July 4th 2011

Well, after the unfortunate last-minute of cancellation of last month's show, Crash Test had a show to make up last night. The format was a little bit different to the usual as plays had already been (mostly) cast at the cancelled show and we only had a few roles to fill on the night.

Things worked out well in the end with a very successful make-up round. We had a beautiful empty stage to work with and a great audience of 75 people. The night went by without a single off-stage drama.

First up was Pauline Trenerry's first ever play, Transference. Amelia Tranter was originally down to direct this but she unforunately couldn't make the new date. Pauline did a wonderful job directing her play, which was a well-rounded script about a psychologist treating his patient, who was also a psychologist, and it explored the idea of professional boundaries in medicine/mental health. Scott Watson did a superb job as Roger, with Les Davidson and Joan Rodd putting in strong performances as Clive and April respectively. We hope to see more of Pauline's work at future Crash Tests.

Second was Short+Sweet Sydney 2011 Gala Final actress Sarah Connor's first Crash Test script, Call Me But Love, directed by the eminent David Attrill (also a Short+Sweet Gala Finalist). This hilarious play about two exes being cast in a play together starred Erin Youngblutt as Juliet and Matt "That Guy" Thomson as Romeo. Matt won Best Actor and the play will be on again next week at the Crash Test Finals as the Judge's Second Choice winner.

Third for the night was Crash Test Assistant Coordinator Georgie Edwards' No More, directed by Raj Muneshwar. Georgie has a background writing prose/novels and has been spending a bit more of her writing time on theatre scripts lately, and her work is getting stronger with every play. We had strong performances again by Tanya Powell as Kate, and Kate Buchanan - who won Best Actress - as Margaret.

Fourth was Con Nats' Two Gay Whalers & A Park Bench, a cleverly-written comedy about two homeless men, well, on a park bench! Known for delivering the goods, Con's script and direction, along with powerhouse performances by Chris Lewis and Garreth Cruikshank, won him both the Judge's Choice and Popular Vote and we will be seeing this play again next week in the Finals.

After the interval was Robert Armstrong's Crime Rhyme, a play about a rat in a hat being splat by an exterminator called Jehosephatt, with John Kam as Matt and Holly Butler as Pat. David Thompson played the exterminator and Robert filled the role of director after Ruth Fingret couldn't make the new date. There was an impressive amount of rhyming and even more impressive props.

Up next came Romance Novel, a play Matt Orchard both wrote and directed. A romance novelist (Bruno Starrs) is called in to meet a publisher/agent/entertainment executive, who suggests a few small changes to the work and ends up with a rather brilliant sneaker advertisement. Steve McGrath was engrossing as always as Ted, with Eliza St John as the secretary fearing for her nipples. This play did very well with both the judge and the audience, and while it won't be in next week's finals, we hope to see it in Short+Sweet one day.

Trial Run by Sonal Moore was our seventh play for the night. With direction from DIY Directors boss Uma Kali Shakti, this drama about bullying and consequences was brought to life by the talented cast of Sheila Fielding (who won Best Actress Runner Up), Colleen Henry, Maite Carvill and Justine Scali. It was an interesting change of pace from Romance Novel and shows the wide variety of writing we get at Crash Test.

Nearing the end was Ava Karuso's Philemon, a monologue directed by Jacque Vickers and powerfully performed by Best Actor Runner Up Paul Musumeci. Ava has written plays before but we have not done one at Crash Test, so it was wonderful to see Philemon taking out the Popular Vote Runner Up, behind first place by a measly one vote. Hopefully she will get across the line with her next offering.

And finally, to finish off the night, was Short+Sweet darling Maree Santarossa's The Cleaner The Better, directed by Allanah Jarman (who recently won Best Director at the first ever Crash Test Cronulla). Candy Burgess played Ann, who was embarrassed to find that her cleaner had 'misplaced' several (11 to be precise) of her porno DVDs. Gael Ballantyne enjoyed a quiet laugh as Simone, the phone operator from the cleaning company, with a cameo appearance by Romance Novel's secretary Eliza St John. This was another script that did well with the audience and we hope to see more from Maree next season.

The Results

Our judge for the night was Crash Test and Short+Sweet regular Craig Delahoy, who has had many a successful play performed at these events. Craig struggled to pick his Best Play with the tight competition.

Popular Vote First Place: Two Gay Whalers & A Park Bench

Written and directed by Con Nats

Wins a place in Crash Test Drama 2011 Season One Finals

Popular Vote Runner Up: Philemon

Written by Ava Karuso

Directed by Jacque Vickers

Judge's Choice: Two Gay Whalers & A Park Bench

Written and directed by Con Nats

Judge's Second Choice: Call Me But Love

Written by Sarah Connor

Directed by David Attrill

Wins a place in Crash Test Drama 2011 Season One Finals

Best Actor: Matt Thomson (from Call Me But Love)

Best Actor Runner-Up: Paul Musumeci (from Philemon)

Best Actress: Kate Buchanan (from No More)

Best Actress Runner-Up: Sheila Fielding (from Trial Run)

Best Director: Matt Orchard (for Romance Novel)

Playwright's Encouragement Award: Romance Novel by Matt Orchard.

Thanks to all the actors, writers and directors who volunteered their time and expertise to make Crash Test a success. An extra-big thank you to Valentino for being our wonderful last-minute MC, and to Georgie Edwards and Kingsley for their continued help, support and cheer.

See you next Mon at the Finals, 11th July!

Best regards,

Pete Malicki


Crash Test Drama