Five With Fringe | Ella Norton | VIKINGS! | FRINGEWORLD 2023

VIKINGS! have been spotted in Perth once again this FRINGEWORLD 2023. We caught up with Ella Norton, one half of the duo to find out what we’re in for.

What is your show about?

This show follows two young Vikings, Ülf and Ragnar on an epic journey of circus and comedy across rough seas. They have been sent on a mission from the gods and though they are both brave and strong, they will need more than battle skills to complete this task. 

What is your favourite part of the show?

The whole show is a lot of fun for us, but our favourite part would have to be the audience interaction, we love not knowing what’s going to happen!

What do you think people will get out of your show?

We think that our show gives people an afternoon of fun circus entertainment, but also strives to teach that great strength comes in many different forms and that sometimes friends can be made in places you never expected. 

Apart from your show, what other shows would you recommend? 

Laser Kiwi

Don’t Mess With the Dummies 


Describe your show in 3 words

Hilarious Viking Adventure

You can catch all the action at The Pleasure Garden until 19th February 2023. TICKETS

Check out our review from FRINGEWORLD 2021 HERE

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to this FRINGEWORD 2023.

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

In Brief, Interview

IN CONVERSATION | Rupert Reid | Once

Interview | Laura Money

Rupert Reid is a stage and screen actor with an impressive resume including The Matrix trilogy. Reid is performing in Black Swan State Theatre Company’s upcoming production of Once an eight time Tony winning musical set in Dublin that tackles love and everything in between. We asked Reid five questions ahead of the show to get an insight.

What is Once about?

Once is about a lot of things. It’s about the power of music to connect us, the healing effect it has on us and the leaps of faith we all have to take in our lives to let love in or to let it go when we need to.

Favourite part of the show, no spoilers!

There are too many favourite parts of this show to mention! The most rewarding part is seeing how audiences react night after night to this beautiful production. I get to watch the audience from onstage in some quieter moments. My character happens to be the kind of guy who’d imagine a crowd of people watching him play guitar every night so it’s all above board! Also, the curtain call is pretty special. We have a really fun finale. No spoilers!

How does the show relate to today’s society?

Outside the world is a mess, inside we’re all a mess too, more or less. That’s being human. Themes of love, loss, missed opportunities but essentially an optimistic view of the world make Once a story of hope and connection. The music is played by and for each character in the show and is a vital part of who they are. It speaks to our instinctive need for meaningful relationships and the ability to heal ourselves once we’ve learned to open up a little and let human connection work on us.

Apart from Once what is your favourite musical and why?

My favourite musical is The Lovers, by Laura Murphy. It’s a pop infused reimagining of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The word ‘pop’ seems tame. Sounds too cute. Nah. It’s insanely good and it will blow your mind. (opens in October at the Sydney Opera House presented by Bell Shakespeare Co.) 🙂

Describe your show in 3 words:

Irish. Musical. Mayhem.

You can catch all the mayhem at The Regal Theatre from 28th May – 12th June 2022. TICKETS

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2022


IN CONVERSATION | Dan Giovannoni | Writer of The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker

Interview | Laura Money

Dan Giovannoni is a writer and collaborator with Barking Gecko Theatre, he has brought us classics such as Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories and HOUSE. Giovannoni’s latest project – another collaboration with Barking Gecko Artistic Director Luke Kerridge, is The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker – an enduring tale of adventure and discovery. We caught up with Dan ahead of the show to find out what it’s all about.

Laura Money (LM): Why this incredibly long title, The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker? I love it!

Dan Giovannoni (DG): I guess one of the things that we wanted to do – the show is drawing off of a lot from us (the makers) with references to our childhoods, including the poetic images and ideas from The Little Prince and other eighties cartoons like SheRa and eighties adventure films like Labyrinth and The Princess Bride – so we wanted a title that gave us a sense of adventure and of the epic kind of adventure that our protagonist goes on. So the title came bout from trying to embed this sense of the epic nature of the quest that he has to go on.

LM: It is reminiscent of those epic adventure books and films of people’s childhoods and really does give a thrill up your spine.

DG: Yeah, and for us as makers we were trying to pull in the things that were the foundations of our own kind of wondering and sense of imagination – this was the place we found our creativity and did our imagining and I found that interesting.

LM: Well, you’ve been very imaginative in your other projects so far – what was your first foray into Barking Gecko Theatre?

DG: Luke [Kerridge] and I worked together first on Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories in 2015/6 maybe? We were actually working on that before he took the job at Barking Gecko and we were invited by Barking Gecko Theatre to come and make the show with them. And these other two projects, HOUSE and Wilbur were projects that Luke and I had been working on in our own time, just bubbling away for a while, and when he got the job at Barking Gecko we were able to realise them in quite an extraordinary way.

It’s such a thrill you know to be able to really take someone on an adventure in a flying house or into outer space, it’s such a gift as theatre artists and for our supporters.

LM: It sounds like you’ve found the perfect fit, Barking Gecko was the right place for these shows to go.

DG: I think so, I mean, Barking Gecko makes work that takes their audience seriously, sometimes work for kids can be a bit, maybe not derided but I think um, it’s great to be with a company that is dedicated to its audience – who understand their audience and want to bring their audience on a journey with them. 

LM: With that in mind, how do you approach a work written for children? Do you write it for children or like it’s for everyone?

DG: We are trying to make work that is primarily for families, that means that we’re expecting intergenerational audiences and it’s the sort of show that I think really benefits from a conversation in the car on the way home – so grandparents could chat with grandchildren, have a great time at the theatre and then have big conversations about creativity and loneliness and growing up. I don’t really sit down and say ok, there’s stuff I can’t say because it’s for kids, my job is to find a way to say what I want to say for kids.

You know children experience the same spectrum of emotion that grown-ups do – it’s not like they’re these magical other creatures and so all of the things that affect me as an adult were the same things that affected me as a child and affect other children and that really stays with me as I sit down to write. Obviously I want to inject it with a sense of fun and adventure and hope. I think the only thing I really feel is I have an obligation as an artist to present, to offer hope.

LM: I think that’s really important and it certainly shines through in both Bambert’s and HOUSE, how does that sense of hope come through in Wilbur?

DG: It comes through in the sense that it’s a show about the importance and necessity of wonder, of imagination and creativity and dreaming, and those things in a capitalist society. [They are] routinely disregarded and devalued by the grown up world. I think creativity and imagination are considered the domain of flights of fancy and they’re not serious or sensible. And they are, ironically the things young people are going to need if they’re going to tackle the problems they will encounter as grown ups. The world is a pretty wild place, and I think stepping out into the world even if it wasn’t as wild as it is, it’s pretty daunting.

For Wilbur, we have a 41 year old man as the protagonist of this show,  um so he’s not a kid, and so he’s been on a really big journey already through his life and the glimmer of hope offered to him is a gift to our adult audience but also an invitation to the kids to hold onto their wonder, to hold onto their creativity, their dreaming and their imagination because everything sort of comes and goes but in our world – the world that we’re building – wonder is something that is in everything. There’s wonder to be found in space, there’s wonder to be found in milkshakes, there’s wonder to be found in creatures that talk and those are the things that will fuel you in your life, so that’s sort of the hopeful nugget that we want the audience – kids and grown ups – to take away from it. 

LM: I think that’s fantastic, and I’m sure they will – how much of you is in the character of Wilbur? Did you lose your sense of wonder and came back to it or have you always retained it writing for theatre?

DG: Well it’s funny, we’ve been working on this show for maybe on or off for 5 or 6 years, and a lot of the more fantastical elements – the kooky characters and the adventure part came quite easily, with my imagination just sort of running wild but the character, to be honest, took a little longer to land and draft after draft I’d send it to Luke and I didn’t really quite know who Wilbur was and it was in between like draft 5 and 6 that it came – a large chunk of it came in lockdown, I live in Melbourne and I realized that yeah, I sort of had become a bit of a Wilbur myself and I’d lost my adventurous spirit and I’d lost my sense of wonder. 

I had to go on a pretty personal quest of my own to refind it but through the writing, through this character kind of constantly asking me to look into what he needed, I was able to work out what I needed too. Definitely there’s a lot of me in Wilbur, there’s a lot of Luke in Wilbur. Both Luke and I have worked for many years with young people and we’ve observed their creative spirit and sense of play and imagination and I’ve often watched that diminish as they get older – a lot of kids have spoken quite eloquently about their own parents losing their imaginations and their sense of play so all of that played into Wilbur too, the knowledge that kids see how the adult world works through their parents, their teachers, other grown ups in their lives who struggle to maintain their sense of wonder and then they distribute that knowledge to other young people. 

LM: When you approach a piece of theatre as opposed to just writing a short story or whatever it is, how much do you have staging and directing and sound design or costuming in mind? Or do you just let them take it and run with it?

DG: Look it’s a bit of both. Our collaboration on Bambert and again on Wilbur is with the amazing designer, Jonathan Oxlade who has built the world for both of those shows and that conversation with Jonathan, you know he’s in the room right from the beginning of the process so there’s a part of me that is conscious of how we’re going to do it but really the invitation from Jonathan and Luke is go wild. We’ll build the thing and we’ll work out a way to realise it. They never turn around and say you can’t do that – they might ask ‘why do you want to do that?’ and ‘what’s a different way that we can realise it?’ but we’re more interested in making theatre, it would defeat the purpose if you can just ‘CGI’ everything – especially with a story like this which goes right through outer space into all these kooky, crazy worlds so we’re always trying to find a theatrical solution to the ideas that we want to explore. So, yeah I’m thinking about it sometimes but I mean, certainly I didn’t ever think that we’d be able to achieve some of the amazing images that we’re going to be able to in Wilbur when I was sitting down to write it. 

LM: That’s the great thing about theatre, isn’t it? It’s wondrous in itself and it takes the brains of everybody’s specific talents and when you put them all together it creates something so unique that you don’t see anywhere else.

DG: Yeah, it’s amazing and I think the creative team are all probably within ten years of age of each other so I think that we’re drawing on our references, it’s a shared reference – you know the same eighties adventure movies, everyone is transported back to that time when they were a child and they know what that sounds like, and looks like, and feels like.

LM: So just when you hear some of that music does it take you straight back to being a kid and watching those movies?

DG: Yeah, totally! We have this wonderful character who is sort of, she’s not inspired by but certainly is in the legacy of a character like SheRa and she has a really sick anthem, her superhero anthem that plays – I caught a snippet of it the other day in the rehearsal room and it just transports you immediately. 

LM: Obviously you’ve been drawing on that particular era – the movies, books and shows that endured are usually the ones that have stood the test of time in terms of intersectionality and strong female characters – do you think that you’ve built on that legacy? Or do you include it in a way that it’s normalised?

DG: It’s always a conscious decision, I think anything we put on stage you have to be conscious of otherwise you’re doing yourself and the audience a disservice. So, we’re definitely talking about those things and the kind of characters that we want to put on stage, the kind of messages that we want them to be sharing and the ideas that we want them to represent. We want what goes on stage not only to reflect the world that we are in, but also offer them a future. You should be able to look at what’s happening on stage and go, either that is me or that’s for me or I’m going to grow into that world. 

LM: It sounds like the approach of using a family story is a very smart move because some of these adult quest movies such as Hector and the Search For Happiness, are very much from the legacy of like Jack Kerouac – single man goes on journey has affairs and finds himself – it’s a very narrow narrative. I love that you’re revelling in this idea of wonder and how children aren’t corrupt. At what point did we become this cynical product of our culture?

DG: There is a conversation in the work about growing up and yes, Wilbur is a grown up but his – she isn’t a sidekick but his co-journeyer is Princess Fantastic who is six and a half thousand years old but she has the spirit of a ten year old and that has allowed us to crack open that conversation about growing up and at what point do you let stuff go and why does that happen, and how do you get it back, it’s a really important part of our entry point into the work. Luke came to me with this idea after having this kind of passion of kids having their creativity and their imagination gently squashed by the world as they get older. So it’s embedded right at the core of the story, the relationship between childhood and adulthood.

And so even though we have a grown up protagonist, it’s much more about the balance, because you have to grow up, you can’t remain a child forever, that’s preposterous and there are heaps of great things about being a grown up – there are heaps of great things about being a child and I think that our society has carved the two apart. We’re sort of positing that there’s another way. We’re reconsidering the connection between grown ups and kids.

LM: That’s so interesting because we do so much in that space between, a lot of identity building. I find that a lot of my personality is the same as it was at ten years old but I lost it and had to come back to it. 

DG: Yeah, and I think that’s a common story, you know I think the last two years have brought that home for a lot of adults they’re like, wow this machine that I was part of has ground to a halt and when it all stopped people looked back and went, hang on a second do I want to get back on? 

LM: Apart from seeing this show, The Great Un Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker, what advice would you give to adults to bring back a sense of wonder into their lives?

DG: That’s a great question! The way that our protagonist discovers his sense of wonder – part of it is about recalling childhood and thinking about who he was once, but more importantly I guess it’s about – it’s a tricky thing I think to do as a grown up – trying to investigate your inner space. There’s a metaphor in this work about inner space and outer space and the galaxies that you have inside your heart and that you are a full and rich person inside. If you can tap into even just a glimmer of that then you’re off – the journey begins.

The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker starts at The State Theatre Centre WA from 9th -16th April 2022. TICKETS

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2022


INTERVIEW | Trevor Todd | Arty Facts

Interview | Laura Money

A few weeks ago I received a lovely email from Trevor Todd, writer of the FRINGEWORLD 2022 show Arty Facts. It’s an absolute classic, and not to be missed and you can see our review HERE. The hilarious subject of the email: The interview that we might have had had we had an interview…I was so impressed that I present to you the body of said email written entirely by the wonderful Trevor Todd.

LM: How did you come to write Arty Facts?

TT:  I wrote With Fire In Her Heart: the Edith Cowan Story for Fringe 2021. The subject matter was at times harrowing and it tried to chart one woman’s challenging and ultimately uplifting journey. Arty Facts was written with the mood regarding Covid in mind. It’s not uplifting. It doesn’t reveal any deep human insights..

LM: But?

TT: But I hope that audiences find it funny. Goodness knows we could all do with a laugh after the year we’ve had.

LM: What form does the show take?

TT: There are ten world famous paintings or sculptures featured in vignettes. In each one the subject of the artwork ‘comes to life’ and we hear their take on sitting for the artist.

LM: Could you give an example?

TT: Well…there’s Lisa, from the Mona Lisa, of course. She complains to Leo that the painting’s not bad…but a bit too brown. She offers to pop home and put on her nice red dress as it will brighten up the painting a tad. And I’m too embarrassed to mention Dwayne, who is the subject for Michelangelo’s David.

LM: Why?

TT: Well…the chisel SLIPS during the carving…and Dwayne is too embarrassed to let anyone see the finished piece.

LM: (laughs) I get the picture! How did you come to team up with Jane Sherwood of Much Productions?

TT: I put up a post on FaceBook…we met…had coffee…a few laughs…and now she’s working hard with the actors to bring Arty Facts to Fringe 2022.

LM: Which actors are bringing Arty Facts to life?

TT: We have Meredith Hunter, Jarrod Buttery and Rachael Maher. And there’ll be some frantic quick changes of costume because they take on role after role after role…and it’s over in sixty minutes.

LM: What’s your favourite piece from Arty Facts?

TT: Oh…it would have to be Girl With A Pearl Earring.

LM: And why is that?

TT: I was laughing myself silly as I wrote it. Aways a good sign. I just hope that audiences find Arty Facts funny. There’s that nagging feeling leading up to first night…WILL ANYBODY LAUGH???

LM: Well, I’m certainly looking forward to seeing it. It’s on at After Dark, isn’t it?

TT: Yes – a great venue! All wispy black curtains and beanbags and interesting little nooks. I just hope people find it as funny as I did, while writing it.

LM: I look forward to seeing it.

TT: Thank you.

You can catch all the Arty Facts at After Dark until 25th January 2020. TICKETS

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to this FRINGEWORD 2022


IN CONVERSATION | What’s in Kangaroo Stew? Find out with Director Bruce Denny as we talk about his latest Blue Room Theatre Production

Interview | Laura Money

Kangaroo Stew is a family drama that centres around Native Title, loss and grief, and the ways in which we all come together as one. It premieres at The Blue Room Theatre on 27th April 2021. We caught up with Director Bruce Denny to find out what it’s all about.

Denny has directed plays previous to this but Kangaroo Stew marks his Blue Room debut, he was assistant director on FIFO (Yirra Yaakin), independent co-op type theatre and will be directing for Yirra Yaakin’s Dating Black. He was just recently in The Sum of Us – so does being an actor give him any more insight into directing?

‘Well as a director you know what the actors are going through. You know all the nerves and the worries and the doubts and all that. And as an actor you think, ok it’s not just about me and my character, the director has to put the show together so it all balances out. As an actor you’re very quick to think ‘my character wouldn’t do that’ but as a director you think ‘oh actually, that relates to that because that’s what so and so said in page 2. I think it’s a good thing to cross over. I love being on stage.’

Interestingly, Denny’s journey to the stage is not your classic story. ‘When I went to school I wasn’t allowed to do drama … I auditioned in grade four for Oliver, the musical and the next week Dad took me out and enrolled me in football!’

It wasn’t until a well meaning neighbour connected to community theatre encouraged him to tread the boards: ‘I was fortunate enough I had a neighbour once who was involved in community theatre and they were looking for a sleazy Mexican card player for A Streetcar Named Desire and she said ‘yeah, you’d do it, Bruce.’ And yeah, I loved it and kept up with it after that.’

Of course there are many ways to get to where Denny is today ‘Yep, did community theatre for a while then an agent came and saw one of the shows and at that time I was a male model and got myself an agent and just went from job to job. I never went to WAAPA as such but I have done courses like stage combat and character and development’

‘I had a lot of good directors when I first started, one of them she taught me about owning the space and others teach you stagecraft and things as you go along.’

So what was his first Blue Room show?

‘A few years ago in the 600 seconds I did a monologue, about three or four years ago. I’ve always gone to the Blue Room to see shows, I have a place in the country I live in unless I’m at work – if I haven’t got work I go bush but I really love contemporary Australian theatre so I’ve always been a fan of the Blue Room. It’s the first time directing there but I have been in shows.’

What’s it like being at the Blue Room?

‘What I like about it is it’s a small space – it’s got a good feel about it. Because you’ve got usually an educated audience in the theatre, so they’re prepared to allow for experimental theatre, they’re a good bunch of people and the confined space suits a smaller play.’

Kangaroo Stew started out as a much larger production ‘Zac and I sat down and had to bring it back to what we could actually perform in the space that we had with the budget that we had as well. What’s the basic story line of what we want to tell.’

It’s ultimately a story about family so how does it feel directing a bunch of people who have to love each other every night?

‘[There are] five people on stage – the father John played by Maitland Schnaars – now he’s actually already dead, so you see him throughout the play, then his wife, his widow Lilly who is played by Aunty Raima, then his son Jack who stayed home who is played by Micah and then there’s David the son who left and has now returned, he’s played by Zac James the writer, and then we have his fiancé/love interest in CJ Hanson.’

‘There’s a lot of respect, well Maitland has a lot of respect for people because of his experience and his body of work, the new person is Micah, he’s done stand up comedy and this is his first time on stage and it’s a very supportive experience – myself and Maitland we sat down and had a yarn with him – he’s coming leaps and bounds and I’m sure this is not the last time you’ll se him in a show. There’s a real bond, they all look out for each other when you’re on the stage you are dependent on other people so you do need to be supportive of each other.’

It’s a family story – how important is aboriginality to the story?

‘Well Zac is Wangai, it’s a family story similar to a lot of people out there – they’re doing it tough and then they get the offer of royalties from a mine compared to the importance of culture. We covered this in FIFO as well, it’s an issue that’s affecting lot’s of communities – do we stay here living in poverty without proper chances for education or can we retain the culture and still get ahead. So it’s a modern story linking to the ancient past of beliefs – where do you compromise? It’s a subject that’s affecting many places now.’

‘We’ve got to tell our own stories. They’re the same stories as everyone else’s. I was involved in a play called Cracked a couple of years ago and that covered drug addiction and that can be a story about white fella, black fella – it’s a story that’s still affecting families now and that could be in any suburb. These stories, they’re our stories – I’m not trying to tell somebody else’s story. The movement now is really, ok our stories are as relevant as anybody else’s stories and we don’t have to just do this old stuff. Yeah, stories about poverty and doing it tough is not confined to one race, colour or creed. They’re modern stories – anyone can watch the importance of coming together as a family to make decisions … so it’s a story that anyone can take something from.’

‘We have included bits of culture in this one – spirits, language, a bit of dance, just bits of it to tell the story, to keep it grounded.’

What do you think the audience is going to get out of Kangaroo Stew?

‘I’d like to think they’ll get a better understanding of what’s out there. Mining and the remote areas, these things can have a big impact. So it’s an understanding of what people can go through in these areas – I know from living and working in the city it’s like ‘oh just leave it all in the ground, you know what I mean?’ And there’s something there that says we need work, we need jobs for our kids and other people say no dig it all up! And of course you can’t dig it all up because it’s important to our culture. So, it’s not as simple as people think. I think Zac has done a great job in saying hey, if we do this we could have this, we could have that, we can get proper health services and all that. I think Zac as a writer has done a great job because he’s not just one sided.’

‘In theatre I don’t always say I want the message to take this message away. I want to give them a show that they enjoy being in that room and that they want to be in that room again. When I normally get the actors together for rehearsing a show my general spiel is always to remember that you’re doing this for an audience. If we have an empty theatre, what’s the point of putting it on? So I usually try to direct so that either the audience are going to get something out of it or at least enjoy their night at the theatre.

It could be a comedy or it could be a drama. After The Sum of Us for instance I had a lot of people coming up to me after and telling me their stories. And I felt very honoured by that… what they did is want to hang around afterwards and share their stories and open up a bit and that to me is good live theatre. When you get that audience engagement and they’re prepared to have a yarn about it after. I’m one of those people, I go out after the show and I’m quite happy to talk to anybody who wants to talk to me about the show. I’m quite happy to talk about it because for the audience that’s part of their evening out as well. Especially somewhere like the Blue Room which has a nice little bar and an area you can talk, they’ve paid their money to see 60 minutes of theatre, but if you can extend that out by another half an hour feeling safe and comfortable to come up and say, oh we liked that or it wasn’t my cup of tea – that’s fine too. For me theatre is everything. I can remember when every play was three hours long and you just want to go home and go to bed after. These days it’s shorter – curtains up at 7pm, we finish at 8 and then another half an hour of talking – I mean they don’t have to hang around, they can go home to bed or they can have a yarn. I like an audience that feels comfortable enough to hang around.’

So, how does the dynamic change as the show develops?

‘You find you have the reading and everyone’s all fired up, then you go through the blocking process and the energy starts to drop, then you go into rehearsals and it becomes routine, then the first time they start playing with props things change a bit. Then costumes and all of a sudden things lift a peg. And then the lights and sound come in and you think, alright. Then you get a few people in the room and they react, they start laughing or something and all of a sudden the dynamic changes. Then you get to the opening night where some people get nervous and then you have the run of the show, so it does change dynamics but in a good way.’

Of course, for Denny directing is all about connection – to each other, to the words, to the space.

‘Last night I did an exercise where I put all of the actors in different parts of the room, so they weren’t near each other and turned off every single light in the room so it was total black. And I got them just to do a lines run. And two of the actors actually felt really emotional in a part they hadn’t really before. It was just them in the dark without visual props or movement even taken out of it, they couldn’t move they just had to do it in the dark and sit still. And that took it to a different dynamic when they did that.’

Kangaroo Stew is on at The Blue Room Theatre. This interview was conducted pre lockdown and restrictions. Please keep up to date on their website: