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Move It! at Rigby's Bar

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Kiwi play tries to bear fruit in comical send-up
Move It!, Blak Yak Theatre, play, performing arts, New Zealand, Kiwi, comedy, drama festival, Perth CBD
Eamonn Skov, left, and Michael Casas are two of the three New Zealanders trying to stage their home-grown play in Move It! Picture: Michael McAllan

Did you hear the one about the three New Zealanders who tried to stage their home-grown play in various WA theatre festivals? The tongue-in-cheek premise is explored in Move It!, the latest show from local playwright Johnny Grim being staged as part of Blak Yak Theatre's short play season downstairs at Rigby's Bar.

Director Graeme Johnson said the play is designed to poke a bit of fun at the friendly competition at Dramafest (WA's annual state drama festival), Hills Festival of Theatre and South West Drama Festival. "The entry-level efforts from the Kiwis are met with some rather harsh criticisms from the festival adjudicators, which they set about trying to improve with hilarious results," he said.

"I have long admired the slightly offbeat works of Johnny Grim and, with my partner Kath Carney, have been his technical operator on a few of his shows. This one just struck me as being cringe-worthy enough to be taken to the next level and entered into the festivals it pokes fun at.

"The main challenge has been finding three guys willing to take on the roles and risk their reputations, as well as trying to make these Aussies sounds like Kiwis!"

Move It!, Blak Yak Theatre, play, performing arts, New Zealand, Kiwi, comedy, drama festival, Perth CBD
Director Graeme Johnson is bringing the tongue-in-cheek Move It! to life.

Involved in theatre since 2000, Graeme first became involved when he took over as props master on a show. He soon realised nothing in the theatrical world is what it seems when he was handed three lever-arch files full of type-written pages, highlighting what needed to be added and removed from the stage.

Since then, Graeme has built and painted sets, stage-managed, directed, acted and operated lighting and sound for the Old Mill, Stirling, Phoenix, Playlovers, Melville, Groovy Boots and Garrick Theatres, among many others. His most recent achievement was directing the musical The Hatpin, in association with musical director Paul Olsen, for its WA debut (although written and scored by two WA Academy of Performing Arts graduates and experiencing success off-Broadway and in London's West End, it had never been performed publicly in Perth before).

Graeme's association with Move It! came about because he thought both the playwright and theatre were kindred spirits. "Johnny has been a critically acclaimed writer for many years with a string of failed endeavors under his belt," he said.

"Like him, I have always strived to bring the best I could offer to theatre and been disappointed many times. Likewise, Blak Yak Theatre has a reputation for being out there with its shows so it seemed like a natural progression these three rejects of Perth theatre should join forces."

Move It!, Blak Yak Theatre, play, performing arts, New Zealand, Kiwi, comedy, drama festival, Perth CBD
Graeme Cross plays Noah in Move It! – a character who believes his writing is perfect as it is.

Another Graeme – Graeme Cross – plays Noah in the show and he believes his writing is perfect as it is. "He'll be damned if he's going to change it for some Aussie adjudicator," he said. "It's festival theatre at its most bizarre. The challenge is actually trying to make myself sound as if I'm a Kiwi.

"Move It! appealed because of both the playwright Johnny Grim and director Graeme Johnson. I love Johnny's scripts and his sense of the ridiculous and Graeme's professionalism."

Joining Move It! for Blak Yak Theatre's season of short plays is Never Ever by Melissa Merchant. Also directed by Melissa, the play looks at how honest people really are with each other as six friends play a game of "never ever", a game meant to be about truth.

Move It! and Never Ever play at 8pm, September 12 and 13 – doors opens 7pm with an a la carte menu available. Tickets for the show are $15 – book through www.trybooking.com/ITTP.

Rigby's Bar is located at the rear of 221 St Georges Terrace, Perth.
Move It!, Blak Yak Theatre, play, performing arts, New Zealand, Kiwi, comedy, drama festival, Perth CBD
Move It! features Kiwi actors, played by Eamonn Skov, left, and Michael Casas, trying to make it in the WA festival theatre scene.
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Why? It's a tongue-in-cheek send-up of people trying to stage short one-act plays and the festival circuit in which they're entered.
When: 8pm September 12 and 13
Where: Rigby’s Bar, rear of 221 St Georges Terrace, Perth CBD
Cost: All tickets $15
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