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Results+Review: Week 1 Short+Sweet Illawarra

Harbour Theatre Shellharbour


The results are in, and we are proud to announce the first two plays which have won a spot in our Sydney festival February-March next year.

Judges Choice:
2nd Place: IS THIS A DREAM?
3rd Place: FOR HIRE
Threatened Panda Fights Back advances to Short+Sweet Syndey 2019

People’s Choice:
1st Place: IS THIS A DREAM?
3rd Place: CRY FOR ME
Is This A Dream advances to Short+Sweet Sydney 2019


October 9, 2018

Review by Dylan Horvat

Photos by Yobriggityphotography

The bustling theatre scene of the Illawarra has finally gotten its own Short + Sweet scene after many years with 8 short plays debuting it. With a diverse range of plays, such as relationship comedy to monologue drama to zombie satire to children singing, the prestigious short play festival is safe to find a comfy new home in this area that thrives on its local talent.

(1) – His Mother’s Curtains

Written by Diana McLaren / Directed by Sophie Bentley

Cast: Nelson Blattman and Annie May Roberts

Natural, light-hearted and warm comedy about a couple’s issues with their in-laws, taxidermied cats watching them pee, misgendering her mother because of her haircut and her mother’s taste in curtains as well as their wedding ring. Plenty of laugh-out-loud moments from the witty script and the charming actors.

(2) – Dare

Written and directed by Honora Jenkins

Cast: Mitchell Fahey, Rachel Cairncross, Emily Cairncross and Minna Lehman-Kurt

A reality game show in which the host (Fahey) challenges his contestants to be as true to themselves as they can be. An interesting concept that gets by on the appeal of the adorableness of it’s bright, eager cast, all of which are about nine years old. Bound to be enjoyed by anyone who likes seeing child actors at their cutest, bravest and most talented.

(3) – Threatened Panda Strikes Back

Written by Rex McGregor / Directed by Cara Severino

Cast: Patrick Harrison, Kaylee Ashton, Flynn Mapplebeck and Isabella Whitcher

A panda named Ling (Harrison) is the poster boy for endangered animals until science brings two dodos (Mapplebeck & Whitcher) back to life. A humorous and creative piece with plenty of funny sex-based humour and winning comedic performances, aided by panda make-up and great dodo costumes, by all four. Understandable why it won first place with the judges.

(4) – Brains

Written by Bernadette Le Mesurier / Directed by Robert Bruce

Cast: Jon Meakin, Andrew Gobran, Ricky Gamble and Inga Silfr Jon

Two zombies (Meakin and Gobran) find themselves at a human shortage as they argue about their image and how they became the walking dead. Providing a satirical and original look on the fictitious afterlife-beings proves an interesting concept, mixing biting jokes with comedically placed sound effects. Meakin and Gobran are able to utilise entertaining comedic charismas and hilarious voices while covered in great gory make-up while playing these larger than death characters.

(5) – For Hire

Written by Alexander Cuff / Directed by Sevgi Murphy

Cast: Alex Groombridge and Julian Levanic

Harry (Groombridge) is an assassin who’s been hired by an anonymous client to kill his former workmate and friend Vincent (Julian Levanic), thus ensuing hilarity and surprising character depth. Precise comedic timing engulfs this play from the constant sexual innuendo to the reluctant bloodlust by Harry’s trigger finger. Perhaps the most consistently funny play of the night, For Hire also features an interesting plot twist, making it perhaps the most compelling narrative too.

(6) – Cry For Me

Written and directed by Pete Malicki

Cast: Cris Bocchi

A melodramatic tragedy monologue piece written and directed by Malicki, Cry For Me stars Bocchi as Alicia, an Argentinian woman who works as a cryer at funerals to get the sadness rolling. Alicia recounts the toll that this job took on her personal emotions just when she needed them most as she faced personal tragedy. Bocchi showcases her charm and storytelling ability in what is the only play of the night that can’t be classified as a comedy.

(7) – Timesavers

Written by Barry Wood / Directed by Byron Faulkner

Cast: Jon Meakin and Abbey McDonald

Quirky, creative and well-performed comedy shines in this story about time travel. Meakin once again showcases his comedic acting chops as a man who claims to have invented a time machine out of a lawn chair. Meakin and McDonald make a fine duo in this British sitcom-styled piece, written by a UK playwright. McDonald plays his first customer ever who falls for his scam and supposedly goes back in time 5 minutes multiple times and has to give him money each time to prevent seeing her future self and tearing a hole in the space-time continuum.

(8) – Is This a Dream?

Written by Katrina Samaras / Directed by Lily Christie Daly

Cast: Olivia Harris, Naoise Champion, Lillian Woods and Annie May Roberts

The final play of the evening tackles the sensitive yet popular theme of depression. It takes a surreal, melodramatic and also charmingly comedic approach to the experience. The heroine dreams of meeting female icons Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, Joan of Arc and Florence Nightingale. The relatable subject matter intertwined with surrealist comedy is sure to charm over audiences, which makes sense as it won first place in the audience vote. Perfectly cast, beautifully and hilariously acted, and intelligently written; “Is This a Dream?” puts an absurd twist on familiar subject matter.

Don’t miss Week 2 of Short+Sweet Illawarra – our final instalment of ten-minute theatre.

WEEK 2 | 18-21 OCTOBER 2018
at the Bridge Street Theatre, Coniston
Home of the Phoenix Theatre Co.

Tickets $27 Adult | $22 Concession

Performances Thursday, Friday & Saturday @ 7:30 PM
and Sunday @
5:30pm (Followed by Presentation Ceremony)