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Margi Brown Ash's Powerhouse Double Act - Review

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by Tony Dyer (subscribe)
I've made it to my life's goal - the old age pension. Now I write for fun. Hope you enjoy reading.
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Why stop at one when you can stay for two?

In a rare trip to the theatre my wonderful wife and I picked a beauty. We made the trek into the big city to catch the double act by Margi Brown Ash and her talented son, Travis Ash. During the evening the actors dealt with two very unusual and inspiring women who, had they ever met, probably would have approved of each other's approach to building awareness and belonging in very difficult circumstances.

As a first for Brisbane Margi is presenting two of her incredible works, He Dreamed a Train and Eve back to back for an incredible evening of acting, music and special effects.

The evening began at 6.30pm in the Brisbane Powerhouse's Visy Theatre at 119 Lamington St, New Farm with Margi Brown Ash's acclaimed, He Dreamed a Train.

The dramatic and thought-provoking performances focus on a woman who discovers her sibling is facing death from a debilitating and dreadful disease. It is an intimate and moving account of how members of a family, including the afflicted, deal with their feelings of love, loss, grief and remembrance. The play is inspired by her own family's experience when her brother suffered a degenerative neurological disease. Margi plays a fictional version of herself while Travis, Margi's son, plays her brother as he deals with his illness.
theatre, powerhouse, visy theatre, new farm, margi brown ash, he dreamed a train, eve, theatre review
Photo by Stephen Henry

In He Dreamed a Train the special effects include an amazing visual transformation where the characters on stage appear in a picture on the wall but then one moves on stage but not from the picture. It is a wonderful piece of gripping drama.

He Dreamed a Train shows we all find different ways in which to grieve. Margi's character does this by remembering her brother when they were both young while her brother deals with the problem by not, as Margi sees it, facing the situation.

Co-devised, directed and designed by Benjamin Knapton and written by Margi and Travis, He Dreamed a Train is chockfull of dramatic monologues, wonderful music performed by Travis and some startlingly graphic special effects.

At 8.30pm, after intermission, we moved onto to Margi's, Eve. This is a dramatic adaptation of the life of Eve Langley, remembered as a brilliant but troubled Australian writer who, before the rise of feminism, reacted passionately against the stereotypical feminine role of the day. She often preferred not to see herself as a female artist and adopted the masculine persona of Oscar Wilde.

Eve pays homage to Eve Langley's personal sacrifice for her writing. Even though she was a wife and mother Langley longed to be left alone to interpret the world through her savagely exquisite prose. Unable to deal with the disappointment of constant rejection she began to see herself as Oscar Wilde who, she believed, could better deal with the nastiness of others through his wit and genius.
theatre, powerhouse, visy theatre, new farm, margi brown ash, he dreamed a train, eve, theatre review
Photo by Stephen Henry

Langley is played by Margi and her husband by Travis. Again, the play contains dramatic and thought-provoking monologues, some laced with satire and often accompanied by the wonderful music Travis makes with his piano and piano accordion.

Eve also has some spectacular special effects. The most memorable for us was when Eve angrily throws her manuscripts into the fireplace a startling moment!

Co-devised and directed by Leah Mercer, Eve, according to Australian Stage is "a sublime, evocative, rich, disturbing and tightly woven piece that will leave you intellectually reeling and profoundly inspired"
The remainder of the season for these dynamic double bills and their start times are:
Thursday, 6 July He Dreamed a Train, 6.30pm
Friday, 7 July He Dreamed a Train, 6.30pm
Saturday, 8 July He Dreamed a Train, 6.30pm; Eve, 8.30pm
Sunday, 9 July He Dreamed a Train, 2pm; Eve, 4pm
Thursday, 13 July Eve, 6.30pm
Friday, 14 July Eve, 6.30pm
Saturday, 15 July He Dreamed a Train, 6.30pm; Eve, 8.30pm
Sunday, 16 July He Dreamed a Train, 2pm; Eve, 4pm.

Admission prices are:
Adult single $35; double bill $55:
Student groups of 8 or more (1 teacher free) single show $25 each; double bill $38:
Groups of 8 or more: single show $28 adults, double bill $40.

An additional fee of $3 for single tickets and $6 for multiple tickets applies to each booking transaction.

Purchase your tickets and make your bookings online here.

For more information on this great show and to check out the Powerhouse web site click here, phone the theatre on 3358 8600 or email,
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Why? This is an opportunity to see two great shows on the same visit.
When: Each Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday over the next two weeks.
Phone: 3358 8600
Where: Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse, 119 Lamington Street, New Farm
Cost: Adult single bill $35; double bill $55: Student groups of 8 or more (1 teacher free) single bill $25 per student; double bill $38: Groups of 8 or more: singe bill $28 adults, double bill $40
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