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Interview with Nancy Denis for The Rolling Stone

Read Full Article Here – The Rolling Stone’s Nancy Denis wants us to be uncomfortable

By Neha Kale for The Sydney Morning Herald

Updated 3 July 2018 — 3:20pm first published at 2:59pm

Nancy Denis believes art should make us uncomfortable.

Denis, 26 and proudly queer, will play a homophobic character called Mama in the Australian premiere of The Rolling Stone, which explores LGBTQI rights in Uganda — where same-sex relationships are punishable by imprisonment.

Playing Mama, an unwed women who outs the man who impregnated her daughter — an act that gets him murdered, forced Denis to tap deep reserves of empathy.

It also meant finding a way to understand a woman whose politics are violently opposed to her own.

“I had to find the love in her — she believes that the best way to protect her daughter from a life of judgment is to out this man and she doesn’t need a lot of evidence,” she says.

“She’s homophobic, she’s xenophobic but she’s a woman in this village and she’s trying to survive. In the last scene, she makes a confession to a pastor that she’s gone against her morals and that’s a big moment. I want audiences to leave this play with a feeling of real discomfort.”

Denis is warm, passionate and prone to speaking with her whole body. When we meet in her dressing room, she’s finished an intense rehearsal and is quick to swap her character’s conservative ensemble for colourful pants and a leather jacket.

For Denis, the play by rising British playwright Chris Urch is a chance to tell an untold story about the LGBTQI experience.

She was also drawn by the rare chance to work with an all-black cast.

The play owes its title to The Rolling Stone, a short-lived Kampala tabloid that in 2010 published the names and addresses of 100 gay people in Uganda, alongside the words “hang them”.

This has serious consequences for Dembe, a young Ugandan man in a happy relationship with Sam, a mixed-race doctor from Northern Ireland.

The production, which is directed by Adam Cook and nods to Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, isn’t interested in easy answers.

For instance, Uganda’s draconian anti-gay laws are part of its colonial legacy. They’re also fuelled by religion. For Denis, the focus on the nature of love and the existence of privilege are among the most compelling parts of the narrative.

“The scenes between Dembe and Sam are so powerful because you have two men of similar age from two different societies — one is born a minority in Western society, and the other is born in Uganda, Africa,” says Denis, who has also starred in the SBS series Cleverman and in the feature film Truth with Cate Blanchett.

“But they love each other in their own way. Even though Sam is a minority, his chances of dying for who he is are a hell of a lot lower than Dembe’s. At the same time, Dembe is witnessing the kind of freedom he could have. During the scenes with his family and Mama, you see his deep spirituality. He is the strongest soul.”

The Rolling Stone, Seymour Centre from July 5 to 21

Magical Reviews for Tammy Weller in PUFFS!

Tammy Weller
Tammy Weller

“Tammy Weller as Leanne when she is fighting off a stage full of black capes and she finally achieves her dream. Weller was in her element and had the audience in raptures!”

Penelope Thomas – Stage Whispers

 

Puffs are the butt of every joke, they’re not very good at magic, nor are they very good at interacting with other people, or even really just handling themselves in a situation anything other than calm and normal. Leanne (Tammy Weller), for example, is one of the quintessential Puffs; she’s airheaded, manic, and manages to misunderstand anything and everything due to her crippling naïveté.”

                                                          Jessica Taurins – Theatre People

 

Due to popular demand, the record breaking run at the Alex Theatre St Kilda, has added additional performances!

For seven years a certain boy wizard went to a certain Wizard School and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of the Puffs… who just happened to be there too. A tale for anyone who has never been destined to save the world.

The New York Times proclaims PUFFS, “A FAST-PACED ROMP through the ‘Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic.

PUFFS exudes a jovial, winking fondness for all things [a certain boy wizard]!”

This clever and inventive play “never goes more than a minute without a laugh” (Nerdist) giving you a new look at a familiar adventure from the perspective of three potential heroes just trying to make it through a magic school that proves to be very dangerous for children. Alongside them are the Puffs, a group of well-meaning, loyal outsiders with a thing for badgers “who are so lovable and relatable, you’ll leave the theater wishing they were in the stories all along” (Hollywood Life). Their “hilariously heartfelt!” (Metro) and epic journey takes the classic story to new places and reimagines what a boy wizard hero can be.

Running Time:
Act 1: 65 minutes
Interval: 20 minutes
Act 2: 50 minutes

BOOK HERE!

Great Reviews for Shayne Francis in ‘Fury’

Shayne Francis
Shayne Francis

BMEG’s Shayne Francis has received great reviews for her role in ‘Fury’.

“Feeling at times like callers trapped in the echo chamber of talkback radio, Chris Connelly and Shayne Francis deliver insightful alternate commentary and social contrast as parents to an accomplice vandal.

As Alice, Shayne Francis is standout. Deadpan funny, subtle and stinging, this is a measured performance worthy of note.”

Australian Stage – Doug Knight

 

“Chris Connelly does his blinkered salt of the earth persona – because that’s what’s required – and does it well – and leaves the dignified but real and beautifully understated punch to Shayne Francis.”

Michael Brindley – Stage Whispers

 

Red Stitch Actors Theatre presents
Fury
by Joanna Murray-Smith

Directed by Brett Cousins & Ella Caldwell

Venue: Red Stitch | Rear 2 Chapel Street, St Kilda East Vic
Dates: 29 May – 1 July 2018
Tickets: $55 – $28
Bookings: redstitch.net

 

Madelaine Nunn Awarded ATYP Rebel Wilson Scholarship 2018

Madelaine Nunn
Madelaine Nunn

BMEG’s Madelaine Nunn was awarded the ATYP Rebel Wilson Scholarship for 2018.

“…Rebel Wilson, who equally found the process of narrowing down her applicants a challenge, has awarded the ‘Rebel Wilson Theatremaker Scholarship’ to an emerging artist interested in generating their own content – Melbourne based artist and writer Madelaine Nunn.

“I’m thrilled and humbled to be the 2018 Rebel Wilson Scholarship Recipient, an opportunity I’m incredibly grateful for,” Madelaine, who most recently a writer for the ATYPA production Intersection 2018: Chrysalis, said.

“I will use this time and space to develop both my solo work as well as a new show with my theatre company, Three Birds Theatre. I have a keen interest in championing the female voice, and creating dark comedies that shine a light on unique parts of our society.”

The two winners will spend the next 12 months working with ATYP to realise their respective goals, and will be in contact with the ambassadors throughout the year to update them on their progress.

The twelve month scholarship will culminate with both recipients travelling to Los Angeles to present a showcase with the Australian Theatre Company and to be profiled at the G’Day USA Gala in January 2019…”

For more information on the Rose Byrne & Rebel Wilson scholarships head to: www.atyp.com.au/rose-byrne-and-rebel-wilson-scholarships

Madison Hegarty Cast in The Gruffalo’s Child!

Madison Hegarty
Madison Hegarty

BMEG’s Madison Hegarty has been announced as key cast!

CDP presents Tall Stories’ production of THE GRUFFALO’S CHILD is based on the award winning picture book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler.

The Gruffalo said that no gruffalo should ever set foot in the deep dark wood…
If you loved The Gruffalo, don’t miss the sequel, which returns following previous sellout Australian tours – now in a new West End production! Join the Gruffalo’s Child on her adventurous mission in this magical musical adaptation of the much-loved picture book.

One wild and windy night the Gruffalo’s Child ignores her father’s warnings about the Big Bad Mouse and tiptoes out into the deep dark wood. After all, the Big Bad Mouse doesn’t really exist… does he?

The team behind The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and The 13-, 26-, 52- and 78-Storey Treehouses return with The Gruffalo’s Child, bringing together physical theatre, music and puppetry to deliver songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3 and up, and their adults…

Age recommendation: 3+ and their adults
Duration: Approximately 55mins, no interval

Book Tickets Here!

Beautiful Reviews for Amanda Laing in “Josephine Wants to Dance”

Amanda Laing
Amanda Laing

BMEG’s Amanda Laing received beautiful reviews in the children’s theatre production, Josephine Wants to Dance, presented by Monkey Baa Theatre Company. Based on the book by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley, Adapted by Eva Di Cesare, Sandra Eldridge and Tim McGarry. Josephine Wants to Dance is a story about dreams, believing in yourself … and a dancing kangaroo

“Chloe Dallimore and Amanda Laing are exquisitely funny as the Tivoli showgirl lyrebirds”

“Biggins has cast the play with triple threats and they all shine”

Jason Blake – Audrey Journal
Read the full review here

“Dallimore and Laing are also gloriously funny as the lyrebirds who mimic whatever is said.”

Jo Litson – The Daily Telegraph
Read the full review here

“Amanda Laing and Hayden Rodgers excelling in every task, character, song and dance – they have many responsibilities – wit, panache galore”.

“Monkey Baa could tour JOSEPHINE WANTS TO DANCE forever. The Australian Ballet…could buy it and tour it forever, as well”.

Kevin Jackson – Kevin Jackson’s Theatre Diary
Read the full review here

“A duo of lyrebirds – Dallimore and Laing as glittering showgirls – are the show stealers, with their hilarious antics that inspire a few high kicks from Josephine”.

Artsplorers
Read the full review here

“Amanda Laing makes the most of the contrasts offered in not only playing a large native bird but also the tragically injured ballerina and Shaggy Gully’s town clerk Big Annie.”

Diana Simmonds – Stage Noise
Read the full review here

“Amanda Laing is vibrant and funny and creates three fantastic characters”

Bronwyn Fullerton – Sydney Arts Guide
Read the full review here

“Combined with the perfect story-telling vehicle, the Monkey Baa production team, cast and crew bring a level of professionalism, often only seen in musical theatre for adults”.

Brydie Wright – Weekend Notes
Read the full review here

 

Great Review for The House of Bernarda Alba, with BMEG’s Candy Bowers

Candy Bowers
Candy Bowers

“…This production is notable for both its boldness and restraint. Cáceres has concentrated on Lorca’s austerity, creating a stark frame that heightens the volatile emotions that drive the action.

Bernarda here is Bernadette, played with a steely focus by Melita Jurisic. There are four daughters instead of five – Marti (Candy Bowers), Angela (Peta Brady), Magda (Bessie Holland) and Adele (Emily Milledge). The final two players are Bernadette’s senile mother, Maria (Sue Jones), who is kept locked up in the back of the house, and the housekeeper, Penelope (Julie Forsyth).

This is by any measure a first-class cast, and their performances don’t disappoint. Jurisic and Forsyth together on stage are alone worth the price of admission. Cáceres’s direction is almost geometric: she creates a formal movement of bodies across the space that seems to grow organically out of the action.

The cast is supported by a production that melds a hieratic, formal aesthetic with tropes of outback Australia. Marg Horwell’s witty set uses air conditioning units and mosquito zappers as bling – the zappers become a kind of chandelier – and it is sumptuously lit by Rachel Burke. Irene Vela’s solemn, elegiac music and Jethro Woodward’s sound design are deeply textured, summoning the world beyond the claustrophobic house.

The result is remarkably beautiful theatre that looks squarely at the murderous silence at the core of oppression.

Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of The House of Bernarda Alba is showing at the Fairfax Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, until 7 July.”

– Alison Croggon, The Guardian

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE

STALKING THE BOGEYMAN: Fantastic Review of the Harrowing Tale, featuring BMEG’s Noel Hodda

Neil Gooding (Director) presents STALKING THE BOGEYMAN, David Holthouse and Markus Potter’s stage adaptation of Holthouse’s very personal story of being a victim of childhood rape, with care and confronting clarity. Based on Holthouse’s article with the same title first published in Westword on 13 May 2004, this production presented by Neil Gooding Productions and New York Rep gives a first hand account of the damage of childhood sexual assault and having to keep it a secret for 25 years.

As Holthouse’s parents Nancy and Robert, Deborah Jones and Noel Hodda capture the quintessential American couple wanting to fit in and make friends in their new hometown in in the Chugiak,outside of Anchorage Alaska. Both ensure that David’s parents are seen as caring and compassionate people that want to protect their son but also having an innocence so that the thought that their friend’s son could be hurting their child never crosses their mind. Hodda’s expression of Robert’s moment with a young David playing catch before bed is heartbreaking as the father has no idea why his child is hurting so much and Jones’ portrayal of a fiercely protective mother once the truth is unveiled is brilliant in her control and underlying anger as she finishes her call to her former friends with “I hope your son eventually gets caught and spends the rest of his life getting raped in prison”.

FULL REVIEW by Jade Kops

Noel Hodda and Deborah Jones as Robert and Nancy Holthouse (Photo: John Marmaras)
Noel Hodda and Deborah Jones as Robert and Nancy Holthouse (Photo: John Marmaras)

Presented by Neil Gooding Productions in association with Redline Productions, this production will run from May 23 to June 23 at the Old Fitz Theatre.

Noel Hodda in Australian Premiere of Stalking the Bogeyman

 

Noel Hodda
Noel Hodda

Stalking the Bogeyman, a true story of and revenge 25 years in the making has its Australian Premiere this week at the Old Fitz Theatre. Presented by Neil Gooding Productions in association with Redline Productions this production will run from May 23 to June 23 and features BMEG’s Noel Hodda.

STALKING THE BOGEYMAN

“This time last year I was plotting to kill a man.”

Twenty-five years after he was sexually assaulted, David Holthouse learns that his ‘bogeyman’ has moved into his new neighbourhood. Armed with a pistol and a plan, he plots to enact revenge on the man who stole his childhood.

STALKING THE BOGEYMAN was first written by Holthouse as a first-hand account in the Denver Westword newspaper and subsequently featured as a podcast on This American Life. Holthouse has now adapted his thrilling story into a play with award-winning playwright Markus Potter.

 

Show duration is 75 minutes with no interval.

Click here for more information and to secure your tickets.

The House of Bernarda Alba opening this week

Candy Bowers
Candy Bowers

The House of Bernarda Alba is opening this week at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Fairfax Studio. Renowned playwright Patricia Cornelius takes Federico García Lorca’s classic tragedy out of the villages of Spain and into the heat of rural Western Australia to explore themes of passion, repression and isolation. Presented by Melbourne Theatre Company, this production features BMEG’s Candy Bowers and runs from May 25 to July 7.

THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA

With their mining-mogul father dead, the Alba household is in mourning. All four daughters have been called home by their matriarch mother to pay their respects and bunker down in the family home. The future seems wildly uncertain for all but the eldest sister, who has inherited a fortune and is engaged to the local heartthrob. But as tensions rise and tempers flare, will any of them have the power to alter their destiny?

Running time is 1 hour and 45 minutes with no interval.

Click here for more information and to secure your tickets.