Play by the rules: STC & Malthouse’s Love and Information

Caryl Churchill’s plays are renowned for their intellectual rigour and their political preoccupations, as much as for pushing the boundaries of what theatre can be, what it can do. In Love and Information, Churchill turns her attention to not just one idea or issue, but rather Life, in all its complexities and intricacies, and examines the concepts of space, rhythm, time, language, connections, relationships, and identity, as both fixed and fluid notions. Presented here by the Sydney Theatre Company and Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre, Love and Information ripples with an unbridled wit, compassion, and a sense of precision which is truly mind-boggling.


The outsiders: Sport for Jove’s Of Mice and Men

Published in 1937, John Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men tells the story of two displaced itinerant workers, looking for work in Depression-era California. Based on his own experiences in the 1920s, Steinbeck’s book is a haunting and non-judgemental view of the world, something which ripples through a lot of his work from the 1930s and 40s. In an adaptation written by Steinbeck himself, Sport for Jove’s production – currently playing in the Seymour Centre’s Reginald theatre – is tight, elegant, mesmerising and atmospheric, richly evocative of the hardship of the era.


A bard thing: Genesian Theatre’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

This review was originally written for artsHub.

Back in 2002, my parents took twelve-year-old me to see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at the Glen Street Theatre. It was my first introduction to Shakespeare and while I might not have understood every joke or (palpable) hit at the Bard, I enjoyed it immensely and try to see each subsequent production of it, to remind myself of the joy in getting so caught up in something it changes the way you think. This production, at the Genesian Theatre in Sydney’s CBD, is the fifth production I’ve seen of this play, and it is every bit as silly and as enjoyable as it was thirteen years ago; as it has always been.


A sure bet: Apocalypse Theatre Company & Griffin Independent’s The Dapto Chaser

First produced in 2011 by Merrigong Theatre Company, Mary Rachel Brown’s The Dapto Chaser is a wart-and-all love-letter to greyhound racing, and sinks its teeth into the dog-racing culture with gusto. Produced by Apocalypse Theatre Company and Griffin Independent, The Dapto Chaser is ninety minutes of acutely-observed writing and performances, wrapped up in the story of a family stuck in the vicious cycle of gambling as everything goes to, well, the dogs.
Many years ago, I read Markus Zusak’s series of books about two brothers who live near Central and spend a chunk of their time around the Wentworth Park dog track. Like Brown’s family – the Sinclair’s – the Wolfe brothers are fighting against their circumstances, each other, and end up winning in a way that only they and people like them can. The Dapto Chaser centres around a dog called ‘Boy Named Sue’, his owner Cess, Cess’ brother Jimmy who works at the Dapto race track, their father Errol, and the dog club manager Arnold Denny, and the dog-eat-dog struggle they find themselves locked into seemingly forever. Where The Dapto Chaser succeeds with flying colours, is in its language, its depiction of this family on the lower edge of society; in its evocation of the colourful and larger than life characters you find trackside.