by fleur kilpatrick
director danny delahunty
actor joanne sutton (2013 seasons), fleur kilpatrick (2011 seasons)
designer sarah walker
animator thomas russell
sound design roderick cairns and steven j hearne
production manager anastasia ryan
This is the story of the sleep deprived. An electric fusion of theatre, original animation and music creates a waking dream of sleeplessness. Witty, wild, poetic, tragic and exquisitely beautiful, Insomnia Cat Came To Stay was described by The Age’s Cameron Woodhead as “a manic, hypnotic monologue… a potent drama from frayed fibres of intellect and feeling”. This engaging cross-media performance was born of a collaboration between award winning playwright Fleur Kilpatrick, animator Thomas Russell and composer Roderick Cairns under the guidance of director Danny Delahunty.
Insomnia Cat Came To Stay played to sold out audiences in the 2011 Melbourne Fringe Festival, at The Blue Room in Perth and is coming off a brilliant season at the 2013 Adelaide Fringe Festival. The writing, acting and design have been praised by theatre and art critics alike and “will resonate with anyone who’s lain awake wrestling with their demons at 3am (that’s all of us, right?) and make us grateful for that profound, mysterious gift of sleep.” (Mileta Rien, Arts Hub)
Premiere performance at Melbourne Fringe Festival, 2011 with Fleur Kilpatrick as The Woman. Subsequently performed at Crack Theatre Festival (2011 - Fleur) and then with Joanne Sutton at Perth Fringeworld Festival (2013), Adelaide Fringe Festival (2013), Malthouse Theatre (2013), Brisbane Festival (2013).
“Amid the hurly burly of a Fringe Festival, and well away from the sequins and feathers in the big tents, it’s often the little solo shows that sneak up on you that you remember most…Add Insomnia Cat Came to Stay to the list, an unusual, bravely staged play (tightly directed by Danny Delahunty)… features a compelling performance by the actor and singer Joanne Sutton and brilliant animation by Thomas Russell… The outstanding technical quality of the show, Russell’s low-fi animation… and the stylish original music of Roderick Cairns, elevate the show to impressive heights"
(The West Australian)
“The only words for Fleur Kilpatrick’s Insomnia Cat Came To Stay are beautifully artistic and poetic… cleverly simple and delicately magical… Joanne Sutton is absolutely extraordinary… positively brilliant in the role… Danny Delahunty has directed every technical element to be close to perfection… The show is nothing short of stunning and vibrantly funny”
“the performance is powerful and compelling”
(Adelaidenow.com.au (the Advertiser/Sunday Mail)
"a delightful performance… a beautifully complex dance between Kilpatrick’s text, animation by Thomas Russell, and music by Roderick Cairns. These three layers play into and on top of each other, and the animation and music highlight the deep structuring which exists in Kilpatrick’s text”
(Jane Howard, noplain.wordpress.com)
“It’s not often you leave a theatre show feeling that what you’ve seen has actually had an impact on you. Then you see a show like Fleur Kilpatrick and Danny Delahunty’s Insomnia Cat Came To Stay and you’re reminded again of the power that theatre can have in awakening your senses…
Kilpatrick’s text spirals and swirls inside our heads, it scatters and falls, not soft and lulling but as sharp as daggers… As a performer, Sutton has an intoxicating essence… It’s quirky as hell, but it is also skilful and delivered with passion”
"The stream-of-consciousness-style writing of this piece is exquisite, and seemed to resonate strongly with the audience… Joanne Sutton… performs her hour-long monologue without a stumble, and with a fantastic sense of realism. Her singing voice is powerful and emotive… All aspects of design – the lighting, the wardrobe and the stage dressing, all work simply and harmoniously and add to the text of the show…The flawless consistency of the numerous, complex elements of this production shows that director Danny Delahunty has done excellent work. His [direction] is incredibly artful… As a whole, this show is incredibly cohesive and satisfying… This show will stay with you long after its end”
written and directed by fleur kilpatrick
actors justin batchelor, kristina benton, joanne sutton and alex roe
score kristina benton
design sarah walker
In a land that is drying up and in need of water, a woman slowly dies for want of sleep. Meanwhile, in idyllic suburban greenery a woman faces the struggle to find her husband; a love that is lost in a man without memory.
Based on horrifying true cases of neurological mystery, Awake crafts a tale inspired by two real families where the unexplainable suffering of one’s closest and dearest is told with devastating warmth and humour.
Premiere performance at Adelaide Fringe Festival, 2012. Also performed at La Mama, Melbourne, 2012.
★★★★☆ “Justin Batchelor is superb as the amnesiac…His attempts to make sense of what is going on around him hold special significance for anyone who has had experience with dementia and his panic and anguish is painful to behold…Together [Batchelor and Benton] create a tenderness that is truly breathtaking…Joanne Sutton is wonderful as Ester; her monologues on her bucket-list and her experiences in Sydney, where she goes to consult a specialist, are superb…It is given an extra dimension through the clever use of songs, written by Kristina Benton and performed live by the cast in gorgeous, tight harmony, and the judicious use of atmospheric soundscapes. Kilpatrick has achieved something very special. Her ability to draw warmth and humour as well as pain and pathos from these scenarios, and her direction of four very fine actors, has created a very rich and satisfying theatrical experience and one which I would urge everyone to see.”
(Tony Busch, Adelaide Theatre Guide)
written and performed by kristina benton and fleur kilpatrick
directors danny delahunty and fleur kilpatrick
songs and arrangement kristina benton
sound design steven j hearne
set and lighting design rob sowinski
Skinhouse is a voyeuristic journey through the lives of two very different women. In a poetic blend of physical theatre, story-telling and exquisite music, it strips away the mystery surrounding sex work and, with candour, simplicity and good humour, proves that you are always more than the product of your past.
"This play exposes an intriguing and sordid subject matter with sensitivity, honesty and humour. Benton’s presence infuses the performance with authenticity and is crucial to its overall appeal. Kilpatrick showcases her diversity, singing beautifully and dramatising unselfconsciously. Many of the show’s highlights come in the form of vocal duets between the two; the score is small but lovely and adds much to the piece."
(Nicole Russo, Stagewhispers.com.au)
"I emerged into the late Sunday afternoon sun – astounded! This was one of the best things I had seen at La Mama or indeed anywhere since I started reviewing back in mid-2008, some 253 shows, and at La Mama I’ve seen some corkers...but Skinhouse stands proud on its own legs, two from writer/performer Fleur Kilpatrick and two from Kristina Benton, co-writer and performer...In Skinhouse they have made a complete, intricate but straight-forward work, part mini operatic with original songs and cleverly arranged standards – a choral “Love For Sale”, tough, honest, carefully arranged re-enactments, not just violent spray, but instructed as performance, deeply felt confession but made of and into substance and broken the rules of poetics."
(Peter Green, 3MBS 103.5 FM)
"SKINHOUSE has a lot of surprises in store for the audience, from poignant musical numbers, haunting and beautifully created soundscapes, avant garde and deeply moving lighting design to a perfect choice of venue (La Mama) and essentially: knock out, on the mark performances. I was completely blown away.... Honest, hilarious (the girls' comic timing is spot on and feels familiar and unimpaired) and poignant, SKINHOUSE is a dark and charming kaleidoscope into a real persons mind, history and existence. It is there that SKINHOUSE makes a dramatic and severe difference from other independent theatre available. Where SKINHOUSE shines is in the very raw and formed storytelling. This is a real story, these are real people and this is a very moving and exploratory insight into a taboo and silenced world. There are things being said by these young performers/playwrights that needs to be heard and seen and it handles itself incredibly well...It takes the glamour out of sensationalized garbage like Secret Diary of a Call Girl and it presents us with two powerful, strong, emotionally flawed, contemporary Australian heroines in a dark and overwhelming situation and asks us not to look away...Fleur Kilpatrick's writing is brilliantly, and brutally honest, with a silent violence erupting throughout. This is exciting, unpretentious script with a type of child-like innocence and feminine edge that makes it draw you in and then push you away at the same time...Almost too easy to engage with, SKINHOUSE is a must-see for the La Mama season. You should not miss out on this."
(Matto Lucas, Melbourne Art Review)
"The use of music is brilliantly realised, rising organically to augment the show’s emotional impact. Kilpatrick and Benton regularly break into duets for voice and piano. Their songs are a delight, with harmonies forging an ethereal, mournful beauty reminiscent of the Cocteau Twins or, at one point, Massive Attack...the performances are intense and straight from the heart, and Skinhouse remains a soul-baring, bittersweet and moving piece of autobiographical theatre."
(Cameron Woodhead, The Age)
"The writing is wonderful. It is fresh, often poetic but always natural. The play is a lovely weaving of naturalism – in set, lighting and acting – with the non-naturalistic world outside, where the stage is hardly lit, save for the splashes of red light...The real star, however, remained the script which crackled with delightful commentaries on the world around us and how we end up where we are, wherever that may be...It’s so great to see Melbourne represented in all its comedy, pathos, starkness, light, and dark."
(Angus Cameron, Theatre People)
"There’s something almost disconcertingly delicate about Skinhouse. The fifty-five minute play with music, written and performed by Kristina Benton and Fleur Kilpatrick, is so finely balanced, so compact and precisely executed and human and fleeting, that it feels as if it might float or melt away like a sliver of ice on skin...The performances of the two leads, combined with the work of director Danny Delahunty, create a sense of casual, uncontrived, honest intimacy between Fleur and Kristina that’s rare and incredibly difficult to conjure on stage."
(Hannah Aroni, We Are All From Earth)