Arts & Culture

Playthings - Black Swan State Theatre Co & Blue Room Theatre

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Whoa.

That was my immediate reaction after Playthings. For various, mostly COVID-related reasons, I hadn’t gone to the theatre in over a year so it was good to get back into it with a production that exemplifies just how brilliant it can be.

Amidst Perth’s lockdown, there had been doubt about whether this show would go ahead. And with everyone in attendance required to wear masks, the threat of COVID lingered in the air. One of the first things we noticed when we took our seats was the eerie shadow of the trees arching over the two houses, setting the scene for what was about to unfold.

At the start of Playthings, 13-year-old classmates Lucy (played by Courtney Henri) and Arnold (Daniel Buckle) sneak away from home to meet in the bush. “Have you ever seen a dead body?” Lucy casually asks, before showing Arnold a dying kangaroo.

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The Cherry Orchard by Black Swan State Theatre Company

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The grounds and buildings of Dalkeith's Sunset Hospital provide the perfect faded grandeur for Black Swan State Theatre Company's adaption of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. Set amongst dilapidated old buildings that appear abandoned, as well as outdoors on land with million dollar views, it is ironic that the destruction of Ranyevskaya's cherry orchard for summer cottages would no doubt be repeated on these heritage grounds if local developers were given half a chance!

While Chekhov himself described his play as a comedy, there are no doubt plenty of tragic elements within it.

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Gagarine at Perth Festival

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Teenager Yuri is on a quest to save his housing estate from being blown up.

That is the theme of the multi award winning French movie “Gagarine”.

Living under challenging circumstances every day, he dreams to launch into space - taking inspiration from his namesake Yuri Gagarin who was the first cosmonaut to launch into space back in 1961.

Directors Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh depict life on a social housing estate with stark reality as well as conveying the aspirations, mood and turmoil of Yuri’s inner life perfectly.

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Sweat at Perth Festival

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What has the world come to when success is measured by the number of followers that we have on Instagram?

Sylwia – a young and beautiful fitness motivator celeb on Instagram has 600,000 followers.

So one might be led to believe that being in the shoes of Sylwia as a social media influencer is glamorous and fun and a total blast right?

Swedish director and writer Magnus von Horn explores the topic of social media with vigour,  providing a provocative and at times hard hitting peek beneath the gloss into the pressures and challenges of being a prominent social media star.

We follow three days in the life of Sylwia – exploring her symbiotic relationship with her fans, whose adoration she needs for validation as much as they rely on her for motivation.

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Supernova at Perth Festival

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Like a supernova in the sky, Sam and Tucker’s long time committed relationship as a gay couple is ablaze with lots of special magical moments reflecting their shared history.

Their loving existence is suddenly shattered by Tucker’s diagnosis of dementia.

They embark on a road trip to see family and friends, painfully aware of their precious limited time together due to the rapid deterioration of Tucker’s condition.

Colin Firth (Sam) and Stanley Tucci (Tucker) do an amazing job of portraying the intimacy and complexity of long term relationships.

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Do I Look Like I Care at Fringe Perth

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After fighting my way through the heavy Fringe World opening night traffic, which resulted in a faraway parking spot and a dash through the Perth Cultural Centre, I snuck into Rehearsal Room 1 at the State Theatre Centre at 8.01pm to watch Do I Look Like I Care? - a love letter to the people in the world of nursing and care.

I nearly had a panic attack there and then, since instead of a comedy about nursing, I was watching an aerobics warm up session – oops, wrong rehearsal room perhaps?

But no, it turns out I was in the right place after all, and as I cooled down the performers finished their warm up and launched into the show.

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Ammonite at Luna

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Career or love ? - which would you choose?

Women in the 19th century did not have many options in their romantic lives, let alone their choice of a career.

Ammonite - Francis Lee’s latest film – examines the role of women in Victorian England, and will hit the screens soon at Luna Palace Cinemas.

Set in the UK in the 1850’s, Ammonite is a powerful story of love with a few interesting twists along the way.

Mary Anning is a middle aged, single lady who lives with her mother and is immersed in her career as an avid paleontologist. She wanders the cliffs of Dorset by day searching for rare fossils of ammonites and other creatures, having gained a reputation in scientific circles for being one of the best in the field, though she has been credited with little recognition because of her sex.

Ammonite is breathtakingly beautiful both for its rugged coastal scenery and the intense on screen interplay between the two main leads in Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) and Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan).

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