I'm on it [by Matt Baker]
Cross-gender and cross-racial casting, an era-specific time relocation, and characters represented by dolls or never seen at all are three fundamental theatrical constructs employed by Caryl Churchill to present the themes of sexuality, oppression, and identity in her 1979 play, Cloud 9. Such constructs illustrate said themes to the audience in a blatant and purposeful way, but it would be wrong to consequently conclude that the play is in any way easy to perform or direct. Director Sam Shore dutifully honours the themes and motifs by tackling the play head on with an ensemble of eight incredibly charismatic and versatile actors – versatility being a key component.
While each actor is double cast between the two acts, having one character which resonates with them more so than the other, Stephen Anthony Maxwell shines as both Betty and Edward. Maxwell brings a broken quality to Betty, juxtaposing the fluidity of his movement, and pitches his performance with the right amount of necessary melodrama while maintaining an emotional truth. As Edward, he brings a weight which echoes the emotional trauma of act one.
Sexual Tension as thick as Magnolia Perfume [by James Wenley]
It’s a classic formula, and one we are all familiar with: a miss-matched couple, often from vastly different backgrounds or social spheres meet, bicker, bicker some more, swear they hate each other, then admit their enduring love and affection. Jane Austen for one knew that hate was the secret to a good love story. Written badly, the formula ends in movies like The Ugly Truth (damn you Katherine Heigl!). Written well, you get a simply glorious play called Glorious.
In crafting glorious, playwright Richard Huber took his cue from one manifestation of the formula - screwball comedies of the 30s American depression era (famously described as “a sex comedy without the sex”), often starring names like Katharine Hepburn and tackling class issues in a comedic way. In a knowing nod, lead character Gloria in the play often compares her situation to scenes from Hepburn films. The actress, Anya Tate-Manning (a rising Wellington starlet), took early inspiration from the actress, channeling Hepburn’s distinct manner of speech.
Gloria is of the wealthy American socialite class, used to getting what she wants, and engaged to be married. She sets her sights however on Jimmy, employed as a waiter at her Father’s party, and within minutes of striking up the conversation announces they will be married. And so the courtship begins….
In Glorious Anticipation
[by Sharu Delilkan]
When I met up with director Sam Shore at his quaint Eden Terrace home the first thing I had to ask him was why he was ‘remounting’ and not directing Richard Huber’s Glorious.
He lost no time explaining that he didn’t feel comfortable taking credit for all the play’s direction, having come into the mix so late in the piece.
“Since the play has been done before and it’s not my whole vision I thought ‘remounting’ was the appropriate term for my involvement.
Glorious centres around bored socialite Gloria (Anya Tate-Manning) who sets her sights on Jimmy (Sam Bunkall), a struggling writer-waiter at her dad’s birthday party, just to spite her dad.
It’s also Shore’s first time not directing a play from scratch. And he’s pleased to report that he’s thoroughly enjoying the process. “I particularly like looking at what someone else has done and getting the chance to re-shape, critique and re-model it,” he says.
Blokes behaving badly [by Sharu Delilkan]
If you’re looking to see a show with balls Boys’ Life is definitely it.
The play follows the drunken, nihilistic excesses of three American youths through their quest to embrace responsibility, seek partnership and come to a realisation of their place in the world.
Boys’ Life reminds the audience of their journey from adolescent confused flirtation to ultimate attempts to dignify a life.
It’s about the relationship of three urban guys who essentially refuse to grow up.
The Outfit Theatre Company production, based on Howard Korder’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play, portrays the sexual politics and attitudes of 1980s America.