[Review] Five, Six by Nicholas Tan

By Michael Wood

Earlier this month the METIOR team had the privilege of attending a preview performance of Nicholas Tan’s upcoming Fringe Festival show Five, Six here at Murdoch’s own Studio 411. Adapted from an award winning ten-minute piece, which Tan wrote but did not direct, the feature-length incarnation of the story marks Tan’s directorial debut.

Five, Six presents an intimate and immersive portrait of the lives of Andy and Joel, small-town brothers battling to maintain a sense of normalcy in the absence of their oft-travelling parents. Life for the brothers is made all the more difficult by the younger Joel’s seemingly undiagnosed OCD and the elder Andy’s struggle with his own sexuality—a struggle which drives the play’s action. Both Andy and Joel find counsel in Andy’s best friend, Max. In contrast to Andy, Max is openly gay and often finds himself as the mediator in Andy and Joel’s relationship. Helping each to grasp the other’s emotional complexities and better navigate life as a unit, even when Andy’s actions would leave Max entirely justified in leaving, Max’s compassion, guidance and love for the brothers often becomes the moral compass of their lives.

The construction of the narrative must be applauded. The events of Five, Six are not inherently driven by action, but rather by the emotional arc Andy embarks on throughout the story. At first glance the story is one of rejection by society, in which the brothers try and fail to assimilate into their surroundings. In reality it is a story of hope, and of finding goodness in those around you even when traditional sources of guidance are unwilling or unable to help.

Each of the three protagonists has a distinct emotional imprint which informs Tan’s decisions as a writer. Boiled down to its bare bones it is essentially a series of conversations, and yet the drama is gripping. For a narrative which covers such a wide range of issues, from mental illness to sexuality to familial discord, Five, Six is shockingly lean. Tan clearly understands his characters very deeply and the precision with which he selects which moments from their lives the audience shall be privy to demonstrates just how strong a writer he is. The elegance of the script was reflected in the performance’s blocking. The stage was occupied only by the actors and a handful of props which were rarely on stage at the same time. This felt entirely appropriate for a play about absence, isolation, and the question we so often ask ourselves: what is missing?

Each of the four actors delivered strong performances. Given the youth of the cast (all but one are under the age of twenty-one) their ability to connect with the audience was impressive. As Andy, Noah Way’s performance was an achievement. Way managed to create layers which left the viewer acutely aware of what was bubbling beneath the surface. Calum Costello displayed a level of commitment to Joel’s obsessive tics that elevated the piece to greater heights, while Josh McGee’s soft and stoic portrayal of Max felt natural and sympathetic.

While not perfect (because what is?), it was clearly a love for the craft which made Five, Six work so well. As debuts go Tan can certainly be proud of what he has achieved with this production. We thoroughly recommend Five, Six and expect to see some truly great work from Tan, and all involved, in the future.

Five, Six is showing at Studio 411, Murdoch University South Street Campus from the 21st to the 23rd of February. Tickets can be purchased from  https://fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/five-six-fw2018

Ruby Red Fatales – FRINGE REVIEWS

Advertised as a war set comedy/cabaret, ‘Ruby Red Fatales’ provides relief and enjoyment from the first haunting dance to the last cheeky remark. What began as a typical (but sexy as all hell) 20th-century burlesque dance, quickly changed its tone to one of romance and humour.

While not intentionally serious, the romantic story-arc does gently pull on the heart strings. This provides a great counterbalance for the fusion of slapstick comedy and obvious double entendres that flitter about.

For me, there is two stand out points to this show: Firstly, the highly effective blend of comedy incorporated into song. It’s just a beautiful way to experience laughs that’s both appropriate to the context of the story, and refreshingly different from stand-up.

Secondly, and a point that I often find underrated, is an atmospheric jazzy band playing in the background. With a score seamlessly integrated into dialogue and song, you begin to forget they’re there. Sorry guys – Please take it as a compliment!

I would recommend this specifically for people who love a mixture of comedy and theatre over stand up. Or, any musicians who are after an appreciative evening – look no further.

If you’re a purist and rather isolated genres rather than a fusion, perhaps look towards something else. This show is the whole package, but that comes at a cost. That cost (for some) is a compromise between the different aspects of theatre.

Worth a see? Yeah, go on. Go grab a few drinks and head over for the late start to cap of your night. Is it for everyone? Probably not. Some people hate fun, so decide if that’s you. 


The unTrue Detective – FRINGE REVIEWS

Lets start the Fringe season with a classic theatrical comedy. Nothing whets the appetite for what’s to come more than a blend of quiet chuckles and thoughtful intrigue. The show ‘The unTrue Detective” does not disappoint.

Now spurred on to see every show under the sun, it was great to see something at the award winning venue “Noodle Palace” in Northbridge. A few drinks and some noodles pre-show certainly doesn’t hurt.

“The unTrue Detective” had the intimate crowd on the edge of their seats (although that could have been the uncomfortable seating). While not filling the room with screaming laughter, the subtle digs and ‘red herrings’ left the audience with a constant ear-to-ear grin.

Effective lighting and a small venue really added to the shows appeal. Without revealing too much, a sense of direct communication and internal monologue from star character ‘McNab’ was the real highlight.

If you are after layers of complicated story, this show is not for you. But if what you seek is an evening of cheeky comments, laughs and a good time, this is the show for you.


          Enjoy a pre-show feed and drink to add a bit more to your night.

          For $16 tickets, you do get your money’s worth in the 40-minute show.

Tickets available at: https://www.fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/event/untrue_detective/7a5b6dbf-bf4a-4228-a3b0-c91e65b61077/

Hey Geronimo – Crashing into the Sun Review

By Rhys Prka

Hey Geronimo are an Australian five piece band from Brisbane and  their debut album is ‘Crashing Into The Sun’, an interesting endeavour that shows a lot of promise.

The band has been around for a while, dropping two EPs since 2012, but they have been quiet for a few years and it shows in the music as a few of the tracks are from different parts of their career and it can sometimes be quite jarring as they change styles. The song ‘Carbon Affair’ is from 2012 and is on this album and the song ‘Lazer Gun Show’ is from 2013. For fans, I can only imagine this is disappointing. When you are hearing old songs on a debut album it must be saddening because, instead of some new material, you get to hear the same song you have been listening to for the past 3 years. This project seems dotted with these older tracks and they stand out.

It seems that Hey Geronimo couldn’t decide on a direction to take the band. Sometimes they go the pop direction like on ‘The Girl Who Likes Me’, and then a rock direction on ‘Boredom’. I don’t understand what they want me to take from this. Perhaps that they can play different genres? Don’t get me wrong, they are perfectly capable of writing good songs in every genre they touch. I personally would have enjoyed the album more if they stayed in one direction; it seems that over the years they have lost direction and an overall sound. For some however this might keep the album fresh and interesting.

These guys know how to write songs however and the album has obviously been taking care of very nicely. The production and mixing is perfect, all the instruments layer correctly and nothing sounds too jarring and it really helps when listening to the album when you get that clean crisp sound. 

Another thing that helps is that the band has multiple singers. It took me a while to pick out their unique voices but the album became a lot more interesting and enjoyable when I did. This obviously keeps the album fresh and more enjoyable as you are able to hear multiple voices all over the tracks. They are quite talented songwriters as well. The hooks are catchy and pretty infectious, the guitars are explosive when they need to be, and the drums add a certain richness to every song. The songs also seem to have a retro 60’s, ‘beachy’ tone, evident on the album cover. It feels like this album should be played on the beach during a hot summer’s day.

Overall, this album shows a lot of promise and definitely has a lot of catchy tracks on it. I just hope that their next project has a more unified sound.


RATING: 6.5/10