read not only with our eyes and ears, but also to engage with its energies and instincts. As an Australian work, it is distinctively original, even within the realm of experimental theatre.

Miltins performs an understated but terrifying aggression. Her Cain is not a femme fatale, as women do not exist as temptresses on this stage. In multiple scenes depicting various imagined manifestations of the fabled carnage, we are forced to witness her sister’s slaughter repeatedly, and to contemplate wildly, our own ideas about the artist’s themes, and beyond. Indeed, the abstraction of the piece resonates strongly, and in the absence of simple narratives, our personal thoughts are taken on adventurous odysseys.

Visual and sound design are not facilitators for something greater, they are integral to the theatrical experience, and executed to perfection. A main feature is an enclosed set made of clear acrylic, that allows for brutality to be contained (along with assorted offending liquids). The creation of distance provides a membrane of psychological protection, so that our minds gain enough detachment and security to indulge in meditations over the blood-letting before us.

Davis and Valente’s work is brave, iconoclastic and important. Religion is deeply rooted in many, and its unchecked authority affects every society. This disruption of the Cain and Abel story is emancipatory, because it encourages an intellectual response that is evolved and compassionate. It asks questions that matter, and it is incumbent upon us to consider them with a pure conscience. |