16 Apr

Recently a friend suggested to me that there were too many positive reviews being written in Sydney. I found this a curious statement.

If it’s true, one can only ask ‘Why?’

Here’s some possible explanations:

Perhaps reviewers are just writing irresponsibly in order to secure free tickets. (To shows they don’t like?)

Perhaps reviewers just enjoy status. (I’m reluctant to despair of human nature so easily.)

Perhaps the standard of theatre in Sydney is, in fact, improving. (In comparison to what?)

Perhaps the current crop of reviewers and my friend simply don’t share the same aesthetic values.

Let me expand a little on this idea.

I go to the theatre because I enjoy the art form. What I enjoy most is its fundamental duality. It puts into conflict multiple voices, yet these multiple voices are orchestrated by the one artist, the writer. (Of course, I’m talking about script based work, and I don’t want to undervalue the collaborative nature of theatre.)

Haircuts 076

Take Haircuts, directed simply and beautifully by Lex Marinos and performed by a very skilled cast. Written by Con Nats, the show is built on a contrast between two different fathers (John Derum and Adam Hatzimanolis). Fascinating tensions arise. Old wisdom versus new business sense. Parents versus children. Words versus silence.

But these tensions, these multiple voices, build a cohesive universe, and in Nat’s universe, the essential aspect is that human relationships are fractious. The pain of this is intriguingly explored through humour. Broadly, this humour comes in two forms. It’s either gladiatorial, as characters trade insults. Or it’s based on gender or ethnic stereotypes, as characters try to come to terms with the ineffable mystery of the Other.  This vision of life – of a world of damaged human beings desperate to make connections – is what makes Nats an interesting and valuable voice on the Sydney theatre scene.

Veronica Kaye

Haircuts by Con Nats

The Greek Theatre til 26 April

3 Responses to “Haircuts”

  1. lisathatcher April 16, 2015 at 9:23 am #

    Wonderful review!
    As always.
    … Too many positive reviews? Too often negative criticism is just bad writing. I’ve yet to read a negative review that wasn’t self consciously aware of itself and carried an awareness of its preparatory defense. Usually a negative review is a cry for legitimacy.
    Perhaps we serve the public more by creating a reason to love theatre than a strange and illegitimate hierarcy bent on nothing other than self satisfaction.
    Not everyone is acting unconsciously.

    • veronicakaye April 16, 2015 at 9:35 am #

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read Lisa! I agree, helping audiences to find the wonder of theatre is a more worthwhile goal than bashing artists – and for this reason (though not only for this reason) I think your writing is beautiful.

      • lisathatcher April 16, 2015 at 9:40 am #

        Right back at you!
        Sometimes the good review is its own form of harsh criticism – even if it is against unseen forces! 🙂

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