Monday, September 3, 2012

Snatching excellence

Top: Sophie Schoenknect as Hood and Alex Lanham as Grey Above: Liam Gillespie as Arthur Fettes. Photos by Kris Anderson

The Body Snatcher
By Scott Barsott
Brisbane Arts Theatre
Petrie Terrace
Until 8 September
Bookings: 3369 2344 or via email to or online at

It takes a very brave playhouse to perform this gory drama. But it is gory in the sense of its topic, certainly not in its performance.

Those people who have read Robert Louis Stevenson’s story set in 1884 will find that they will be satisfied in this interpretation. – it has all the dramatic elements and then some.
Dr Wolf MacFarlane (Stephen Smith) appoints a new medical student, Arthur Fettes (Liam Gillespie) into the role of accepting cadavers each night for the following day’s lectures and research.
Therefore it has to be “fresh meat”. Malcolm Grey (Alex Lanham) and his accomplice Moira (Sophie Schoenknecht) are the providers, firstly from graveyards, then resorting to creating corpses to keep up to the demand.

There is a twist involving Wolf’s mistress Kate, (Libby Glasson) and Jane (Samantha Yeates) adding to the drama of the climax and resolution.
I think that this play was made for Alex Lanham as Grey, who relished his role. His unrelenting performance is so convincing it makes you shiver. All the cast responds to his energy to provide us with a very absorbing horror story and a satisfactory ending. But whatever did happen to the baby?
Extremely good Edinburgh accents and superb costumes (Caitlin Rowe) put the finishing touch to this excellent performance directed by Gregory Rowbotham.

Shakespeare goes west .. and it works

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
By William Shakespeare
Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble
Roma Street Parkland
Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun 15 August – 2 September 2012

Director Ron Pensalfini has a penchant for Shakespeare plays that are rarely performed. I remember well his interpretation of Coriolanus, his energy and vitality transforming an otherwise long and convoluted play.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona certainly has this energetic and vital direction which thoroughly entertained the packed house.
Valentine (Nick James) sets off for adventure to Milanleaving behind his best friend Proteus (Colin Smith) who is in love with Julia (Rebecca Murphy). Valentine meets and falls in love with Silvia (Ruby Drewery) the Dukes’ daughter who is betrothed to marry a rich man, Thurio (Chris Vaag). Proteus, sent off to Milan later falls in love with Silvia too.
When Julia disguises herself as a man to go to Milan and check up on her lover, the comedy really begins with elopements, treachery and bandits thrown in. Did I mention it was a comedy? It was very funny, with the best lines and clowning given to the two servants, Speed (Claire Pearson) and Launce (Rob Pensalfini).
These two actors were outstanding in their delivery and pace and made a funny play even more hilarious. If you wanted another reason to see this event, see how Ron has created this play within the Western genre.
I didn’t think it would work, but it does. Yes you do have to sit out in the open to view this extremely likable play. But imagine nice padded comfortable seats on the stage, under the lights and so close to the actors and the action, you never notice the cold – you’re having too much fun!