Featured Post

Kafka-ish: Kafka @Finborough

In offering proof that Kafka is everything to everyone - writer-performer Jack Klaff plays various roles, including the man himself in what is a part tour, part immersion and part legend of Franz Kafka. He is a writer who achieved fame after his life was cut short due to succumbing to tuberculosis at the age of forty. He is probably better known for his reputation and the Kafkaesque style attributed to his writing than his life. But after this piece, you’re left curious to learn more about the man and his works. And that has to be the best theatrical tribute you could give a writer, even for a writer who stipulated that his works be destroyed upon his death. It’s currently playing at the Finborough Theatre . Franz Kafka was born in Prague in 1883. In 1901, he was admitted to a university and began studying law. While studying, he met Max Brod, who would become his best friend and eventual literary executor. Brod would posthumously publish many of his works and writings. Kafka’s life co

Theatre of Blood: The Bleeding Tree @Swkplay

Domestic violence in Australia is never far away from the news. Some statistics suggest it is more prevalent down under than other similar countries. There are podcasts about women who mysteriously disappear only to find that the suspect, the male partner, was never charged with a crime. 

The Bleeding Tree is an evocative tale of revenge against a backdrop of domestic violence and cruelty. And what happens when the women take back control? With painstaking and, at times, gruesome descriptions of the despair and their support for each other, it’s a harrowing yet rewarding tale of resilience and survival. It’s currently playing at the Southwark Playhouse, Borough

Set in a remote homestead in the Australian outback, a mother (mum played by Maria Gale) and her two daughters, Ida (Elizabeth Dulau) and Ada (Alexandra Jensen), come to terms with the decision they take to kill a man who was a source of cruelty and abuse. While a cover story that he went to visit his sister “up north” moves among the townspeople, a neighbour gives them the idea that if he weren’t visiting his sister, he wouldn’t last long in the harsh conditions, especially if they hung him from a tree so that insects, birds, and animals could get him. Which is precisely what they do. 

The piece becomes a point of waiting for a body to decay while taking pity and help from the locals and also coming to terms with the violent act that led to the man’s demise. Over an hour, this three-hander sheds light on what led to the situation, how the women dealt with the horror and the reactions of some of the people they came into contact with. The ensemble seamlessly moves between storytellers and witnesses, holding the audience entranced by this tale. Is it horror? Is it a comedy? We never understand if there was any love here, but there was plenty of fear, violence and the need for retribution.

The set design by Jasmine Swan, which consists mainly of red grit, moves back to a sweep of a set that could be corrugated iron. Is it part of the farmstead, is it part of the land, or is it blood? It could be all things. 

Asaf Zohar’s soundtrack adds to the tension of the piece, which moves from tragedy to very dark humour but keeps this one our piece a tense piece. 

It’s evocative enough to probably not be for everyone’s taste. But as a piece of theatre that makes you think about the harsh, isolated environment that people - especially women - can find themselves in, it is relentlessly fascinating.

Written by Angus Cerini and directed by Sophie Drake, The Bleeding Tree is at the Southwark Playhouse until 22 June. It was first produced in 2015 by the Griffin Theatre Company in Sydney Australia. 


Photos by Lidia Crisafulli

Popular posts from this blog

Opera and full frontal nudity: Rigoletto

Fantasies: Afterglow @Swkplay

Play ball: Damn Yankees @LandorTheatre