Past Productions & Reviews 2006-7


                                                  CHECKLIST FOR AN ARMED ROBBER


Pictured above (left to right): Natalia Novikova, Ryan Gibson, Paul Ashcroft; Edwina Wren, Natalia Novikova. Photo by Josephine Harkin

"Theatre @ Risk's latest offering works - and how. Certainly, it does have a stirring score (perhaps one of the finest this year) and the set and lighting are hugely commendable. But even without these, Checklist For an Armed Robber would be a powerful production on the strength of its acting and direction... The cast all inhabit multiple roles with dazzling fluidity, shifting character seamlessly... This is as close to a must-see as 2007 has so far offered - don't walk, run." John Bailey, Sunday Age, 27/5/07


“Theatre @ Risk’s production is inspired… the production is sleek and delicately balanced by Bendall, who brings clarity and precision to the script.” Kate Herbert, Herald Sun (16/05/07)

“An absorbing and captivating theatrical experience”
The Australian

“A skilled and suspenseful play... It juxtaposes two events that occurred on the same weekend in 2002, on opposite sides of the globe…. Bates interweaves the two stories with pace and poise. And it's Bates' keen eye for the small things that really cranks up the suspense." Cameron Woodhead, The Age (15/05/07)  [Click here to read full review]

With Paul Ashcroft, Ryan Gibson, Natalia Novikova and Edwina Wren

DIRECTOR: Chris Bendall    PRODUCER: Kirrilly Brentnall  SET & COSTUME DESIGNER: Isla Shaw  LIGHTING DESIGNER: Nick Merrylees  SOUND DESIGNER: Jethro Woodward  ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Emily Sexton  STAGE MANAGER: Kate McMillan  DESIGN ASSISTANT: Joh Kelly





by Tony Kushner

Pictured above (left to right): Majid Shokor, Shelly Lauman; Shahin Shafaei, Majid Shokor, Shelly Lauman; Ernie Gray, Tyler Coppin; Jane Nolan

"A sparkling web of grandiloquence woven by a spider before a storm... Jane Nolan puts in a brilliant performance, capturing both the burgeoning humour and impacted sadness of the role...."    Cameron Woodhead, The Age, 26/1/07 [Read More]

Listen to the ABC Radio National interview with Tony Kushner and director Chris Bendall HERE. Read interviews with Tony Kushner published in The Age and The Australian

“The monologue is breathtaking, and beautifully performed by Jane Nolan.. that excellent actor Majid Shokor gives a rich and nuanced performance as the poet-guide Khwaja, and Tyler Coppin practically exudes the sour smell of loneliness as the ravaged Twistleton. And the whole is beautifully heightened by an evocative score by Jethro Woodward.” Alison Croggon, Theatrenotes. See full review here


Director: Chris Bendall

Designer: Peter Corrigan

Lighting Designer: Nick Merrylees

Sound Designer: Jethro Woodward

Producer: Kirrilly Brentnall

Associate Producer: Emily Sexton

Design Assistant: Katherine Chan

Stage Manager: Gemma Fletcher

Deputy Stage Manager: Avi Lipski

Requiem for the Twentieth Century

- Volume One

by Tee O'Neill

in collaboration with Theatre @ Risk
World Premiere


Originally performed 17 Nov - 3 Dec 2006 at New Ballroom, Trades Hall

With: Jude Beaumont, Isabella Dunwill, Angus Grant, Andre Jewson,

Odette Joannidis, Alex Pinder, Simon Maiden, Adrian Snodgrass, Emma Lucas, Sean Louth-Robins, Justyna Kiczor and Andrea McCannon

Director: Chris Bendall

Producer & Video Design: Kirrilly Brentnall

Set and Costume Design: Isla Shaw

Sound Design: Kelly Ryall

Lighting Design: Richard Vabre

Associate Producer: David Frazer

Musical Director: Victor Bizzotto

Stage Manager: Ali Whiting

Production Assistant: Emily Sexton

Assistant Stage Manager: Sarah Liistro

"Tee O'Neill's Requiem for the 20th Century is a daring and hugely ambitious theatrical epic. .. conjured through terrifically versatile performances......Director Chris Bendall imbues this docudrama with riveting momentum, using every inch of a massive stage. Its a production too monumental in scope for any one method or style to contain it, and Bendall enthusiastically embraces a patchwork of techniques, from Meyerhold's biomechanics to Chaplinesque slapstick to various incarnations of musical theatre... The fashions and evets of the 20th century are evoked through Kirrilly Bretnnall's video design, Isla Shaw's low-rent yet effective set and costumes, and a liberal dose of period music, most of it performed live under the direction of Victor Bizzotto. True to its name, Theatre @ Risk has taken a huge gamble on this production. The result is the sort of inspiring work - unapologetically ambitious, bursting with the humour and tragedy of life writ large - that might just rewire your sense of what local theatre can achieve." Cameron Woodhead, The Age, 24/11/06 [see the full review HERE ]

“The action never flags. There are moments of deep emotion and there is humour. Requiem provides audiences with an intriguing and absorbing overview of the last century, and ensures that the big events and larger than life characters are given a personal dimension. That such a large sprawling work succeeds so well is a credit to all involved.” Jan Chandler, Melbourne Stage Online, 24/11/06 [see the full review HERE ]

“The performances are strong, Dunwill is feisty and sympathetic as Cassie and Grant balances Red’s early boyishness with his mature dignity and bookishness. The supporting cast play multiple roles with alacrity and their chorus work is engaging. Director Chris Bendall composes attractive stage pictures and imbues each scene with energy. ” Kate Herbert, Herald Sun, 29/11/06

“Requiem has some touching and effective moments and impressive individual performances… it has a quirky sense of humour that cuts to the heart of history” Bill Perrett, Sunday Age, 26/11/06


By David Greig
With Simon Kingsley Hall
Directed By Chris Bendall Produced by Kirrilly Brentnall

Originally performed 7–12 February 2006 at Fortyfivedownstairs

Designed by Isla Shaw

Lighting by Nick Merrylees

Music by Kelly Ryall

Video Design by Kirrilly Brentnall

“What David Greig has written and Simon Kingsley Hall performs with elan and warmth, under the unobtrusive direction of Chris Bendall, is not only a city symphony for different voices, past and present, but also a contemporary and messy love story and a high-class entertainment”
– Owen Richardson, Sunday Age, 12/2/06

“Simon Kingsley Hall’s solo performance is energetic and mesmerizing… This is writing at its very best and it is wonderfully brought to life by the creative team… If you are interested in experiencing a night of innovative and stimulating theatre where all the elements – writing, performance, direction, video, set, lighting and sound work together then One Way Street is a must.”
- Jan Chandler, Melbourne Stage, 9/2/06

“David Greig’s writing is sharp and funny… Kingsley Hall’s acting is skilful in its lightning-fast alternations of character and accent… Within the context of contemporary Europe, this is a particularly resonant theme, resonant with global significance in a world of permeable national borders.” –
- Helen Thomson, The Age, 9/2/06

Kingsley Hall is simply brilliant. Directed by Chris Bendall, his performance is energetic, animated and completely endearing… I couldn’t wait to hear what they would say next. Kelly Ryall’s original music added another layer of jauntiness to the atmosphere. When I clapped at the end of this show, I realised I had the most gigantic smile on my face. Let’s hope theatre@risk run this again soon”
- Rebecca Cook, Inpress, 15/2/06


Mrs Petrov's Shoe

By Noëlle Janaczewska
With Jude Beaumont, Michael Bishop, Katie-Jean Harding, Carole Patullo, Toby Newton
Directed by Chris Bendall, Produced by Kirrilly Brentnall

Originally performed 5–21 May 2006 at Fortyfivedownstairs

Designed by Kellee Frith
Original Music and Sound design by Kelly Ryall
Lighting by Nick Merrylees
Video Design by Kirrilly Brentnall
Stage Manager Gemma Fletcher

“In the central role, Jude Beaumont is wonderfully energetic and believable in each of her multiple roles, be it school child, young adolescent, or award-winning writer…. Good writing, great performances and a lively debate over social and political issues, these are things that I’ve come to expect of productions by the Theatre @ Risk team and I was not disappointed.”
- Jan Chandler, Melbourne Stage

“Theatre @ Risk’s production of Noelle Janaczewska’s play is entertaining and often funny… Beaumont is impressive and hard working in the lead role and she has solid support from the rest of the cast, and it moves along nicely under Chris Bendall’s direction.”
- Bill Perrett, Sunday Age, 21st May

“This is yet another success for indie company Theatre @ Risk and director, Chris Bendall”
- Rebecca Cook, Inpress








FEBRUARY 2006, Fortyfivedownstairs, Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Festival Directors: Kirrilly Brentnall, Chris Bendall, Bree Hadley,

Fortyfivedownstairs, February 2006
A week long festival of rehearsed readings, forums, performances and ideas

FUTUR DE LUXE by Igor Bauersima, directed by Susie Dee

WAY TO HEAVEN by Juan Mayorga, directed by Victor Bizzotto
ID by Antony Sher, directed by Yvonne Virsik

MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN adapted by Salman Rushdie, Simon Reade & Tim Supple, directed by Polash Larsen


SEPTEMBER 2007, The Old Council Chambers, Trades Hall,



Festival Director: Chris Bendall

Forums : Chaired by Peter Clarke.

HEAVEN by George F. Walker - Canada

   directed by Chris Bendall

THE ORPHANAGE PROJECT by Angela Betzien - Australia

   directed by Clare Watson


    by Stephen Carleton - Australia

    directed by Victor Bizzotto

EZEKIEL'S SONG by Jonathon Ari Lander - Australia

    directed by Brett Adam


   directed by Chris Bendall

EVIDENCE by Ross Mueller - Australia

   directed by Ross Mueller / dramaturg Brett Adam

HAMLYN by Juan Mayorga - Spain

    directed by Brett Adam

BLACK BOX 149 by Rosemary Johns - Australia

   directed by Chris Bendall 

THREE DOG NIGHT by Petra Kalive

    adapted from the novel by Peter Goldsworthy - Australia

    directed by Yvonne Virsik


    by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt - France

    directed by Victor Bizzotto



Festival of New Writing 2007 - Faith Hope and Charity


HEAVEN by George F. Walker (Canada)
FRIDAY 7th September @ 7:30pm

Directed by Chris Bendall

cast includes Neil Pigot, Anastasia Malinoff, Anya Beyersdorf, Grant Durham

Jimmy’s marriage is falling apart, his best friend is a corrupt revenge-seeking cop, and the only grounded person in his world is a homeless heroin-addicted stilt-walker. Walker is one of Canada’s most prolific and widely-produced playwrights, and this is one of his most deliciously entertaining works, breathlessly transporting us from the brutal to the sublime and the ridiculous. A riotous black comedy about redemption and eternal salvation.

“Tough and blackly humorous, this is Walker’s most gloriously audacious and most original work to date” Toronto Star

THE ORPHANAGE PROJECT by Angela Betzien (Australia)
SATURDAY 8th September @ 4pm

Directed by Clare Watson

cast includes Melanie Beddie, Jodie le Vesconte, Odette Joannidis

This new work from multi-award winning, AWGIE nominated playwright Angela Betzien (Hoods) premiered at Queensland Theatre Co in 2003. A series of richly drawn and vividly theatrical vignettes, seen through the eyes of two orphans, that paint a devastating portrait of a society across the ages that has neglected to take responsibility for its children.

“This compelling journey through the Dickensian underbelly of Australian culture suggests that its writer has a bright theatrical future” The Australian.

** Forum follows the reading: “Is there any hope offered by / for live performance?”

Panellists to include authors Angela Betzien and Stephen Carleton in a forum chaired by Peter Clarke


by Stephen Carleton (Australia)
SATURDAY 8th September @ 7:30pm

directed by Victor Bizzotto

cast includes James Wardlaw and Leighton Young

2005 Patrick White Award, 2006 Winner of the New Dramatist’s Award
It is 1899 and only the resolve of Lady Constance Drinkwater has kept the Far North Queensland settlement of Somerset from crumbling. Beset by storms and ill-luck, it is the arrival of two strangers that sets in motion the events of the final catastrophic days of Somerset. Hilarious, haunting, and bone-chilling, this is a work that will keep you enthralled to the final moments.

“Unashamedly gothic, melodramatic and with the plot of a thriller... Constance Drinkwater is remarkable new Australian theatre.” Sydney Morning Herald

EZEKIEL’S SONG by Jonathan Ari Lander (Australia)
SUNDAY 9th September @ 5pm

directed by Brett Adam

cast includes Eugene Schlusser and Beejan Olfat
An explosive new play set in Jerusalem in 1996. Shimon Peres is Prime Minister. It is the eve of elections and the height of the Oslo peace process. It is a time of hope and great expectations. But good times are not destined to last here… The personal and the political collide in this richly rewarding new play about the tragic consequences of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“There is nothing as whole as a broken Heart” Rabbi of Kotsk

** Forum follows the reading: “Blending the personal and the political in theatre”

Panellists to include author Jonathan Ari Lander, alongisde playwright/actor/director Shahin Shafaei (Through the Wire, Homebody / Kabul), in a forum chaired by Peter Clarke


by David Eldridge (UK)
WEDNESDAY 12th September @ 7:30pm

Directed by Chris Bendall

Cast includes: Angus Grant, Anastasia Malinoff, Wahibe Moussa

A brilliant, brave and challenging new work from the author of the hugely successful stage adaptation of Festen. Joey is an ordinary man for whom the world around him seems both extraordinary yet somehow illusory. Is it him or is it the world that is out of joint? Having lost his mother and alienated his fiancée, he takes on the mentoring of a troubled, young boy named Trevor. Joey's stepmother tries to keep him in check, and his dad wants to build bridges with him, but when Trevor gets killed, his family wants answers.

“Eldridge combines a hugely sympathetic sensibility with rare dramatic power, and one leaves this exceptional play rejoicing in his talent and impatient for his next.” Telegraph

EVIDENCE by Ross Mueller (Australia)
THURSDAY 13th September @ 7:30pm

Directed by Ross Mueller

featuring: Neil Pigot, Natasha Herbert, James Wardlaw, Heather Bolton James Saunders and Andrew Jewson

“Good people can make bad choices.” A sharp and gripping new psychological thriller by Wal Cherry Award winning, AWGIE nominated playwright Ross Mueller (The Ghost Writer, Construction of the Human Heart). A detective’s career on the line for an act of charity gone terribly wrong. A dangerous affair exposed on the internet. All they have to do to save themselves is lie. An investigation into the art of betrayal by one of Melbourne’s most fascinating and prolific writers.

“Mueller's script is a rich, rewarding example of the possibilities of play writing.” The Age (Construction of the Human Heart)

** Forum follows the reading: “Investigating the Writing Process”

Panellists to include award-winning author Ross Mueller in a forum chaired by Peter Clarke

HAMLYN by Juan Mayorga (SPAIN)

Translated by David Johnston
FRIDAY 14th September @ 7:30pm

Directed by Brett Adam

featuring Neil Pigot, Jane Nolan, Isabella Dunwill, Andre Jewson, Anastasia Malinoff and Greg Ulfan
A judge begins a highly public and highly politicised investigation into a series of terrible wrongs being committed against the children of his town. Is his suspect guilty of the crimes with which he is charged? Are his unexplainable acts of generosity purely altruistic? And does the court of public opinion care now that the media is onto the story? A fascinating and complex new play by one of Spain’s most original new voices.

“A compelling, cunningly constructed play” The Independent UK (Way to Heaven)

BLACK BOX 149 by Rosemary Johns (Australia)
SATURDAY 15th September @ 4pm

Directed by Chris Bendall

featuring Neil Pigot
The day that launched two gulf wars. A British pilot trapped at Kuwait airport. One  plane. One black box. One suicide note. This powerful new play by Rosemary Johns (Carrying Shoes into the Unknown) is gripping and visceral storytelling written with ferocious passion and energy.

** Forum follows the reading: “New Forms: Have We Seen It All Already?”

Panellists to include: Writer/director and current Acting Head of Discipline at the VCA School of Drama Richard Murphet, poet/theatre critic/blogger Alison Croggon, playwright Rosemary Johns and Artistic Director of Theatre @ Risk Chris Bendall in a forum chaired by Peter Clarke

THREE DOG NIGHT by Petra Kalive (Australia)

Adapted from the novel by Peter Goldsworthy
SATURDAY 15th September @ 7:30pm

Directed by Yvonne Virsik

Cast includes: Jude Beaumont and Grant Durham
Three Dog Night journeys to the vast expanse of the Australian outback and takes us deep into the desert of the human soul. A doctor who has lost his faith, a jealous husband, and a woman’s ultimate act of charity. This is a profoundly moving new work, rich in symbolism, which confronts our notions of scientific and spiritual faith, and the limits of human kindness. Goldsworthy’s novel was nominated for the Miles Franklin Award.
"An intense and brilliant novel about the fathomless human capacity for self-deception" Sydney Morning Herald

By Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt (France)

Translated by Stephanie Laporte
SUNDAY 16th September @ 5pm

Directed by Victor Bizzotto
It is Paris in the 1960s. Momo, a suddenly orphaned twelve-year-old Jewish boy, befriends an elderly Arab grocer living on Blue Street. The result is a hugely rewarding, heart-warming and comic tale, by one of France’s most celebrated authors, which has also been adapted for the screen with Omar Sharif in the title role.