Guy Masterson innaugurates
THE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL THEATRE
Adelaide 2010 hosted an exciting new development. Guy Masterson, in his 6th consecutive Adelaide Fringe, innaugurated THE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL THEATRE at Higher Ground...
Designed as a hub for excellent theatre derived from overseas, it provided a new centre where theatre loving Adelaidians saw the best of International Fringe Theatre in one place while providing an alternative focus from the International Festival and the Garden of Unearthly Delights...
The Project was a runaway success, celebrating universal critical acclaim and several award nominations. All the shows in the programme were in the top twenty highly rated shows on Talkfringe.com - the punters' forum.
THE EVENT - WINNER - FRINGE AWARD BEST ACTOR (David Calvitto);
Nominated Best Fringe Production
SCARAMOUCHE JONES - Nominated Fringe Most Popular Show
THE SOCIABLE PLOVER - Best Fringe Play - The Sunday Mail
Using nothing but the words of Jane Austen herself, the souls of Emma Woodhouse, Lizzy Bennet, Miss Bates and many more are brilliantly illuminated. In the absence of the men, these women speak volumes for their sex and their standing constrained by the stringent societal code of their time. A five star smash in Edinburgh 2009. Rebecca Vaughan is directed by Guy Masterson.
THE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL THEATRE
Higher Ground - MAIN THEATRE
FEBRUARY 20 - MARCH 14
Justin Butcher's mesmerising tour de force. A sparkling odyssey through the events of the 20th Century as ancient clown Scaramouche reveals the trials behind his seven white masks... A sensation at Edinburgh 2008 & 20099. Directed by Guy Masterson
THE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL THEATRE
Higher Ground - MAIN THEATRE
FEBRUARY 19 - MARCH 14
Tim Whitnall's beautifully crafted, darkly comic mystery thriller is set in a bird hide on the Suffolk Marshes. A master twitcher is cruelly interrupted while on the verge of entering the history books! A multiple five star hit at at Edinburgh 2009. Directed by Tim Whitnall, starring Guy Masterson & Ronnie Toms.
THE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL THEATRE
Higher Ground - MAIN THEATRE
FEBRUARY 20 - MARCH 14
Lynn Manning's incredible, inspiring true story of being shot in a gritty Hollywood bar and lving to tell the tale. Poetic, lyrical, moving and lsometimes laugh-out-loud hilarious. Told by the man himself, this is an award winning Five Star gem!
THE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL THEATRE
Higher Ground - ART BASE
FEBRUARY 20 - MARCH 14
WINNER: FRINGE FIRST EDINBURGH 2009: Another brilliant performance by David Calvitto (last seen in Adelaide in 12 Angry Men. John Clancy's hugely acclaimed deconstruction of the event of theatre was complete sell out in Edinburgh and nominated for best solo performance.
THE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL THEATRE
Higher Ground - ART BASE
FEBRUARY 20 - MARCH 14
Critically Acclaimed in Edinburgh 2008 & 9 and nominated for the Amnesty International Award, Richard Fry's powerful, moving, superbly lyrical 'tour-de-verse' is at once tear-jerking and laugh-out-loud hilarious. Multiple five-star recipient.
THE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL THEATRE
Higher Ground - ART BASE
FEBRUARY 20 - MARCH 14
Last seen in 2007, Guy Masterson brings back his five star- Best Actor Award winning homage to the other works of Dylan Thomas for ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY! Masterson is now regarded as the finest exponent of Thomas' work and to see and hear him perform these rarely heard works is a must!
THE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL THEATRE
Higher Ground - MAIN THEATRE
SAT MARCH 13
Guy Masterson's world acclaimed interpretation of Dylan Thomas' enchanting masterpiece returns for a 4th 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)... even if you saw it in Union Hall in 2006, Holden Street in 2007 or the Royalty in 2008, rush to see it again! THREE SUNDAY MATINEES ONLY!
THE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL THEATRE
Higher Ground - MAIN THEATRE
SUNS: FEBRUARY 28, MARCH 7 & 14
2010 Adelaide Fringe Reviews
The Centre for International Theatre @ Higher Ground, Main Theatre
DYNAMIC, engaging and moving, Austen's Women is superb theatre.
Adapted and performed by Rebecca Vaughan, and directed by Guy Masterson, this thoroughly enjoyable performance brings to life the language and characters of literary great, Jane Austen.
Vaughan lovingly delivers monologues from 14 of Austen's female protagonists, interspersed with narrative from the author herself.
One of the strengths of the performance is Vaughan's ability to segue between characters there is barely a pause for her to recompose, yet she does so effortlessly.
Whether it is the ditsy Mary Stanhope, the distraught Marianne Dashwood or the strong-willed Elizabeth Bennett, Vaughan's immense talent illuminates them all. It is witty and fast-paced, but sprinkled with pathos and reflection, and will resonate with a modern audience whether they are fans of the novels or not.
(Sarah Martin - Adelaide Advertiser 22/01/10)
A Masterful One-Woman Show:
Austen's Women is a most agreeable tribute to the enduring and much-loved author Jane Austen.
Rebecca Vaughan has adapted the words of and performed the characters from the works of the 19th century romantic novelist in a manner to be most universally admired.
For those who have been living in solitary confinement all of their lives, Jane Austen was an English novelist whose romantic fiction novels are amongst the most widely read in English literature. Her works and her life have spawned numerous modern-day fan clubs, films and television adaptations. Literary critics continue to debate her works to this day.
In a masterful one-woman show Vaughan depicts 14 female characters from the much-loved works. She fluidly moves from one character to another appropriately starting and ending with arguably the most popular - Elizabeth Bennett from "Pride and Prejudice".
Director Guy Masterson has helped Vaughan bring to life a kaleidoscope of colourful characters, calling forth precious memories for fans and whetting the appetite for others.
It is not just the characters that light up the stage, but also the dry, humorous and sarcastic words of Austen that come to life.
Who can forget the infamous opening line of 'Pride and Prejudice'? - "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.'
It is on this premise that Masterson and Vaughan base their show's theme - marriage and the importance of it in Austen's society and consequently her literary works.
Each character is subtly, or not so subtly, maneuvering their lives around the choosing of or the consequences of having chosen a husband, or is facing a life without a husband. Austen's novels are alive with sparkling characters both men and women. This show is about the women, the degrees to which the choice of a marriage partner affects their lives and how they maintain their self-respect (or not) in doing so.
Vaughan superbly switches from Regency character to character - one moment the wretched, love-lorn Marianne Dashwood from 'Sense and Sensibility', next the hard-hearted Mrs Norris of 'Mansfield Park' and then the ditzy spinster Miss Bates from 'Emma'. This is to name just a few of the 14 wonderful characters.
This is a one-woman show for Austen fans to relish. It is a treatise on women and marriage in the 19th century in exactly the manner of which Ms Austen would have approved. It is also an excellent first impression for those who have not yet had the delight of being introduced to the delightfully wicked and witty world of Jane Austen.
(Stephanie Johnson - Australian Stage - 23/02/10)
CLEVER & BEAUTIFULLY PERFORMED
Adapted and performed by UK actress Rebecca Vaughan, this is one clever and beautifully performed hour-or-so of theatre. Under the direction of Guy Masterson, Vaughan portrays 14 characters from Austen's books, via monologues written using only the words of Austen herself.
Some of the characters are better known than others but you don't need to be an Austen fan to understand and appreciate them. Vaughan gives each woman an individual voice, cleverly bringing out the humour and irony of Austen's words without delving into parody or caricature.
Also of interest are the Katie Flanaghan's costumes; During the course of her show, Vaughan dresses as a privileged lady from the 18th century, in everything from petticoats to socks to hair adjournment and gloves. It's interesting to see how the elaborate outfits we so often see in Austen movies are constructed.
(Eleanor Miller Adelaide City Messenger 05/03/10)
If you love the works of that epitome of romantic novelists, Jane Austen, then you will most certainly not want to miss this production. If, on the other hand, you thought that Mrs. Norris was merely a caretaker's cat in a castle where magic is taught, then you are in for a terrific surprise when you discover who she really was. Either way, you will love this work as Rebecca Vaughan, under the acute direction of Guy Masterson, superbly brings to life a diverse cross section of Austen's fascinating characters in rapid succession.
Fourteen of the women are represented, with every word taken from Austen's novels, a narrator linking scenes with lines taken from a range of her writings. With only a minimal change of costuming Vaughan, who also wrote the script, slips easily and seamlessly between each of the characters in a glorious parade of quirky personalities.
There is great humour in Austen's writing and Vaughan teases out all of the subtleties in the words spoken by each of these often flawed characters. It is interesting that, even though the men are not actually represented, their presences are often felt, sometimes very strongly, as the women constitute themselves through the men with they are, or wish to be involved.
Vaughan's performance is a tour de force and it is clear to see how much she loves each of her characters in her committed performances and understanding of their personalities and foibles. Austen would be thrilled to see how alive and exciting her characters are so many years later, still fresh and relevant in the hands of this marvellous performer.
Producer/director/actor, Guy Masterson, has established a reputation for bringing the very highest quality theatre to Adelaide Fringes over the years and this production, one of eight that he had brought us this year, is certainly worthy of that title. This is 'must see' theatre this Fringe.
(Barry Lenny - Glamadelaide.com - 22/10/10)
A huge fan of the Bronte sisters, on the strength of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights alone, this reviewer has never been captured the same way by the novels of Jane Austen. Nothwithstanding superb dramatisations on both film and now television, they have failed to make a lasting impression.
But the performance of one woman, Rebecca Vaughan, who has devised a framework in which she portrays no less than fourteen female characters from nine of the English novelist's works, in Austen's Women now playing at Higher Ground theatre, is nothing short of breathtaking.
This is acting at its highest level - with no-one else on stage to share the load, the responsibility. Before our very eyes, she morphs seamlessly into each character, perhaps with some introductory narration in the style of Austen as she affects a slight change of costume, significantly varied voice and demeanour for each character, a new turn of the head, some change in hair brooches - and throughout, a face sparkling with the joy of it all.
And there is never any danger that the glimpses Vaughan gives us of Austen's women will become tediously repetitive.
Sharing the responsibility off stage, however, is director Guy Masterson, himself a superb actor and entrepreneur of a bewildering array of shows, which he brings here every year for the Fringe from the UK. His sensitive expert direction helps Ms Vaughan to shine as she does.
The number of performances of Austen's Women is generous, so you are urged not to leave a visit off your theatre-going list. You won't see too many one-woman shows as good as this...
(Richard Flynn - Adelaide Theatre Guide - 24/02/10)
Kay_Today wrote: This was a clever thought-provoking look at some of the women in Jane Austen's novels. It both illuminated some of special pressures on women of her time, and the eternal behaviours of people regardless of social situations. It was amusing and insightful. In spite of the occasional tendency to deliver dialogue so quickly that it was difficult to understand, it was an excellent performance that has inspired us to return again to the works of Ms Austen.
jimbo wrote: A tour to force beautifully woven from selections of Austen's work.
Gloria wrote: A great performance. She's very engaging. One of my faves.
angela wrote: No knowledge of Jane Austen necessary to enjoy this brilliant show.
Frankie wrote: Loved it! Brilliant show! The performer is so engaging- It has reignited my love of Jane Austen.
Phillipa_T wrote: Fabulous show - Austen's Women, the title says it all, but experiencing it is worth getting out of your chair to go see. anth_b wrote: Rebecca Vaughan is superb! Brilliantly conceived and wonderful to have been a part of such a fantastic performance - well done! My pick of the fringe this year!
SharonAnn wrote: This show is just brilliant! Pleased to see so many men in the audience, obviously enjoying the show - funny, sad and satirical, it is a tour de force by Rebecca Vaughan, she brought Austen's characters to life.
SJT wrote: An Austen fan, but not a fanatic, I found this show engrossing. As characters reveal themselves, it's hard to believe that there is only one talented performer on stage. Clever, moving, funny and even scathing - a top show!
Mona_Lisa wrote: AA delightful hour spent watching an imaginative performer artfully change characters in a split second, whilst bringing to life some of the most memorable women from Austens books. I for one will go back and read the books again.
Kirstie wrote: This is an absolute MUST SEE for any lover of Jane Austen -this performance is clever, engaging and simply outstanding! A wonderful selection of characters from the most popular and some of the more obscure novels - and somehow embodies them all in mad succession! It is a true celebration and makes you want to run off and read them all again. This actress deserves to be hugely successful. Thanks for a great show!
OrchidGirl wrote: I loved it! To be transported into the world of Jane Austen, and to be surrounded by the satire and the humour as well as the darker sides of being a Regency woman. A little gem. Go and see it - whether you love Jane Austen or not. Well worth it!
helenh wrote: A wonderful experience with brilliant snapshots of many of Austen's memorable characters. Rebecca slips, seemingly without effort, from one character to another, linking them all with Austen's own words and making clear the background from which Austen's wit and wisdom sprang. From her Mrs Norris - chillingly brilliant - to her Catherine Morland - delightfully sweet, Rebecca shows a stunning versatility and knowledge of Austen's works of genius. Brava!
fringeonmyface wrote: Wasn't sure how this would be going into it. But loved every second! Very enjoyable show and a pleasant night out. I'll be going back and reading some more Austen.
tankililla_ wrote: an amazing performance Rebecca play to her full potential every time.
JMH wrote: Totally agree with previous reviewers - wonderfully put together & excellently performed.
PamelaB wrote: What a wonderful show! I've read a couple of Jane Austen's novels, but this has absolutely encouraged me to go back and read more! It was subtle, funny and beautiful, told a narrative all of its own, and revealed that human nature never truly changes. Fabulous!
halcyondaze wrote: Conception and delivery is first rate. My only quibble is a worry that some more modern sensibilities inflected certain (historical) characters. And its always difficult seeing a rendition of a particular character that is different to how you understand them yourself... Good theatre leaves you with thoughts and questions that linger beyond the duration of the play, which this one does admirably.
DanSA wrote: Bloody brilliant! The actress is like a jukebox with all of Jane Austen's Greatest Hits. I've never read a Jane Austen novel or seen an adaptation but was thoroughly entertained. She changed between character's effortlessly. There were lots and laughs plus a little bit of angst and a few tears. Very English and very brilliant!
Vinylcutter wrote: I wasn't sure what to expect as I don't know much about Jane Austen but my partner wanted to go. But it was sensational. The characters sprang to life and Vaughan's voices were wonderful. One of her characters wept real tears - how does she do that?! My partner said her clothes and the props looked straight out of the 19th century. Apparently, she researched and put this together using exactly Austen's words. How clever can people be! And I agree with the other review - sexy indeed!
Madame_P wrote: Rebecca Vaughan is Jane Austen! I happen to be an Austen fan, but I saw the show with my boyfriend who knew nothing about her books, and we both LOVED IT! I marvelled at the details of the show (oh, that costume is divine!). He wanted me to write: The characters are both funny and touching - and it is totally accessible for those who have never come across Austen before. BRILLIANT!
Mia wrote: Short scenes featuring several of the female characters appearing in Austen's books are strung together via well chosen narration from various texts. Austen's words lend themselves well to this editing and the clever wit and genial humour of the original writing is brought to life in an amusing fashion. Fans will love it but knowledge of the books is not necessary. Some characterisations did seem a bit repetitive, but overall it was a cleverly constructed piece which was delightfully rendered.
CaptainCat wrote: "Gorgeous!" That is the word that sums up this lovely nugget. Rebecca Vaughan almost embodies Jane Austen as she romps through her works hand-picking the choice moments and serving them up sumptuously! She is chameleon like in her ability to become all the different women - from the boisterous Lizzy Bennet to the devastatingly moving Marianne Dashwood. The language is pure Austen and Vaughan is the perfect interpreter. Every accent, nuance & movement is superbly pitched. & Oh so sexy! EXCELLENT!
Fringer wrote: A delight for Austen fans, and an insight for those new to her works. Rebecca takes us on an energetic and engaging tour of Austen's women, coursing through a variety of accents and personalities without slipping or losing a beat. She comingles the pathos of unrequited love with the light humour of Austen's more eccentric characters in a perfect, bitter-sweet mix. Costume shifts from country girl to belle of the ball. Rebecca's performance is energetic, enthusiastic, passionate and sensitive.
The Centre for International Theatre @ Higher Ground, Main Theatre
Tragic, funny and superbly delivered.
THE bastard son of a Trinidadian whore, sold into servitude at a hefty price because of his beautiful white skin, Scaramouche Jones was always destined to have an interesting life.
What follows is a rollicking yarn played out across the West Indies, Europe and Africa, as Scaramouche, fated to end up the sad clown, is thrust hither and thither into circumstances beyond his control and ken, in the earlier half of the Twentieth century. Funny, compelling and ultimately tragic, the story is well crafted, but it is Justin Butcher's execution which makes this a must see. The Oxford-trained thespian is superb in his delivery: engaging, animated, and endearing.
(Cameron England - Adelaide Advertiser 22/01/10)
An engaging and interesting piece of theatre... a very personal piece of work
Scaramouche Jones is the latest Fringe visitation from Guy Masterson's Centre for International Theatre. This time Masterson directs, rather than stars in, this interesting reprise of a one-man production which debuted in Dublin in 2001 before going on to break all box office records for new writing in the history of the Bristol Old Vic.
That production starred Pete Postlethwaite and this, interestingly, stars the writer of the piece himself, Justin Butcher.
Butcher certainly has the voice and presence to carry the show. It is December 31, 1999, and the 100-year-old Jones has just performed his swansong as clown Scaramouche. He takes us back to his birth on the same day in 1899, the son of a Trinidad whore and a teaspoonful of anonymous English semen. He is pale of face and loved by his whore mother, but tragedy causes him to be sold as a slave to an Italian/English/Somali snake charmer. After a life of misadventure, he comes a kind of ironic full circle to England after being convinced by a Welsh passport officer that Jones is a true English name.
This script is brilliantly written by Butcher and the show can be experienced with the eyes closed; poetry drips from every beautifully turned line. And wry observations tumble out on 20th-century figures and the events that made them famous.
The show is truncated somewhat after 1951 when Scaramouche became Jones and his life as clown began. To see some mime and pathos would have enhanced the impact of the show - it almost feels as if something has been trimmed to create this 85-minute Fringe-length performance. And there could have been more of the 100-year-old in the performance of the opening scenes, which would have enhanced the gradual and ironic transformation to youth as we move through the century.
But Butcher used space well and worked very hard, in a theatre which lacks intimacy, to create an engaging and interesting piece of theatre out of his clever and very personal piece of work.
(Robert Horne - Adelaide Independent Weekly 22/02/10)
Scaramouche Jones, written and performed by Justin Butcher and directed by Guy Masterson is in its 9th year. However, it is only since 2008 that this production has been performed by the author of the piece, previously performed by Pete Postlethwaite and directed by Rupert Goold. It is this licence to change direction, embellish, cut or run away on a tangent that gives this performance a wonderfully fresh delivery. Confirmed by a couple behind me who, back for more, were delighting in the subtle differences to a previous experience of Butcher's Scaramouche.
The play hurls the audience through a series of outlandish adventures across the globe as Scaramouche Jones breaks his silence to tell his last tale. It is the story of his life, the story of the seven white masks that have made the clown Scaramouche Jones. Each white mask upon his already pale face is another layer of sour experience which swathes the psyche of the hero. His accounts slither delectably off the tongue in long serpentine streams, which form a poignant contrast to his mimed finale. Here, in the language of the English gentleman he wants to be, can be glimpsed the original Scaramouche of Commedia dell-Arte that is his namesake.
With reliance upon so few props Butcher can create the play in the minds of the audience drawing upon infinite variables to create something entirely unique each time. The lighting and the sound are impeccably timed and give just enough to feed the imagination. When I think back to it I recall sights, smells and characters which were never really there, just in the wonderfully vivid scene that was painted in my mind. For example a simple horn is transfigured from a machine gun to a new-born baby in rapid and apparently logical succession. Charmed as I was by the piece, I believed myself to see the look of bemusement in a white glove.....
As the story progresses Scaramouche sheds his well-worn clown suit and the seven masks to become his naked self, to face his end and his beginning. This is a beautiful account of coming to terms with a life lived. The healing salve that is Scaramouche Jones somehow finds and soothes our inner ill-fated clowns with a perfect balance of dark humour and honestly felt sadness. We are truly fortunate to have this production as a feature of the Adelaide Fringe 2010.
(Claire Gilham - Buzzcuts Adelaide - 23/02/10)
A stunning piece of theatre... hilarious and touching, tragic and genuine.
It's December 31, 1999, and white-faced clown, Scaramouche Jones, is about to turn 100. In his near-century of life, he's travelled most of the world and seen more than his fair share of heartbreak.
Justin Butcher, performing from his own script and directed by Guy Masterson, is outstanding in this non-stop, one-hour-and-twenty-minute epic bildunsgroman tale that takes the audience on journey from the West Indies through Africa, the Middle East, Venice, Poland and - harrowingly - a World War 2 concentration camp.
The script - drawing on sources as wide-ranging as Greek mythology, opera, the Bible and Gilbert & Sullivan - is a masterpiece of wordplay on its own, captivating and evocative and a delight for the ears. When combined with Butcher's electric stage presence and physicality, mastery of accents and grasp of timing, both comic and tragic, it becomes an enthralling and moving piece of theatre.
The set is simple but includes useful props; perfectly-timed sound effects, music and clever lighting add to the atmosphere and mood.
Scaramouche Jones is, simply put, a stunning piece of theatre - hilarious and touching, tragic and genuine.
(Jamie Wright - Adelaide Theatre Guide - 20/02/10)
Writer and actor, Justin Butcher, has also benefited from the guiding hand of director Guy Masterson, together presenting us with a totally captivating performance as a 100 year old clown, hanging up his red nose and oversized shoes for the final time as he retires on the eve of the new millennium, recounts his life story, and waits for death.
Butcher wrote the play a decade ago but, instead of performing it himself, he allowed Peter Postlethwaite to premiere the work, to enormous success. Butcher has, now, found the chance to perform his own work, and that is our good fortune, as we witness this terrific actor bury himself in the character of the silent, white-faced clown with a fantastic history to divulge.
Born of a Trinidadian gypsy whore, Scaramouche had an unusually pale face, his mother informing him that his father was an Englishman. This early childhood is the first of the seven phases of his life or, as he sees them, his seven white masks. The first five decades of his life take us through Africa, as an assistant to a snake charmer, Egypt, Europe and to the Nazi concentration camps, where he was put to work digging graves. As the children passed him on the way to their deaths, he would mime a grotesquely funny scene to them, depicting what was to come, lifting them to laughter and easing their fears. Finally, he is allowed to live in England and, as he must have a surname to enter the country, adopts the surname of the immigration official, Jones.
This is a story that is bleak, powerful, sometimes darkly comic and unbelievably real in the hands of this masterful actor. Scaramouche is a survivor, resilient and doggedly persistent in his belief in being an Englishman by right of his birth. Butcher shows us every pain, every misfortune that Scaramouche has suffered in an astoundingly poignant performance, rich in poetic language, stark in its subject matter and brilliantly executed. His use of his voice, facial expressions and body language are impeccable. This is a production in which even the most critical, the most negative and the most discerning will find nothing to complain about. Even the set, lighting and costume are exactly right.
It is rare to see something of this remarkably high standard and you owe it to yourself to indulge in an evening in the company of genius, while you can.
A CD recording of this work is available in the foyer after the show and there is now doubt that these will sell out, unless they brought a container load with them, so make sure that you get yours on the way out. You will want to relive this performance again and again.
Do not miss this production!
(Barry Lenny - Glamadelaide.com 22/02/10)
snowwhite wrote: What a wonderful feast for your eyes, ears and imagination. Rare are moments of this kind, where mastery of rhythm, timing, language and visual perfection combined capture the audience's attention a 100 percent. Incredible events came to life, of the saddest nature and absurdest comedy. Seven masks were revealed hidding the grief and loss of a life time. So many strands make you think about this piece of art for a long time.
A gem of acting and writing, just see for yourself!
jimbo wrote: brilliant theatre. This is another gen from the fantastic portfolio of performances brought to Adelaide by C.I.T. Let's hope they make it back to next Festival with more delights.
Gloria wrote: The must see of F10. You will find it hard to fault it. Sublime.
CaptainCat wrote: Saw it again. Deserves 6 Flags, IF i could give them.
angela wrote: The best thing we saw this year, inside or outside the Festival. A tour de force performed magisterially by the author, JUstin Butcher. This terrifying tour of the 20thC is, if anything, more relevant now than at milennium's end. Great stagecraft here as well (particularly loved the table as camel) and a dramatic soundscape as well. Six flags if they were available for Scaramouche, CIT and Guy Masterson. Please come back next year with the quality shows.
abmcs wrote: Justin Butcher's amazing talent shines through every facet of this production. With a show that speaks directly to your heart, this is a show not to be missed this Fringe. It's raw talent and ingenious writing at its best! This is what the Adelaide Fringe is all about.
ark wrote: AMAZING a beautifully crafted theatrical experience. A wonderful story expertly scripted and superbly performed! An absolute must see.
F10NATIC wrote: An exquisite master-class performance beyond superlatives. A transfixing carriage into other worlds in bygone times unfolding an extraordinary life story, realised with flawless poetic period language and characterisations throughout that in all equates to story-telling beyond supreme.
Only one other F10 show has given me spine chills during it. This gave me those while I stood at the end with the rest of the audience and felt the room's equally awed admiration and respect in mutual ovation.
lillen wrote: This is classic theatre. If you are passionate about this artform and its origins you need to see this show. The performance was very engaging, the words are delicious and i liked the use of 7 different white faces as symbols punctuating his life. Very interesting use of whiteness as the 'other'.
jamie_h wrote: PLEASE do not miss this! Justin Butcher is an absolute gem - he is extremely successful in writing AND performing this piece, about a clown named Scaramouche Jones reflecting on his 100 years of life (or his 7 stages/ 'faces' that he has worn). Clever, brilliant, touching, funny, emotional... I can go on and on. An absolute must see!
Day_Tripper wrote: There isn't really a lot to Scaramouche Jones. The story is very involved and intricate, and while there's no doubt it's an interesting story, beyond that there's not much else. However... it's the performance you should go and see. Justin's physical and vocal control are outstanding. He was perhaps a little too busy for my liking at the start, but that niggle soon passed. You may not remember much of Scaramouche's life afterwards, but the Justin's performance should stay with you. Masterful.Mona_Lisa wrote: An extremely talented writer and performer gives his all to portray the remarkable life story of the clown Scaramouche Jones. The energy ripples off the stage and keeps you transfixed until the last moment comes. I wanted the story to go on forever but alas the end comes to all of us eventually. If you only see one show at the fringe this year this is the one.......
Francene wrote: The most wonderful show I have seen since Guy Masterson's Under Milk Wood. Justin Butcher had the audience spell bound. His CD was a revisit of the most joyous kind - hearing again the story of Scaramouche Jones using such beautiful language. What a star - and cute, too, in the vein of Mick Jagger - with a mouth, voice and body to match.
CHARLIES_ANGEL wrote: Guy Masterson has the Midas touch. Justin Butcher's genius captures the comedy, tragedy and complexities of human existence into a one hour performance, something that took the great bard over 37 plays to achieve and it is simply mind blowing. But to steal the great words of the Bard; All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players, they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven FACES" He is simply Scaramouche Jones.
CatPil wrote: I was entirely carried away by Scaramouche Jones back at the beginning of the 20th century. It was that well interpreted that i could say myself I spent the night in company with the real son of a gypsy born in 1900. And then I learned that Mr. Butcher is the Englishman father of Scaramouche, his creator. Extraordinaire plume, mon ami!
edam_ wrote: absoloutely fantastic every go and see it before it ends
Glen_Christie wrote: When it comes to one-man shows, Guy Masterson is legendary. With Justin Butcher's 'Scaramouche Jones' he comes up trumps again. This piece is funny, thought-provoking, captivating and mesmerising. Scaramouche Jones takes us through his life - from birth to impending death, 100 years in 75 minutes - on a minimalist set, using voice and body to transport across time and the 7 seas. Butcher's performance, under Masterson's direction, is worthy of sell-out houses. A must see!
JohnH wrote: One of the highlights of the Fringe. A memorable script and performance both by a very talented Justin Butcher. I was totally mesmerised as Scaramouche Jones revealed his white masks and took me on a journey through the twentieth century.
Anne wrote: Enchanting! This is theatre at its very best.
DanSA wrote: I was completely seduced. The actor is such a charismatic performer and the writing is something else. Epic.
Janet wrote: GREAT PLAY - GO AND SEE IT
James wrote: Brilliant! We are incredibly lucky to have this play, these unbelievably talented people perform here. Justin Butcher's performance is so masterful one cannot help but be awed. I shall see this play more than once.
kenny wrote: Simply brilliant show - the script is intelligent and Justin Butcher breathes life into the character with an agile, energetic and incredibly engaging performance. I saw the show twice and enjoyed it even more the second time. The use of sound and music is terrific. This is the best piece of Fringe theatre I have seen. Don't miss it.
Cat_Woman wrote: Absolutely amazing!! Brilliantly written and performed by Justin Butcher who kept me mesmerized and deeply moved during the whole performance. As a vistor from the United States I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to the Fringe. Would give it a 6 if I could!
Innkeeper wrote: This is magical theatre performed by a master storyteller.
Madame_P wrote: Saw this again last night. This is perfect theatre. I have never seen anything like it, and it is my pick for the best show in the fringe. Standing ovation from the audience... Well Done Justin Butcher!
fringeaddict wrote: Justin Butcher is mesmerising in this incredible piece of theatre. Made me smile, made me cry. Just exquisite.
crazy_white_ma wrote: A tour de force of theatre- powerful and moving
tankililla_ wrote: this show is simply fantastic and should be number one the best show i have ever seen JB come back and do it next year
KateFraser wrote: Beautifully written, masterfully directed, and exquisitely performed. I have never been so moved by a piece of theatre. If you see nothing else this Fringe, see Scaramouche Jones.
heller wrote: ONE WORD… FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!
dlol wrote: An amazing performance by an excellent actor. The show is also fabulous. The writing is first class and the actor brings the words to life. It's moving and interesting and I felt that it was something of a privilege to be there.
Kay_Today wrote: This is a powerful work, performed flawlessly by the author Justin Butcher, and directed by the wonderfully talented Guy Masterson. If you like good theatre, don't miss it.
Kooky wrote: wonderful show - an amazing tale by an excellent actor! The story of each of his masks is enthralling! Excellent job Justin and Guy Masterson's Centre just keeps bringing these great actors to the stage!
fringeonmyface wrote: Simply Amazing! Butcher is mesmerising. A must see!
tankililla_ wrote: an amazing example of what great theatre is like Scaramouche is the century in human form each white mask is another story waiting to be told. Go on, plunge in and enjoy the best show in the fringe!!!!!
Fringalicious wrote: Brilliant acting, brilliant script. I was mesmerised. Easily the best show I've seen at the Fringe. I will go see anything JB does in the future. Please come back to the next Adelaide Fringe! Congratulations.
hebejez wrote: A genuine 5 star show. This is a superb opportunity to see a high quality theatre production in an intimate venue. Justin Butcher is riveting in this role and never loses his audience as the story unfolds. Get a ticket..... QUICK!!!
ontheborder wrote: Congratulations, Justin, on writing and performing your rivetting and wonderful play about the unmaking of the British Empire and the making of personal myth! You were incredibly generous in your performance as well as in meeting the audience after the show! Every Drama student should see this- Justin is a master of his craft! DO come back in 2011!
Vinylcutter wrote: This is unbelievably good. The acting is sublime and the way the clown's story is told is riveting stuff. I wonder why this isn't a mainstream Festival production because it is just pure quality. Those in the audience on the night I went were cheering and clapping. It deserves full houses. Do not miss it!
Madame_P wrote: I'll keep it simple - BOOK YOUR TICKETS TO THIS SHOW NOW BEFORE IT SELLS OUT! Such an amazing performance and an EPIC story. Tell your friends, because it is the BEST SHOW I have seen in years.
vollie-jen wrote: SCARAMOUCHE JONES is THE BEST THEATRE piece I have seen for years. Perfectly portrayed and acted, exceptionally clear diction, superb sound effects and lighting- The professional production will have you spellbound for the entire 80 min graphic telling of this fascinating clown's life. Don't miss it!
CaptainCat wrote: This has got to be the hit of the Fringe! A beautiful set in a lovely theatre. A glorious soundtrack and a perfect epic story brilliantly told by a master storyteller. Justin Butcher grips you from the off and whips you on a rollercoaster ride of his Clown's 100 year old life. There is not a wasted moment here. The story is huge to tell yet, you relive every moment with him from Trinidad to North Africa to Italy, to Poland, the Balkans and finally to London... You are there. STUPENDOUS STUFF!
Fringer wrote: This is superb theatre...insightful themes...clever dialogue...great script...and first rate performance from Justin, a consummate performer who is also a director of television and theatre. Scaramouche Jones reveals himself as he removes his 7 masks, and he also reveals the clown and fool in all of us. Go and see this.. you will be moved and riveted to your seat for 80 minutes...oh.. and did I mention Justin wrote the play as well! Anything this guy can't do?
Mia wrote: One of the most harrowing visuals is that of the sad clown, which conjures up the deep despair so often present under the happy masks that we wear. Scaramouche takes us through the journey of his amazing life, to show us how he came to be where he is today and the masks that he has worn along the way. Exemplary writing was emphasised by the quality and dexterity of the performance. With each layer that is stripped back, expect to be drawn further into the enchantment of this show.
The Centre for International Theatre @ Higher Ground, Main Theatre
THIS ingenious black comedy from UK playwright Tim Whitnall is Fringe fare write large.
The first of two splendid characters, Roy Tunt by name, is a birdwatcher, know-all and first-rate pedant.
His peaceful, quiet search for the only British bird hes never seen, the Sociable Plover, is disturbed by the sudden arrival of the rougher-hewn Dave, man of mystery on the run.
Guy Masterson and Ronnie Toms bring both characters to life, though in truth, to say much more is to give away one of the more monumental twists that's been seen on a stage in Adelaide these many years. It is, therefore, compulsory viewing.
(Peter Burdon - Adelaide Advertiser 22/01/10)
The Best that theatre has to offer!
Guy Masterson and Ronnie Toms appear in a witty and dark comedy, written by Tim Whitnall, in which Roy Tunt (Masterson), an avid birdwatcher, is interrupted in his pursuit of that one elusive bird, Vanellus Gregarious, or the Sociable Plover, by the unexpected arrival in the hide of a stranger, Dave John (Toms).
Roy has recorded sightings of 566 of the 567 species of native British birds and needs only a sighting of this one bird to gain his place in the record books and bird watching history. His remote hide on the Suffolk Marshes, just as the day dawns, should be a peaceful escape from the world, and he is not expecting an intruder. When Dave arrives Roy at first mistakes him for a fellow 'twitcher', also seeking to sight the Sociable Plover, but he soon realises that he is greatly mistaken: bird watchers do not carry automatic pistols.
There are myriad differences between the middle class Roy and the working class Londoner, Dave, but, even so, they are British, and one cannot turn away a guest, even an uninvited and unwelcome guest, in inclement weather. Noblesse Oblige applies and hospitality, even reluctantly, must be offered.
As the play opens Masterson shows his wizardry with working stage business as he enters and silently, with the aid of surgical gloves and a small dustpan and brush, cleans and tidies the hide, sets out all of his paraphernalia, the binoculars, pad, pencils, thermos and, most importantly, his snack box containing Scotch eggs and his unique meat paste sandwiches. Then he lifts the shutters and settles down to watch for the Sociable Plover. Masterson's great skill in interpreting a role and immersing himself fully in the character has already told us vast amounts about Roy, with nary a word spoken. We know that he is way beyond fastidious, to the point of being anally retentive. This is a man who would be virtually impossible to live with and, as we discover later, his wife thought so, too.
Dave, however, is the complete opposite, a wide boy from the big smoke. The difference is easily seen when Dave is telling of his past jobs and mentions that he was a painter. Roy asks if he painted landscapes of portraits and is bemused when Dave announces that he painted corridors. They are from different worlds and this adds a great deal to the intricate interplay between them in the ensuing conversations as an uneasy comradeship gradually develops.
These two consummate actors bounce off each other, weaving their way through all of the plot's twists and turns, exploring the differences in the language used by their characters and completely engaging the audience's attention.
Masterson and Toms are a terrific double act as Toms acts largely as the straight man to Masterson's comic inventiveness. This is a display of generous give and take, as the focus moves to and fro between the characters. It is a vocal dance in which these two highly skilled performers, diverse as their characters are, make us believe that Roy and Dave could really develop a mutual respect and understanding, even an emerging friendship, in such a short time.
This play has got to be on your list this year if you lay claim to being a lover of the best that theatre has to offer.
(Barry Lenny -GLAM Adelaide -23/02/10)
Stimulating and satisfying and well worth seeing more than once.
The Sociable Plover is a powerful, credible and particularly well-cast, darkly comic drama. Shot with shades of grey, the suspense builds in calculated paces and keeps the audience guessing until the wonderful denouement.
The result is a firm, strung-out and decidedly theatrical piece that's absorbing with a perceptive and bright performance from the ever reliable Guy Masterson.
A clever, slow-burning thriller unfolding in an ornithologist's hide is the perfect vehicle for the Welshman and his portrayal of Roy Tunt, an obsessive compulsive birdwatcher is both enjoyable and satisfying.
Tunt arrives at the hide in the Sussex marshes, in the hope of seeing the Sociable Plover, which is the only one of the 567 birds that inhabits the British Isles that he has not already seen. With meticulous precision, he sets out his equipment and cleans the hide in preparation for his 'Big Day.' In this sedate opening sequence, he shares his thoughts affectionately with a photograph of his ex-wife.
But the tranquillity is soon broken with the unexpected arrival of a highly suspicious Cockney ruffian named Dave, played by Ronnie Toms. Both men harbour secrets and although on opposite sides of the social spectrum both men have a few similarities. 'It's a murder of crows and a deceit of lapwings', Roy explains to Dave, and both metaphors are important in the surprise ending in this exceptional twohander.
Ultimately, the play is both stimulating and satisfying and well worth seeing more than once.
(Steven Davenport - Adelaide Theatre Guide - 20/02/10)
jimbo wrote: Acting fantastic, great plot twist,
SJT wrote: Huge fun and superbly acted. These actors deserve full houses every night. A clever, twisting plot and wonderful characterisation.
Glen_Christie wrote: 'The Sociable Plover', by Tim Whitnall, is like Harold Pinter's 'The Dumb Waiter' - two men, locked together in one location, saying so much, while saying s very little. Guy Masterson and Ronnie Toms share the stage and the mastery of Whitnall's words, matching wits, exchanging bards and leading us, tantalisingly, to a climactic twist of Pinteresque proportions. Catch the Plover, but if you spot the ending, keep it to yourself. A must see!
JohnH wrote: Another enjoyable performance from the Guy Masterson theatre group. Always a high standard of script and performance, in this case a double hander. The plot has many twists and turns and kept my interest throughout. Highly recommended.
EdgeR wrote: I stayed awake the whole time which is unusual. The impeccable actors bring every moment to life in these fastidious and heart-warming (respectively) characters. The plot maintains intrigue and unfolding surprises. Is Toms blind or merely in one? Do yourself a favour. See it.
Matthew wrote: A man prepares his hide for a day of quiet 'twitching' - attempting to spot the only bird he has never seen. His solitude, however, is broken by the arrival of a 'geezer' seeking shelter from the rain. The very different men share a humorously uncomfortable conversation but begin to bond before the truth of their pasts are revealed and things take a darker turn. Excellent performances from both actors in a great play. Watch the twitcher get twitchier.
Innkeeper wrote: Plover is not only hilarious but a great double hander. Masterson's Tunt is a truly classic character matched well by Toms' straight man act. This was play was recently made into a film called "The Hide".
Kooky wrote: Another little gem from Guy Masterson's Centre for International Theatre - Masterson and Toms bounce off each other with wit and ease. Amazing how a sound track and little furniture can transport you to another world!
mr_ingham wrote: this is a very well crafted piece of writing, performed superbly by two very accomplished actors, it was riveting from first to last and Masterson and toms bounce off each other with ease as the plot is revealed, great writing ,great acting, great show. thank you gentlemen for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
KateFraser wrote: Masterson is at his brilliant best as the fastidious Tunt, and Toms is equally as fabulous as the mud-splattered, hungry Dave. The two give a wonderful performance and reeled me in hook, line and sinker! See the Sociable Plover while it's on - or you may never get to tick the box!
tankililla_ wrote: this enthralling thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat and then... Guy Masterson and Ronnie Toms make the dynamic duo well worth seeing and will change your view of twitchers
Pewee wrote: This was really, really good! Prepare to be transported to a bird hide on a windy night in the UK, using only the vehicle of a beguiling script, two controlled and excellent actors and a sparsely furnished set. An hour later you shake your head as you return to Adelaide in 2010. World class Fringe.
MarkH wrote: Go and see this craftily constructed and brilliantly written play. Guy Masterson tooth grindingly precise as the prim twitcher and Ronnie Toms absolutely real as his uninvited guest. Great piece of writing and acting.
Joshka_Poliako wrote: A story that gently reels you in, performed by two great actors with impeccable timing and great attention to detail. Made me want to throw the TV out of the window and join the theatre myself. And I don't even like birds.
Mia wrote: While providing a healthy measure of laughter, there's also a depth to this play which is achieved through well realised characters and a tight plot. Masterson's Roy is delightfully anal and is matched well by the slightly gruff, and rather mysterious, Dave. Much of the humour of the piece is drawn from the accurately researched, highly odd, world of bird watching and an outsider's introduction to it. It's a joy to discover and experience a play that is both funny and dramatic, as this is.
DanSA wrote: Good quality Fringe stock. A great tale told by two very accomplished English actors. There is some great banter between them and the story is full of surprises. Will make you laugh and wince. Good proper theatre that ticks all the boxes. By the watyI've seen a couple of plays in this venue now and it is one of the best at the fringe. Nice bar too.
Fringer wrote: A quintessentially English theme: Birdwatching. Ordinary enough activity with an extraordinary twist! Black comedy and pathos cleverly intertwined, with a subtle dig at the English Class System and stereotyping in general. The actors look like each other, furthering the idea that there is a bit of both classes in all of us. Great set, costuming and sound effects. Masterson is perfect as the anal English ornithologist and Ronnie Toms superb as the much-misjudged cockney "species". Intense show!
Madame_P wrote: I left the theatre feeling great. Brilliant performances, great script, cool set too. You don't have to think about this show - it is just pure entertainment with a great twist. I also loved the details... sitting in the front row I could smell the hot bovril (ew!) and see the mud and water on their clothes. PERFECT!
Vinylcutter wrote: Once again Guy Masterson at his very best.Ronnie Toms is perfect opposite Masterson but I shouldn't reveal the plot! Go and see it and enjoy the interactions between these two very different and amusing characters.I also thought the set, lighting and sound effects were very clever. Great acting and a superb British play!
CaptainCat wrote: WHAT A PERFECT LITTLE GEM! After seeing Scaramouche Jones in the same theatre not 20 mins earlier, I was stunned by the turnaround from that EPIC to this beautiful bird hide. The play itself is almost too clever to review. Suffice, you have to go with it and, through brilliantly witty dialogue, superb comic timing we have come to expect from Guy Masterson expertly foiled by Ronnie Toms, supremely created tension with a truly fantastic twist you just can't see coming, you have PERFECT THEATRE! A1
eThe Centre for International Theatre @ Higher Ground, Art Base
LYNN Manning grew up on the tough streets of south central Los Angeles, a blissful early childhood crumbling into disarray as alcohol and violence slowly eroded the bond between his parents and led to him and his eight siblings being placed in foster homes.
In and out of said homes and juvenile detention, life was tough, but not overwhelming for the ever-cheerful and resilient "Big Lynn".
Then, during a night out on town, someone shot him in the head. This is the story of Manning's life, told by him, in an hour of soulful, amusing, energetic storytelling.
Personal stories can be somewhat gauche, too intimate and uncomfortable. This one is not. It's entertaining, a little confronting and ultimately a good story.
(Cameron England - Adelaide Advertiser 22/01/10)
"'If it'd happened to me I don't know if I could be so strong', she said. 'You have to lift weights', I replied".
So begins an amazing story of survival from writer and performer Lynn Manning. An aspiring artist, his life dramatically changed one night in an LA bar, when he was shot in the head by a .32 calibre pistol and permanently lost his sight.
Strengthened by the hardship he had faced his entire life (a metaphor for 'lifting weights'), Manning resolved to make the best of his situation, acquiring a degree in English Literature and building his life as a writer, playwright and performer.
Manning tells his life story, before and after the fated night, with humour and an engaging physical performance, aided by thematic music and lighting.
This is inspirational theatre; an inspired story told by an inspiring performer.
(Nikki Gaetner - Adelaide Review - 20/02/10
CHARLIES_ANGEL wrote: Inspiring on so many levels - 'Weights' makes you view world differently. A passionate and insightful performance by Lynn Manning.
AmieK wrote: Lynn Manning holds your attention from beginning to end and every minute in between. Telling his story with an amazing mix of unique characterization, well though out lighting and music and movement, Lynn's story is gripping. You will laugh, cry and be inspired by this truly honest and poignant tale. A must see.
Glen_Christie wrote: Lynn Manning is a man of immense presence - both physical and verbal. With Weights he tells the tale of his life - both before and after he lost his sight - through poetry and prose. Moving back and forth through the times of his life, delivering characterisations and scenes with humour and pathos, Lynn Manning shows us all he is has seen - both with and without eyesight. Raw, powerful, funny and honest. Weights is another must see from CIT. See it before Fringe's end!
fringeaddict wrote: Lynn Manning is the most incredible man. This piece left me thinking for days afterwards. He is an impressive man and an incredible storyteller. This piece hits you hard as you realise that all of it actually happened to the man standing before your eyes. Beautifully told by an inspirational and charismatic man.
Fringer wrote: Vivid and visceral, sensuous and sensual, epic and poetic - this show will grab you by the lapels and drag you in to a bar in LA in '78 and change your view of life. A true story told by the man who was in that bar and faced a wild-eyed madman who changed his life forever. Lynn Manning is street poet, actor and artist who tells this tale with passion, energy, and gritty but beautiful language.I was transfixed for the entire show and for minutes afterward. Expect to see this as an inspiring film.
Madame_P wrote: This is the most uplifting play I have seen in ages. Beautiful and emotional, raw and scarey, Lynn Manning's story is one that will change your perspective. Loved it!
tankililla_ wrote: THIS SHOW WILL BLOW YOUR MIND. AN AMAZING PERFORMANCE FROM LYNN MANNING. it is a Privilege for any one to see it. one of the best shows in the fringe. OUTSTANDING
Mia wrote: Another strong solo piece featuring at the CIT. From the underprivileged home of his childhood, to the nights out enjoyed during youth, through the early days of his blindness, Lynn Manning takes us on a personal tour of some of the most influential moments in his life. Always engaging, this piece makes you both laugh out loud and think about life; about how you can never know exactly where it's going to take you but how, if you have spirit, good things can come even from adversity.
Vinylcutter wrote: This man is awesome! I sat there mouth open, entranced by his rich voice and his rhythmical delivery,but of course it is his story that is so amazing, terrifying and yet so uplifting. You walk away feeling very positive. It is a remarkable piece of theatre and Manning's performance should NOT BE MISSED! BTW the venue (Higher Ground) is perfect for this play.
DanSA wrote: I loved this show. The guy is a really charismatic performer, he has a real commanding presence. The story is heartbreaking but inspiring. A great tale of an unflagging human spirit. I sat in the front row and was totally taken in. I could have listened to him all day. Just brilliant.
CaptainCat wrote: This was powerful, moving stuff. It is a good stand alone story brilliantly told, but once it dawned on you that it is TRUE... autobiographical... my awe grew. Lynn Manning is big and so is his story. His poetry is profound and touching and the music that accompanies him perfectly matches or sets the tone of each moment. Superb stuff that "transported me to the mean streets of L.A." Lynn Manning is an authentic home-boy made good. This is his real voice. Brilliant!
The Centre for International Theatre @ Higher Ground, Art Baseb 22-
American David Calvitto performs John Clancy's monologue with aplomb.
He's a mix of droll Woody Allen and charming Steve Martin in a nice suit. The play probably won't send us protesting into the streets but its beautifully written and does make you think. How do we know what's real and what's not? It's great fun and, in the hands of Calvitto, highly entertaining.
(Louise Nunn - Adelaide Advertiser 22/01/10)
Profound. One word.
If a review could be written with just one word then this would be the one to describe The Event.
Take a moment to soak in the true meaning of the word 'profound'. Let it resonate in the mind for a while. Meditate on the meaning of the word 'profound'. Perhaps profound thoughts will follow. Maybe the truth of the universe will begin to echo in ensuing contemplation. For this is the effect of The Event.
It is a one-man show that starts simply enough with short, sharp, punchy lines.
Actor David Calvitto delivers his lines with charm, self-deprecating humour and finesse, enchanting his audience and outlining truisms about the theatre. Theatre initially is 'The Event'. Thus theatre in all of its forms is cleverly and humorously dissected leaving no stone unturned - actors, directors, technicians, audiences and reviewers all take a bow in Calvitto's repertoire, directed and penned by John Clancy.
The humour is wry, the script witty and the delivery simple and effective. But it is deceptive. Herein lies the rub. This brilliantly, and cunningly crafted, play takes a twist. Before long it is apparent that the theatre of life has become 'The Event' and then another twist as insightful and universal truths are revealed. Theatre and philosophy combine to produce a brilliant and thought provoking hour. The words and thoughts provoked linger long after the final bow in a refreshing manner.
The Centre for International Theatre under the direction of Guy Masterson is proving to be an enduring phenomenon of the Adelaide Fringe with the likes of 'Scaramouche Jones' and 'Austen's Women'. The Event is yet another string to this company's already excellent bow.
(Stephanie Johnson - Australian Stage - 07/03/10)
Thrilling and mind expanding and 100 per cent engaging.
Stop me if you've heard this one before. No, really. Stop me, or doze off, or walk out. You may think you know what to expect, but you'll be surprised.
The Event is a play about a play. A deconstruction of the theatre experience. An actor's equivalent of a magician revealing how the tricks are done. Each word, gesture and lighting effect is dissected and examined in exquisite detail, held out for scrutiny and the audience's acceptance or rejection.
There is one man on stage and, later, a chair. The man plays his part, speaking the words he has previously rehearsed, while a stagehand and a lighting technician do precisely the jobs they were contracted to do. We strangers (the audience) sit quietly in the dark and fulfil our obligations as observers of the event, but are we actually part of the performance?
Playwright John Clancy won a Fringe First award for The Event in Edinburgh last year, and it's easy to see why. He has collaborated with New York actor David Calvitto on a number of occasions, and it's been a multi-award-winning partnership. Calvitto's compelling performance is a perfect match for the intricate, challenging text.
This play about nothing and everything in the world covers the universe in an hour. Assumptions are quickly made and just as quickly discarded. Real versus staged - can we tell the difference? The actor's 'relationship with the truth is suspect, and highly charged' but what about our own performance? Are we living a life, or merely going through the motions? In a world that continually offers new ways to keep in touch, are we really moving further and further away from each other?
For this year's Fringe, Guy Masterson's Centre for International Theatre brings eight shows to Adelaide on a mission to include more drama in a festival which now seems top-heavy with comedians, burlesque and circus-style acts. All Masterson's offerings are based at Higher Ground, and after The Event you might be tempted to see the lot.
Thrilling, mind-expanding and 100 per cent engaging.
(Jo Vabolis - Adelaide Independent Weekly 22/02/10)
A very memorable Event
An actor, a technician, a stage hand and a performance space, that's all that is required for an event, isn't it?
Well a really good script does help. This event definitely has that.
It is strange to sit and listen to a man talking about a man, himself, taking part in an event, this performance and it certainly leads to a contemplation of reality and our perceptions of it.
This production will not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you have any association with theatre, it will speak to you.
If you have an appreciation of words and the way they can be used to build from nothing, this performance will fascinate you; and if you enjoy good acting, this is definitely for you.
John Clancy's words and direction, with David Calvitto's performance, make this a very memorable event.
(Fran Edwards - Adelaide Theatre Guide - 20/02/10)
Matthew wrote: A nameless actor narrates the unfolding Event in which he is performing - explaining the conventions that shape the relationship between him, the audience and the writer whose words he speaks. The shattering of these preconceptions leads to innumerable laughs - even an apology for just how 'meta' the Event is - but, at the same time, the Event is a metaphor for the fragile conventions of the society in which we live and the meaninglessness of our daily lives. Listen to the man in the light.
Jimbo wrote: Totally engaging, humourous and thought provoking performance. Calvitto is charming.
CaptainCat wrote: Supreme. Perfect Fringe Fare!
ILive4Cheese wrote: I have to say I was a tiny bit underwhelmed leaving the theatre, but then I haven't been able to get this show out of my head! Calvitto's delivery is superb, Clancy's script seems to intuit every response you'll have an audience member - why do we do this to ourselves! Only downer is the very uncomfortably backed chairs - but he's probably aware of that too.
angela wrote: This monologue on acting, theatre and individuality might be absurdly self referential but it's witty, intelligent, touching and beautifully performed. Calvitto combines those great actorly traits, an engaging personality that draws you in and a capacity to suggest great depth. He was great. This was so clever.
Cos wrote: I was taken with the power of this playwright as well as the actor who performed it. It had many layers from an expose of the theatrical form to a challenge for modernity to find better ways to communicate with each other. I loved it.
Fringer wrote: David's performance is meticulous, polished and professional. Clancy's script is a curious melange. It begins with an assertion that Western theatre is a self-indulgent, middle-class, leisure pursuit. I think Brecht and Havel would disagree. A large chunk of the play is a longwinded, cynical, Luddite rant, reminiscent of a fundamentalist preacher in full flight, against modern communication technology arguing that it has broken down communication. Great acting - odd script.5 stars for the acting.
Kay_Today wrote: The script is clever, funny, thought provoking and surprising. Added to this was great acting to give us a memorable 'event'.
AmieK wrote: If you've ever been in a play, seen a play or reviewed a play, this show is a must see. David Calvitto engages his audience for the full length of his production, which tells a tail about one mans views on everything theatrical. The show will leave you wondering just how real theatre really is, and exactly what are performers really thinking when they stand on stage.
edam_ wrote: David Calvitto delivers a virtuoso performance in this more-than-stylish monologue deconstructing first the essence of theatre, then bursting its bounds to confront fundamental questions of our role on the cosmic stage of human existence. A remarkable and inspiring piece which appears to be about nothing but transpires to be about everything, by turns ironic, wistful, world-weary, playful and authentically hopeful. Style and substance knit together a tapestry of fascination and enchantment.
Glen_Christie wrote: The one-man show can be a burden - for the performer and for the audience. The Event, however, engages, captivates, invokes thought and engages everyone - even the crew. David Calvitto moves through this unconventional approach to theatrical convention with the ingrained knowledge of the seasoned professional. His performance - if, indeed, it is such - is timed to perfection and he holds the audience in the palm of his hand. See this and This Is A Play - by theater simple. Perfect bookends.
matteo_son wrote: a nice 'anti-play' the script and performance are perfect, so much style! David Calvitto is at such ease in his role and sleaks thru the script breaking down life and the theatre anybody with a brain still intact would see this show.
montyec wrote: A great night for those who have seen too many personally indulgent one man shows- this is the anti-one man show. It turns the genre inside out, shows you how the trick of theater is done and also makes you think. A great performance and a very clever script.
littlebrother wrote: the audience gave David Calvitto a curtain call last night. it was a terrific performance. what a play!
KateFraser wrote: Calvitto is brilliant as The Man, his sparkly eyes and intelligent performance hold The Audience's attention from beginning to end. I have no doubt I was not the only person in the room wanting to respond aloud to him on more than one occasion, but the conventions of theatre made me hold my tongue. Clever, multi-layered, thought provoking and thoroughly enjoyable. Don't miss out.
heller wrote: this was exceptional. very funny and thought provoking.
tankililla_ wrote: this piece of theatre is a unique bit of genius and is a definite 10 out of 10. go and see it you won't regret it!
Vinylcutter wrote: This was a witty, perceptive play about staging an event and about us, the audience, but it moves into many layers of our lives. Calvitto is the consummate performer - warm, intelligent and very engaging. He smartly handles a clever, thought provoking script which challenges and sometimes confirms our preconceptions about nearly everything! Very funny too! I laughed out loud, nodded my agreement and I am, days later still mulling it over. FABULOUS!! SEE IT!
Madame_P wrote: This show is a real brain twister in the best possible way. And it is such a good experience. What is real, what isn't? I can't really describe the Event. You will just have to see it. The actor reflects us as individuals and society as a whole. A superb performance. Do not miss it.
Mia wrote: A peculiar but delightful deconstruction of what a theatrical performance actually is. Presented entirely in third-person narrative, this show is both deftly humorous and cognitively challenging. With many observations that will ring very true for anyone with experience in the theatre, whether as a performer or patron, it also delves into a more philosophical examination of the Main Event; life. The structure of the show is refreshing, the content at once thought provoking and funny.
CaptainCat wrote: If you love theatre as I do, this is the perfect deconstruction! The brilliant Calvitto - who I vaguely remember from 12 Angry Men some years ago - is both charming and caustic as he deftly dissects the theatrical experience for us. It is a simple concept but exceptionally cleverly done. He almost uncannily reads our thoughts as he tells US what we are thinking - and he is right! Very VERY clever! Superbly executed. Excellent Theatre. Totally recommended!
The Centre for International Theatre @ Higher Ground, Art Base
A one-man tour-de-verse
is a one-man tour-de-verse about a male who is a victim of violence throughout his life. There are no props or music, there's simply Richard Fry, a spotlight, a chair, and a clever, chilling, and funny monologue, that's wonderfully told.
The play benefits from minimal direction, Fry's tight, taut, witty and harrowing script, and a solid recital from the writer-performer. All the experiences of a young homosexual growing up under an abusive father - after the death of a loving mother - and an unsympathetic sibling, is told in rhyming couplets. It takes a few minutes before the audience realises that the rhyming is intentional and it draws the listener deeper into the story.
As the tale unfolds, the audience laughs along with Davey's observations about school, music and sluts, yet has great sympathy following his many reversals as the cycle of violence continues into his adult life.
Along his journey, he meets kindness on a few occasions, but for most of the trip, he's abused by bad boyfriends, homophobic prejudice, internal conflict and violence in various forms.
It's powerful drama from a good actor rather than a great one but there's no doubting the strength of this disturbing story that's well told. Listening to Fry's story-telling is indeed astonishing but it's the strength of the story that captures the imagination.
is a triumph - the denouement is shattering - and is undoubtedly among the best the Fringe has to offer.
(Steven Davenport - Adelaide Theatre Guide - 20/01/10)
Bully is the story of a man's battle to break the cycle of violence that starts with an abusive father and continues to rear its ugly head throughout his life.
A rhyming monologue written and performed on a bare stage by Englishman Richard Fry, it's constructed from song lyrics and verse penned by Fry over many years.
Exactly how autobiographical it is is unclear but two things stand out: Fry's compassionate delivery, and the narrative thread that follows the character's journey as a young gay man in a world filled with prejudice and hate.
Fry is a big man but his gentle demeanour, good humour and understated plea for tolerance make you want to leap out of your chair during the performance and give him a hug. Affecting, if a bit too gloom-filled at times.
(Louise Nunn - Adelaide Advertiser 22/01/10)
CHARLIES_ANGEL wrote: Heartwarming yet chilling. Cathartic yet dark.Charming yet repulsive, but extremley memorable.Don't miss it!
FringeyFan wrote: A-MAZING! Richard has the ability to draw you deep into a story with an emotional pull i've never experienced from attending any theatre performance before. Top notch, gripping, brilliance!!
jones wrote: This was brilliant. A BIG F***ing BRAVO!!! Just brilliant.
Fleshfreak wrote: This was great. Very conventional and well executed story telling. The acting was strong and I was moved.
abmcs wrote: With such intensity, brutal honesty and emotion, Richard Fry brought me to tears with this show. A must see this Fringe! Pure theatrical genius.
Janet wrote: FANTASTIC SHOW - DESERVES A FULL AUDIENCE EVERY NIGHT
hmassalsky wrote: This show was brilliant, showing how family tragedies ingulfed a young man, i really enjoyed the gay theme as well.
Cat_Woman wrote: I was so touched and moved by this brilliant young man and his performance, that at the end of this deeply personal story, I just wanted to get up on stage and hug him. Great writing and acting and a must see.
fringeaddict wrote: I cried in the first 20 seconds. Richard Fry takes you with him through every story, every emotion. A brilliantly performed and written piece that is my favourite of this year's fringe!
Fringer wrote: Wow! Since when does a show grab you in the first 60 seconds which are in total silence!! This story flows out of Richard's pores because it comes from deep within his own life history. Moving, tragic, funny, and romantic - all at the same time - Richard explores the family flaws & patterns that can shape our lives for good and ill.Richard is a fine actor - I was ON the bicycle with him, his brother and his mum racing down Windmill Hill as a child. Flawless and riveting performance. A must see!
Matthew wrote: A powerful, one-man show that traces the life of a boy/man trapped in a series of abusive relationships. The performance is intense, shifting swiftly between moments of light-hearted beauty and tragedy. The play is written in a sing-song, almost Dr Seussian, style that accentuates the humour and lightens a story that might, otherwise, be too depressing to enjoy. The central theme is unnecessarily recapped at the end but, apart from this, you can't look away from this man's train-wreck of a life.
tankililla_ wrote: this play is so amazing it will blow you away a must see
fenga wrote: I just sat back in the dark and listened to this story unfold. This guy is a master storyteller - never really overegging it - just subtle enough for you to fill in the gaps. Mesmerising. It's nice to see an intelligent, well thought out piece of theatre. Give this man an hour of your life and you will be rewarded.
DanSA wrote: I went to see this again. It really is a fantastic piece of theatre. It grabs you from the first minute and just keeps hold of you til long after it has finished. I've seen some great stuff at the fringe so far but this is the best. By far.
addy wrote: This man just broke my heart. Absolutely unmissable.
threeordreview wrote: One word - BRILLIANT!
kevinb wrote: I saw this coz a mate dragged me along. I'm more into comedy than theatre. But this show is actually very funny with some brilliant dark jokes. It's also very serious though and I was gripped by the story. It has made me want to see some more theatre.
Innkeeper wrote: Bully is a powerful monologue and what a treat to see it performed by the writer himself. Fry seems to step through his character's harsh exterior to allow the trapped and traumatised child within to take us on a journey that challenges stereotyped views of middle England and sexual politics. Very moving and thought-provoking. Go see it!
Vinylcutter wrote: This is one of the cleverest monologues I have seen in recent years. When you see it you will know what I mean. Richard Fry's performance is a knock out. His character can move you to tears one minute and have you belly laughing the next. A very powerful and relevant story from this actor who wrote it too. Brilliant!
Madame_P wrote: I saw BULLY three nights ago, and ever since I have not been able to stop thinking about it. BULLY is one of those shows that sticks with you. As time has gone on, I like it more and more. The writing is extremely clever, the performance is honest, intense and emotional. SO GOOD! Definately see it!
DanSA wrote: I wrote a review for this yesterday but it hasn't materialised. I can't remember what I wrote now other than I absolutley loved this piece. very powerful and thought-provoking. A great performance and a great story well told. It has stayed with me. Pure theatre.
CaptainCat wrote: Another brilliant nugget from C.I.T. - Guy Masterson's stable of international theatre. Richard Fry could be the unlikely hero of this year's fringe. In a single spot, he reaches into your heart, twangs your hearstrings and gently puts you down at the end, devastated, as you watch his innocent, gentle life gradually disintegrate. Fry stays humorously on the right side of maudlin as he leads us into his dark world. But what makes this so SO special is that it is all in verse. VERY VERY CLEVER!
Mia wrote: Can you escape your past and move forward, or will it always return to get you? Bully tackles this question through moving, yet amusing, prose. With nothing but a single chair on stage, this show is carried by the talent of writer/actor Richard Fry, who delivers a powerful and emotional performance. With a resonating honesty, this piece offers an insight into a cracked human psyche; the causes and the consequences. Venture to the West End for some impressive theatre.
The Centre for International Theatre @ Higher Ground, Main Theatreth 2008
"Compelling and beautiful... Guy Masterson is arguably the world's leading stage exponent of Dylan Thomas. We had his Under Milk Wood last year (and again in this Fringe) and now we have his alternative Thomas performance - a range of stories and poems which, in some ways, is yet more rewarding. Masterson is an athletic and highly animated performer who imbues even the character of passing mention with a sense of style and personality. He has the rich nasal timbre of classic Welsh delivery, one which, with a purse of the lips, he can transform to Richard Burton and even Anthony Hopkins. He has the agile tongue for the rapid ebb and flow of Thomas and the artistry to bring to vivid life each and every word of that superb master of the language. "
Samela Harris, Adelaide Advertiser, March 2007
"This is a charming and delightful production of works by Dylan Thomas. The much-lauded, amiable and amazingly productive Guy Masterson presents a one-man show of energetic readings of the famous Welsh booze-hound's poetry and short stories.
On a bare stage with nothing but his beautiful voice and vigorous physicality, Masterson launches into 'Holiday Memory', an enchanting story of a family holiday at the beach. As we warm to Masterson, we are drawn into this nostalgic and appealing tale. Masterson bounds about - grinning, puffing and twisting - bringing the words to life. And so he continues, reciting Thomas' poems with verve and affection. Particularly effective are 'The force that through the green fuse drives the flower' and the sad, elegiac trio of poems 'Death Shall Have No Dominion', 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night' (which builds stirringly from a reluctant whisper to a plaintive cry of uncertain bravado) and 'Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed'.
The real star of the show is Dylan Thomas. Masterson's charismatic and vivid evocation of the poems makes us appreciate Thomas' great gift."
John Wells (theatreguide.com.au)
After seeing his Under Milk Wood in 2006, I felt compelled to see more of Guy Masterson's work. So this presentation of Dylan Thomas' lesser-known works - or, as Masterson put it, "the not-Milk Wood Thomas" - afforded me the opportunity to see the man/men at work again.
As per previous efforts, Masterson recites Thomas' works with boundless energy, roaming the stage with swoops and sweeps, his face alive with obvious gleeful appreciation. He covers around ten pieces, each displaying Thomas' evocative style - but the words are just an outline for the performance; Masterson adds gobs of colour with his oration, texture with gesticulation. Genuinely remorseful for Thomas' death, Masterson makes the poems his own.
But what really made this performance for me was the casual nature of the performance. Dressed in dark board-shorts and a t-shirt, Masterson intersperses witty asides to the audience with the poems; a true gem was his comparison of various renditions of Under Milk Wood, successfully aping Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins and even Dylan Thomas himself.
In short: brilliant. See it. Go on, there's a FringeTIX link up there; click it!
(A super-duper added bonus for me, of course, was listening to a bunch of first-year TAFE students pontificate about the performance afterwards. "He was oooooooookay - not as good as I thought he'd be, though. I mean, what's with the one-man-show?")
(It's also worth noting that this is a much better venue for Under Milk Wood - much more intimate than the cavernous Union Hall. If you didn't catch UMW last year, give that a go as well.)
Festival Freak - 07/03/08
Mia wrote: Having become well known for his solo rendition of 'Under Milk Wood', Guy Masterson found himself continually asked to recite other works by the same author and eventually combined some of his favourite into this show. Presented in a very relaxed manner, we were treated to some recitations of various poems, impersonations of famous actors and wonderfully physical performances of three short stories. A great introduction to the works of Dylan Thomas in an appealing and unpretentious manner.
Aunt Em wrote: Just wonderful. This is a guy working at the top of his game. The words tripped from his tounge like diamonds, caressing the audience into a captivated adoring harem! I sat in the front and I swear I got special treatment! Just wonderful stuff!
c_r_mau wrote: We saw UNDER MILK WOOD last year and LOVED IT. so we went to see FERN HILL and it was GREAT. Well worth the small $$$ that Nasterson asks.
Chrismac wrote: A really great show, Guy Masterson is brilliant, a master performer.
Fred Fringe wrote: Masterson say's this show is the least we can do for a dead poet. He's not wrong. Dylan Thomas is a genius and, even to the uninitiated, this show is simply a joy. The words tumble out of Masterson's Welsh lilting mouth like a cascade of life affirming energy. From the wild abandon of a child's imagination to the rueing of lost innocence, Thomas' musings are afforded perfect weight and style. Here's a master performer working at the top of his game with the words of a genius his muse. Wonderful!
Anna wrote: Guy Masterson tells Dylan Thomas' stories with captivating brilliance. The language is beautiful and the performance not to be missed.
John Wells wrote: Masterson brings Dylan Thomas' beautiful words to vibrant life. See www.theatreguide.com.au for full review and more.
Sylvia Marsh wrote: I went to UNDER MILK WOOD last night. Came back for this tonight. WOW WOW WOW! If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I would not have believed it. I think it was actually better! WHAT A MEMORY! Mr Masterson convinced us that Dylan Thomas is a genius. But Masterson is completely at home with this material. He has the perfect voice and style to bring the words to life. I was completely enchanted by practically every word. Enraptured! Simply a wonderful fringe offering!
The Village Idiot wrote: I'll admit right off that I was doubtful about the idea of poetry performed as one-man theatre, but I was completely wrong. Guy Masterson is an utterly engaging and convincing performer. He makes the sights, sounds and characters of Dylan Thomas' works come alive without costumes, makeup, sets or props of any kind. Masterson evokes emotion and imagery with wit, energy and incredible vocal and physical talent. Go and see it!
Hmmm wrote: Wow! Loved the Holiday Memories, Do Not Go Gently and the Child's Christmas. Beautifully presented and performed. Nicely broken up, never, never boring!
Pete Whetton wrote: What a fantastic wordsmith Dylan was. Guy's very active reading was stunning, brought tears of sheer joy to my eyes
Sandy wrote: agree with everyone below. Not a lot more I can add. I was mesmerised!
Denise wrote: This was lovely! Just sheer pleasure. This guy is obviously enchanted by his material and he enchants us too. You could have heard a pin drop. My attention has never been held like that before! An amazing experience. And I will buy the poetry! Fabulous!
Howardhater wrote: I went with Actorboy, and though I have NO INTENTION WHATEVER to be an actor, I agree with everything he wrote. I go to a lot of theatre and this was like nothing I have ever seen. Put simply it is just him and the words. He is great and the words are great. And you go with them.
Sooty wrote: Truly an amazing show. The imagery he created, the senses that he captivated, I can't find adequate description for this show. Truly a master at his craft, in the true sense of the word. His passion for theatre, the words of Thomas and his audience was strongly and keenly felt. Put simply, go see this show!
Actorboy wrote: WOW!!! How to be inspired and intimidated in one go! He blew my mind! I never thought you can act like that. It's freestyle rollercoasting. He just goes for it, miming, showing, describing until you are IN the stories with him. His characters are so clear. And the poetry is sublime. I was never drawn to poetry but now I feel like I want to buy books of it. An amazing night!
Georgie wrote: What can I say... I went again! Think I might be becoming a groupie! (at my age!) Worth it though!
Tonestar wrote: This was fantastic. Never seen a theatre like this but he was amazing on stage and had great rapport with the crowd. Worth seeing!
Valerie wrote: Guy Masterson is an energetic actor and his enthusiasm and joy in the work he is portraying comes through with every piece. He's an old man facing death, a donkey, a dog, a lovely innocent child, a tipsy aunt, self satisfied uncles and so many more that he peoples the stage with dozens of Dylan Thomas characters and his lovely, oh so lovely, lilting, language.
Gio wrote: This is just brilliant. He starts off with an empty stage and fills it with imagery and imagination. Top act!
Fringefreak wrote: Definitely nothing I have seen before.. Definitely something I would see again.. One man on stage entertaining and story telling like no one I have seen.. Love the Burton and Hopkins impressions... Definite must see of the Fringe!!
Emcee wrote: Guy Masterson brings a selection of Dylan Thomas' poems and short stories to life. He doesn't just tell the stories; he shows them. One man on an empty stage, but a great theatrical experience. If only high school students could see Dylan Thomas like this ...
Georgie wrote: Saw this amazing performance last night. Saw his Under Milk Wood last year which was fantastic. You have to see him. If you like being told a good story then this is for you. Brilliant!
Shane wrote: An inspiring performance. A great show in a great venue.
Netty wrote: I really enjoyed Fern Hill. Guy Masterson brings the stories to life in his own entertaining way. When he talks about a day at the beach, you are THERE. Saw Under Milk Wood last year and can recommend both!
The Centre for International Theatre @ Higher Ground, Main Theatree
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)
JohnH wrote: Having seen many of Guy's performances in the past I had every expectation that Under Milk Wood would be a gem. I was not disappointed. Yes the words are brilliant and Guy's articulation of them excellent but what really staggered me was the use of his body to portray the characters and narrative. A wonderful theatrical experience.
Vinylcutter wrote: 2 years ago, someone said I should have seen Under Milk Wood with Masterson. Thank goodness he did it again. I have never seen such a fantastic, energetic, mind boggling performance. He dances, sings and becomes the voices of what must be well over 50 characters. You really feel you are in a front bar, bedroom or street corner observing the wondrous array of Dylan Thomas' villagers. Of course the play's the thing, but Masterson brings Thomas' poetry to life. Superb! Don't miss the last show.
Mia wrote: Guy Masterson, in his signature role, brings to life the inhabitants of Milkwood as they go through their day. Dylan Thomas' writing allows you to see not only what is happening in these people's lives, but also what is going on in their heads. This is not a plot driven piece but rather a snapshot of a small wedge of life. Originally written as a radio play, the characterisations and action in this version are all Masterson's and are a superb showcase for his talent.
CHARLIES_ANGEL wrote: Welsh, warm and wonderful. What a challenging piece of writing for an actor to bring to the stage as a one man show and I can't think of anyone other than Guy Masterson who could pull it off! I am in awe of you Guy - Bloody Brilliant. You're a legend!
jamie_h wrote: I agree with grantos@fringe's review. I love Masterson, but found myself a little sleepy in the middle of the first Act (was it the stifled heating or the intense one man show?). Nevertheless, after a coffee in interval, I was mesmerised by Masterson's incredible energy to effortlessly portray & interchange between 20+ characters. Although it was a little hard to follow at the start, you need to appreciate that UMW is originally an ensemble radio play (which depicts a 'slice of life' from the town of Milk Wood). For one man to do it alone, & successfully so, gets my vote.
grantos@fringe wrote: With a Sunday lunch and a pint in my belly, and being completely naive to Dylan Thomas' amazing work, I confess to being a bit sleepy in the first half. Thankfully the coffee kick started my energy levels, as this show is brilliant. Masterson's performance rightly commands the respect it deserves, and once I'd acclimatised to the wonderfully lyrical language I was absorbed to the very end. A special commendation to some simple yet devastatingly effective lighting and sound.
Fringer wrote: I thought that Richard Burton's version of Milkwood was the definitive till seeing Guy's version. Mesmerising and athletic performance by a fellow Welshman who truly appreciates and understand the soul and wit and brilliance of Dylan Thomas. Masterson interprets Thomas' language with intelligence and verve. I have now seen this show twice; the second time with sound effects added.A great performance of a masterpiece of theatre. How sad Dylan Thomas died so young of the demon drink.A must see!!!!!
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.