December 2011

Crash Test had our final heat for the year last night, with eight brand new plays for all to enjoy. Most of our regular directors were tied up with the impending Short+Sweet Sydney festival, so a lot of writers directed their own plays. We were able to program in plays with larger casts and had 33 actors turn up and all land roles.

First up was Bake Off, written and directed by Alex Broun. The alpha strudelmeister, played by Felicity Bourke, is less than impressed when her co-bakers (Sheila Fielding and Penelope Grace) side with Nisrine, the new cakemaker from India (Lydia Stojanoska). A great way to start the evening and a choreographed ladle fight never goes astray.

Second was The Front Row, which Rachel Button wrote and also took on as director at the last minute. This play about the demise of a friendship was a great first effort from Rachel, whose direction was solid, particularly for a newcomer. David Thompson, Nick Sambrizzi, Stef Cox and Rachel O'Reilly all did good work as the cast.

Third was resident nutter Steve McGrath's Binge Drinking Hell Raisers. Steve wrote and directed this play and once again firmed up a spot in the Finals as the winner of the Popular Vote. He has been in every single Crash Test Finals to date! Garreth Cruikshank won Best Actor for his efforts as Sir Jonathon and James Hartley put in a strong performance as Mark.

Last up in act one was It's Only Me, written and directed by Uma Kali Shakti. It's Only Me timed in at a brief 5:52, which means that Uma has plenty of space to develop and extend her script. Ciara Ferraro-Read played Chandini, Roxanne Doyle and Kelly Burke played Chandini's inner voices, Cassady Maddox was Chandini's conscience, and Kim Do was Marina Gatti.

After the interval we had another four plays, kicked off by Faith de Savigne's It Takes a Village. This play about a group of people trying to help an ex-con get back on track was directed by Amelia Tranter and performed by Lauren Whitton, Nisha Prichard, Adam Baliva, Stephanie Williams and Sarah Connor. Unfortunately, it was penalised for being over 12 mins in duration and was therefore ineligible for the Judge's Choice award.

Next was Deal 'em Up, written just a few days ago by Cheryl Pomering and directed by Ruth Fingret. Two young dealers of deals, played by Emily Stratten and Holly Butler, came to heads with Nurse Drugan and Mrs Solomon, who were out to score a few quick discounts. Lisa Kelaher was strong as Mrs Solomon and Sandra Campbell was awarded Best Actress for her role as the nurse. The play was equal second in the voting, scoring the Popular Vote Runner Up award.

Seventh for the night was Little Hands, written and directed by Julie Danilis. Julie was awarded the Playwright's Encouragement Award for a script that had some touching monologues within and for being brave enough to experiment with form and do something a little different. Michela Carattini was the pregnant woman with an impressive scream, Elena Burger played the child, and Yvette McDonnell and Bill Jordan starred as the obstetrician and partner respectively.

Finally, The Socratic Method cleaned up the awards. Written by Jed Walker, directed by Felix Carlyle, and starring Jack Ngu, Amanda Marsden and Oriana Panozzo, this play won Judge's Choice, Best Director, Best Actor Runner Up, Best Actress Runner Up (for Oriana) and equal Runner Up in the Popular Vote. An impressive effort from the team and we're happy to have them back again in our Finals on the 19th December 2011.

Our full results are below:

The Results
Rhema Burns - an actor, director and drama/entertainment/English teacher at Bradfield College - stepped in as judge for the night.

Popular Vote First Place: Binge Drinking Hell Raisers
Wins a place in Crash Test Drama 2011 Season Two Finals

Written and directed by Steve McGrath

Popular Vote Runner Up: Deal Em Up and The Socratic Method
Deal Em Up written by Cheryl Pomering and directed by Ruth Fingret
The Socratic Method written by Jed Walker and directed by Felix Carlyle

Judge's Choice: The Socratic Method
Wins a place in Crash Test Drama 2011 Season Two Finals

Written by Jed Walker and directed by Felix Carlyle

Best Actor: Garreth Cruikshank (from "Binge Drinking Hell Raisers")
Best Actor Runner-Up: Jack Ngu  (from "The Socratic Method")
Best Actress: Sandra Campbell (from "Deal 'em Up")
Best Actress Runner-Up: Oriana Panozzo  (from "The Socratic Method")
Best Director: Felix Carlyle (from "The Socratic Method")

Playwright's Encouragement Award: Julie Danilis for "Little Hands"

Thanks to all the writers, directors and actors who came along and put the show together for our audience to enjoy. It was great to have such a full house on such a rainy evening.

Don't forget to come along to the Crash Test Finals next fortnight on the 19th December. It's going to be a great show. Get in early as the Finals always sells out.


Pete Malicki
Crash Test Drama