Friday, February 1, 2013

Review: The Giraffe's Uncle (La Mama)

Essentially a one-hander, The Giraffe’s Uncle explores the life and person of Les Robinson, an absurdist writer in Sydney’s bohemia scene between the 1920s and 60s. Robinson was infamous for living in derelict houses and caves, writing, fishing and playing his gramophone, and refusing to pay rent.

Following the Sydney premiere in 2011, Kieran Carroll’s thirteenth play, restaged and revised for the Melbourne season, once again features actor Martin Portus who consolidates his return to the stage after 30 years.

Martin Portus is captivating, transporting us on the emotional rollercoaster of Robinson’s existence, his need to be embraced by bohemian colleagues, and his rejection, not of people, but of society.

Playwright Carroll describes Robinson as, ‘ a man of both indolent charm and sad anxiousness’, and as a ‘gloriously imaginative, idiosyncratic, catastrophically humorous and deeply alienated’ writer. Robinson wrote for several publications, but The Giraffe’s Uncle (1933) remains his only published short story collection.

Intuitive singer Darryl Emmerson is a charming addition to the Melbourne show and won me over with his gentle lyricism, and easy manner. So much so, the memory of my old grandfather singing crept into my head. Continue reading

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