December 2011 FINALS

Crash Test Drama wrapped up for 2011 with our Season Two Finals on Monday 19th Dec. We had a very full house, with people being forced to sit in the orchestra pit for the current show at the theatre - Buffy The Musical! Despite the usual challenges and obstacles, the show went on and ran smoothly.

First cab off the ranks was Binge Drinking Hell Raisers, written and directed by Steve McGrath. Steve has actually had a play in every single Crash Test Finals since its Sydney inception in 2008 and he's certainly one of the funniest playwrights in the state, his work being invariably hilarious. Garreth Cruikshank won Best Actor Runner Up for his performance as Sir Jonathon Beaumont Smythe and James Hartley co-starred as the young man looking for talent for his TV commercial. Binge Drinking Hell Raisers has been offered a space in Short+Sweet Sydney 2012 Wildcards as a Runner Up due to its strong audience vote.

Second was The Socratic Method, written by Crash Test actor and first-time writer Jed Walker and directed by Felix Carlyle. A businessman (Alex Williams) in a hurry to catch his plane signs a document to offset the carbon emissions of his flight, only to discover this will lead to the suicide of an Australian in order to create room in the country for a refugee of global warming. Amanda Marsden was the check-in staff and Oriana Panozzo played Elvis, the cleaner.

Third for the night we had Guilt of the Vaudevillian, written and directed by Ava Karuso. After a costume change, Oriana Panozzo was back on stage as Judy, starring alongside David Attrill as Greg, an elderly man rehearsing his puppet show with a real life twist. Unfortunately for the team, the play ran for 12:39 and was ineligible for the Judge's Choice award. Good experience for Ava, who has a bit of editing to do before the play returns at Short+Sweet!

Next up was Breaking Bethleham, written and directed by Crash Test regular Craig Delahoy. A movie producer needs to create a scandal to ensure the success of his latest blockbuster and he engages the services of a publicist who decides to break up Hollywood's biggest couple: Beth and Hamish. Bethleham. Bill Jordan and Cameron Hughes were the publicist and producer respectively, with Melisa Bactol as Beth and Sean McCallum as Hamish.

Last up in the first act was Train Station, Sally Williams' first play which Norah George directed. Starring Graham Yates and Yvette McDonnell, Train Station revealed each piece of its story step by step. A woman waiting for her train is approached by a man who really doesn't want to leave her alone and their history together is uncovered. This play is already scheduled as a Wildcard in Short+Sweet Sydney 2012 so we'll be seeing it again soon.


To kick off the second act was The Dominatrix, an absolute stand out in a strong night. Written by Sue Lewington, this play was perfectly performed and masterfully directed, with Adrian Bitel winning Best Director for his efforts. Clare Martin captivated the audience as Vixen, the dominatrix, and won Best Actress for her engaging and scarily-believable performance! Her co-star, the nervous punter played by Alex Corley (Best Actor), showed us the very definition of commitment as Clare whipped, spanked and tweaked his nipples from one side of the stage to the other. The Dominatrix won Judge's Choice and Popular Vote Runner Up (by 3 votes) and won a spot in Short+Sweet Sydney 2012's Top 100. Congrats to the team for their efforts.

Then came All In Good Time, written by Vee Malnar and directed by another Crash Test regular, Uma Kali Shakti. This strong drama held its own in a night of what were mostly comedies, with Robert Zavadszky and Garreth Cruikshank playing the brothers with a life-long rivalry and Samatha Roylance playing the woman they both love. Vee was awarded the Playwright's Encouragement Award for her strong script and (unofficially) for demonstrating continued development as a playwright, with many Crash Test contributions over the years.

Eighth for the night was The Flowers, written by Crash Test Coordinator Pete Malicki and directed by Jacque Vickers. While growing up, Sam realises that everyone and everything around her just keep on dying, from her various foster parents to her pets and plants. After many failed attempts at commiting suicide, Sam is determined to at least grow some flowers. Kit Bennett's superb performance earned her Best Actress Runner Up and the play just pipped The Dominatrix as Popular Vote Winner, earning The Flowers a place in the Top 100 of Short+Sweet Sydney.

Finally, we had Must Be The Dairy, written by Nisrine Amine and directed by Nir Shelter. Like Steve McGrath, Nir has been in every Crash Test Finals to date! Must Be The Dairy is about a young woman taking her depressed mother (Debbie Tilley) to see a new-age healer of questionable talent (Julian Ramundi). The play really captures the vibe and ideologies of the alternative therapies industry and has been offered a spot in Short+Sweet's Wildcards as a Runner Up thanks to its good result in the audience vote.

Thank you!

An enormous and heartfelt thanks to all of those people who've contributed to Crash Test this year. We've had around 170 actors, 60 writers and 60 directors chip in to put the season together, which I needn't convince anyone is an impressive number of artists. Without these participants, we wouldn't have a show, and without their supporters coming along to cheer them on, we wouldn't have an audience or the prizes we're proud to be able to offer.

A special thank you to Georgie Edwards for being Assistant Coordinator this year and to all our judges.

With our 2011 season over, it's time for me to say goodbye, thank you, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It's been a blast running Crash Test for a second year and I hope to be involved again in 2012 if my brain is still intact.

The Results

Alex Broun, one of the world's leading writers of 10 minute plays and the founder of Crash Test Drama in Sydney, graced the theatre as our judge for the night. It was great to have someone of his knowledge and experience taking on the job; it's never easy being responsible for judging Crash Test.

Popular Vote Winner: The Flowers

Wins a place in the Top 100 of Short+Sweet Sydney 2012

Written by Pete Malicki

Directed by Jacque Vickers

Starring Kit Bennett

Popular Vote Runner Up: The Dominatrix

Written by Sue Lewington

Directed by Adrian Bitel

Judge's Choice: The Dominatrix

Wins a place in the Top 100 of Short+Sweet Sydney 2012

Written by Sue Lewington

Directed by Adrian Bitel

Starring Clare Martin and Alex Corley

Best Actor: Alex Corley (from "The Dominatrix")

Best Actor Runner-Up: Garreth Cruikshank (from "Binge Drinking Hell Raisers")

Best Actress: Clare Martin (from "The Dominatrix")

Best Actress Runner-Up: Kit Bennett (from "The Flowers")

Best Director: Adrian Bitel (from "The Dominatrix")

Playwright's Encouragement Award: Vee Malnar for "All In Good Time"

See you at Short+Sweet! Don't forget to come along to Week One - it's going to be a cracker!

Season's Greetings

Pete Malicki


Crash Test Drama