So there I was, it was designated seating at of one of Sydney’s newer theatres – I say newer but really – it’s just one of the newer spaces converted from older industries sauces/stables/salt – you know this one used to house trains until some guy thought it was an awesome idea to give all the traveling gypsies of the performance scene a proper home – yeah? Well anyway, there I was, somehow seated at the top of the wall of heads ready to look at/listen to a show, when I noticed I was seated right in the middle of the row – with my date, yeah, my um… boyfriend can I call him that? Yeah, I can. He’s called me worse – and then I noticed that the people on either side of me was seated two seats away from me. Martin Portus from Currency House – you know it? Yeah it’s one of my favourite things in the arts – besides those mini pies you sometimes get at the Opera House for a post show/pre-review snack on opening nights. you know the ones? Green paste on top. Peas. yeah.I think its peas. yeah it’s ok. – Anyway. So there I was, James Waites seated right on the end – up in the heavens – me separated from everyone by two empty seats. I was like “woah, this could make me paranoid – I’ve I’ve been exiled by the publicist” – but I’m not one to be defeated by lemons, I’m makin’ lemonade , so I strike up a conversation with Martin – and Martin said something cool in response- like he usually does – yeah, he’s cool. Then I noticed James relocating to an empty row of seats closer to the middle so yeah, I just was like “carpe diem” and we crashed it. Whatever. So sitting there. E9. Row E. Yeah, I’m talking about E. Epic. Epic mid-row seating. And it’s all fine.Yeah, I’m comfy.



What do you want from this review?

You want a structure? A nice turn of phrase?

You want to know if you should see it? Spend that cash you could spend on a case of Victorian Bitter? VB, yeah? The original VB perhaps – you know with the good-looking antiquey label – can you still get that in NSW or is that a metro-Melbourne only thing?

Or are you one of the artists who made it? You made it and you’re checking for your name to see what I’ve written about you? Simon Stone, Thomas Henning, Chris Ryan, Mark Winter, Claude Marcos, Govin Ruben, Stefan Gregory, Anne-Louise Sarks. There. There’s your name.

You know, this reviewing stuff – well it’s tricky… a bit like making a show – you think, “what have I got to offer that hasn’t been said by better, older, wiser, smarter, more scholarly, more caring, more patient people who spell-check their reviews – such as

Alison Croggon
Cameron Woodhead
James Waites
Jason Blake

So everyone’s trying to make sense of this show they saw. there are surtitles that sort of give you a heads up to the scene ahead. But WAIT!

There’s also a book you get so you can read along so you can see when Chris Ryan says the line the way they wrote it on that day they wrote it – or estimated it when it went to print… but I’m sorry, there’s no chime to let you know when to turn the page. And the performers will/might deviate from what is written in the book.

Hey, remember this?


Yeah, anyway.

So, we all know – there’s lots to snigger at in the theatre. Penises often get a good giggle. Look, they’re fun. I like them. I like people who host them. But though they may make some feel powerful or important – to me I think under some lights I start thinking about the muppets. Especially this one.


Also, quite nice to note that no women were exploited in the making of this piece of theatre.

Now, let’s talk about art for a second. What’s it there for? Well…


To keep artists employed and non-artists baffled?

(Though that does happen, sometimes)

It’s to reflect the world and ideas in/of/about the world.

Does The Hayloft Project’s Thyestes do that?

Is it about Thyestes?

Um no. But who cares. It’s lots of fun. It’s a show which is a bit naughty – a bit surprising a bit provocative. A bit clever. But it’s more about art – the ambition of/toward unique bright ideas. It’s about making fun of the establishment/challenging it – and Opera – funny how this work is MADE by the Establishment (i.e Belvoir’s Resident Director, SIMON STONE) – so he’s um … sorta making fun of himself, ain’t he?

And why not?

A true artist in his position would. Only a bureaucrat wouldn’t.

And so audiences are impressed – not sure how or why – looking to reviewers for answers.
Well, I reckon the most important thing I can offer you is this:

Jenn’s Out Of This World Spaghetti and Meatballs
(Check out the original site – I think it’s fun – I like how Jenn is thinking intergalactically about her meatballs, don’t you? But hey, don’t get stuck on the international measurements/terminlogy – we’re Aussie, don’t you know? We can translate – we’re used to it- in fact we LIKE foreign stuff.)
Original Recipe Yield 8 servings
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 3/4 cup chopped onion
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 (16 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
* 3 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
* 1 cup water
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano, divided
* 1 dried bay leaf
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1 pound ground round
* 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
* 2 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked spaghetti
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and cook the onion until lightly brown. Mix in 2 cloves garlic, and cook 1 minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, 1/2 the oregano, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer while preparing meatballs.
2. In a bowl, mix the ground round, bread crumbs, remaining oregano, remaining garlic, parsley, eggs, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Roll into 1 inch balls, and drop into the sauce. Cook 40 minutes in the sauce, or until internal temperature of meatballs reaches a minimum of 160 degrees F (72 degrees C).
3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, and stir in the spaghetti. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain. Serve the meatballs and sauce over the cooked spaghetti.


And look, I’ll make a suggestion that you should see this work – because well… because… well… A case of VB can last you a couple of days, and this show may just haunt you for a lifetime.

(Did you like that tag line? Or should I workshop it some more?)