The amusing and heart-warming play Circumference of a Squirrel has circular elements in its story and uses circular props, including a tyre-swing, inner-tube, bagel, donut, LifeSaver lollies, and wreath in the telling.
The play, by American writer John Walch, also has the smile-raising subtitle A riff with an inner-tube.
Circumference of a Squirrel, a 90-minute one-man show that has been popular with American theatregoers since it premiered in Texas in 2001, will be given its first Australian production by Newcastle company Knock and Run Theatre at the Royal Exchange Theatre from July 24 to 28.
The play's central character, Chester, played by James Chapman, is a 28-year-old who describes himself as a rodentophobe, as he looks back on growing up with a father who developed a rabid hatred for squirrels - a hatred that eventually infected every aspect of his and his son's life.
Chester describes himself as a rodentophobe, as he looks back on growing up with a father who had a rabid hatred for squirrels.
Chapman first read the play in 2015 when he came across it online, and while relaxing after appearing in Suicide, Incorporated this year he re-read it and put it forward as one that should be staged. Circumference of a Squirrel is being directed by Allison Van Gaal, who received a CONDA nomination for her direction of Knock and Run's Year of the Rooster in 2018. And the show has six offstage actors voicing the comments that Chester recalls were made to him by family members and others: Phillip Ross as his Dad, Tracey Gordon as Mum, Stephanie Priest as Dara, the Jewish woman Chester wooed and wed, much to the disgust of his anti-Semitic father, Jack Norman as the young Chester, and Chip McGinley and Jack Gudsell as the voices of other characters.
Chapman notes that the action will take place around a circular coffee table, with the inner-tube suspended from the roof.
Allison Van Gaal sees the play as "a beautiful piece, very mature and restrained", with the 28-year-old a grieving man, because of things that have happened to and around him. "We all experience grief at one stage in our lives," she said.
"It's about moving forward through life."
Chester's Dad was bitten on the foot by a squirrel while pushing his son as a boy on a swing made from an inner tube, and that left him limping, and impaired his golfing abilities. This led to a reign of terror against squirrels, with Chester and his brother enlisted to hunt and kill them. Those events impacted on Chester when he was training at university to be a microbiologist. They also affected his marriage.
Circumference of a Squirrel has performances at the Royal Exchange nightly from Wednesday, July 24, to Sunday, July 28, at 8pm. Tickets: $25. Bookings: stickytickets.com.au/87220.
Newcastle Theatre Company, at the NTC Theatre, Lambton. Ends July 27.
ENGLISH playwright Richard Harris astutely brings out in this story about a tap-dancing academy the ways that people converse and interact when they regularly attend training classes. Directors Tracey Owens and Claire Williams and choreographer Chauntelle O'Brien show that they also have observed such collaborations.
Nicolette Black, as Mavis, the class tutor and one-time professional dancer, is very adept in getting the very different would-be tappers to come together, while Suellen Hall, as the middle-aged pianist, Mrs Fraser, is understandably very sarcastic about their references to her. And the eight class members amusingly bring out their differences. Lynne (Maddie Richards) is a shy training nurse who occasionally voices her concerns about the way patients are treated; Dorothy (Leanne Mueller) is cute but anxious and has to look after her mother; Maxine (Amanda Woolford) is very fashionable and tells sex jokes; Andy (Sandy Aldred) is timid, shy and bullied by her husband; Geoffrey (Mike Peters), the only male in the class and teased by the women, has come for comfort after his wife's death; Sylvia (Claire Thomas) is a bubbly married woman who likes flirting; Rose (Ann-Maree Day) is an Italian woman who loves to make jokes and wears wigs that fly off in the dance routines; and Vera (Jo Cooper) is neat, proper and a bit of a snob. The show's finale, where the dancers take part in a fund-raising event, receives well-deserved loud applause.
Maitland Repertory Theatre, at its venue. Ends July 27.
AMERICAN playwright Marjorie Sokoloff's version of the classic fairy tale focuses on the Witch, who is first seen as a young girl who gets onto a beach as the only survivor of a shipwreck, and wanders around a nearby town until she is accepted as a visitor.
She does become Snow White's stepmother after marrying a king, but her treatment of the girl as she grows up leads to the princess residing with seven dwarves.
The Witch, of course, is eventually driven away - or is she?
This is a lively adaptation of the story, told in a brisk 50 minutes (although Maitland Repertory's production, the first in Australia, has added an interval).
The characters in this young actors production, which has two alternating casts directed by Leilani Boughton, are certainly very engaging. There is a colourful and very lively dancing Chicken, and the magic Mirror has three people side by side, staring very strictly at those who look into it. And the Prince is handsome - or is he?