Todd regales with Kokoda tale Lewiston local, Todd Gray, is enjoying favourable reviews for his solo show, Kokoda, featuring at this year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival. Portraying conscripted soldier, Private Morris Powell, in Peter Maddern’s story of the Australian experience in the Kokoda campaign, Gray’s ability to convey the larrikin nature of the many ill-prepared young men has been described as outstanding by critics. A remarkable achievement for a boy who grew up in Gawler with ambitions to make a career out of acting. Gray graduated from Adelaide College of the Arts in 2009 and describes himself as an actor, theatre-maker, writer and comedian having co-written and performed in a variety of shows; a well-known credit being an appearance on
Natalie Centenera reports: the popular Australian television series ‘McLeod’s Daughters’. He recently braved a standup comedy performance at the Prince Alfred Hotel in Gawler as part of the Gawler Fringe Festival, providing many laughs about his personal experiences with family and relationships. Gray uses his stand-up comedy as an outlet to write and perform his own material, and there is little doubt this experience has provided the confidence to take on such a dramatic role as he has in Kokoda, with only sound and lighting as his co-stars. “My grandfather, Private Alec Oliver, served in the same battalion (39th Battalion) I represent in the show,” he explains. “He passed away many years
ago now and this show is a great memorial to him, his friends and all those who served and gave their lives or left a piece of themselves there.” Kokoda debuted last year in July, the 75th anniversary of the Japanese invasion of New Guinea in 1942. “It’s an untold story about a group that gets glossed over in the whole scheme of things when it comes to the history of World War Two,” Gray said. “A story of one, or many, Australian larrikins, most of which gave their life to protect their country, people who never wanted a medal or a parade, they fought because it was the right thing to do. “It’s about someone who was dragged straight off the street and thrust into a world and situation they never knew existed.”
The script by Peter Maddern, also lauded by critics, requires Gray to be a seamless conduit between the author’s sentiments and the audience’s experience. Gray realises the importance of this story to many Australians and is heartfelt in his efforts to give the event the respect it deserves. “The sheer number of people who stayed back to shake my hand after most nights would almost bring a tear to my eye,” he said. “One night this sweet little old lady, whose uncle, Ralph Honnor, served and is mentioned in the show, grabbed my hand tightly, looked me in the eyes, introduced her family and just said,‘thank you, you have done them proud’. “Hands down made all the rehearsals and behind the scene work, worth it ten-fold.” Audience approval for this
Todd during his stand-up comedy act at the Gawler Fringe. year’s performance at the Fringe may well see the production picked up and taken to Edinburgh, Gray relishing audience numbers and standing ovations.
“We don’t plan on this finishing at the Fringe, we would like to tour it around school and RSLs,” he said. “It’s a great story, it really is and it deserves to be heard.”
South Australian writer, performer and funeral celebrant Tracy Crisp will speak in Two Wells this month.
South Aussie writer, performer and funeral celebrant to speak in Two Wells
South Australian writer, performer and funeral celebrant, Tracy Crisp, will be a special guest speaker in Two Wells this month as part of Adelaide Plains Council’s popular library services author events. Tracy will regale stories of her travels and writing adventures at the Two Wells Bowling Club on Thursday 22 March from at 1pm . After several years in Abu Dhabi, Tracy has recently returned home to Adelaide. She is a public speaker, comedian and performer, and her solo show Pearls featured at the 2018 Adelaide Fringe Festival. Tracy’s work has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Griffith Review, Kill Your Darlings and Island. Her debut novel, Black Dust Dancing, was published in 2009 and is based on true events. It is an intimate and deeply-felt novel centring on a small industrial town where the industry that supports the community appears to be threatening its children. In addition to her writing, Tracy brings her love of storytelling to her work as a funeral celebrant, where she honours people’s life stories by helping to create meaningful, individual funeral ceremonies. Tracy’s second novel Surrogate is an unflinching depiction of some of the most emotive issues around motherhood both past and present. With tender characters and richly detailed textures, there is much for Adelaide readers to recognise in the novel’s choice of locations, including the (old) Adelaide Hospital, Jetty Road, The Parade and Centennial Park cemetery. Both Surrogate ($29.95) and Black Dust Dancing ($19.95) will be available for purchase on the day; please note: cash sales only. Seats for this event are limited and must be booked by contacting the Two Wells Public Library during opening hours on 8520 2100 or email – firstname.lastname@example.org. Two Wells Echo, March, 2018
Published on Mar 7, 2018
The Echo was founded in 1978 and originally printed as an A4 single sheet newsletter. In 2010, Papers & Publications trading as the Plains P...