Author: Connor Johnston


PODCAST: Deja Moo #14 “Just Keep Swimming”

New Hosts, New Format and a New Chapter for Deja Moo.Slide2

Join Connor, Paris and Yusuf in show 14 of Deja Moo as they tackle the latest developments in the 2016 Australian Election, Reconstruct themselves emotionally following the release of “Finding Dory” and “Orange is the New Black”, Eat Saladas and pose some interesting questions about the accessibility of the music industry. All that and More on Deja Moo

Join us on Radio Monash; Every Monday at 6pm as we expose the ever burring lines between the Political Arena and the Entertainment Industry through poor attempts at comedy.

Hosted by: Connor Johnston, Paris Balla and Yusuf Aly

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REVIEW: PEP Productions’ “The Laramie Project”

“The Laramie Project” is a script I’ve read and studied many times before, but actually have never seen performed live on stage before. Constructed purely from interviews conducted by the the Tectonic Theatre Company with the locals of Laramie, the play details the life and death of Matthew Sheppard, who at the age of 21 fell victim to a vicious hate crime, tortured and murdered by local boys Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson on the outskirts of his home town. The play serves to translate to the audience the effect Sheppard’s murder had on the global debates regarding homophobia and hate crime legislation, as well as the impact it had on the small town in which it occurred, through the format of “Verbatim Theatre”. Due to both the abnormal nature of the play’s design as well as the confronting nature of its content, “The Laramie Project” remains one of the most difficult plays to perform and get right. However, due to an incredible amount of effort, talent and reverence, it is a play that PEP Productions absolutely nails. Read more …


Humon #4 – June 15th 2016

The Lives of Humans at Monash…. Curated by Hugh Murray // 

I love J Cole. I know this interview was meant to be about the difference between Fiji and Australia but J Cole is bae. You know how rap talks about sex and drugs. Now that I think about it, J Cole’s songs are about sex. I was going to say that J Cole’s isn’t like that but I guess he is. But not about the drug life. I think I like him because of his vibe. He’s not society’s ideal of conventional beauty, but he’s still cute. Something you can wave your hand up in the air for: I call it the 90 degree right-angle right arm basketball tap. It’s something I can listen to when it’s 3am, my best friend’s door is locked and I can’t sleep.

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PODCAST: Deja Moo #13 “Leaving the Land Down Under”

76ae-6dd0-415b-b545-dbdc82abdd93It’s the end of an Era as Sam bids farewell to Deja Moo in a jam-packed Farewell Special! To mark the occasion, the boys are joined by new hosts Paris and Yusuf who make their RadMon debut. Throughout the show the team discuss the recent Orlando tragedies, the criticism regarding “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and pay tribute to Sam’s time in Aus. All this and more in the biggest Deja Moo yet.

Join us on Radio Monash; Every Monday at 6pm as we expose the ever burring lines between the Political Arena and the Entertainment Industry through poor attempts at comedy.

Hosted By: Connor Johnston, Paris Balla, Yusuf Aly and Sam Corcoran

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REVIEW: Blue Saint’s “Songs for a New World”

“Songs for a New World” was without question one of the most unique and abstract theatre shows I’ve ever attended. Not as comprehensive as a musical, though not as clean cut as your standard song cycle, “Songs” was a show that was incredibly demanding on both its cast and creative team, requiring them to create a coherent experience and effectively translate an extensive number of stories and characters in a limited amount of time, with a total lack of dialogue. In the program, Director Luke Joslin talked of the difficulties associated with infusing the song cycle with a certain ‘theatricality’, which is no easy task. It is a challenge however that Joslin met with great effect, having linked these different characters not by narrative but by tone and style. Married with an incredibly effective set and lighting design that aided audiences in establishing themselves in the narrative, Joslin and Blue Saint have staged a show with more significance and meaning than most productions found even in Melbourne’s biggest theatres.

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“Proof” marks the second time this year where I’ve had the privilege of attending the debut performance of a brand new company and, to put it plainly, once again Melbourne has gained yet another strong platform upon which to promote and showcase groundbreaking theatre. The company, Artefact Theatre, derives its name from the idea that “powerful theatre leaves something behind with an audience, buried deep within their minds”. With “Proof”, Artefact have produced a deeply relevant, striking and moving piece of theatre that is sure to meet their goals and stay with their audience for a while yet.

The script itself by David Auburn has an incredible amount of appeal, and lends itself effortlessly to Artefact’s core philosophy. Dealing with the themes of family, loss, sacrifice, depression and ultimately survival, Proof’s greatest strength is that it quickly centres in on its characters. The show is quite cathartic in the way some of its themes are unapologetically confronting, but never dealt with in bad taste. Regardless of how serious the show sounds, make no mistake; it is very funny. Director Emily O’Brien-Brown has achieved the perfect balance of comedy and heartbreak to produce something very special indeed. Read more …


HIGHLIGHT: Reaction to the Orlando Shootings (Deja Moo #13)

jYesterday the Deja Moo team spent a significant amount of time reacting to the Orlando tragedy; discussing the issues of Homophobia, Islamaphobia and Gun Control the reactions to the event have raised. As the we continue to mourn in solidarity with Orlando, we can only hope that action is taken to ensure we do not fail any more human beings, in the way we’ve failed these 50 individuals, ever again. ‪#‎LoveToOrlando‬

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REVIEW: Babirra’s “Mary Poppins”

Mary Poppins is perhaps one of the most iconic, yet simultaneously underrated musicals of our time. The story of a family who, despite appearances, are thoroughly unhappy and the magical nanny who brings them together is one that has touched the hearts of many people all over the world. It is the beauty and warming nature of the Banks’ journey as a family that forms the heart of the production, which Director Chris Bradtke has brought to life in Babirra’s first show of 2016 playing at the Whitehouse Centre this week.

When casting a character whose brief includes being “practically perfect” in every possible way, a number of challenges arise. However daunting the task, Babirra have managed to hit the goldmine with Stephanie John who provided a performance that effortlessly met the expectations set by such an iconic character. For the entirety of the show’s duration, John captured the perfect balance of sternness and charm that is so integral to Poppins’ personality. Vocally, John never showed any sign of fatigue or exhaustion and produced a performance reminiscent of Julie Andrews’ original portrayal. Angelo De Cata’s portrayal of Bert was a standout as well, though did seem a little inconsistent at times. There were a few short moments in the first act where De Cata struggled, however his infectious energy and heightened enthusiasm for the role did well to disguise any difficulties. Read more …


REVIEW: Burning House’s “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”

Despite always being quite a strong fan of Shakespeare’s work in reading, there have been many moments over the years where I’ve struggled to fully connect to staged interpretations of his work to the same level as I had when reading and studying it privately. “Coriolanus” to me has never been one of Shakespeare’s “greats”, and despite seeing it performed twice in the past, it rarely managed to leave an impression. All these factors considered, it was with an open mind that I attended Burning House’s performance of “The Tragedy of Coriolanus” last week. Without question, what followed was one of the most intimate and rewarding theatre experiences I had ever been a part of.

After months of seeing shows performed in back alleys and hotel rooms (as great as that was), it was slightly refreshing to be back sitting in the rows of a more orthodox audience space, looking down upon a proper stage in an established theatre…however conventional the setting was, Burning House’s usage of it was anything but. Having the cast sitting visibly around the area while they were not on stage is a bold move – but an incredibly original and fascinating one. Somehow, my experience was not impacted, nor my suspension of disbelief ‘shattered’ by the staging – instead it was almost more enchanting then usual; watching the actors sit motionless, go through their costume changes before stepping into the space and becoming their characters so completely. Every aspect of the show and every movement carried out by its actors was incredibly stylized and choreographed, leading to an end result that felt remarkably polished.

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Humon #3 – May 31st 2016

The Lives of Humans at Monash…. Curated by Hugh Murray //

I did research in my honours; right now, I’m trying to publish that work. I did a lot of my inquiry on young adults who use cannabis – a topic of huge contention. A lot of research is focused on medicinal use, but I wanted to find out the impact of the use of recreational marijuana on a young adult. Studies have shown that young people perceive cannabis as a drug that bears little harm to the recipient, and even though the studies go against this notion, this perception continues to rise.

It is why I am passionate about this. I see the harm that it does; marijuana does lead to poorer outcomes for the user. People are more at risk of psychological harm such as schizophrenia or even small things like feeling more down or anxious than you used to be, especially for long term users. My project was trying to understand young and long-term users, finding out how different each and every user truly was. I found that half of prolonged users suffer psychological impediments in their life. In science, we look at the facts. But right now, there is no screening process for each individual in regards to the effects of the use of cannabis, unlike the use of tobacco or alcohol. 
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This week on Radio Monash, I had the privilege of interviewing the legendary Noni Hazlehurst as part of our special “Inspirational Australians” themed program. Throughout the interview we discussed

– Her legacy on Playschool
– The Government’s position on refugees and asylum seekers
– The fallout from her TV Week Logie Hall of Fame Speech
– The backlash against Waleed Aly’s win of the Gold Logie
– Political Correctness
– The Circulation of Inspirational and Positive News
– The evanescence of society’s concerns over mental health
– And More.

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