November 2011

As Crash Test Drama heads towards the end of the year, we decided to extend our program from 8 plays to 9 for our second last heat. The casting session was a bit of a headache but we pulled through in the end and we got things off the ground.

First up on this humid night was Guilt of the Vaudevillian, written and directed by Ava Karuso. This well-constructed play about a man practising his sock puppet show was performed by Jed Walker and Katherine Marmion and earned itself the Judge's Choice, winning a spot in the Crash Test Drama Finals.

Then came This Supernatural Soliciting Cannot Be Ill; Cannot Be Good by writer Will Keyes Byrne. Garreth Cruikshank directed this play about two famous writers trying to have a suspected charlatan exposed. There were strong performances from Michele Mattiuzzi, David Attrill and Leo Domigan.

Third was Pizza Delivery, written and directed by Matt Orchard, who did well for himself by winning Best Director and Popular Vote Runner Up. A pizza boy is offered the tip of a lifetime from a customer who has had enough of life. James Hartley and Debbie Tilley were awarded Best Actor Runner Up and Best Actress Runner Up for their solid performances.

And then we had Craig Delahoy's Breaking Bethleham, a comedy about a PR guru in the movie industry finding that special angle to promote the latest film starring Beth and Hamish - the couple known as Bethleham. Bill Jordan won Best Actor for his role as Darabont, with Nathan Hale as Handenburg and the spunky Cameron Hughes and Melisa Bactol as both halves of Bethleham. This play won the Popular Vote and will be back again on Dec 19th in the Finals.

Last up in the first half was Sonal Moore's It's All About The Birds, directed by James Balian. Two spies accidentally end up at the same rendezvous after a one night stand and a morning of bird watching. Niko Sol and Rachel O'Reilly performed this piece with gusto and Rachel was awarded Best Actress Runner Up.

After the interval we had Penelope Grace's play Knows His Onions, with Uma Kali Shaki in the director's chair. An elderly lady goes to the supermarket to purchase a few essentials but the young man at the checkout is concerned about, well, just about everything. This charming play was performed by Danny Kim, Sheila Fielding and Reiko Austen and will be back again in the program at Short+Sweet Sydney 2012.

Seventh up was Thistle & Rose, a drama about two medieval queens. Pete Greenaway wrote this play with Sadashivam Rao as director. Michela Carattini played Mary Queen of Scots, and in one of the more interesting casting choices of the night, Lynden Jones did a superb Queen Elizabeth.

Nearing the end was Pat Brennan's I Love My Husband... Really, directed by the man himself. This comedic drama starred a strong cast all round, with Frank Davidson as Charles, Stephen Davies as the young boy, Martin Estridge as the nurse, and Elena Burger as Judy. Elena did a great job as an 80-something-year-old woman, especially considering she's just 15 years old in real life!

Finally, writer/director Robert Armstrong's Memory Laine finished off the night on a fun note. With a talk show host who struggles to keep control of her increasingly unruly guests, Robert was awarded the Playwright's Encouragement Award for showing ongoing improvement in the tightness of his writing. Yasmin Horner played the host Laine, Holly Butler was Lady Fiona, Paul Musumeci was Kevin and Siobhan Moran was Dorothy.

Thanks to all our wonderful actors, writers and directors who offered up their talents to put on yet another great show. We love you all and welcome you back any time.

See below for the results.

The Results

It was a great pleasure for Crash Test to have Mark Cleary, founder of Short+Sweet and the Newtown Theatre, judging for the night.

Popular Vote First Place: Breaking Bethleham

Wins a place in Crash Test Drama 2011 Season Two Finals

Written and directed by Craig Delahoy

Popular Vote Runner Up: Pizza Delivery

Written and directed by Matt Orchard

Judge's Choice: Guilt of the Vaudevillian

Wins a place in Crash Test Drama 2011 Season Two Finals

Written and directed by Ava Karuso

Best Actor: Bill Jordan (from "Breaking Bethleham")

Best Actor Runner-Up: James Hartley (from "Pizza Delivery")

Best Actress: Rachel O'Reilly (from "It's All About The Birds")

Best Actress Runner-Up: Debbie Tilley (from "Pizza Delivery")

Best Director: Matt Orchard (from "Pizza Delivery")

Playwright's Encouragement Award: Robert Armstrong, for "Memory Laine"

A big thank you to Georgie Edwards for MC-ing the night again and helping to keep the Crash Test ducks in line.

Next Crash Test is Mon 5th December, our last heat for the year. Hope to catch you there!

Pete Malicki Georgie Edwards

Coordinator Assistant Coordinator