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The Temperamental Artist at Phoenix Theatre

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Yeah noir – 1959 comedy horror film set for stage
The Temperamental Artist, cult, comedy, horror, Phoenix Theatre, Dark Psychic Productions, stage, performance, play, performing arts
Mr Hughes (Pat McMahon, left), Carla (Maree Andersen), Sylvia (Bethsaida Tapsall and Alice (Katrina Murphy) in The Temperamental Artist. Picture: Sally Newman

A classic cult movie from the late 1950s is being brought to life as a stage production this May and June. Presented by Dark Psychic Productions at Phoenix Theatre, the 1959 comedy horror film A Bucket of Blood has been adapted for the stage by Mitch Brian as The Temperamental Artist.

It follows Walter Paisley, a bus boy at a beatnik café, who dreams of being an artist. After accidentally killing his landlady's cat, he covers it with clay and passes it off as sculpture and suddenly finds himself an overnight success.

Walter feels the pressure to produce more work and, as the police close in and the murders escalate, he zeroes in on the girl he loves, determined to make her his wife – or next sculpture.

The Temperamental Artist, cult, comedy, horror, Phoenix Theatre, Dark Psychic Productions, stage, performance, play, performing arts
Walter Paisley (Zack Inglis) shows Mrs Swikert (Devetta Ridgwell) that "suffering for your art

The show has a Sweeney Todd-Little Shop Of Horrors feel with a film noir effect, which I'm calling stage noir," director Shaun Griffin said. "That may be something of a challenge for me, as well as the fact the script is set out for film rather than stage. This is also the first full-length show I've directed predominantly on my own, although I have an assistant director."

First performing with Rockingham Theatre as a 13-year-old, Shaun appeared in a variety of productions over seven years before spending six years with Kwinana Theatre. He first acted at Phoenix Theatre in Pass The Butler and has performed in several shows in the past six years.

The Temperamental Artist appealed to Shaun because it's different to anything else he's seen or read. "The script is somewhat intricate but it's a lot of fun and the cast have been working very hard," he said.

The Temperamental Artist, cult, comedy, horror, Phoenix Theatre, Dark Psychic Productions, stage, performance, play, performing arts
The Temperamental Artist sees undercover cops Al Lacroix (John Gray, left) and Lou Raby (Adrian Archer) confront Alice (Katrina Murphy). Picture: Sally Newman

Katrina Murphy plays Alice, a character she says has a high opinion of herself. "Alice has a not-so-subtle disdain for Walter," she said. "She sees him as a pathetic bus boy trying too hard to fit in with the group of artists that have made the Yellow Door Café their home. And she's not afraid to put him back into what she considers his place.

"The concept of doing a noir-style play really appealed to me. Shaun's vision is to re-create the style of Sin City on stage for this black comedy. The play is set in a New York beatnik coffee house in the late '50s and that era has always had a strong appeal to me – I'm a huge fan of the music and literature that came out at the time.

"I also loved the experience I had working with Dark Psychic Productions and Phoenix Theatre for Cosi last year, so was looking forward to working with the team again."

The Temperamental Artist, cult, comedy, horror, Phoenix Theatre, Dark Psychic Productions, stage, performance, play, performing arts
The Temperamental Artist sees undercover cops Al Lacroix (John Gray, left) and Lou Raby (Adrian Archer) confront Alice (Katrina Murphy). Picture: Sally Newman

The Temperamental Artist plays at 8pm May 28, 29, 30, June 4 and 5 with 2pm matinees May 31 and June 6. Tickets are $20, $18 concession plus transaction fees – book at www.phoenixtheatreinc.com.au or on 0422 394 749. Raffle and program sales go to the Autism Association of WA.

Please note: the show contains adult themes, stylised violence and haze and flashing lighting effects.

Phoenix Theatre is located at 435 Carrington Street, Hamilton Hill, within the Hamilton Hill Memorial Hall.
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Why? It's a cult classic, film noir-style show with comedy and horror all rolled into one!
When: 8pm May 28, 29, 30, June 4 & 5; 2pm May 31 & June 6
Phone: 0422 394 749
Where: Phoenix Theatre, 435 Carrington Street, Hamilton Hill (within the Hamilton Hill Memorial Hall)
Cost: $20, $18 concession (plus transaction fees)
Your Comment
Temperamental Artist is a great show with some really terrific talent..It is about a bus boy who wants to be an artist to get the girl he wants ...things don't go to plan...It has drama and comedy...not for children ..a great night
out...
by aliso (score: 0|2) 1703 days ago
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