Skin Tight

fortyfivedownstairs, 45 flinders lane, Melbourne, Australia

04/02/2011 - 19/02/2011

Production Details

The Internationally acclaimed Kiwi love story hits the Melbourne stage for the first time this summer at Fortyfivedownstairs.

Tom’s hands were strong to the plough 
Elizabeth’s lips were red…

Electrifying, personal, fierce and passionate, Skin Tight is a modern theatrical classic, a feverish fusion of intense physicality, daring tenderness and poetic lyricism set against the dramatic South Canterbury landscape… Always as young as they have felt for each other, in their final moments Tom and Elizabeth re-count the joys and anguish of a lifetime of enduring love… a no-holds-barred fight dissolving into the sensuality of a tender kiss… 

Since its first performance at BATS Theatre in 1994, Skin Tight has been performed to resounding International acclaim throughout New Zealand, Great Britain, South Africa, Australia, Europe, Canada and the USA. It won the coveted Edinburgh Fringe First Award in 1998 and continues to touch audiences worldwide with its bold physicality, passion and universal love story. 

Skin Tight is presented by SaySIX Theatre, a new collective dedicated to presenting the theatrical voices of Aotearoa, inspiring new and challenging collaboration between Australian and New Zealand theatre makers. In association with Melbourne based The Groundswell Division (Shadowboxing), Justin Martin and Tom Hodgson will return from international tours of Billy Elliot – The Musical to direct and choreograph this production in it’s Melbourne premiere, working alongside two of the best actors the Kiwi stage has to offer. 

Strictly Limited season at Fortyfivedownstairs, February 2011. Book early. 15 performances only. 

“Pure theatre that peels away time, self-deception, longing and passion, in the dreamlike haze of a fleeting summer morning”
The New Zealand Listener

“Most of the reasons that everyone should see Skin Tight will be best understood by going to see it. Go see it”

45 flinders lane, melbourne 3000, australia

Dates: Fri 2 Feb to Sat 20 Feb 11
Season: Preview: 2 & 3 Feb | Opens 4 Feb

Times: Tue – Sat 8pm | Sun 6pm
Admission: Full $30 | Conc $26 | Early bird $25 | Preview $20 | Group 8+ $25

bookings: 03 9662 9966 | book online 

Show contains nudity and lighting effects.

Telephone: +61 3 9662 9966  

[From reviews of the original production]:
“A feast of poetry and fierce physicality… A masterpiece… wrenchingly beautiful”
The Scotsman

“Electrifying… if only all theatre were so powerful”
The Capital Times, NZ

“Enough erotic verve to leave you breathless”
Scotland on Sunday 

Holly Shanahan (Rush, Second Hand Wedding, Power Rangers) 
Michael Whalley (Matariki, Apollo 13, Legend of the Seeker)  

An Intense Night of Intimate Portrayal

Review by Mel Dodge 07th Feb 2011

Say6 Theatre and the Groundswell Division’s production of Gary Henderson’s Skin Tight is an intense night of theatre. 45 Downstairs is transformed into an intimate traverse stage with the audience extremely close to the action.  This works beautifully as the play is an intimate portrayal of a relationship in all its complexity.

The tension is high from the word go, with a physical fight sequence. In fact the physicality of this show is one of its strengths. The choreography, moving between a fight sequence, dance and a beautiful push-pull movement section enhances the storytelling greatly.

Justin Martin’s direction creates a production that engages the senses and clearly evokes the land of South Canterbury.  We are splashed by water which is placed in buckets on stage, can smell and almost taste the flesh of a crushed nectarine, can feel the water shaken from Elizabeth’s wet hair. This was supported by a strong lighting, set and sound design. The set consists of a ground made of scattered clothes, indicating their day in-day out lives.

There is a sense of danger to this play. The image of Elizabeth shaving Tom with a sharp blade, leaving red raw shaving marks on Tom’s neck reminds you of the intimacy and danger of this relationship – of the razor sharp nature of passionate love. Elizabeth (Holly Shanahan) and Tom’s (Michael Whalley) eyes are locked on each other for the majority of the play, which creates a gripping connection. This is their story, their life with each other.

The actors perform with courage and riveting concentration. Shanahan’s Elizabeth is energised, aggressive, sexual, while Whalley’s Tom is centred, at times haunted.

Henderson has written a beautiful play brimming with poetry, humanity and rich understanding of love and loss. He mixes the mundane everyday (washing your undies in the sink) with the sublime (dancing naked in the rain.)

The production still needs a little settling which will bring out even more layers. It also avoids the male nudity at the end (which is in the text) which would have further heightened the moving ending. At the end I wanted to be left alone in the dark to absorb the explosion which is this play. It’s well worth seeing and kiwis abroad should support this new NZ company.
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