Riverbank Palais – ADELAIDE FESTIVAL

SONY DSCRussell performs WHO AM I…? for packed audience at The Riverbank Palais.

This is a venue purpose-built for The Adelaide Festival. It’s unequivocal popular success this year means it will be retained for the next three years.

“Who Am I? Is not for the faint hearted, it is for those who love classic story telling, for those who are looking to delve into the life of another human being, sharing their thoughts, feelings and desires, and those who love suspense.

Russell Cheek is a master narrator. He takes the audience on a wild ride through the history, glamour and bad attire of 1990’s commercial television. The story follows Russell’s life as he recollects his experiences on Sale of the Century. Using his cutting wit and auditory skills, Russell recalls this bygone era and stressful, yet exciting time in his life.

The carryover champion’s story telling skills are incredible. His voice is calming and soft, his actions and gestures are those of a well-experienced actor. As the tension mounts the emotion is visceral. Russell conjured such creative tension that one audience member was so caught in the climax of the show that she stood up and announced that she “couldn’t bear the tension” any more. Ever the gentleman, Russell dashed off the stage and reassured her by whispering the ending to her, just in case. She stayed and gave a standing ovation at the end of the show.

Russell Cheek’s inspiring and hopeful tale reminds us of the power of goals and dreams. He will draw you in and you will share the joys, the tensions and the laughs as he recalls a very important time in his life.”

Rupert Hogen-Turner – “The Upside News”

Who Am I……?

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“Just saw ‘Who am I…?’ Charming, delightful, joyous and all kinds of funny and wonderful! Seeing this show, THIS SHOW, this is why I love theatre and am inspired to create it. Go see the incredibly talented, extra extra ordinary Russell Cheek in this exquisite piece of theatre. Congratulations. Beaming! You are gold.”
Kellie Higgins

“My Sydney Facebook friends, please treat yourselves to this show, you will enjoy a fabulous 75 minutes of smart and hilarious dialogue (well monologue strictly speaking…) that will leave you hanging on the edge of your seat and laughing so hard…
Trust me, book now and make a date of it!”
Francine Clough

“Rush and go see Who Am I…? It is side-splittingly funny, tender, beautifully crafted and full of joy. A fantastic night at the theatre! Bravo Russell Cheek and Steve Abbott”.
Kerri Glasscock

“We were lucky enough to see Russell Cheek in all his comic glory last night. LOVED it !!! What a great show. A must see night out in Newtown. Love this guy…”
Catherine Carr

“I absolutely LOVED your show Russell. I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat as you carried us moment by moment through your amazing journey 🙂 Anyone reading this… YOU MUST GO!”
Katrina Smith-Jones

“Brilliantly executed and F@*king hilarious, GO SEE THIS SHOW.”
Maddy Jean Baghurst

“Intelligent, hilarious and moving, Russell Cheek takes us on a remarkable and colourful journey of self discovery in Who Am I ? Storytelling at its most pleasurable. Huge congrats on a… WINNER! And a fabulous opening! On until the 20th August, Old 505 Theatre- book now!”
Clockfire Theatre Company

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“This show is delightful and hilarious. The most fun I’ve had at the theater in a long, long time. Congratulations dear Russell Cheek. Get along to it!”
Liz Doran

“Please pass on to Russell that I thought the show was brilliant! And he was adorable and funny and I had a ball!
Thanks for making last minute ticket work! Best.”
Gia Carides

“Yes – lively, witty, hilarious, and I was on the edge of my seat! A beautifully conceived and performed show. Well done Russell Cheek!”
Megan Simpson Huberman

“As for Who Am I…? Russell Cheek is divine, with an unassuming yet formidable intellect. Who Am I…? is a very funny, fascinating insight into the machinations of an Australian TV icon and human psyche. It’s so cleverly crafted that, even though I knew the answer, I was still on the edge of my seat for the whole ride!”
Annette Blake

“We loved it. Insightful and laugh out loud hilarious. Russell Cheek is clever AND nice and funny and has a full book of facial expressions.”
Gemma Deacon

“Go see Russell’s fabulously funny show at the intimate Old 505 Theatre in Newtown! We laughed till we cried! Great work Russell Cheek! and thanks for sharing your secrets…”
James Bradley

“Absolutely hilarious! I had tears rolling down my cheeks – haven’t had such a good laugh in ages…!”
Yo de Torres

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“What a funny, terrifying ride he puts us through…the 90’s..the hair, the suit jackets, the STAKES…dunno what I’m on about? See this show…Russell Cheek delivers his unimaginable tale with such truth, jeez….we were all THERE in the bloody thing!
Just go…don’t f**k around.”
Stuart Spence

“….a delightfully humorous warm personal story and performance in Russell Cheek’s Who Am I? as he took us on a real life journey of reflection and introspection on becoming a Sale of the Century Champion…”
Ralph Kerle

“Friends & I had a wonderful evening with the extraordinarily entertaining talent of Russell Cheek giving us his best, recalling the Zen like mastery of him winning “Sale of The Century” TV contest. Highly recommend.”
Rodney Monk

“What a hoot! Just fabulous. Haven’t laughed so much in ages. Everyone, make sure you get along to this. Loved it!”
Gillian Deakin

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 “Absolutely amazing, must see – again!”
Jay Dunne
“What a glorious tale …100% Russell Cheek, and BRILLIANTLY presented, of course. A real treat.”
Cate Peterson
“We were so impressed .. not only by his core strength .. but his fascinating story … it was hilarious and compelling. A must see!!”
Betsy Baker
“Mum sent me an email saying how much she and Ray loved your show, including saying ‘thank you so much for taking us’
I’m with them – I loved your show so much. You have such a profound way to take people on a journey, I felt it really deeply in my body. Completely present – just like the Kingfisher. A  joyful journey in all those emotions where you took us! SO terrific!!”

Sophie Howarth.

“We laughed till we cried!”
“The most fun I’ve had at the theater in a long, long time.”
“Lively, witty, hilarious, and I was on the edge of my seat!”
“We loved it. Insightful and laugh out loud hilarious.”
“Hilariously funny and genuinely insightful take on the make or break moments in life –
Russell Cheek and Steve Abbott are onto a winner! Book now, this will sell out”

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“James Waites had told me about the brilliance of Russell Cheek. The skeleton of a story, really – something about being brilliant enough to have transformed his life in the 90s through winning Sale of the Century. I knew I needed to respect and revere anyone who could handle the rapid fire intensity of “fast Money”… after all my childhood was spent in silent, secret competition with the three contestants on the TV most nights of the week, hoping that one day that could be me wowing Mr Ridge or Mr Barber.
So when I heard that a show about this very story was being performed at my favourite Indie theatre by Mr Cheek, through the nurturing care of The Sandman, I was excited to see the legend at work.
(Besides having an incredible wit, and intelligence, Mr Cheek also has a devoted following of former-students who fawn over and grin broadly with him in foyers – quite the artistic cult following).
“Who Am I…?” is a one man show about resilience and transformation, as much as it is about competition, poverty, aspiration and perspiration. It is also an exciting and personal story which gives us a moment to pause to reflect on the current housing/wealth creation situation for most artists living in cities – that is, that it’s as unlikely and as impossible as winning over $300K in cash and prizes on a game show.
There is a natural open charm and kindness in the show – with a heavy dose of cheek and cheery linguistic gymnastics- yep Russell’s still got it!
It’s not just that the story is a contemporary Odyssey of Planes and World Book encyclopedias, but beautifully articulated in space – through lithe, well-tuned staging, fluid flourishes of gesture and punctauted with footage. This show is like the directors commentary on a DVD, for a time that didn’t have DVDs, nor shows that are available on DVDs- hence the need for it to be a theatre show, I suppose.
I was utterly charmed, completely on the edge of my seat, muttering answers to myself, and not wanting the show to finish – and that rarely rarely happens.
If it wasn’t in its final stages of the run, I’d force everyone I know to see it – but there’s two nights left, and no doubt its sold out… but should you hear of it doing the rounds, or remounting – do yourself a favour and indulge that game show fanatic within.”

Augusta Supple,
Theatre Critic and Blogger

LONDON

Then to LONDON, (Oct 18 til Nov 8)

Met with:
Jodi Shields, directors’ and writer’s agent,
(incl for such luminaries as Steve McQueen, Oscar-winning director.
Discussed Russell’s treatment for CONKERS (working title,)
Mini-series re. WW1 and the unknown story within the foundation of Israel

saw:

HUSBANDS AND SONS at the National Theatre,
(based on the works of DH Lawrence,) meeting the starring and brilliant Anne Marie Duff,
(‘Shameless’, ‘Sugffragette’)

THE ORESTEIA
A stunning re-working of Aeschellus’ eviscerating tragedy in three acts.

64 SQUARES
Brilliant, fluid show by the innovative RHUM and CLAY CO.

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GOYA – PORTRAITS

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and – LONDON…

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Alitalia over St Paul’s

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The Thames – ‘liquid history’….!

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Shard-‘n’-Freude…

WHO AM I……?

Next year brings Russell’s ONE-MAN SHOW

‘WHO AM I’

The Old 505 Theatre

5 Eliza St, Newtown, Sydney

Here is Russell’s section of the 2016 subscription Brochure:

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“Aspiration requires preparation. Preparation ensures that when opportunity arrives – and it will – you are inured to self-doubt.

The moment of opportunity, like death, arrives at random. In order to welcome it, you must also sign up to accept its dark-matter – failure, for the by-product of aspiration is humiliation.

The exception is the Clown, whose aspiration consists of humiliation –and the by-product becomes the resource. (Performs short demonstration as red-nosed clown)
            This is our lesson – to make capital of disaster, to become the contrarian investor, who continues to rake profit in time of crisis.

The Clown’s art is predicated on this. The Chinese too, have evolved it into a collective national mindset – ‘We can use this’. Just as they would eat every skerrick of the pig… from snouts to tails, lips to arseholes, they would comb the slag-heap in thousands to find the dubious nugget.”

Jodi (phone VO) – Russ – are you sitting down…?
Russell – No, but I CAN be… why…?
Jodi – They want you in Melbourne. On Wednesday.

Russell – Oh… feck… (runs out of room.)

It had happened. What I had so longed for – intangibly away in the future – I had wished into sudden existence, via the genie of hubris.

Opportunity had not bothered to knock. It strode towards me, sleeves rolled, flanked by its foul and wiry posse. These I recognised with a shudder – Apprehension, Anxiety and Fear-of-Failure, skulking like filthy figures from a gutter Commedia troupe.

My stomach dove through my fundament, but I made quick ground, slammed the door, and welcomed the dirty three with… (SFX – toilet flush)

Suddenly – this was the opposite of trivia.

Glenn – “Which city, the capital of Transvaal, is also…” (SFX – Buzzer )
Russell – Pretoria.

Glenn – “Coined after the Athenian statesman, and meaning severe, or…”
(SFX – Buzzer )
Russell – Draconian.

More details after season launch, 24 Nov 2015

Russell Cheek, 'WHO AM I...?'

PARIS

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Russell is traveling to Paris as translator for an Art-dealer colleague, Adrian Newstead, of COO-EE GALLERY, (the oldest indigenous art gallery of Australia,) at the Art Fair ‘Art Brut’. Shown here: Adrian and Mirri Leven, Gallery Manager.
(October 18 til 28) This was our stand at the Art Fair….!

IMG_4562     Magic afternoon light…

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rue Lepic…

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Les Invalides, l’Église St Eustache

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rue du Faubourg St Denis – my own precinct

(all photographs by Russell)

 

 

 

High Society

Russell has just finished performing in a sell-out season of the musical HIGH SOCIETY, at the Hayes Theatre, Potts Point.

The cast included some of the great luminaries of Australian Musical theatre – Amy Lehpamer, Bert Labonte, Bobby Fox, Scott Irwin, Virginia Gay, Phillip Lowe, Michelle Barr, Laurence Coy, Delia Hannah, Jessica Whitfield.

The show is directed by Helen Dallimore, herself one of the great musical performers.

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The incomparable Amy Lehpamer

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(almost) Full-cast Dance Number

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Delia Hannah and Russell Cheek

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The most joyous dressing-room in the world….

A stellar experience – some review excerpts.

If you need twin staircases, tap-dancing, chorus lines, or a full-sized band, then wander down to the Opera House and see the Broadway-budgeted production of Anything Goes, one of Porter’s most famous. But if you’re happy with several of the greatest songs of the twentieth century, retrofitted into a well-crafted story with witty dialogue and all delivered flawlessly, then buy, sneak or cheat your way into High Society.

Time Out (5 Stars)

“Director Helen Dallimore has drawn together a stellar group of actors and creatives to bring Cole Porter’s ‘High Society’ to life with lots of laughs and beautiful music…
For it to work it must fizz, and Helen Dallimore has certainly achieved that in her production for Hayes Theatre Co. In addition to the magnificent music, the drama and comedy of the work is delightful and ensures that the work remains relevant. The comic timing of jokes and barbs are brilliantly presented and are accompanied by some priceless facial expressions.”

Broadway World

 

 

Pilgrim’s Progress

A HUNGER SUITE

 Ayoub and Miné Cerci in A HUNGER SUITE

Emily Ayoub and Miné Cerci in A HUNGER SUITE

Emily Ayoub and I traveled to Istanbul to develop, devise and present ‘A HUNGER SUITE’, based on the works of Franz Kafka, with top Turkish actress Miné Cerci.

We played the show in the Sezincikat Theatre in Central lstanbul, and attracted a core of Istanbullu (sic) theatre buffs who were very passionate about it. We played it in English with beautifully crafted Turkish surtitles….!

After more development in Sydney, we subsequently presented the show here at the Old 505 Theatre, Sydney:

We had some really well-considered, thought-through critiques….!

“This is difficult, beautiful performance. Abstract, beguiling and hilarious.”

– Augusta Supple

“Beautiful, brief, strange and funny… Just came back from Clockfire Theatre’s interpretation come melt-down of Kafka’s short stories and aphorisms. It ended in under an hour and before I even knew it was happening. Like some sad circus on a farm left over from a German dream. Tremendous acting, physical and odd. A HUNGER SUITE is well worth seeing…”

Mark Mordue – 2010 Pascal Prize winner: Australian Critic of the Year.

“Simply magnificent show. There’s rarely theatre shown these days that leaves you thinking about it days after – this show exemplifies this tenfold. I was moved, I laughed and I was even rather unnerved at some points. Don’t miss out on this unique and thought provoking piece of theatre!” –

Gabriel McCarthy

“Russell Cheek has guided Clockfire to slice-and-dice the spirit of this great 20th century writer and serve it up, near piping hot, with side orders of his most powerful ideas.”
Crikey’.com – Lloyd Bradford Syke

We even had attendance from Australia’s greatest director, Neil Armfield, who said:

“I enjoyed this VERY much – it is like a mythological poem – about performance, and therefore, life…”

This was such an enjoyable, edifying and encouraging experience, we hope to find more life ahead for this unusual, innovative performance….!

Emily and Miné in the hay - A HUNGER SUITE

Devising-Directing in Istanbul

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Excitement – I have been invited by EMILY AYOUB and MINE CERCI to devise-direct:

                                                   “A Hunger Suite”

…a show based on the works of Franz Kafka, during March-April in Istanbul. This is a city I have always wanted to visit, especially after having read the works of the famous Turkish author, Orhan Pamuk… BUT – actually working there will give us a real chance to integrate into the culture of daily life.

There will be much to learn, to observe, to assimilate.

And then – we have to perform the show….!