Theatre Review: Six Swans




Hannah Nicholson & Alistair Brasted Photo by Matthew Phillips

Hannah Nicholson & Alistair Brasted
Photo by Matthew Phillips

Presented by Tutti Ensemble with Uni SA Performing Arts Students
Reviewed 11 June 2015

From an original Grimm Brothers Fairy Tale the story has been adapted and brought to life by composer Richard Chew and renowned poet Jehane Markham. It revolves around a King who has six sons and one daughter. As with all fairy tales the heroine ends up under a curse, her six brothers are turned to swans and to redeem them she must sew shirts from flowers and she cannot speak or laugh until the shirts are finished.

This production is magical, with enchanting music and impressive choral work. There are several good singers among the cast, but the stand out is Alistair Brasted as the Young King. He is ably supported by Hannah Nicholson, as the Princess, with Jemma Boyd as the evil queen. From the narrators to the brothers, director Russell Fewster has surrounded himself with a strong cast who work well together.

The cast is drawn from Tutti Arts members and Uni SA students. Tutti means all and is an inclusive organisation that supports the professional development of artists with a disability. Tutti Ensemble, an active disability organisation, presents choral works and collaborations with other arts organisations of which this is one. The Tutti members with a disability would be difficult to spot, obviously there are some among the chorus but the sound is wonderful. Conductor Brenton Shaw holds it all together beautifully and the composer Richard Chew performs the score live, well worth experiencing.

The visual design by Joshua Snares and Susan Sohar and the costume design by Kerri Reid give this production polish which is completed by the Lighting and Sound (Nic Mollison, Carl Alaconaba, Stuart Pike and Darren Richardson). It all ran smoothly, thanks at least in part to the Stage Manager, Nicole Roach. There is no doubt that all parties in this partnership gained valuable insights. A rare chance for the audience to see something new and different and refreshingly inclusive.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Venue: Hartley Playhouse, UniSA Magill Campus
Season: 9-13 June 2015
Duration: 55mins
Tickets: Adult $25, Conc. $15




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Glam Adelaide Arts Writer & Reviewer

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