Review excerpts of The Parricide (D. Stubbings) directed by Karen Berger


‘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’


          Peter Green, 3MBS Radio, 21/05/2014


Taking place in the 1860s, the action is set against the background of political unrest that followed the Tsar’s deconstruction of the medieval serf system. Stubbings’ dialogue works intelligently as it both evokes this period and is eerily reminiscent of the revolutionary diatribes of today. 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. ...

Fans of Dostoyevsky will take a lot from this show, but it has something to offer everyone. 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.'


            Leonard Miller, Toorak Times, 13/05/2014


REVIEW - Le Petit Prince


by Jennifer Andersen

Arts Hub

Monday, 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.


Despite its deceptively simple language, any VCE French student can tell you that Le Petit Prince is quite a wordy little book and its episodic structure can be hard to trudge through. 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 few moments where characters jumped off the stage and addressed the audience directly worked well and will probably tickle high school audiences too.

The play’s success is mostly due to the uniformly excellent performances ...





‘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.