Crack X Theatre Festival celebrates new performance

MUSEUM AFTER DARK:  Micaela Phillips in Tantrum Youth Arts' Night at the Living Museum. Picture: Eryn Leggatt
MUSEUM AFTER DARK: Micaela Phillips in Tantrum Youth Arts' Night at the Living Museum. Picture: Eryn Leggatt

MANY items on display at Newcastle Museum have fascinating hidden stories that will be revealed when a Tantrum Youth Arts acting ensemble takes people on walks through the venue as part of the city’s annual Crack X Theatre Festival.

The show will be one of 28 in this year’s theatre category of the This is Not Art Festival, staged by Octapod from September 27 to 30, that gives young actors, writers, musicians and artists a chance to show their skills. Tantrum’s Trajectory ensemble has two other works among eight Crack X shows developed by Newcastle connected artists.

All the shows in This is Not Art have free admission.

Night at the Living Museum, which has Tantrum actors showing audience members that there is more to the historical exhibits than meets the eye, has hour-long shows after Newcastle Museum closes, at 7pm and 9pm on September 29 and 1pm on September 30.

The other Tantrum shows, each 30 minutes, are Milk Machines (Watt Space Gallery September 28, 9pm, September 29, 5pm), that looks at the experiences of contemporary women, and [fear less] (Watt Space Gallery, September 29, 5.30pm, September 30, 6.45pm), which has audiences moving through a maze, trying to find ways of overcoming fears.

Naomi Wild, a Newcastle-trained artist who also uses art as therapy, has put together with another artist The Library of Souls, which has audience members taken back to the past, as they look at objects and learn about people that had them (Watt Space Gallery, individual tours September 29 and 30, between noon and 4pm).

Between Curtains (Watt Space Gallery, September 29, 6pm to 11pm, September 28, 3.30pm to 6.45pm, September 29, 1pm to 4pm), developed by Newcastle creative team Alysha Fewster and Isabelle Legg, likewise has individuals moving among installations and recalling things that gave quiet joy.

Mars: An Interplanetary Cabaret (Watt Space Gallery, September 28, 7.45pm, September 29, 7pm), a 45-minute cabaret devised by former Novocastrians Andrew McInnes and Ang Collins, has three sleazy Martians crash to Earth searching for five hot babes to take back home.

Promethean, by Novocastrian flautist Claudia King, looking at things that impact on women, will be the first show staged in the Christ Church Cathedral Bell Tower on The Hill on September 29 at 7pm. The hour-long show can also be seen at Watt Space Gallery on September 27, 9.45pm. And Heart Open: Science Sesh (Watt Space Gallery, September 30, 7.30pm to 10pm) will be a pop-up celebration of female musicians, dancers, artists and poets devised by Amy Morris.

For more information: cracktheatrefest.com.

Theatre Review

Romeo & Juliet

Hunter Independent Theatre Company, at the CAS Theatre, Hamilton

Ends September 22

THE opening scene of this production certainly shows the timelessness of the story of Romeo and Juliet, with young members of two street gangs, garbed in late 20th century attire, meeting in a street and making abusive remarks at each other, some of which have a dark humour. And changes to the sex of a couple of characters also worked well, with a girl treated with needless violence when she tried to stop the warring teams from doing just that.

Director David Murray drew good performances from the actors, with supporting characters such as the nurse (Ann Maree Day) who has acted as a nanny to Juliet, the daughter of the Capulet family, underlining through her delivery of comments the one-sided nature of the parents and many of those around them.

The early comments of the mates of Dan Stranger’s Romeo underline the problems he initially faces when seeing Juliet at a masquerade ball and being attracted to her. Annie Wilson likewise makes clear Juliet’s concern that the rivalry of their families could stop them from meeting. The respective parents, Juliet’s played by Mike Peters and Renee Thomas, and Romeo’s by David Gubbay and Yvonne Asher, certainly bring that out. The gang members, especially Romeo’s mate Benvolio (Sam Hawkins) and the rival Tybalt (Alex Faber), also are very real. And Michael Smythe’s Friar Laurence, who tries to help the lovers, is very caring. Beth Traynor’s Mercutio, a male in the text, gives a softer side to the gang character.