Tag Archives: Griffin

The Violent Outburst That Drew Me To You

25 Jun

Why do people keep telling me what to do with my life?

Finegan Kruckemeyer’s play is an intriguing exploration of teenage anger, positing both causes and solutions.

And Kate Gaul’s production of The Violent Outburst That Drew Me To You is extremely engaging theatre.

It’s visually exciting, with snappy dialogue and high energy performances (yes, I’m obviously holding down the cliché key on my keyboard).

Kruckemeyer’s script is a brilliant blend of both imitation and parody of teenage language – which is exactly what teenagers do. (How many adults parody their own language use?* Or, indeed, themselves?) And the cast do great work with Kruckemeyer’s words, finding their zing and mining their spirited humour.



Michael Cutrupi is terrific as Connor, the angry teen.

Connor has difficulties at both home and school. Emily Ayoub and Anthony Weir give top portraits of dull-but-caring parents. Renee Heys produces a wonderfully vibrant school girl. Natalia Ladyko’s endlessly patient but smart-mouthed teacher is superb.

In an attempt to solve his difficulties, Connor is sent ‘into the woods’ to find himself. (Which is a little different from the way most teenage boys find themselves.) There he meets Lotte, another teenager with anger issues. She’s played by the three female members of the cast and it’s a device which effectively suggests the personality shattering effect of anger. It also helps push this sequence of the play into a sort of magical realism, and prevents the play’s conclusion from feeling too neat.

For our vision of the world is coloured by our emotions, and it is in our teenage years that this frightening and thrilling discovery is made.

Veronica Kaye

*The exception, of course, is theatre reviewers.


The Violent Outburst That Drew Me To You by Finegan Kruckemeyer

SBW Stables Theatre (Griffin) til 12 July





1 Aug

Are we our bodies?

Beached tells the story of Arty, a shut in. He must lose weight. According to the stats, that’s true for at least half of us.

In the first world we die because we have too much. With all our privileges, this is what we choose.

Wonderfully written by Melissa Bubnic and cleverly directed by Shannon Murphy, this play is both funny and thought provoking.

There were two moments that hit me right in the gut, as it were.

One was when Arty’s mum, played with comic perfection and emotional power by Gia Carides, tells her very likable son (Blake Davis) that he doesn’t need to lose weight. His fat is him.

Of course, she’s enabling his problem.

But isn’t she right?


In a society where materialism rules, aren’t we just our bodies? Her ‘enabling’ is just the natural conclusion of the dominant world view.

Kate Mulvany as the social worker assigned to Art is magnificent. She doesn’t share Arty’s problem, but her life is utterly empty. Blake Davis as the TV producer also presents a hilarious portrait of profound shallowness.

And the other moment that hit me? Arty’s explanation of why he needed  to eat – to fill that hole inside.

True of an entire society?

Veronica Kaye


at Griffin til 31 August


Dreams in White

20 Feb

Theatre is a result of sloppy thinking.

It’s the consequence of a lazy habit, endemic to our culture.

We take for granted the concepts of character, identity and personality.

As a child I had a black Labrador.  Drawing on all the vast imaginative resources for which children are famous, I called him Blacky.

Blacky was my dog.

But one day, to my horror, I discovered that a neighbour allowed Blacky inside her house and even kept a bowl for him. And called him Cuddles.

It was a betrayal I struggled with for years – right until the poor thing took his final trip to the vet.

And while I grieved Blacky, my neighbour grieved Cuddles.

But the true tragedy was that neither of us knew his real name.

Dreams in White by Duncan Graham is a superbly crafted play. The ensemble is brilliant. Director Tanya Goldberg’s production is eminently watchable.


It tells the story of a man who lives a secret double life.

It’s an appealing myth.

I don’t mean these things don’t happen. Far from it. Walk into any police station and undoubtedly you could hear shocking tales of duplicity from some hard-as-nails-tough-talking senior detective (that’s if he’s got the time before he rushes off to his next ballet lesson.)

What I mean is that the possibility of a secret double life is the sort of thing we like to believe.

It makes our privileged predictable lives seem more exciting.

(I have a secret dual life. I write these responses to theatre, but at the same time  I’m also the artistic director of an ubercool indie company that produces – fearlessly and without funding –  edgy original life changing work. But some would say this is merely fantasy.)

Some would also say that the extremity of the double life presented in this thought provoking play makes the issue seem an aberration or a rarity.

But it should be no surprise we live double (or even triple or quadruple) lives. A little self reflection tells us we are complex. The tragedy is that it’s other people we reduce to mere personalities, identities, characters. Sloppy thinking.

And we shouldn’t forget the contrasting phenomena either. From the inside we know we are complex, but we usually expend an extraordinary amount of energy denying this.  Our lives often become unrelenting attempts to maintain a simple singular vision of ourselves. I am good. Or I am clever. The effort involved in this self creation is extraordinary. And totally misguided.

Veronica Kaye

Dreams in White

at Griffin until 23 March


A Hoax

2 Aug

There are two types of play – the ones journalists like, and the good ones.

Journalists like the unusual, the uncommon, the bizarre, the perverse.

The other type of play – the good play (or while I’m being facetious, the type of play liked by good people) – the other type of play is about everyday struggles and the magic found in the mundane. It is about the audience.

Journalists like the angle. The aberration they call a story. Let me give an example; “Journalist finds angle” is not a story because it’s what always happens. “Journalist displays depth” would be a story.

By ‘journalists’ I don’t mean career journalists. There are many eking out a living in the media who aren’t journalists by habit. And there are many of that habit who aren’t paid at all, except in the ever decreasing wages of titillation and cynicism.

Rick Verde’s play A Hoax is funny and engaging. Director Lee Lewis elicits wonderful performances from her entire cast.

But is it just a ‘journalist’s’ play? It tells the story of a fabricated memoir. And the story of those who turn a blind eye to that fabrication in order to profit from it.

These are journalistic concerns. They titillate the audience, feed its cynicism and then can be dismissed. “Nothing to touch me here.”

Or is there?

Telling a fabricated version of a life is not so uncommon. We all do it – as we build our sense of who we are. [Reading this post didn’t you consider whether you’re a ‘journalist’ or not?]

And in regards to profiting from stories, everyone can ask themselves “Why do I bother communicating?” Why do I write? Why do I speak?

“I’m only being honest,” says the bully, with that little “only” the clue that honesty is hardly her purpose.

It is naïve to think we communicate primarily to tell the truth. “Pass the salt” is far more typical, and meaningful, than “That is the salt”. Truth maybe crucial but it is always secondary. We speak, we write, to impact on the world. Sometimes we simply want more of its money. Sadder still, sometimes all we want is the approval of others.

But we can speak to make the world better. And play that reminds us of this is a good play.

Veronica Kaye

A Hoax

at Griffin til Sept 1