Sunday, 24 October 2010

Namatjira at the Belvoir Theatre

On Thursday night I was kindly invited to the Belvoir Theatre by Kren and Dave. This was my third visit to the Belvoir and I'm beginning to really enjoy the theatre.

From the plays I've seen, Belvoir seem to have a policy to commission or give premieres to new works, casts are generally small and the whole thing is extremely well polished. It must be quite a risk to shun populist plays and cheaper scripts, but I'm pleased for the Sydney art scene that they do.

On Thursday night we saw Namatjira. The story of Albert Namatjira who is famous for his watercolour paintings and the pioneer of contemporary Aborignal art.

I've no idea if Namatjira is a well known figure in Australia. I didn't have a clue who he was before the play, and I think I missed some cultural references near the start as a result. They play assumed a little bit of knowledge, but it was easy enough to keep up if you'd never heard of Namatjira.

There was a cast of just five, with two lead characters and three background extras who didn't speak. The excellent Trevor Jamieson played Namatjira and carried the entire play relating the story in a narrative style. It was quite a feat delivering an engaging monolgue for two hours!!

Derek Lynch played every other character, where one was needed, to help convey the story. There was a lot of humour in Derek's acting with several instances of him needing to cross dress.

I enjoyed the play more than I was expecting. I thought it could be a bit heavy, but the play was surprisingly humorous. There were contemporary jokes about white / aboriginal political sensitivities, middle class owners of Darlinghurst terraces and modern Australian youths. All very well done.

1 comment:

  1. Oh how interesting, I'm always trying to think of something different to do around this city, might keep this in mind for the next time I need ideas.

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