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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Families.  Like it or not, you’re stuck. Like honeycomb to teeth, you’re stuck with memories, stories and questions that remain forever unresolved. Last year, we glimpsed into Paul Capsis’ Maltese family tree in another one-man show Angela’s Kitchen at the SBW Stables Theatre. This year, in an intimate Old Fitzroy Theatre, we are welcomed into the home of Lloyd Beckmann Stitz – beekeeper, cordial host and grandfather to performer of the play, Tim Stitz. Through the science of bees, Lloyd takes us through his life, especially the bits that are too sticky to battle through.

Once you’ve entered the Lloyd world, there’s really no need to be shy. Help yourself to the bikkies and pretzels. Wine or beer? It’s up to you. Cozy up and soak in Lloyd’s warmth. A taste of honey on your lips, smell of talc in the air, sight of floral lamp shades, sound of Lloyd’s excitable voice and a squeeze of your shoulder whenever the old man comes around to tell you his bee tale. These are all part of the Lloyd Beckmann sensory tour package.

Just leave the big, red chair empty. Because when the going gets tough, that’s where the hardy man slumps. A slump so unnatural to this sunny Queenslander, he pushes his woes deep down. Be it death, disease or bankruptcy, “you gotta stop that thing up there,” he says pointing to his temple. “You gotta keep smiling.”

Tim Stitz’s portrayal of his grandfather on stage is uncanny. His verbal rhythm, inflection and whistle combined with a hurried limp only an Aussie battler with a godly work ethic can pull off, plus an endearing incessancy to spell out words transforms Stitz the actor into older Stitz, the character. Just watch the audience’s body language change. No longer are they in a theatre – they are respectful, attentive and polite in the presence of grandfather Stitz.

Don’t fret too much if you are not a big fan of “interactive theatre”. Lloyd is kind and you can easily fade into the dark back seats if you wish, but if you want to sample some of Lloyd’s famed honey and paw paws, pull up a stool, drop your chin on your palms and lose yourself in grandpa’s story.

Memories, stories, nostalgia and mystery. You’ll never know the full narrative of your family but like Stitz’s final recording of his grandfather’s actual voice, you’ll never stop replaying it. (Published in Time Out Sydney, July)

 Until Jul 25, Old Fitzroy Theatre, cnr Cathedral St & Dowling St, Woolloomooloo, $21-$33, 9365 3848,


A Bridgett Jones-esque accountant, Justin Bieber and a teasing plastic bag are just some of the characters you will meet at Bare Boards Braveheart. After a rave review for Toy Box by none other than yours truly, masterminds of subtlenaunce theatre company Paul Gilchrist and Daniela Giorgi are back. This time, they’ve cleared the stage for a slew of talented writers, directors and performers in a festival of solo performances.

The BBBH experience begins with the venue itself. An unassuming Drill Hall set against spectacular views of the Sydney bridge at Rushcutters Bay is a pleasant surprise for those not familiar with the place. Then, there is complimentary hot tea and coffee or wine by donation followed by blankets in baskets if you’d like to rug up during the performance. So far so good. I get the same cosy feeling after a hot towel and a packet of peanuts aboard a Singapore Airlines flight.

View from Rushcutters Bay

All six plays were charming but with short plays/stories/films, there’s always the issue of completion. How best to tell a story or convey an idea within a short period of time and in this case, with just one actor. Some of them missed the mark but as a whole festival, in its entirety, the six plays worked. The Line We Draw (pictured above) written and performed by Skye Loneragan was one that ticked all the boxes. Clever story and a great use of space and minimal props. It’s story time and the children (the audience) are in for a miseducation (Lauryn Hill style) and bitter truths about a little thing called life.

Unsex Me (pictured just above) felt incomplete but I found out later that, it is. The feature version will play later in the year at Riverside’s Theatre’s True West. So, does that mean it’s a teaser? If it was, I’d have preferred less of the haphazard lighting sequence and more of Nick Atkins’ brilliant acting.

Now, to be completely unfair to the rest of the plays… From a Great Height will tickle, Sharks Can Smell Fear will make you feel, It’s Ok to Ask will get you thinking and So It’s That of Quest may require your participation.

For a measly $15, this is a fabulous night of theatre.

 Until June 25, The Drill Hall, 1C New Beach Road, Rushcutters Bay, 7pm, $15,

“When you want something to be there, you’re willing to overlook anything that does not agree with that.”

– Rel Shulman (Creator and cameramaN, Catfish)

If you haven’t alreadyswitched  your Facebook settings to private, I suggest you DO IT NOW! This film was absolutely compelling and captivating from start to finish. Catfish is not based on but IS a true story about an unsuspecting New Yorker who thinks he’s hit the jackpot of love. Photographer Nev’s story is filmed by his brother and friend. The story…

A young girl Abby, a fan of Nev’s photography sends him beautiful paintings of his work. They become Facebook friends and soon after Nev’s found a Facebook family in Abby’s (apparently very hot) mother, (super hot) sister, father, musician brother, cousins etc. Nev forms a friendship then a relationship with Abby’s sister Megan. She’s an actress/musician/artist. He is almost in love. She’s his perfect girl… until he discovers that the MP3 songs she posts on her profile page claiming to be hers are ripped off from YouTube performances.

From this point on, the story takes an unexpected turn, one you’ll never see coming. The promo poster for the film says, “Don’t let anyone tell you what it is”. So, I won’t.

There has been controversy over whether Catfish did actually happen or if it was all made up. To get a better sense of this, I urge you to watch the extras on the DVD where the boys talk about their experience. To be honest, it could very well staged. Doesn’t change the fact that it was a darn good movie.

Hmm… How do I put this? How can I express my feelings in a proper fashion?


Can you tell I’m going to be biased? I can’t help but compare Ian Sinclair’s Rope to the Hitchcock screen version in 1948 (originally a play by Patrick Hamilton written in 1929). The story is simple but malevolent. Two university students kill a fellow student, simply because  they can.  Then they invite guests for a dinner party around the body. Can they get away with murder?

In the first few minutes, Sinclair’s version shocked me and I was intrigued by the new level of darkness he’d injected into the play. Unfortunately, this was not translated throughout.

However, a strange series of events rendered that Wednesday night, June 15 to be exact, into crisis management mode. This actually revealed how dexterous the actors truly were in the face of theatre mishaps. A curtain rail came hurtling down as it was drawn. A boo boo that was quickly covered up by one of the performers. Then, a very visible monster of a cockroach was stamped to death by another performer just before a dialogue about murder. Excuse my French but that was fucking cool!

Final shows on tonight and tomorrow night. Despite my Hitchcock rant, the actors are fantastic and the set design, simply fabulous ma’dear! Go see it!

P.S. Special shout out to the bartender for cooking up that amazing mulled wine!

The Hitchcock Trailer

Until tomorrow Jun 25, Bondi Pavilion, Bondi Beach, 8pm, $25-$33,

I saw Kitty’s live stand-up gig Charming & Alarming late last year at the Sydney Opera House and she is a riot. And you can tell I’m totes on first name basis with her because I interviewed her last year as well. Read the Komi & Kitty interview here. Wow, that sounds like a Japanese animation. As for the Happy Endings bit, you’ll be glad (or not) to know that’s the name of the hottest comedy venue right now in Sydney. It’s cosy, intimate and you can see every zit, sweat droplet and untrimmed nose hair of whoever’s on stage. Good times! Kitty is supported by Lindsay Webb and Sam Bowring.

July 9, Happy Endings Comedy Club, 145 Brougham St, Cnr William St, Kings Cross, 8 & 10pm, $25, 9300 9060,

Dylan Moran’s one-night show for Just For Laughs Festival

(Sep 1. Not in July but get in early. These tix will sell out!)

UTSpeaks: Clearing the Cloud (Jul 19)

Good Food & Wine Show (Jul 1 – 3)

Rocks Aroma Festival (Jul 31)

Cirque du Soleil (Jul 27 – Aug 5)