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Melbourne.Arts.Fashion: Young & Jackson

See article in its original context here by Meagan Welsh for Melbourne.Arts.Fashion.


Presented as part of the 2015 Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival’s Cultural Program Project Series, this world premiere prequel to Reid’s seminal Australian play Codgers, continues the tradition of war time larrikinism and mateship in this delightfully heartwarming romp.

Young & Jackson centres around two young seamen – the energetic, immature and feisty Jimmy (Jacob Machin) and his just slightly older, more focussed and steadfast ship mate Keith (Charlie Cousins) – who are currently on leave from the Navy and shored up in Room 24 of the iconic Melbourne hotel Young & Jackson. Using it as base camp as they sample the delights that war-time Melbourne has to offer, they fit in dances and attending the races between planning their latest skit, “Good Night Nursie”, as members of the Navy’s Concert Party troupe.

While out gorging themselves with the culinary treats found in China Town one night, they meet the intriguing Lorna (Gabrielle Scawthorn), a young ‘Rosie the Riveter’ in training, who’s not backwards in coming forward with her physical affection, determined to do anything she can to ease a young soldier’s path through the dark world of combat. Emotionally distant, she hides a dark past relationship behind fancy clothes, a quick wit and strong ability to improvise. The men fall quickly and swiftly in lust with her; Jimmy employing a serious of near embarrassing flirtatious moves while Keith supplies the black market liquor. They set up a series of fortnightly dates, choosing to meet underneath the clocks at Flinders Street train station, where a wager is put in place between the shipmates as to whether their new paramour will come back for Date #2.

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Theatre Alive: Monday Musings with Aaron Orzech

See article in its original context here by Theatre Alive.

Once upon a time in Romania, Aaron Orzech and his girlfriend met a strange and powerful man named Victor Bergman. The next day, he married them in the village of Voroneț. By the third day, he was gone, but for days and weeks and months afterwards he haunted Aaron’s life.

From that encounter comes The Collected works of Victor Bergman. We caught up with Aaron, in the lead-up to the premiere season at fortyfivedownstairs…

Tell us a bit about The Collected works of Victor Bergman. How did the piece come about?

The Collected Works of Victor Bergman has its genesis in an encounter I had in 2009 while backpacking in Romania. My girlfriend and I met an older man, named Victor Bergman, with whom I became very close.

Within three days of our first meeting, he had convinced us to get married, presided over our wedding, and deserted us. This real-life story was the catalyst for our show.

As we worked on the show, co-director Romanie Harper and I began to find all sorts of strange parallels between my relationships with Victor Bergman, and Brian Lipson (my fellow performer in the show). These centered around notions of ritual, masculine mentorship, storytelling, and the passing on of wisdom from an older man to a younger one.

The work we have created is a cumulative fantasy. It’s drawn from the dreams, nightmares and real-life stories which the encounter with Victor Begrman has provoked in every member of The Family.

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See article in its original context here by Geoffrey Williams for Stage Whispers.

It’s not often in the theatre that you suddenly realise you are in the presence of creative genius – but this love-child of Sweeney Todd, Stephen King, Charles Dickens and the Ringling Brothers is simply sensational. Like the internationally-acclaimed Slava’s Snowshow (which was the last time magic happened in the theatre for me to this extent), The Long Pigs harvests the rich, tragi-comedic terrain of Clown with unprecedented creativity and skill.

Ms Tregloan, Mr Turner and Ms Carr transform the familiar 45 Downstairs space into a marvellously inventive industrialised environment – one that is not only the finest design for the theatre in recent memory, but is also a brilliantly-realised installation that continually reveals its treasures for the entire performance. The finale not only punctuates the night with a startling clarity, but is also an unforgettable coup de theatre.

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HERALD SUN: The Long Pigs – Review

See article in its original context here by Byron Bache for the Herald Sun.

Rating: ★★★★

STEPHEN King has a lot to answer for. Children have always been afraid of clowns, but Pennywise, — the murderous clown from King’s 1986 novel It — created two generations of adult coulrophobics.

The Long Pigs is 75 minutes of clowning, but even if you’re deathly afraid of curly rainbow wigs, floppy shoes and squirty flowers, you’ll be fine.

“Long pig” is slang for human meat, and these black-nosed clowns aren’t out for blood, they’re out for noses; the red noses of their mainstream counterparts.

Ostracised from their cheerful brethren, these three misfits spend their days operating a sort-of Rube Goldberg production line that cans the excised noses of their victims.

But it’s not all dark. Clare Bartholomew, Derek Ives and Nicci Wilks, the three “pigs”, dish out pathos and hilarity in equal measure. The gags are killer and so are the clowns.

Co-devised by the performers and director Susie Dee, The Long Pigs is entirely non-verbal. It’s a creepy, brilliant and touching subversion of the form — almost anti-clowning.

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The Age: Boy Out of the Country

See article in its original context here by Cameron Woodhead for The Age.

Larrikin Ensemble’s ‘Boy Out of the Country’ crackles with Aussie idiom and wit

Felix Nobis’ Boy Out of the Country is a tale of sibling rivalry and family secrets, of nostalgia for the lost world of childhood and confronting the reality of rapid social change. It’s a play infused with the vitality of Aussie idiom and melodrama that crackles with understatement and wit, and has been brought to life by a talented cast of actors. There’s a lot to admire.

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Real Time: A Kind of Fabulous Hatred

See article in its original context here by Tony Reck for Real Time Arts.

The wrath of Plath

In staging Barry Dickins’ fantastical script about Sylvia Plath’s suicide, director Laurence Strangio, contracts the expansive 45 Downstairs warehouse space into an intimate pocket; one situated before a foreboding barred window. Imaginatively transposed to London, England, February 11, 1963, the audience is further seduced by an attention to detail that often characterises Strangio’s directorial efforts.

Mattea Davies’ design is a microcosm of Sylvia Plath’s mental duress: punitive order set amongst emotional chaos, and accentuated by a Shakespearean storm that, apparently, was the worst ever recorded at that time in England. Thankfully, centre-stage is not consistently occupied by a self-gratifying human presence; instead there is a gas oven inside which a luminous pilot light reminds the audience that this appliance is both heater and exterminator. Plath was arguably of Jewish descent and, as in history, her grasp on life is as tenuous as the arbitrary decision that underpinned the Holocaust. Sylvia Plath will die tonight: this will be the celebrated poet’s last night on earth.

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The Sydney Morning Herald: Miss Jugoslavia & The Barefoot Orchestra

See article in its original context here by Kathy Evans for The Sydney Morning Herald.

George Bernard Shaw defined patriotism as ”a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world, because you were born in it”, but musician Tania Bosak has always suspected there is much more to it than that.

Growing up in Australia, she believed she was the daughter of Yugoslav immigrants. All that changed on an ordinary day in 1991 when she came home to be told by her parents that she was, in fact, Croatian. The Yugoslav wars had broken out with bitter conflicts erupting between different ethnicities and feelings of nationalism were running high.
It came as a shock to Bosak, then 24, though she had some awareness of a secrecy that shrouded the family’s past.
Gradually stories began to emerge. Her musician father, she learnt, had defected from the former Yugoslavia to Belgium in 1958 along with two other men, while on tour with his folk band. Dispirited by the poverty and lack of opportunities under communist rule; dazzled by the freedom they witnessed in other countries, shortly before they were due to return, they went into hiding for three months.

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Weekend Notes: Miss Jugoslavia & The Barefoot Orchestra

See article in its original context here by Elizabeth Quinn for Weekend Notes.

Event: 29/10/2013 – 10/11/2013
Cold War – Warm Heart – Hot Jazz

Family secrets exposed, unruly Balkan-jazz and a bit of cutting edge theatre – what’s not to love about the latest offering from Melbourne’s own Miss Jugoslavia Runner Up Tania Bosak?

Miss Jugoslavia and The Barefoot Orchestra is a composed theatre work that made waves when it premièred at MONA FOMA in January this year, and now it will debut in Melbourne at Fortyfive Downstairs from October 29 to November 10.

Tania Bosak is a Churchill Fellow, diverse percussionist, stand-up comedian, great vocalist, band leader for the Shljivovitz Orchestra and this work follows on from the success of her Melbourne Fringe Festival sell-out hit Supper at Stanley’s. It is inspired by Tania Bosak’s father’s decision to defect from the former Jugoslavia to Belgium in 1958, and tackles themes of escape, displacement and resettlement that will resonate strongly with an Australian audience in today’s political climate.

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Pop Culture Y Reviews LIVE ACTS ONSTAGE

See article in its original context here by Nick Jones for Pop Culture Y.

“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned”
– William Congreve


Which is certainly true of classical Greek mythology; a typical tale (I think about 98% of them) begins with Zeus committing a dalliance (to put it mildly) much to the chagrin (to again put it mildly) of his wife Hera, who will then seek to bring about some sort of appropriate revenge (“appropriate” in the sense that revenge is owed, but frequently inappropriate in terms of proportion). While a sane couple might seek counseling or a divorce, their exploits make for what I’m pretty sure was the time-period’s equivalent of Jerry Springer.

Live Acts On Stage from Michael Gow, presented by Four Letter Word Theatre and directed bySarah Tabitha Catchpole, is the story of the journey of Orpheus, legendary musician, poet and prophet, who famously tried to bring his wife back from the underworld. Also, Zeus and Hera having a fight, but so is every one of those stories.

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A Taste of Things to Come…

Michael Gow’s LIVE ACTS ON STAGE Revised for Four Letter Word Theatre   Seventeen actors. Over forty roles. Confronting Entertainment.     Part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, Four Letter Word Theatre presents Australian Playwright Michael Gow’s bawdy, irreverent and…

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Flashpoint Readings- Sorry folks, ALL BOOKED OUT

The R E Ross Trust Playwrights' Script Development Awards are designed to foster Victoria's theatre industry by providing support to Victorian-based writers to develop their play scripts. Over the past 7 years the R E Ross Trust have produced some wonderful new…

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Concrete Playground Review Savages

See article in its original context here by Nick Spunde for Concrete Playground.

Stark lighting and shadow fall upon the stage, which is tilted at a crazed angle like a skate ramp or the deck of a listing ship. Four men, shirtless, leap onto it like hunting predators. They seem like werewolves or some other supernatural beast, human in form only.

With this arresting image, Savages starts. Shortly after, the men will appear toting suitcases and garbed in holiday attire, exchanging merry greetings, but the image of them as monsters is stuck with you.  While on the outside, this is a story about a group of 40-ish mates sharing a holiday, there is always a pulse of horror beating beneath the surface.

The latest play from Patricia Cornelius (Do Not Go Gentle, 2011) is a story about a group-assisted descent into darkness. A gang of old friends go on a cruise together, a long-awaited boys’ holiday, swearing to leave their troubles, responsibilities and concerns behind them. Once at sea, a tension starts to build within the group and the savagery we caught a glimpse of at the start begins to peep out through the cracks.

From the beginning, there is a feeling of unreality. The dialogue frequently uses poetic devices, including frequent rhymed exchanges, and is often delivered in a declamatory style. While it feels unnatural, it is purposeful: the camaraderie among the men is depicted as a forced and not entirely convincing ritual that binds a group riven with tension, insecurity and unease.

On the steeply angled stage, there is a constant sense of things askew. The men engage in a constant game of competitive hypermasculinity — sweaty chest beating fuelled by lust and anger. No other actors are ever seen, making the men seem shut off from the world, not just by the sea, but locked within their interactions with each other. The group dynamic overpowers them as individuals.

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Preview: Assassins

See article in its original context here by Sarah Walker on Stonnington Review.

When: Until April 21

Where: fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, city

Bookings: Call 9662 9966 or visit

A song and dance about nine assassins, or would-be assassins, of American presidents is a surefire way to get audiences worked up after the laughter has subsided.

That’s the view of Windsor-based actor Matt Holly (pictured right in green), who plays John Hinckley jnr in Academy Award-winner Stephen Sondheim’s blackly comedic Assassins.

Hinckley tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan in 1981 to impress actor Jodie Foster during a long obsession with her.

The nine assassins include John Wilkes Booth, the actor who shot President Abraham Lincoln in a theatre in 1865, Lee Harvey Oswald, who killed President John F. Kennedy in 1963, and Sarah Jane Moore, who made an attempt to kill President Gerald Ford in 1975.

“It’s like taking the camera lens of history and moving it to a different angle to show their inner workings,” Holly says.

“You will laugh at some of them, and sympathise even.  Then it hammers home that what these people did was real.”

Holly was suitably disturbed when he first saw Assassins in 2010, performed by third-year National Institute of Dramatic Art students.

Holly’s credits include a national tour of West Side Story in 2010, the world premiere of the Cat Stevens show Moonshadow, the Australian premiere of Love Never Dies and a national tour ofA Chorus Line.

He says Assassins, directed by Tyran Parke, has one of the most talented ensembles he has worked with, including Nadine Garner.

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ArtsHub: Flesh and Bone

See article in its original context here by Liza Dezfouli.

Twenty years of working together give Kate Denborough and Gerard Van Dyck of KAGE a fluidity of physical communication where their bodies hum, sing and shout in unison. Their latest work, Flesh and Bone, gives voice to issues of gender ambiguity. At the beginning you don’t know who is the man and who is the woman; as they exchange outward signifiers of gender the question of sexual identity becomes less and less important and the whole thing becomes a game.

The set – a polished sloping mirror – reflects the audience; the soundtrack includes electronic staccato vocals. The two performers play at swapping roles, shedding clothes, exchanging rubber genitals and throwing each other about in movements that sometimes parody gender stereotypes and sometimes enter deeply into a story, speaking to the fact that they are man and woman but without  following the predictable path of concluding with sexual connection. Elements of the duo’s long creative collaboration inform their dance vocabulary: they enter a separate world of their own making. In speaking of the show, the two do, however, emphasise that what happens on stage doesn’t involve the anecdotal; rather it references the process of creativity they share. For dancers to be able to hurl each other about like this there has to be trust and here it almost becomes a third character in the show.

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The Herald Sun: Flesh and Bone

See article in its original context here. FEET arched, tendons stretched and backs to the wall, Kate Denborough and Gerard Van Dyck are out to amaze us in a new exhibition of physical theatre Flesh and Bone. And this dynamic duo…

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The Australian: Flesh and Bone

See article in its original context here. LIKE the angels in John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, the characters played by Kate Denborough and Gerard Van Dyck can choose their sex or be both at once. Their sexual identities are changeable;…

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A Selection of Park Sung Soo's Works

Image 1:  Park Sung Soo, Garden Unique Area, 1303 x 1620 mm, ink on paper, 2007 Image 2:  Park Sung Soo, Garden Unique Area 5, 1303 x 1620 mm, ink on paper, 2007 Image 3: Park Sung Soo, Garden Unique Area…

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shared exhibition opening Tuesday 4 December

What better way to usher in the festive season than with a shared exhibition opening. small gallery: Between 4 & 5 Allison Jonas Young Upon a background of bare timber, tiny jewel-like droplets of metallic paint are intricately articulated. Complex…

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Prison pen: Jim McNeil plays it tough

Sinead Stubbins
City Weekly

Jim McNeil was an armed robber, a violent ex-prisoner – and one of the most important playwrights Australia has ever seen.

Sentenced to 17 years in prison after shooting a police officer in the late 1960s, McNeil began writing plays for the amusement of fellow inmates.

Now almost 40 years after he was released from Bathurst Correctional Complex, two of his most influential plays, The Chocolate Frog and The Old Familiar Juice, will be performed in his home city of Melbourne.

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Australian Stage reviews The Burlesque Hour

See the review in it’s original context here.

Follow the fairy-lit stairwell down and you come to the basement theatre of fortyfivedownstairs, tonight outlandish with scarlet oriental lamps and sumptuous drapes. The staff are glamorous, the crowd fervent with anticipation. This evening this room will be the court of Melbourne’s queen of burlesque, Moira Finucane.

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Milk Bar Mag reviews The Burlesque Hour

See the review in its original context here.

Burlesque gets a bad rap sometimes because let’s face it – the majority of performance these days is unimaginative strip tease. Enter The Burlesque Hour, Finucane and Smith’s rotating ragtag troupe of circus performers, cabaret and performance artists. This is what burlesque should be – performance art that’s challenging, provocative, satirical and at times deeply discomforting.

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The Age reviews Far Away

Cameron Woodhead reviews Far Away for The Age.

See the review in its orginal context here.

Far Away, by Caryl Churchill, SaySIX theatre and Lil’ Artistes, fortyfivedownstairs, until May 13.

The title of Caryl Churchill’s Far Away is a provocation. Its dystopian nightmare might seem far out – only Churchill could dream up a theatrical world that combines totalitarianism and, ah, millinery – but it is also ‘far in’. However weird it seems on the surface, this is a sinister, disturbing and blackly comic diagnosis of an all too familiar way of living.

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The Age reviews The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

Cameron Woodhead reviews The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet for The Age.

***.5 / 4 stars

Zoey Dawson’s all-female Romeo and Juliet heralds the arrival of a fresh and exciting theatremaker.  Her version might flummox traditionalists: the play is condensed into ninety minutes, the role of Romeo becomes a tag-team affair, and physical comedy and choric effects are liberally deployed.  Yet this vigorous adaptation elucidates the character of Juliet like no other.

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The little space that could – fortyfivedownstairs celebrates 10 years

Erin James

See the article in its original context here.

Melbourne’s fortyfivedownstairs is celebrating its 10 year anniversary as a haven for emerging artists and independent theatre this weekend. We caught up with Co-Founder and Artistic Director Mary Lou Jelbart to discuss the last 10 years, the success of the enterprise and the upcoming Anniversary Showcase tomorrow night.

10 years ago, fortyfivedownstairs was a closed-down contemporary art gallery which was, as Mary Lou Jelbart says, “too significant and too beautiful to disappear and become offices”.

Not content to see such a creative space go to waste, the former ABC Arts reviewer and journalist set about making the space available for independent emerging artists and performers to utilise in the centre of Melbourne.

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In praise of mothers

The Age Annabel Ross 07/02/2012 See the article in its original context here. In contrast with her past shows, motherhood seems a quite conventional topic for photographer Morganna Magee. The sometime newspaper photographer has shot showgirls, residents of the bushfire-ravaged…

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Footscray Star interviews Paola Balla

Footscray Star
Charlene Gatt

See the article in its original context here.

WEST Footscray artist Paola Balla has been shortlisted for a Victorian Indigenous Art Award.

Ms Balla is one of 20 artists in the running for more than $50,000 in prizes, with awards announced at an exhibition at Melbourne’s fortyfivedownstairs next month.

She was shortlisted for two pieces – a photo called Kaden Boy, and a photo and video called Sacred Ibis.

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The Burlesque Hour Loves Melbourne reviewed in Theatre Notes

The Burlesque Hour Loves Melbourne was written by Alison Croggon and published on Theatre Notes on Friday 8 July. Please see in its full context here.

Right now, just after the winter solstice, Ms TN is struggling. The skies have been grey for too long, the news has been bleak for too long, and human beings have been stupid and destructive for too long. Nary a light gleams at the end of the tunnel, and actually doing things – like, say, getting out of bed – seems impossible and futile. Yes, I know despair is a sin – I suspect I am on my way to discovering why – but the fear of God’s wrath is little use to an atheist.













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