Short & Sweet: Newtown Wildcards Week 5 reviews week 5 Wildcards!

Short & SweetNewtown Theatre, Sydney
Saturday, 6 February, 2010
Soaking In itA woman attempts to reach serenity by sitting in a bathtub in the middle of a park. As she meditates, a collection of friends and passers-by debate her motives and drive her to distraction. Jodi Crammond’s play had an interesting concept and some fun philosophical banter. The characters could have been fleshed out better both by the writer and actors in order to make them more believable and humorous. I Think I DoA middle-aged man and woman walk down the aisle on their way to saying ‘I do’. Along the way, the bride-to-be shares a few startling family secrets. Despite a shaky start, this was a very enjoyable piece. The actors gave strong performances and the comic situation was the perfect subject matter for Dora Tan’s short play. Wild Thing This play by Michelle Wallace followed the story of a girl who was strange and silent as a child, became involved with drugs as a young woman and helped out her sick cousin in her later life. The piece attempted a lot in ten minutes. As it recounted the majority of a young woman’s life it did not have a solid focus. Much of the language was quite poetic but whilst it was quite beautiful, large portions of the play were narrated and therefore quite stagnant. Model BehaviourTwo typical young Australian couples find themselves in trouble when a sexy young Ralph model crashes their evening. Laura Steven’s script was crass, brilliant and hilarious. Under director Brad Loxley, the cast (Becky Gibson, Laura Huxley, Luke McKenzie, Michael Elbridge and Amber Gokken) gave vivid and energetic performances that made the audience groan in recognition and laugh in delight. The Great EscapeA bunch of fruit plan an escape in order to save themselves from being eaten. A childish but amusing idea from writer Jessica Fallico, which translated into a production with some very silly fruit costumes. Some great characterizations and a generally fun piece which could have been more controlled towards the end as the action descended into disorder and shouting. What HappensA lower class teen mum talks with her mother about her baby’s future. In the meantime the ‘father’ leaves drinks with his friends to go visit his child. In such a short time Grant Wilson’s play aimed for high emotional stakes. The audience had little time to become emotionally involved with the characters, and a great deal of dialogue was needed to spell out the situation. The GrowthChris Shaw Swanson’s piece deals with a woman travelling to see a surgeon. She encounters an older woman who shares many insights with her and changes her approach to dealing with her growth. Much of the dialogue in this piece suffered due to poor projection, diction and a lack of conviction. The exposition was often quite obvious and the emotional story delivered plenty of fake tears. Aren’t They Cute At That AgeA man arrives at a job interview to find an eleven year old girl as his interview panel. An all-round solid script from Maxime Elgue, that delivered a great comic situation. ?Director Daniel McCusker kept the piece simple, allowing the dialogue and characters the chance to impress. The young Alexandra Elgue deserves a mention for her handling of difficult dialogue and convincing performance as a precocious pre-teen. Alan Brel was suitably baffled as the interview candidate and Mary Elgue was perfect in her brief appearance as the mother. You Still Walk Around ItEris Jane Harrison’s play followed two sisters dealing with the death of their mother and the inheritance of the family home. An interesting piece that delivered two fascinating characters locked in a quiet battle for power and possession. The casting was bizarre, with the two not conceivably related, yet the piece delivered a strong and surprising twist at the end. RalphA Man tries to get things done but constantly battles with a physical incarnation of procrastination. Malcolm Press’ piece offered a cute idea but little plot. The girlfriend character was a bit unnecessary and it would have been interesting to see a more extreme characterisation of Ralph, and further mayhem as a result.

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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