Theatre Tours International Ltd
Theatre Tours International Ltd
What's On NOW!


Adelaide 2008 was our fourth at Australia's equivalent of Edinburgh's extravaganza.
It promised to be an unmissable season with our taking five Edinburgh hits downunder...
and was!

Goering's Defence

Goering's DefenceGoering's Defence

Powermonger, paladin or pawn, Hermann Goering, Hitler's #2, Luftwaffe creator, Death Camps instigator, stood tall at the Nuremberg Trials and told it like it was. His defence was astounding; logically brilliant, morally indefensible. "A Blitzkrieg of a performance!" ***** (Edinburghguide) "Chilling!" ***** (Scotsman) Dir: Guy Masterson.

Old Balfours Pie Factory - TEA ROOM - 19:30 (20.40)
February 22 - March 2 (not Feb 25th)
Follow Me

Follow MeFollow Me

Guy Masterson directs Beth Fitzgerald and Ross Gurney-Randall (Goering's Defence). 1955, Albert Pierrepoint, England's Chief Executioner will hang Ruth Ellis, his most famous client, in the morning. It'll be a very British execution. The crowd are angry. Winner: Herald Angel, Ed 2007

Old Balfours Pie Factory - PASTRY BAKERY - 21:00 (22.10)
March 4 - 16 (not 10th)
American Poodle

American PoodleAmerican Poodle

...or how we lost the Colonies. Guy Masterson (12 Angry Men, Under Milk Wood) & David Calvitto (12 Angry Men) now take on the UK-US 'Special Relationship' from opposite sides of the pond. A screwball hybrid of parallel yet twisted thinking. Caustic, black, sharp, clever, hyperarticulate and inspired! "As refreshing as a cold shower!' ***** Edinburghguide.com by Brian Parks and Guy Masterson.

Old Balfours Pie Factory - PASTRY BAKERY
February 22-29 (not 25th) March 1-2,21:00 (22.00) & March 11-16 - 19:30 (20:30)
TEA ROOM - March 5-9 - 19:30 (20.30)
Playing Burton

Playing BurtonPlaying Burton

Guy Masterson directs the original. "With a mountain shattering presence, Josh Richards becomes Richard Burton in an exceptionally powerful, darkly haunting performance. Faultless, riveting, brilliantly charismatic, peerless." ***** (Scotsman) "Deliriously literate!" ***** (Daily Mail) Written by Mark Jenkins.

Holden Street Theatres - 19:30 (20.40)
February 22 - March 16
Under Milk Wood

Under Milk WoodUnder Milk Wood

Guy Masterson's world acclaimed interpretation of Dylan Thomas' enchanting masterpiece returns for a 3rd sell-out season! It's "one of the most remarkable inventive performances of the decade!" (Times) "A mesmerisingly brilliant tour de force."(Scotsman) "Simply bewitching!" (Three Weeks)

ROYALTY THEATRE - Angas Street - TWO SHOWS ONLY!
March 3, 21:00 (23:00) and March 10, 14:00 (16:00)

Goering's DefenceGoering's Defence

PLAYED: FRINGE FACTORY, PASTRY BAKERY, Feb 22 - March 16th 2008Goering's Defence

Guy Masterson directs Ross Gurney-Randall (Follow Me)as Hermann Goering, Hitler's number two, inventor of the Luftwaffe, and instigator of the Death Camps in this accute anatomy of fascism.

"Ross Gurney-Randall was a high-flying blimp who added an evil edge to Hitler's World War 2 ambitions. Strip away the attempted nobility and this wide mouthed bovver boy was responsible for the Holocaust structure, the Luftwaffe and other Nazi atrocities. Guy Masterson has cast the right man for the truth-tampering job in getting redoubtable Ross Gurney-Randall to recreate Goering's unrepentant defence at Nuremberg. Dazzled by his own chopped logic and damned by his own dirty deeds, Goering decided to use attack as the best form of defence. His audacity is only matched by his capacity for self-delusion and grizzly grandeur. Gurney-Randall gives a greedy gutsy performance."
Matt Byrne, (Adelaide Sunday Mail 02/03/08)

"Acted by Ross Gurney-Randall, Goering's Defence is an entertaining recreation of the Nuremburg Trials held in Germany after World War II. Goering was an upper-crust German who pledged himself to assist the working class Hitler 'in life or death' to lift the country out of its economic and psychological trauma after the punitive Treaty of Versailles. This one-man play, a tour de force, a blitzkrieg of a performance, is about the most important Nazi left alive, telling 'the truth' while his associates wheedled and peddled excuses to save their skins.
His revelations and clarifications give us great insights into how the regime came into being and how the machinery for this ultimately evil state was created. But don't get too sanctimonious. A line that made the audience sit up and gasp was the realisation that if Germany had won the war, the Americans would have been up on trial for war crimes against the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Dramatic, poetic, gripping - a triple whammy of education, entertainment and provocation. Highly recommended."
Will Nicholas (Adelaide Independent Weekly 02/03/08)

"There's a difference between The Jew and the Jew in front of you. And that's why you must keep your distance." This one line sums up the stage show 'Goering's Defence': just when you think you can come to understand the man who was Adolf Hitler's second-in-command, even possibly admire him in some way, you are reminded that he was a monster who managed to convince himself, with great pains, that he was doing the right thing.
There's not much, production-wise, to 'Goering's Defence'. All we see on stage is one man, a chair, and a spotlight. The narrative weaves between Goering, played by Ross Gurney-Randall, answering a disembodied prosecutor at Nuremberg, and his last night in his cell, where he relates his life story to the audience. The technique is quite effective. At the start of the performance Goering seems almost one-dimensional in his arrogance and righteousness. But as the story progresses, as he refuses to give anything to his unseen persecutors but tells all to us, we begin to see the man as a fascinating mix of the deeply human and the repulsively ruthless.
This is all thanks to Gurney-Randall. He doesn't attempt a German accent, wear a suit full of medals or anything so crass. He simply talks to us as if he were Goering, as if he uniquely understands the person, with all his hubris, spite and terrifying self-delusion. True, the writing, so simple and so clever, is a big part of this production. But it is the mesmerising portrayal of a man you know is irredeemable - whatever else the play does, it doesn't absolve Goering - that leaves a lasting impression.
Henry Nicholls (dB Magazine, Adelaide 27/02/08)

Hermann Goering sits in his cell awaiting his execution by hanging. He reflects on his trial and his life, the rise of the Nazi regime, his part in it and those around him. Ross Gurney-Randall, under the direction of Guy Masterson, gives a stunning portrayal of Hitler's second in charge. This is as commanding a theatrical performance as that of Goering himself. Power seems to emanate from Gurney-Randall as he assumes the role, stirring mixed emotions as the narrative unfolds and Goering maintains control of his own life, right to the end, choosing his own time and method of departing. Terrific!
Barry Lenny (Ripitup Magazine, Adelaide 24/02/08)

"Hermann Goering: Adolf Hitler's number two, founder of the Luftwaffe and the man behind the idea of concentration camps. Not necessarily the ideal subject for a one-man show. But under the direction of Guy Masterson and with the acting talents of Ross Gurney-Randall, Goering's Defence is a mesmerising look at one of the most infamous and powerful men of World War II. Their script, co-written with Andrew Baily, alternates between the Nuremberg War trial and Goering's cell where we see him examining his life and that of the Nazi Party. Masterson's direction is simple and effective. He lets nothing distract from Gurney-Randall's powerful performance. The set is a chair and a bucket on a bare stage. The lighting casts the right amount of light and shadow to recreate a prison cell. A smooth cross-fade provides a clean transition from courtroom to cell. Gurney-Randall is completely convincing as Goering, even to the point of resembling slightly the Reich Marshal. His is a masterful piece of acting, that presents the man and not the performer. Although this show will not appeal to all, anyone with an interest in history and fine acting should make the effort to see it. "
Brian Godfrey (Adelaide Theatreguide 24/02/08)

"It is the night before Hermann Goering's execution and he is ruminating over his life and his recently completed Nuremberg Trial. Goering is determined to be unapologetic and unbowed to the end. The audience is confronted by a savvy, clever and accomplished warrior and politician, and they have to deal with his deadly logic for the rise and fall of the Third Reich on his own terms. As Goering, Ross Gurney-Randall projects the power of the second in command to Hitler, the man who signed the orders for the Holocaust, and the humility of someone who sees the necessity of self-examination in his final hours. He also has to win the sympathy of the audience for the play, drawn largely from the Nuremberg Trial transcripts, to work. He does. It's scary."
Tim Lloyd (Adelaide Advertiser 24/02/08)

ADELAIDE PUNTER'S REVIEWS (source: www.talkfringe.com.au)

Checkmate wrote: Ross Gurney-Randall gave an outstanding performance in 39 degrees. Just fabulous acting. An interesting insight into one of the Nazi power brokers. Thank goodness for the 2 extra shows!

SillyBilly wrote: Saw Masterson's Fern Hill and Animal Farm last year. Hermann Goering this... WOW. Great theatre. Tense, educating, powerful. Provocative. Dangerous. Good stuff. Well acted. Simply directed. BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. Who needs more? Excellent!

Fringe Babe wrote: Heard Goering is coming back! Should be scared? Good stuff!

Johnny Boy wrote: Cool stuff. Studying Goering and his lot at school. Kinda puts it into perspective. Espeically liked the change between the trial and the prison cell. Clever stuff. This is the best play I've ever seen. (I've only seen 3!). The actor was really good and I did not nod off once!

Denny Crane wrote: Chilling. Reveals the capacity for evil inherent in every human being.

rebeccastokes wrote: My husband and I both really enjoyed this show. A valuable history lesson, and it is chilling to see how easily history could be repeated with today's current climate, e.g. terrorism, conservatism, refugees, etc.. Showed the human face behind the atrocities committed by those with too much power.

Fringe Babe wrote: Thought this was Guy Masterson. It's not but he wrote it and directed it so nearly as good. But this guy's seriously good too. Uncomfortably good at making Goering kinda likable. My kind of theatre. Seriously worth it!

Squishy wrote: loved it - excellent for making you think about those figures who influence and guide history. Makes Goering a 3 dimensional person - a little disturbing.

Sara wrote: Empathy for Goering????? - Wow - extremely well done - will recommend!

Angela wrote: Marvelous one-hander - chilling but very human. Wonderfully well acted and staged. Goering's actual words to the Nuremburg trials are a giddying example of spin.

saveloy wrote: A must see. I kept changing my mind about Goering. Fantastic Performance!

PAST REVIEWS


Follow MeFollow Me

PLAYEDFollow Me: FRINGE FACTORY, PASTRY BAKERY, March 4th to 16th 2008

Guy Masterson directs Beth Fitzgerald and Ross Gurney-Randall (Goering's Defence). 1955, Albert Pierrepoint, England's Chief Executioner will hang Ruth Ellis, his most famous client, in the morning. It'll be a very British execution. The crowd are angry.

Capital punishment is on trial in this terrific two-hander. Ross Gurney-Randall and Doave Mounfield's look at the last woman hanged in Briatin is a powerful indictment that empasises the low deterrent value of an eye for an eye. Ruth Ellis ended her abusive destructive relationship with David Blakely when she gunned him down in hot blood, and this put her on the road to meeting England's infamous executioner Albert Pierrepoint. Director Guy Masterson elicits excellent performances from writer Gurney-Randall as Pierrepoint and Beth Fitzgerald as the unfortunate floozy Ellis. Gurney-Randall is in fine fettle as he reveals the secrets of his insidious craft while planning a swift painless exit for Ellis.
Matt Byrne - Sunday Mail, Adelaide 09/03/08

Cor, f**k me. This was bloody brilliant.
Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in the UK, sits quietly at a table as we file into the theatre. She looks very refined, proper. Beautiful. The audience in place, she launches into the most quoted line of her trial: "It's obvious when I shot him I intended to kill him."
And so starts this play, which alternates between the reactions of Ellis on death row, and the musings of her executioner, Albert Peirrepoint. Pierrepoint addresses the audience with the kind - but firm - voice of experience as if they were an apprentice. You can hear the professional pride in his voice - but, as the noises of protesters reach his ears and, more importantly, the trap-door test is inappropriately performed, you can sense the waver in his moral resolve.
As the performance progresses, we alternate between Ellis (revealing more and more about her crime, and her interactions with the prison staff) and Pierrepoint (backfilling his character with tales of previous executions). As the alloted time for the execution draws close, both characters become frayed; Ellis' cool exterior cracks with a final grasp for life, Pierrepoint's anger at the inappropriate treatment of Ellis.
Beth Fitzgerald is nothing less than stunning as Ellis; it's one of the best performances of the year for me. Ross Gurney-Randall, whilst not reaching the same levels of brilliance as Fitzgerald, puts in a solid performance of a man on the edge, a man proud of what he's done - but also beginning to question it, too. Masterson's direction is the refined exercise in minimalism that we're getting used to; stellar, nonetheless. In fact, the only fault I can find is with the ending; we're so pre-conditioned to starting the applause when the lights drop to black that I missed the inevitable clunk-and-dangle. But that's a minor quibble. This is one of the picks of the Fringe for me; brilliant, compelling theatre.
Festival Freak - 12/03/08

Follow Me is set at Holloway Gaol, the night before Ruth Ellis is to be hanged for murdering her lover. The players are Ruth, the last woman to be hanged in the UK, and her executioner, Albert Pierrepoint. Pierrepoint was a legendary figure, not only because of his appointment as hangman, but also for his work in dispatching Nazi war criminals to their maker at Nuremberg in the aftermath of WWII.
Writer and actor Ross Gurney-Randall's orations as Pierrepoint are fascinating, giving an insight into how he approached an execution with the precision of a mathematician, the skill of an engineer, and the pride of a craftsman. His mantra was that it 'should be quick' and he displayed a surprising degree of care for his 'clients'. Contrastingly, the character of Ellis is grippingly portrayed by Beth Fitzgerald, tracing her history to the tragic events and piecing together the jigsaw puzzle of neuroses and traumas that made her what she was. Both portrayals are excellently executed (pardon the pun) and the spare, pointed direction has the pedigree of Guy Masterson written all over it. If you love theatre, pure and simple, see Follow Me.
Maggie Moore (Adelaide Theatreguide 05/03/08)

In 1955, 28year old Ruth Ellis became the last woman to be hanged in Britain. The Chief Executioner, Albert Pierrepoint, carried out the sentence. This play alternates scenes of Ellis, awaiting execution, with scenes of Pierrepoint, preparing to execute her.
Beth Fitzgerald is magnificent as she creates the complex character of Ellis, presenting an unemotional front to the world while so much is going on behind the façade. Ross Gurney-Randall, who also co-wrote the script with Dave Mounfield, gives another sterling performance as Pierrepoint, seemingly the consummate professional, but with undercurrents of doubt and compassion. Another big winner for director, Guy Masterson.
Barry Lenny (Ripitup Magazine, Adelaide 04/03/08)

This taut and intense piece of serious theatre comes from the UK, directed by Guy Masterson and performed by one of its writers, Ross Gurney-Randal with Beth Fitzgerald. It's a grim portrait of imminent execution from two perspectives - that of the executioner and the condemned. It is based on a famous UK case, that of murderer Ruth Ellis and her executioner Pierrepoint, who was notorious for the number of criminals he executed and who is conveyed in this play as a particularly complex and fascinating character. Each express their perspectives as if addressing invited witnesses to the death. For her, it was crime passionnel.
For Pierrepoint, it was all about professionalism. Performances by the two British actors are exquisitely finessed. It is a very austere and direct production which, one suspects, would have thrived in the intimacy of Bakehouse rather than the clunky Pastry Bakery. In short: Tense and intense.
Samela Harris (Adelaide Advertiser 05/03/08)

Follow Me is powerful and emotive theatre that raises the old Frankenstein conundrum: just who is the monster in the piece? The woman who killed her lover in a fit of jealousy or the hangman who has dispatched more than 400?
Stripped back to two actors on a stage bare of props but for two chairs, two tables and a leather strap, it tells the story of England's most prolific executioner, Albert Pierrepoint, and Ruth Ellis, the last woman he hanged. The play covers the final hours of Ellis's life and is presented as a series of monologues until the final, brief interaction between hangman and victim.
Ross Gurney-Randall - who co-wrote Follow Me with Dave Mounfield and has already appeared as Goering in another Guy Masterson production this Fringe - is masterful as Pierrepoint. He prowls the front of the stage, with a bulldog expression on his face and an eye so unflinching that it makes the audience squirm.
Beth Fitzgerald is perfect as the condemned woman, shifting from stoical to satirical and finally to hysterical as she tells the story of her tragic downfall. The dialogue is taut, with never a word wasted. With the simple soundtrack, it builds tension to snapping point, leaving the audience members perched on the edges of their seats waiting for the final inevitable drop.
Georgia Gowling (Adelaide Independent Weekly - 05/03/08)

ADELAIDE PUNTER'S REVIEWS (source: www.talkfringe.com.au)

Checkmate wrote: A great show - Guy Masterson has done it again! The story of the last woman hanged in Britain makes for interesting theatre. Beth Fitzgerald is just superb as Ruth Ellis.

Fringefunctionary wrote: New to this so forgive... BRILLIANT. SIMPLE. Not seen anything like it. Two actors, two stories, intertwined but seperate, on stage together but not seeing each other, and when they eventually meet in the last 15 secs of the play and you are drained of every emotion you can summon. AMAZING.

Theatre Bozo wrote: Beth Fitzgerald is amazing. The show is amazing. Best play on the fringe. I went after seeing Guy Masterson's extraordinary American Poodle. You should go to both. They are fantastci. Is Miss Fitzgerald the best actor on the fringe? I think so.

SillyBilly wrote: Another Five Hat Show for Guy Masterson...! If there is an award for consistency then this man should get it. EVERY.... EVERY one of his shows have been sensational. This is no exception. I could not wait. It was the last of the five and it did not disappoint. Simple, powerful, moving. Fitzgerald is a godess. Gurney-Randall (who was fantastic as Goering) is equally good as Pierrepoint. This is the standard the Adelaide Fringe should aspire to. LISTEN UP! The bar has been raised...

Paul wrote: An excellent production with two brilliant performances. Guy Masterson's direction was perfect. The use of sound, and the minimalist set led to a gripping 60 minutes. Ross Gurney-Randall deserves special mention, as his depiction of Albert Pierrepoint was without flaw. Beth Fitzgeral also gives a stirling performance, but Gurney-Randall truly shines. Whilst not quite at the standard of last year's Animal Farm, this is a very solid 4 star show that you will not be disappointed with.

Seanitall wrote: WHAT A FANTASTIC PLAY! Actually two monolgues coming toghether in the climactic final scene. Both the actress playing Ruth Ellis and The actor playing Pierrepoint are superb... but the real accolades go to Guy Mastesron the director - who has created a masterpiece of tension and drama. Simple lighting. Clever sound. This is a stunning piece of theatre. The best yet... and that is saying something! PS: The theatre is noisy and terrible so sit as neer to the front as possible!

PAST REVIEWS


American PoodleAmerican Poodle

American PoodlePLAYED: FRINGE FACTORY, PASTRY BAKERY FEB 22 - March 16 2008

A screwball look at the special relationsip from both sides of the pond. Guy Masterson is directed by Peter McNally in SNOWBALL; and by David Calvitto with words by Brian Parks in SPLAYFOOT.

American Poodle is an elegantly crafted, brilliantly acted two-part play that is just a few brush strokes short of being a masterpiece. Guy Masterson is extraordinary, creating characters without visibly moving a muscle, as he takes an irreverent look at the historical British/US "special relationship" through a powerfully eccentric lens.
The play sparkles with witty self-awareness. It feels positively Greek or even Freudian in its lament about fate and consequences. What makes the two pieces memorable is the precision of their tone, and the finely calibrated combination of bitterness, humour, factual information and warmth. Of course Masterson's acting is tremendous - who would expect anything less? With strong, evocative storytelling, and a sensibility that perfectly matches the script, it's easy to get caught in Masterson's grip.
In part one, a British bulldog delivers some John Bull about the founding, colonisation and ultimate loss of the American colonies to the treacherous, ungrateful colonists. During the second act, an American businessman visits London, where everyone is either a Reeve or a Franklin. He marvels at everything from Ye Olde Worlde Heathrow Airport to black cabs looking like hearses for midgets and how the British politely use escalators.
American Poodle is full of surprises and unfolds with consummate ease. This all makes for a deeply entertaining experience that engages the mind as well as the funny bone.
Stephen Davenport (Adelaide Independent Weekly 08/03/08)

Borne of desperation when prepping for the Edinburgh Fringe one year (the programme is really worth a read), American Poodle (the term coming from a less-than-affectionate nickname for the departed Tony Blair) is a pair of short plays dealing with two perspectives of the American Revolution.
The first piece, Snowball, is a fact-heavy and deeply historical view on the British perspective towards the American colonies. From discovery, through settlement, through to the Revolution itself (including some gloriously lyrical descriptions around the Boston Tea Party), this Anglo-centric performance is played in Guy Masterson's typical style: roaming the length and breadth of the stage, refined sweeping movements, sudden jumps for impact. It's a great bit of work; educational, even.
The second piece, Splayfoot, was penned by an American for the US viewpoint on Britain. It's more contrived and, in contrast to the earlier British FactFest, very story driven: an American in London to strike a deal. Masterson is less convincing here as an American but, as it's mainly played for laughs, it doesn't really matter all that much; it's most definitely the weaker of the two pieces, but is by no means a flat conclusion.
Yes, it's a funny bit of work - but the (future President) John Adams quote regarding standing armies stands out as a distinctly contemporary message. No, really, it stands out; almost (but not quite) smug in it's "look at me"-ness. But that's fair enough; sometimes, for all those looking only to the future, a slap is needed to remind them of the past.
(And, again, I'm just going to mention how utterly impressed I am that Masterson pulled off great performances so soon after his personal tragedies. That's professionalism for you' says I, who'll painfully take a day off work after stubbing my toe.)
Festival Freak 29/01/08

When Guy Masterson takes you on a journey, strap yourself in as it's a full-throttle ride! In his latest Fringe offering, written by himself and Brian Parks, the master story-teller ducks and weaves through the pivotal events that led to the American War of Independence.
Masterson explores the basis of America's ``freedom at all costs'' world view with nothing but an arsenal of energetic monologue and a sharp edged wit. In the first of two parts, we travel with the pioneering Anglo-American settlers as they rebel against the demands of their far away motherland and struggle for their freedom.
Fast forward past civil war, international diplomatic situations, the mass genocide of countless native Americans and one giant tea party, and we are presented with a wide-eyed account of London through the eyes of an American business man. Full of hilarious observations, Masterson delivers a rapid-fire account about the enduring pleasantries of the English, while proving that not everything is as it seems. As with previous Fringe shows by Masterson, you're guaranteed engaging, physically vibrant theatre that shouldn't be missed. In short: Turbo-charged history. Rosetta Mastrantone (Adelaide Advertiser 04/03/08)

Welsh actor/director Guy Masterson presents an intriguing look at the love/hate relationship between the American and British colonies in their early days. Masterson skilfully and energetically plays the role of both Briton and American in a two-part show, hardly missing a beat with quotes, dates and the odd bit of humour thrown in. While this show should appeal to the history buffs and threatreheads there's just one tip for Guy - he'll need a big stock of T-shirts over the next few weeks. By the end of act one the poor bugger was dripping in perspiration from racing around the stage and climbing on and over chairs and a table. But it's a good show, no sweat.
Gordon Armstrong (Adelaide Messenger 27/02/08)

This is actually two extremely funny trans-Atlantic pieces; the first, Snowball, looking at the discovery, settlement and independence of America, from a uniquely British standpoint, the second, Splayfoot, presenting a not too bright American relating his day in England for a secret, shady business meeting, from his arrival at the airport to the transaction. This is typical of Guy Masterson's work; minimal props and set with the emphasis placed firmly on the text and the actor. It takes an actor of considerable ability to handle this type of performance and Masterson fits the bill. You'll be sorry if you miss this!
Barry Lenny (Ripitup Magazine, Adelaide 24/02/08)

American Poodle unravels in two parts as it displays the relationship between the British superpower of past centuries and the current superpower United States. In this one-man power play, performed and written by Guy Masterson, we begin with a fascinating and descriptive account of American colonisation and invasion. Blow by blow, Masterson breaks down some common and naïve understandings of the history we've inherited from biased history books and white supremacy. Hidden truths of British stupidity and biological race-cleansing are as engaging as they are factual. Masterson then compares the nations from the perspective of an American on a business trip to London. In a highlight of the performance, he describes the difference between British and Americans in the way they use escalators.
It is incredibly witty but amidst the humour, the reality is not lost in the passionate and dynamic performance. 'American Poodle' delivers what is sometimes a cynical look at the Brits and Yanks, but for all the right reasons. But American arrogance and British leadership are just two ideas that get a pounding. It's the most entertaining history lesson you'll get this year!"
Andy Ahrens (Adelaide Theatreguide 24/02/08)

Australians tend to forget that the rivalry between the UK and the US goes back a very long way. American Poodle captures it beautifully. Guy Masterson shows how the English colonised North America and then proceeded to insult its colonials with English arrogance until the Americans declared independence. He does so in a bewildering array of accents and points of view like a history lesson on speed. The second part of this monologue is written by New Yorker Brian Parks and is a hilarious account of a contemporary God Save American on a business trip to London, dripping with Mark Twain style irony as he discovers Ye Olde England at Heathrow Airport.
Tim Lloyd (Adelaide Advertiser 24/02/08)

"Guy Masterson, in a very amusing double bill, Snowball and Splayfoot, explores the imperialist origins of the US. Australians can ruefully relate to several strong threads that weave through both plays. One is the Republican theme, first encountered via the colony's growing resistance to British taxes (via an unforgettable George III) and re-visited in the second play as the 'American in London' reflects on the ease of overthrowing the current monarch, who, after all, is only 5'4". Without wishing to give away the ending of the play, the irony is that America's persists with a love affair for the monarchy. A more sinister theme, explored powerfully in the first play through the reflections of Captain Preston (in charge of British troops in Boston) is that of the spin put on 'accidentally' killing the locals (after a stick throwing incident, or was it a snowball?). Palestine/Iraq anyone? Intelligent laughs: don't miss it."
Helen Fraser - (Talkfringe.com Review - 23/02/08)

ADELAIDE PUNTER'S REVIEWS (source: www.talkfringe.com.au)

Theatre Bozo wrote: Just GO GO GO. To see this man fly through this wild incredible performance dripping sweat and giving his all is insipiring. The show is damned good too!

SillyBilly wrote: How can it be possible that this man can play to 10 people? Shame on us Adelaide! The night I went to the Fringe Factory, Masterson was dripping within seconds but never let up for an hour. Quickfire characters, hilarious observation - a history lesson on Acid! Loved the second part too. A naive yank in London? Never... I cannot recommend this man's work high enough. He is gracing Australia with his talent. So repay him. Go go and GO!

Gillian wrote: Guy Masterson is a genious! Im off to see more of his shows after viewing American Poodle. Highly recommended!

Seanitall wrote: The standing O for this says it all. Can this guy do no wrong? Brilliant!

Robin wrote: The title is a complete turn off for me, but I loved the show, especially the first half. An accurate history lesson that had us cackling, and made a lot of salient contemporary political points.

Fab Fest wrote: Love this man. He brings the best stuff. American Poodle was funny funny funny! Great history, terrific characters, excellent voices. The American guy in the second half was mental! Hard to explain what it's about but it is a superb show from a superb performer. I got my ticket free from him just before the show. (I can't beleive this guy is giving out tickets!) But the cheering at the end said it all. Highly recommended.

Wow Babe wrote: Saw this guy in 2006. He was wow then and he is now. How does he do all those accents? Hysterical. Go.

Fringe Babe wrote: America Shmerica! It's Welsh... didn't you know? Hysterical stuff from Mr Masterson - Wow... a farting German Baboon Mad King... What part of his warped brain did that come from? This guy speaks faster than I can think... but it is worth the $$$ for the adrenaline rush. Met him afterwards in the bar. What a sweetie!

Phoebe wrote: Cor blimey mate! Saw him last year in Fern Hill. HAD to come back. Poodle is no disappointment. IT IS FANTASTIC! Crazy, hysterical. He speaks faster than anyone I've ever seen. SOOOOOO FUNNY! Go go go!

PAST REVIEWS


Playing BurtonPlaying Burton

Playing BurtonPLAYED HOLDEN STREET THEATRES - THE ARCH - Feb 22- March 16th 2008

Guy Masterson directs the original. "With a mountain shattering presence, Josh Richards (Rosebud) becomes Richard Burton in an exceptionally powerful, darkly haunting performance. Faultless, riveting, brilliantly charismatic, peerless." (Scotsman) "Deliriously literate!" (Daily Mail) Written by Mark Jenkins.

PRESENTED BY HOLDEN STREET THEATRES IN ASSOCIATION WITH JOSHUA RICHARDS PRODS

It's a hot day. Stinking hot. It's also my birthday! Yay. And, as usual for my birthday, I've carefully selected a bunch of shows that I reckon will be winners from beginning to end. Now, this rarely - and by "rarely", I mean "never" - works out well; there was one particularly solemn year where most of my "choice" selections were shit-on-a-stick, with the finale being one of the most embarrassing shows I've been witness to. But every year, I hope for more; every year, I'm convinced I've got it right. If anything, I figured that Playing Burton was the weak link in this year's lineup; how wrong - how very wrong I was.
So - hot day. We're in The Arch at Holden Street - I suspect that's because Richards (who, as the title suggests, is playing Richard Burton) chain-smokes his way through the performance. But The Fear that The Arch will be sweltering is short-lived - it's lovely inside, and the puny air conditioner does a great job until it starts relentlessly dripping onto the floor during a quiet passage. The stage is empty, save for a chair and small table with a bottle of vodka, a glass, and an ashtray. The lights dim, and a recording of the news announcement regarding Burton's death is played.
Richards appears, and he is Burton, coolly listening to his own radio obit. And when he speaks, beginning the tale of his life, he commands respect with a forceful punch. And his tale is wonderfully engaging, and beautifully told - it's all in the contrast of his voice, from that low growl to a room-bloating boom. Time is marked by his demolition of the vodka, which disappears at an exponential rate.
The last ten minutes or so are riveting - speech becomes slurred, movements imprecise. You know the end is near when he falls over, drunk, and only regains his feet after a long pause. Further movements are timid, except where the bottle is concerned.
Now, I'm no Burton aficionado, but I'll be buggered if he wasn't in that theatre. Richards is magic in this production, with a massive presence in this small theatre, and utterly convincing. Far from being the weak link of the day, Playing Burton was a major highlight.
Festival Freak - 09/03/08

"Playing Burton is a triumph. Josh Richards was born to play Richard Burton. From the moment Richards walks onto the stage, he provides a master class in performing. As the first syllable drips from his mouth in a deep Welsh baritone he has the audience captivated.
Written by Mark Jenkins and directed by Burton's nephew, Guy Masterson, it is no exaggeration to say that Playing Burton is the definitive biography of Richie Jenkins. At times the play is light, airy and playful, at others it's deep, dark and bitter. Throughout, Richardson is an effortless guide as he wanders, in Burton's own words, from coal mines to Cleopatra and from haberdashery to Hollywood. Burton's sparkling, witty insights constantly transform into alcoholic and smoky mystical revelations, with dark hypnotic meditations on death, life, acting and Elizabeth Taylor.
The script is taut and fascinating and Richards' performance is mesmerising. There is not a better, more incisive living portrait of a man few people truly knew. Burton said "the Welsh are all actors. It's only the bad ones who become professional." On the evidence of this production, Josh Richards is still an amateur.
Playing Burton is much more than a life story; it's a tapestry of sagacity, inspiration and admiration."
Stephen Davenport (Adelaide Theatreguide 27/02/08)

"Sitting in his comfy chair, his red cardie buttoned over his otherwise black clothing, Josh Burton's cigarette smoke curls lazily above his head as begins his narration of the life and times of Richard Burton. Without warning, he begins to shout, and I'm immediately reminded of Burton's explosive portrayal of Henry VIII (I WILL marry Anne if it splits the world like an apple and flings the two halves into the void!! - or something like that).
Richards is Welsh, so there's no wincing at poor accents and he carries off the monologue brilliantly, without attempting to channel Burton. Mark Jenkins script is so beautifully written, Guy Masterson's direction is so perfectly economical that Burton is, quite simply, in the room.
The monologue begins with young Richie Jenkins, who is taught drama by the man whose name he would adopt as his own. As he reveals the intensity of the relationship between Phillip Burton and the young Richard, it becomes clear that this not a play which will discuss the tabloid fodder aspect of Burton; rather it is an intimate, almost voyeuristic glimpse into the man behind the headlines, away from the camera, beyond the footlights.
Moving effortlessly from reminisces of his Welsh family life as the 12th son of a drunken coal miner to derision of the English and their hierarchical theatre traditions, quoting from his numerous roles to segue between periods, we see a side of Burton that hurts, that weeps, that regrets, that laments. His rage is in full flight; it would not be Burton otherwise, but the brilliance of this piece is the sensitivity of the writing and of Richards in "playing Burton". Go. See. Listen.
Arna Eyers-White (dB Magazine, Adelaide 25/02/08)

"Guy Masterson brings quality productions to Adelaide each Fringe and he directed this marvellous play about his own great uncle. Josh Richards brilliantly portrays Richard Burton, as he nears the end and reflects on his life and loves, from his impoverished boyhood, through success, alcoholism and to his early death. The words are Burton's own, or those of the great writers he loved so much. Close your eyes for a moment and it could almost be Burton himself on stage. Richards not only sounds like Burton but the movements, the gestures, the whole demeanour is superbly recreated in this masterly performance."
Barry Lenny (Rip It Up Magazine, Adelaide 20/02/08)

"They say Josh Richards "is" Burton. Well, clearly Burton is dead - but Josh walks in his shoes with the most unnerving precision. He has the voice, the nuances, the passion, the bitterness and all the Welsh panache. The actor takes one on a biographical journey, from Richard Jenkins the mining town lad cultivated by Burton, the English teacher, through the pinnacles of dramatic craft to the the Elizabeth Taylor years and that dazzling superstar marriage which still tops them all. The script is tight and gripping. A fine piece of writing. And as for Richards... it is not so much that he must be seen. He must be heard! Oh, what a voice! In short: Beautiful Burtonesque cadences... aah.
Samela Harris (Adelaide Advertiser 22/02/08)

ADELAIDE PUNTER'S REVIEWS (source: www.talkfringe.com.au)

SillyBilly wrote: Masterson show number 2. Brilliant. Witty. Powerful. Terrific performance from Richards really capturing the essence of Burton. You really feel he is there in front of you. You can almost touch his greatness - and his sadness. Tragic as this is, you are uplifted by his wit and repartee. I felt at the end as if we lost something very special. Makes me want to go back and watch all those great films. Fantastic stuff. Even if you don't know Burton, you should see this Masterson class in theatre.

Dottie wrote: A fabulous performance... funny ,and moving too. Don't miss it!

GAM wrote: He is simply M A S S I V E. A huge love pump. A V A S T human presence. No words can adequately encapsulate his hugeness.

Glen wrote: This is a without a doubt one of the most impressive one-man performances available to view this Fringe season. Josh Richards take the audience through the life, and gradually more drunken times, of Richard Buton, formerly Jenkins. He brings a laugh to the lips and a lump to the throat. Don't miss it!

Joanne Hartstone wrote: This is magnificent. Josh Richards is a master - his vocal skill, his physical control, his capturing portrayal of Burton. The wind was knocked out of me as I left the theatre. The direction was superb - subtle and simple with such insight and skill. Thank you for the show. I loved it.

Laurie wrote: My husband and I agree that it was a very good performance. When we went the attendance was poor which was a shame. Josh Richards certainly portrayed Richard Burton well. Its a worth see!

Phoebe wrote: I went 'cos it had Masterson's name on it and it was FANTASTIC! Can this guy to no wrong? Richards takes you in and spits you out and you come away in love with the man and so so sad for him. What a performance. Brilliantly directed.

Charlie Scrivers wrote: Superby done. Deserved a much bigger audience than I saw. The blurbs say "Richards IS the voice of Burton". He's all that and more. Don't miss this -- it's very well written too!

PAST REVIEWS


Under MIlk WoodUnder Milk Wood

Under Milk WoodTHE ROYALTY THEATRE, ANGAS STREET

Guy Masterson's world acclaimed interpretation of Dylan Thomas' enchanting masterpiece brought rivetingly to life in "one of the most remarkable inventive performances of the decade!" (Times) "A mesmerisingly brilliant tour de force."(Scotsman) "Simply bewitching!" (Three Weeks)

Guy Masterson has, single handed, instilled into Adelaide audiences a deep love for the works of Dylan Thomas through his marvellous performances over the last few years of these texturally rich works. For the third year in a row he is playing to packed theatres with his unique rendition of Under Milk Wood, a glimpse of 24 hours in the life of a Welsh fishing village. Masterson has a deep understanding of this piece and in his superb and very physical performance he brings out all of the imagery in the descriptive sections whilst creating a myriad of quirky characters. Terrific!
Barry Lenny (Ripitup Magazine, Adelaide, 10/03/08)

The music that is Dylan Thomas never sounds sweeter than when it is delivered by an actor of the calibre of Guy Masterson. The many and varied characters who inhabit sleepy Llareggub stir to life with Masterson's epic efforts.
He wends his way through 69 dfferent characters, each distinct and different. With the backdrop of Thomas' beautiful words, Masterson uses his entire being to represent the people and surrounds of this 'typical' Welsh village.
This well presented production is enhanced by excellent lighting and background sound. Matt Clifford's soundscape provides a further depth to an already well developed production. Tony Boncza should be applauded for his well paced direction of something that is easy to overplay.
Even if you have seen it before, this is a must see.
Fran Edwards (Adelaide Theatreguide 07/03/09)

Guy Masterson returns to the Fringe with his wonderful interpretation of Dylan Thomas' story. Masterson handles the incredible workload expertly and with great affection. He plays every part with meaning, from Captain Cat, the blind old sea captain, to the children playing in the schoolyard. The conversations between Mr and Mrs Pugh are marvellous, but it is probably foolish to single out any single aspect of the show. I could almost see the street scenes from the village as the residents went about their daily business. For two hours, Llareggub was there before me. The simple, yet effective, lighting and sound augment Masterson's performance, and the whole thing is a joy to watch. There's one performance of Under Milk Wood to come - get your ticket now.
David Robinson (Ripitup Magazine, Adelaide, 07/03/08)

Guy Masterson's one man production of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood was one of the most popular performances at last year's Fringe and is one of the most critically-acclaimed to appear this year. All the praise this performances receives is well deserved.
Masterson somehow physically and mentally manages to perform all the characters in the play (approximately 50) with nothing more than a wooden chair, a small band of technicians and a pair of cotton pajamas. However, this is only half the achievement. He not only manages to perform all the characters in Thomas's sweeping portrait of a small Welsh town, but he manages to give each and every one a distinct personality. This not only makes viewing the play easier, as changes in gesture and voice make characters discernable, but it also allows Masterson to give life to the play's minor characters including The Postman, Organ Morgan and The Preacher.
Dylan Thomas is one of the most mythical literary figures of the 20th century and hearing Masterson deliver his lyrical dialogue and gorgeously articulated ideas about human triviality and the labyrinth of dreams is a wonderful experience. No theatre lover should deprive themselves of Milk Wood's enduring charms. Playing once more at the Royalty Theatre on 10 March.
Barlow Redfern (Adelaide Independent Weekly 05/03/08)

ADELAIDE PUNTER'S REVIEWS (source: www.talkfringe.com.au)

Em_cee_ wrote: A fantastic theatrical experience. It is amazing what Guy Masterson can achieve with sunglasses, a chair and changes of voice, facial expression, body posture and light. He presents the over 60 characters in Dylan Thomas' work so you imagine them before you. On a hot afternoon he was bathed in sweat but kept up the pace for two hours! A great pity there were only two performances during the Fringe. Certainly a must for every student of English language - this is how it should be read / said.

SillyBilly wrote: There is little I can add to what is below except it was ****** FANTASTIC. One show left. SO GO... and go and see his AMERICAN POODLE - Oh, and FOLLOW ME... Oh yes and GOERING'S DEFENCE - oh and PLAYING BURTON... what's up with this guy. Does he have a life? GREAT - TRULY GREAT - STUFF.

Lara Dignam wrote: I saw this show for the second time at this year's Fringe and it was even more intoxicating than the first time. an amazing journey of imagination capturing the humanity of 69 different characters- funny and very moving. Loved it- tell everyone!

DLSM wrote: Seanitall said everything I was going to write. Guy Masterson was truly incredible - see the show or regret it forever.

Seanitall wrote: Oh my god. If you haven't bought your tickets for next monday's performance DO IT NOW!! This was INCREDIBLE. Held nearly a full house at the Royalty spellbound for nearly two hours. At the end you could have heard a pin drop. Words almost fail me how good this is. Dylan Thomas may be a genius, but Guy Masterson made me see this. You can't take your eyes off him. Truly magnificent. Thank you.

Marls wrote: Truly I did wonder before the show how it could possibly be done, Under Milk Wood a one man show? It's not only possible its incredible, riveting, funny and so believable. A pair of pjs, some sunnies, a stool and one amazing performer in Guy Masterson. If you love the rich language of Dylan Thomas you wont be dissapointed.

PAST REVIEWS