PERTH FESTIVAL 2023 | Tracker | 4.5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Mesmerising and stunningly realised, ILBIJERRI Theatre Company in conjunction with Australian Dance Theatre weave history and spirit, ancestor’s stories and the lessons they teach in a beautiful dance and movement piece that feels at once ancient and contemporary. Tracker follows Wiradjuri director/choreographer Daniel Riley‘s quest to understand his Great-Great Uncle Alec Riley, a Wiradjuri elder who served as a tracker for the police in the early twentieth century. Riley’s impeccable choreography takes his character across generations of spirituality and imbues the work with a strong sense of understanding the land. With live music composed and performed by Gary Watling, Tracker is the live manifestation of building connection through dance and music.

Beginning on Country, the performers Tyrel Dulvarie, Rika Hamaguchi and Kaine Sultan-Babij sit on the edge of the stage, bearing silent witness to Ari Maza Long as he enters carrying official documents in a bid to get to know his ancestor. In monologues by Ursula Yovich and Amy Sole, Maza Long expresses his lack of connection to country and by extension, his great-great uncle. Through reading the documents and revealing the stories, Maza Long begins to interpret the land through the eyes of a tracker – the greatest. Gently guided by the other dancers in interpretations of the text and ghosts of the past, Tracker is a rollercoaster of a show with fast-paced, heart-hammering movement that calms into slower and more introspective and reverent dances. The movement not only reflects Wiradjuri culture but deeply connects the character of Daniel to his Country. They are the physical manifestation of a combination of ancestral knowledge, knowledge of country, and understanding of framing wisdom in a First Nations way, rather than through its colonisers.

Tracker is a truly remarkable exploration of brilliant skills and ancestral learning, of coming into knowledge – it is an initiation through powerful movement and dance. Each of the dancers move in perfect harmony, their strength is admirable and they flawlessly deliver a story through movement – writing the tale in the air with their bodies. The power of this show will stay with you as you carry the learnings back to your own country.

You can track this stunning performance at the State Theatre Centre WA until 4th March 2023. TICKETS

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


PERTH FESTIVAL 2023 | Cyrano | 4.5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

It starts in a theatre!

Optimistic and uplifting, Black Swan State Theatre Company‘s Perth Festival 2023 offering, Cyrano is a play that reminds us why we tell stories. This version is more than an adaptation – it’s an homage to the enduring elements of the tale and a rejection of the bullshit tropes and ideals traditionalists hold onto when revering the classics. Virginia Gay‘s version of the famous story is adapted with nothing more than love in mind. Adapted – loosely – after Edmond Rostand, Gay turns the theatrical version of Cyrano into an introspective breakdown of theatre as a genre, bashing down the fourth wall with a sledgehammer, whilst keeping the audience absolutely riveted. It’s fast-paced, hilarious, and heartfelt theatre – a work that ensures the longevity of Cyrano by distilling its essence into a clever and sharp play.

Equally contemporary and timeless, Elizabeth Gadsby and Jo Briscoe nail the brief with their innovative set and costumes. Literally breaking down theatre, there is a stage set up complete with limelight and piano, but then it’s as if someone has torn the set in two – archways giving way to rubble and exposed brick and we are privy to ‘backstage’ with its boxes and costumes. Adding to this effect, Director Sarah Goodes keeps the actors onstage when they’re not in a scene – chilling with headphones or meditating ‘offstage’ in full view the entire time. It is only when climaxes occur and the show gets a bit too real and emotional that this fantasy world is broken and they leave the stage for real. Goodes’ direction compliments Gay’s script perfectly – everything is exposed from the beginning, there really are no secrets or big reveals. This creates a palpable tension as the deception dawns on Roxanne (Tuuli Narkle), stripping her of any agency she may have built up throughout the work.

Narkle and Gay have sublime chemistry – you ship them instantaneously. Gay’s performance as the lovesick Cyrano is so real, you see through the artifice, not just because you’re aware of it but because Gay is so sincere. When using Yan (Joel Jackson) as a prop it’s funny at first but soon descends to heartache as Roxanne chooses Yan but then speaks directly to Cyrano – claiming that Yan’s words could be said from any other person and she would love them for it. When put to the test, Roxanne is ultimately more hurt by the deception and lack of faith in her character than by honeyed words. The entire cast is phenomenal, and though Gay clearly stars, Cyrano is the epitome of an ensemble cast show. Zenya Carmellotti and Robin Goldsworthy are hilarious and heart-warming as 1 and 2 respectively. Oh yeah, they’re not named characters, just numbers but that makes their characters larger than life. When joined by the naiive 3 (Holly Austin) the intrepid trio connect over a shared love of theatre and help Gay create the story. Carmellotti’s singing voice is worth the ticket price alone, and the banter between all of them sparkles and fizzes with an eclectic energy.

Gay’s adaptation is a clever and interesting take on the classic. Why retell a story for the umpteenth time when you could devise something? Well, Gay manages to devise and revise all in one fell swoop. This Cyrano is a meta examination of theatre, storytelling, classic literature, love stories, queer stories and identities. It’s a philosophical rendering of human nature and our desire to be loved explored through the medium of theatre. By queering Cyrano, Gay turns the ‘ugliness’ of the original character – a physical attribute – and internalises ideas of othering and self-loathing. Mentioning but not having a physical prop nose (gold stars all around for that decision), keeps the ‘disfigurement’ in the back of the mind and is ultimately forgotten as the story progresses. Apart from some blisteringly funny puns (which do get awkward under Gay’s phenomenal defensive acting), I don’t believe the nose serves any purpose in this version. Cyrano fearing Roxanne will not return her love as a lesbian woman is ‘nose’ enough.

Cyrano borrows the bits it likes and unceremoniously dumps the rest – it makes for sharp and confident theatre. Removing any fighting and violence, the yucky bits like the creepy duke (it’s the twenty-first century, that part had to change) gives Gay more time to focus on Roxanne and Cyrano’s inner turmoil. Narkle begins her journey being referred to as a manic pixie dream girl – although Gay hilariously shoots this idea down – and delivers her lines with a dreamlike lilt, poetry slipping from her tongue in a way that entrances both Yan and Cyrano. Finally her character is given stage time and she uses it to deliver a fierce monologue that states in no uncertain terms that she is fully realised as a character. Gay shoots back ‘that’s because I wrote you that way’ and the look of betrayal on Narkle’s face is a stunning moment in theatre. Finally using her autonomy she leaves the stage for good in perhaps the most definitive way to win the argument. Gay has a complex and brooding nature as Cyrano. Always a figure tormented with feelings of inadequacy, Gay internalises the queer struggle of not being good enough and putting on an act, but also being fiercely proud of their identity and sexuality. It speaks to everyone’s fears of rejection and the ways we shut down rather than face embarrassment. It’s only after advice from 3 that Cyrano realises that everyone fears rejection and this spurs her on to creating a memorable and brilliantly cliché finale.

Beginning when Austin finds her voice and pulls everyone out of their narcissistic funk, the finale is like every great sitcom moment you’ve ever been touched by. Resident himbo Yan finds himself enchanted by the simplistic ways of Austin. Jackson is hilarious in this whole show – posturing and peacocking, his ability to mock himself is greatly undervalued. Cyrano’s open disdain for Yan is a new twist and I have to say, a refreshing one. Austin and Jackson prove that sometimes a leap of faith can be simple – once you remove the egos anyway. So, does Cyrano finally have a happy ending in Virginia Gay’s version? You’ll have to wait and see for yourself. Let’s just say that found family energy, enduring love that isn’t tainted by the notion that unrequited love, entitlement, and stalking are somehow literary gold, and a few kitsch special effects rip up the final pages of the original story and turn it into confetti for the celebration and triumph that is Cyrano.

You can catch all the love at the State Theatre Centre WA until 5th March 2023. TICKETS

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

on now, Review

REVIEW | TAKEAWAY | Workplace dynamics take on a whole new meaning during adversity

Review | Laura Money

We’ve all been there – spending more time at work with your colleagues than your family. The strain that places on each relationship, including with your workmates. Liz Newell creates an insulated yet complicated break-room kitchen sink drama in TAKEAWAY, a darkly funny show centred around the employees of an Italian restaurant. The script has all the hallmarks of Newell’s writing – perhaps crammed a little too full with melodramatic plot points – and proves that it’s easy to have an inclusive work that doesn’t virtue signal, merely reflects current times respectfully. Presented in conjunction with Curtin’s Theatre Arts and the Hayman Theatre Company this show is the perfect vehicle to showcase an ensemble cast in which each performer gets their moment to shine.

Hayman Theatre Company performers are worth keeping an eye out for. They all perform their roles admirably – yes there is still quite a bit of student actor there but it seems to dissipate as they get into their roles more. Keely Johnston, for instance plays Tyler a waitress who has aspirations of performing so rehearses her dance routines while heating up her food. The routines and ‘rock eisteddfod’ facial expressions are all too real, sometimes bleeding into her real performance. Ultimately there are enough confrontational scenes for each of the performers to have their dramatic monologue moment – and each of them do it well. Lou (Kate Naunton-Morgan) spends the majority of the time frowning as her character is required to continually put out fires whilst not really able to cope. She has some touching moments with Clem and learns to bond with her colleagues in ways she wouldn’t have dreamed before the events of the play.

Tiandra Seal plays Clem who no Lo get works at the restaurant yet hangs out there all the time. She delivers some heartfelt lines and has a really punchy argument with her best friend Vas (Tom Cartwright) and while at times she borders on stereotypical moves like tearing up and yelling out a monologue she suppresses these inclinations and grows within the scene. Equally, Cartwright has some killer lines that he sometimes delivers a bit too fast but when he slows it down he becomes the king of deadpan. Cartwright isn’t afraid to look stupid either and his get-up when going to dispose of a dead rat is absolutely brilliant!

Next up are Annalisa Cicchini as Charity and Emilie Tiivel as Darcy. These two definitely have the strangest dynamic – obviously respectful of each other but also a little distant. Their relationship is like that if siblings Cicchini delivers some blistering lines and has great timing. Her panic attacks and Tiivel’s subsequent calming down could be bigger as I feel she is holding back a little. Tiivel is a quiet and affable Darcy. They are a character that’s usually in the background and everyone gets onside with their identity – because Tiivel plays Darcy with such charm, the audience are horrified at the prospect of them being in trouble.

Speaking of sweethearts it’s new girl Alma (Zoe Garciano) and resident party animal Danny (Tom Ford) who round out the cast as loveable fan faves. Garciano is so cute as Alma, taking it on the chin when nicknamed Elmo and happy to volunteer for anything. She doesn’t lose her cool when taken advantage of and has everyone cheering when she finally stands up for herself. Her impassioned monologue about their owner being a person with a family is a lovely moment in theatre. Danny is dealing with caring for a family member with cancer. Ford plays him as the most upbeat and fun-loving guy and his stark contrast when breaking down is done very well.

TAKEAWAY is a clever and darkly funny piece. This fresh look at the workplace dynamic is funny and heartfelt. The script is sharp and the actors have great camaraderie together creating a warm environment you wish you could join!

You can still check out the crew of TAKEAWAY at The Blue Room Theatre until 25th February 2023. TICKETS

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


FRINGEWORLD 2023 | An Exhibit of the Uninhibited: Licentious | 4 Stars

Review | Amanda Lancaster

What is licentiousness? A complete disregard for the accepted conventions? Or merely a freeing of oneself from inhibitions? Licentious in name and in nature, prepare to explore the most very base natural animal instincts within. Revamped, red hot and ready to go, meet Ms Mya Tension and her band of burlesque badasses in An Exhibit of the Uninhibited: Licentious.

This is one show that will have you wanting to explore the adventurous side you may not even know you had. Licentious is a sexy sampler of stereotypes stripped away to their purest most intimate forms. This is one show that sets out to not only entertain but educate. Think stripping of clothes whilst simultaneously stripping of stigmas. It’s such a fabulous idea as a social experiment and learning aid and also one of the most fabulously themed and choreographed shows at FRINGEWORLD 2023. Licentious is not only a fantastic demonstration of home grown local talent and teachers in the burlesque field, but also an honest and open look at the types of people and play that goes on upon the stage and behind the scenes of Perth’s biggest kink and fetish scene.

This is one R rated show that does not disappoint, both wholesome and respectful as it walks right up to the line and dances on it and across it but never stepping over it. Consent after all is the number one key component to any kink or personal preference, including both artist and audiences night after night. See whips, crops, feather dusters, props. See puppies and pets, leather and lace and that’s just the start my friends. Have your eyes and minds thoroughly opened to a world of curiosity. So, enter the world of kink and the kinky and get a taste of one FRINGEWORLD 2023 flavour on offer that is anything but vanilla.

Oh, and don’t forget your safe word.

An Exhibition of the Uninhibited: Licentious has finished now, however you can follow Mya Tension on Instagram to see what she’s up to.

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

FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2023 | Your Silence Will Not Protect You | 4.5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Third in The Anxiety Trilogy, Your Silence Will Not Protect You is Gavin Roach‘s blistering self-examination into anxiety and substance abuse told through the lens of a series of hilarious and intense anecdotes. Roach starts the show with a story about fisting. Yep, that’s right – your eyes didn’t deceive you – fisting. The thing is, Roach is such a friendly and hilarious personality, his delivery just gets you on side immediately. With a tone that suggests even he can’t believe himself, Roach will have you in stitches as he recalls the farcical moment. The story serves as a bit of a Trojan Horse as his next few stories are ultimately darker. Roach jumps to different moments in his life where he has felt anxiety and the ways in which he tried to cope. His writing is vivid – delivery raw. Roach deftly conjures up strong imagery using dark humour and powerful scene-setting – he is a master storyteller – each piece viscerally lands and you feel his pain bodily. Each vignette is a moment in time, darkened around the edges as if Roach doesn’t really wish to relive them but ultimately knows he must.

Jumping from story to story, Roach continues to revisit his fisting story which serves as an anchor for the piece. With the hectic nature of flicking through memories and experiences, by circling back the play to this grounding piece, Roach provides a much needed reprieve from so much confronting material. Roach has a unique style – super camp, over the top, with strange emphasis in his inflection he is so likeable you won’t want his stories to stop. He straddles the boundaries of comedy and tragedy with a well-practised oratory style that is completely his own. It’s captivating. Your Silence Will Not Protect You is a stunning solo piece that leaves Roach’s soul completely and utterly laid out before you. His manic style of jerking bodily from story to story, time and place reflects the anxious nature of his mind – a mind that cannot stop and will move from topic to topic to perhaps evade something serious. But it is a mind that produces wonderful stories.

You can catch all of Gavin’s energy at The Jonesway Theatre until 19th February 2023. TICKETS

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.