Tag Archives: Fraser Corfield


3 Sep

Is theatre a mirror,  reflecting our world as it is?

Or is it a window,  showing us a view of a world close by?

Or is it a telescope, revealing distant worlds?

Sugarland presents the lives of young people in a remote Australian town. It’s honest, confronting and hopeful.

Photo by by Tracey Schramm

Photo by by Tracey Schramm

Writers Rachael Coopes and Wayne Blair built this story after time spent in the Top End. Directors Fraser Corfield and David Page present it with great power and beauty.  Their ensemble is extraordinary, young and genuine. Dubs Yunupingu is brilliant. Her portrayal of Nina – of simple strength in the face of adversity – is deeply moving.

The youth of Katherine face a range of challenges; poverty, substance abuse, self harm, violence, and the spectre of racism. (One of the charms of the piece is, that for the most part, the characters see through the divisive aspects of race.)

Nina lives in a one bedroom house with twelve people. She has twenty stitches in the back of her head, courtesy of a female relative who’s thrown a brick at her.

Hunter Page-Lochard plays Jimmy, Nina’s cousin. He gives a powerful performance of a bright soul bustled by what the world has thrown at him.

Writer Rachael Coopes plays youth worker Penny. She encapsulates a patient, and inspiring, determination not to give into despair.

Of course, Sugarland is not ‘telescope’ theatre. These communities are our communities. (There’s a dreadful poignancy in the fact that the young people of the town are soaked in pop culture. Nina sings Rihanna’s Diamonds at the talent quest.)

This is a play to give confidence. There are things in our world to be fixed. But this play presents the challenges with heart-breaking honesty.

And honesty is a good midwife to hope.

Veronica Kaye


Sugarland by Rachael Coopes with Wayne Blair

ATYP Under the Wharf

til 13 Sept


Spur of the Moment

3 Sep

Spur of the Moment by Anya Reiss has a sparkling opening scene. Twelve year old Delilah is in her bedroom with three friends.  They’re young girls doing their stuff. They’re singing to High School Musical. They’re filming themselves on their phones. They’re talking about how the young man who boards in Delilah’s house is HOT.

Spur of the Moment is a simple tale, beautifully told.

I want to avoid spoilers, but suffice to say this play captures being twelve; the tweeness of it. Delilah is so obviously still a child, but …….

You’re in such a hurry to get older, her mother tells her, but when you are, you won’t want it.

The young girls are played brilliantly. Holly Fraser as Delilah gives an astounding performance. She’s innocent and vulnerable, but hungry to grow, and with that comfortable confidence intelligent children often have before the trauma of teenage years.

And Delilah’s world is changing, and the emotions and situations she must face are new, and raw.

Her parents aren’t much help. They’re lost too. Zoe Carides and Felix Williamson give wonderful performances, balanced perfectly between humour and pathos.

This play is about loving, and mostly about that overwhelming need to be loved. Do we ever shed it? Should we?

Is maturity when you realize that to love, as against be loved, is the most important thing? That’s the grand insight of many religious traditions – but it’s only made possible by the attendant belief that no matter what the world throws at you, you’re loved anyway.

But what twelve year old has got that far?

Holly Fraser

What am I saying? Who ever gets that far? We try. We try to forget ourselves. Or we try to define ourselves in ever widening circles. We try to teach ourselves to love.

But in childhood, being loved is crucial. Usually our parents do the job. Usually. But as we grow, we begin to feel their love is insufficient, and we realize the love we now crave is far, far less assured. We enter exciting but disturbingly uncertain terrain.

Director Fraser Corfield has done a marvelous job with this deeply engaging, deeply affecting play.

It comes to a climax on the morning of Delilah’s thirteenth birthday. Happy birthday? Oh, Delilah. The final image is heartbreaking.

Veronica Kaye


Spur of the Moment

ATYP Under the Wharf til 14 Sept