Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Emily Child

Creepy, darkly funny Murderer

It’s true I often heard the sound of just me laughing last night at The Mechanicals’ opening of Murderer at The Intimate. I do find weird things funny. Like a huge chainsaw being fetched from the back wall. And the sight of really skinny Norman (the amazing Carel Nel) having to move double his own body weight. But those things are just me.

Murderer by British playwright Anthony Shaffer, directed by Chris Weare, with Carel Nel, Nandi Horak, Dorian Burstein and Emily Child is a seriously odd and off-the-wall piece of ‘straight theatre’ that takes you to a dark place pretty quickly and leaves you there as things get worse.

I think it’s difficult to get a live theatre audience to have the kind of creeps they get in movies. It’s even harder when the characters are such a miserable bunch of unlikeables, but that is the success of Murderer. We might not like any of them but they can freak us out big time. Carel Nel as Norman, and Emily Child as his wife Elizabeth, are my favourites, taking the freaking to a whole new level.

I also loved the use of The Intimate (people are coming up with genius ways to interpret the space), the brilliant mix-n-match real and drawn set and very effective sound and lighting needed to create the atmosphere.

I think this play is going to get better and creepier as it goes along. If you love CSI this is better. If you’re a horror and thriller junkie with murder mystery in your blood, this live theatre version will do it for you. Otherwise you might just find it deeply, darkly funny in a revolting kind of way, which is also good.

Decadence sparks

DEC_1 I finally got to see Berkoff’s Decadence last night. It has come back to The Intimate after its sold out run, and is now part of The Mechanicals British Lines rep season. It’s directed by Chris Weare and stars Scott Sparrow and Emily Child.

I understand exactly why it was sold out the first time, and if you are a Slaapstad slacker you are lucky to get the chance to see it this time around. Make sure to check a schedule of when it’s on because it shares the space with The Dumbwaiter (and TheatreSports on a Monday night). Actually, just check The Intimate website for exact dates, like I just did.

This production is tight, slick and wonderful to watch. In fact, the biggest joy is seeing how the actors manage it. The script is 80% less shocking than it was when I first saw it, which means that you really see how the performers manage the text, pace, poetry and style, and they are fantastic. Emily Child is fantastic. She is intense, sexy, strange and totally magnetic. Scott, who is one of my favourites, looks like a bigger version of Daniel Craig and he is great as usual. Chris Weare’s direction is inspired and inspiring. He has not missed a hair of detail and pace.

It’s a special opportunity to get to see some classic theatre, exceptionally well done. Don’t wake up when it’s over and bitch that you missed it.

Decadence – Sold Out!

This amazing thing happened to me last night. I went to go and see a performance of Stephen Berkoff’s Decadence, with Scott Sparrow and Emily Child and directed by Chris Weare, at The Intimate Theatre and when I got there the door person asked if I had booked. When I said no he told me, “So sorry, but we are totally sold out!” I had been invited to opening night last week but I was sick, and decided to go off last night to catch up.

So here’s the deal. Word has got around really quickly that this is a fabulous production of a really excellent play. And guess what? People want to see it. Yay. Yes there is a recession. Yes people are going out less and spending less on entertainment and yes theatre in general is suffering. But. If there is something really good out there that sparks the imagination, people will go. And I have learned my lesson. I will book in future.

Gone Dottie

I invited myself to the opening night of Gone Dottie at UCT’s Arena last night for two reasons. I really wanted to see Emily Child perform and I also remember wanting to be Dorothy Parker for most of my young adult life. There is something deeply appealing about the kind of misery that one makes rhyming poems about. It’s clever, amusing, heartfelt and just so fashionable, especially when it’s accompanied by a bit of a drinking problem.

Emily Child did not disappoint. She is like a strong magnet. I really enjoyed her performance. I thought her characterisation was excellent, her capturing of the style fantastic, her voice and accent really convincing and very possibly Dorothy like. Bravo Emily.

I also need to mention Andrew Laubscher, who plays the many silent men that Dorothy plays off. It’s the third time I’ve seen him and as they say in the programme, "Oh! He’s charming!" And very funny.

So why was I just a leetle (she whispers softly to her friend) bored? I think the text itself is not 100% successful. It is made up of bits and pieces of her writing; stories, poems and a few famous quotations, but it struggled to hang together coherently. Then I also had questions about the direction. Luke Ellenbogen directs, and he manages to create a wonderful style for the piece. The feel and look of it are excellent. I enjoyed the little silent movies and his staging was great. I just think the show was too evenly paced, which made it feel a bit repetitive. At times it felt like it could have been louder, faster, quieter; that the rhythm, even of Dorothy’s speech, could have been more sharply contrasted. It felt like all the pauses were the same length.

I did love the styling of the foyer, and the gorgeous poppies as well as the glamorous catering after the show.

Doing any show based on Dorothy Parker sets up the company for being ‘thrown with Dorothy quotes’. Here is mine. "Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants."  It’s got nothing to do with anything. I just like it.

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