Karen Berger: SELECTED REVIEW EXCERPTS

Yellingbo (Tee O’Neill)

 

The Age, Cameron Woodhead, March 10, 2022

https://www.theage.com.au/culture/theatre/a-relaxed-rom-com-peels-away-to-reveal-a-desolating-dilemma-20220310-p5a3es.html

Yellingbo – (“today” in the language of the Woiwurrung) – feels timely, and the suspense it achieves as it shifts from rom-com to psychological thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat. 

 

RLSMITH WRITING, R. L. Smith, March 18, 2022

https://rlsmithwriting.com/2022/03/18/theatre-review-yellingbo-by-tee-oneill/

I was riveted from start to finish. 

 

Stage Whispers, Michael Brindley, March 2022

https://www.stagewhispers.com.au/reviews/yellingbo

Director Karen Berger’s pacing, and her direction of the cast’s performances put real pressure behind the reveals.  We are hungry for them.  Tension rises as we empathise and feel how much rides on the characters’ decisions.  

 

Weekend Notes, Mistress of Culture Vultures, March 2022

https://www.weekendnotes.com/yellingbo-la-mama-theatre-play-refugees-asylum-politics-war/

… intense moments where Kaye and Cat argue which are then balanced with comedic play when Cat and Danny recall their childhood friendship. The actors embody the characters superbly and it is a delight to watch them navigate the unfolding elements of the drama.

 

Deceptive Threads (D Joseph and K Berger)

 

Artshub, Melinda Keyte, November 14, 2016

http://performing.artshub.com.au/news-article/reviews/performing-arts/melinda-keyte/deceptive-threads-252616

A master performer with a chameleon like charm, Joseph takes us on a rich, fascinating and deeply troubling journey … Multi-positioned voices makes Deceptive Threads so compelling to watch. … This is an assured theatrical triumph for Bowerbird Theatre and not to be missed. A poignant and moving performance that asks the question ‘is the past really the past?’ It challenges us not to look away from where we are now …

Rating: four stars out of five

 

Pop Culture-y, Til Knowles, November 12, 2016

http://popculture-y.com/2016/11/review-deceptive-threads/

Deceptive Threads is a play that takes the phrase ‘the personal is political’ and applies it to family history. … The sound design is likewise powerful … Deceptive Threads is the kind of art needed in 2016, art that prompts reflection of our country, our histories, and our future.

 

Stage Whispers, Suzanne Sandow, November, 2016 

http://www.stagewhispers.com.au/reviews/deceptive-threads

Deceptive Threads is an exquisitely crafted piece of theatre made by a number of exceptionally skilled practitioners and seamlessly linked with insightful direction by Karen Berger.

 

Melbourne Observer, David MacLean, July 28, 2015

This is an extraordinary piece of theatre. It is not just David’s familiarity with stagecraft, but the creative integration of the audio visual and props that make this worth seeing. … These are the stories that we need to hear as Australians …

 

Arnold Zable - acclaimed author, novelist, and human rights advocate, November 14, 2016

Deceptive Threads is an engaging story enacted and staged with flair and imagination. Seamlessly crossing borders of race, class and identity, it is a timely reminder of the great strength and creativity that comes from embracing diversity in contemporary Australia. 

 

Lingua Botanica (K Berger & D Joseph) Testimonials, 2018

 

Kate Cullity, Director Taylor Cullity Lethlean: Lingua Botanica investigated new territories of endeavour, was innately creative, and engaged with and created a lively response from a mixed audience. Lingua Botanica is complex, entertaining, sophisticated and beautiful. Its themes of plant cognition and therapeutic horticulture are fascinating and pertinent. We particularly appreciated the interweaving of new scientific knowledge, experimentation and the healing qualities of plants presented in an engaging, creative, accessible and at times humorous theatrical form.

 

Erin Ritchie, Teaching Associate Faculty of Arts University of Melbourne, former Creative Producer RBGV:

Colourful, engaging and generous, Lingua Botanica is an immersive and intellectually eccentric performance that celebrates plant and human nature.. … the performance offers deep and resonating insight into the mystery and beauty of plants. … Through Dr Sharp’s lecture and the mesmerising visual displays and soundscapes, the audience is immersed in the ‘entangled reality’ she calls for – and it is very much like an exquisite dream. The fascinating science of plant growth and cognition, so often dichotomised from discussions on the human need to be immersed in nature, finds a stage generously interwoven with story and heart. This is a production for all, but especially the gardener-scientist-poets who feel the magic with their hands in the soil.

 

The Parricide (D. Stubbings) 

 

3MBS Radio, Peter Green, May 21, 2014

An ecstatic experience… In 48 years associated with La Mama as an actor, director, audience member and now reviewer, I have seldom seen better. Karen Berger’s direction is perfect.

    

Toorak Times, Leonard Miller, May 13, 2014

It brings to mind both the Occupy movement of the western world and the uprisings that have been shaking northern Africa and the Middle East. In her notes, director Karen Berger addresses this parallel and it is here that the work demonstrates its greatest strength. Berger’s touch is also evident in the transitions between biographical action and the fictional depictions from Dostoyevsky’s novels. ... It is obvious much care and consideration has gone into every decision and at ninety minutes it is well paced. ... very good and definitely worth a watch. ... it will surely get you thinking.

    

Le Petit Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, adapted by K Berger)

 

Arts Hub, Jennifer Andersen, July 16, 2007

Melbourne French Theatre Inc. has created a new touring stage production of the book which captures its naïve charm through a clear adaptation, attractive staging and good performances…. Director and writer Karen Berger’s adaptation avoids the many lengthy monologues and explanatory passages, telling the story instead through dialogue and the most essential character driven scenes. The Little Prince’s outward and internal journeys are made clearer as a result, and the audience is rewarded with more comedy and pathos than productions which try to squeeze in more of the original text.

 

One of the challenges of Le Petit Prince, as a story and as a character, lies in being able to capture its childlike whimsy without slipping into icky sentimentality. This production achieves it through simplicity and a sense of comic lightness which makes the Little Prince’s end all the more touching.

 

THE TEAPOT ENSEMBLE OF AUSTRALIA

 

‘The Teapot Ensemble had people rolling in the aisles.’

Kristy Edmunds, Artistic Director, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Oct. 2007

 

‘I was truly gob-smacked at your amazing individual singing abilities and the combined finesse! Parts of it were really beautiful and others very funny! People were entranced.’ Jane Coker, Secretary, Community Music Victoria, 20/06/05

 

Australian Stage, 24/10/07

By Carol Middleton

 

The Teapot Ensemble of Australia, aka TEA, was born in a moment of silliness, when four accomplished musicians took up teapots and played “I’m a little teapot short and stout” through their spouts. This humble tune was used to conclude their single show at the Spiegeltent in this years’ MIAF.

 

The one-hour show has evolved from these inauspicious beginnings to span the musical spectrum from Telemann to Beethoven, from jazz to original songs, from opera to nursery rhymes. All this is achieved by four players each holding a teapot in one hand, singing or vocalising through the spout, and using the other hand across the open pot to create vibrato or sound effects. The result is a complex web of harmonies and rhythms, not to mention clearly recognisable concertos and popular tunes.

 

The opening of the concert was fun, with the three girls kneeling down at a table of teapots and starting to play them. Then the musicianship of the players kicks in and the mood becomes more sombre. Their dedication to the obviously tricky and demanding art of teapot playing is admirable.

 

The performances were interspersed with readings about tea from David Adamson (Baritone Teapot). The texts were well chosen: Bertrand Russell puts forward a philosophical hypothesis on a teapot orbiting the sun; a character from PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves complains “But I haven’t had my tea yet”. Adamson’s delivery was good…

 

Tea-lovers will be charmed by the assortment of pots onstage, from the tiny to the gross, and the fetching display of them that constitutes part of the percussion set.

 

The Teapot Ensemble, completed by Karen Berger (Alto Teapot/Composer) and Kate Neal (Tenor Teapot/Blockfloetist), has a unique sound and a quirky appeal. … they will be a great success.