Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Nicholas Dallas

Special Special Thanks to Guests from Afar

The drought has been broken. Last week I saw three not good things in a row. I was feeling like theatre was the emperor and it was wearing no clothes and the people were praising because they were too scared to say what they thought. But last night definitely restored my faith.

I went to see the first preview of Nicholas Spagnoletti’s new play Special Thanks to Guests from Afar (I have been kicked off the opening night invite list after years of attending everything at Artscape’s New Writing Programme – probably for writing about  a production I didn’t like) and it was like drinking from a fresh new glass.

Special Thanks is about old South African friends attending a wedding in a weird little spot in Germany. Two good friends and the brother of the groom hook up for some interesting discovery stuff about themselves and each other and it is a really funny, touching, wacky and lovely script.

The best part about the production (especially since it is the first outing of the play) is that it feels like such a successful collaboration. Visible is the crazy funny sensitive hand of the director, Matthew Wild (Matthew I have got to get my hands on some of that weird German folk music! Ehrmagherd!) , the gorgeous cast of Nicholas Dallas, Gideon Lombard and Chi Mhende, fab designers Angela Nemov and Alfred Rietmann, and of course Nicholas.

I love how Nicholas has chosen three really strange and interesting characters to bring to life. They are not the marriage couple, or even the best friends. They are the strange “what do we do with them?” bunch. “Adults who will sit at the children’s table.” The brother of the groom (Lombard) is even weirder. Go and see why.

These delicious actors are going to have a ball, the minute they realise that this production works. They are already busy with such lovely nuance and it’s going to be fabulous to watch them grow. I think this one is a winner. Bravo.

Yes! Elizabeth: Almost By Chance a Woman

liz What a great way to break the drought of plays. I am a reluctant and stingy standing ovationer but I was quickly up on my feet to applaud the cast, but mainly, Robyn Scott, lead supreme of this fantastic show.

Last night at the Little Theatre was exactly how theatre should be. There was a buzz in the air. The full house of audience came early and ate pies and drank beer (what a cool idea). Then we went inside and saw a brilliant script fantastically executed.

Elizabeth: Almost By Chance a Woman is the most unwieldy title of a delicious comedy written by genius and Nobel prize for Literature winner, playwright Dario Fo. Its subject is Queen Elizabeth, who is completely off her rocker. It is this that helps make this theatrical experience so wonderful. The play’s subject matter is irreverent and completely obscure, yet the brilliant script draws you in and the journey is a theatrical delight.

The supporting cast in this production are great. My favourite was Nicholas Dallas who plays Egerton. He is hilarious. Shirley Johnston has the unbelievably difficult job of playing poor Martha and she does so very well. It is a bit like the teeniest moon orbiting the biggest planet; but that’s what it is. Scott Sparrow in a dress and playing Dame Grosslady is weird and hilarious in turns. I had no idea what he was talking about for most of the time, but even that was very, very funny. Jaco Nothnagel and James MacGregor were also delightful in their small parts.

But, let’s face it, it’s the Robyn Scott show. And she is mind blowing. I don’t know where it comes from, but every nuance, movement, sound, tic, step, gesture, pause, cry, every moment is theatrical magic. She is riveting, hilarious, moving and huge. It is no small feat to pull off a monster of a part like this, and she is totally brilliant.

Chris Weare is in his directorial element here. You can see the fun he had with this one. And Daniel Galloway’s lighting, in the difficult Little Theatre, was really, really good. I also have to mention the costumes by Penny Simpson from Artscape, which were absolutely fabulous.

So, I imagine the long and obscure title is not going to make people run off to book tickets, therefore I am taking on the role of urging, nagging, cajoling and threatening people. Guys, if you miss this one you really will miss out. This is what theatre is all about.

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