'Asylum' by Ruth Fingret. Produced by Brave New Word Theatre Company. Performed at The Comber Street Studios, Sydney, November 2017
This is a night of excellent acting and great story telling. This is a tricky play with actors dealing with overlapping scenes, rapid fire dialogue and high emotional stakes.
David Woodland is central to this story and stands out in this excellent cast. His demanding role is met with attention to detail and his emotional loading is controlled and grounded. More than one audience member found themselves caught up in the emotional ending and there were a few tissues pulled out of handbags and pockets by the end.
The writer of Asylum is here well supported by director Richard Hilliar and the superb cast he has assembled to interpret the text. This is a magnificent new Australian work, easily one of the best plays I have seen that attempts to tackle this subject. Just as Ruth Fingret uses words to bind her cast, Richard Hilliar does the same with the exciting found space of the Comber Street Studios. He twists and moves his cast around each other, taking full advantage of the small room and our proximity to the characters (and each other) to confront in the most intense and visceral way. He calls forth excellent performers from the entire cast, particularly David Woodland (who is so good in these ‘tortured white man’ roles) and Joshua McElroy who are entirely engaging as father and son.
This is a marvellous production, one of those joyful moments where the right director and production company find the best writer for their creative expression. Asylum is a great night of theatre and not to be missed.
Asylum is worth seeing for the sublime subtleties of the whole cast’s performances. Special mention to David Woodland as ‘Craig’ (who had a particular audience member not only emoting, but very much sobbing…)
David Woodland plays Craig as an everyday guy, letting the villainous qualities of his character stay an undercurrent in his portrayal.
'Rats'- Moonshine & Dirt by Chris Huntley Turner. Produced by Fledgling Theatre Company. Performed at The Old 505 Theatre, Sydney, October 2016
The live musician figure David Woodland who interceded with ambient and musical elements, providing much texture to each production; the use of electric guitar rattle to emote gunfire a strum of genius.
– Broadway world
Writer and Director Huntly-Turner has developed very clear ideas about the messages, hopes and fears that are portrayed clearly throughout the play. In particular, his employment of untraditional electric guitar sounds to change moods with sudden dread or in slow, disconcerting climaxes is nothing short of genius.
– Matthew Raven, The Buzz from Sydney
Live music accompaniment by David Woodland manipulates atmosphere cleverly.
– Suzy Wrong
Musician David Woodland provides a beautiful acoustic cover of “Better be home Soon” by Crowded House.
Woodland continued to provide a brilliant score to the show, armed with acoustic and electric guitars and a Fender amp.
-Real Reviews Australia
'Year of the Family' by Anthony Neilson. Produced by Tooth and Sinew Theatre Company. Performed at The Kings Cross Theatre, Sydney, Februrary 2016
‘The other father, played by David Woodland, in a brilliant stroke of casting, whose very presence constantly interrupts our rapidly changing opinions about him. Woodland’s discombobulating combination of charisma and awkwardness bring a strength and freshness to Neilson’s words, adding another layer of complexity to a figure about which we could easily have made many assumptions. It is up to Woodland to provide the plays punch line, and he does this with such power that not only is his role exemplified in his final appearance, but the entire play is turned into a new thing.’
‘Dickie could easily fall into being a bumbling caricature, but Woodland keeps him grounded in reality, skilfully treading the line between pity and dejected acceptance.’
-Theatre Now, Alana Kaye
‘David Woodland as the pitiful Dickie expertly walked the line between caricature and crafted persona.’
-broadwayworld.com Brodie Paparella
'Being Norwegian' by David Greig. Produced by Brevity Theatre Company. Performed at The Old Fitzroy Theatre, Sydney, June 2015
‘Under Alex Butts direction Being Norwegian is very funny, the kind of theatre that makes you laugh out loud regularly, and he’s drawn wonderful performances from his talented cast of David Woodland and Katy Curtain who have the perfect chemistry for the attraction-that-can’t-overcome-akwardness plot line. Woodland has great sex appeal and a powerful stage persona, and with Alex Butt directing him in such a close proximity, so much of the performance has been distilled to Woodland’s face, whose subtle expressions and slight nuances become the source for much of the plays hilarity.’
‘Katy Curtain and David Woodland are polished performers with strong presences that captivate with ease. Their comedic chemistry is confident, the players manage to portray a surprising authenticity in a way that only dedicated show folk can. Curtain and Woodland are at home on the stage, and we are delighted to be in their company.’
-Suzy Goes See
‘Woodland plays the tortured Sean so well that you feel more than a bit embarrassed for him.’
-Joy Minter – The Buzz from Sydney
'When the Rain Stops Falling' By Andrew Bovell. Produced and Performed at New Theatre, Sydney, March-April 2015
This is very much an Actors play, with all the cast taking full advantage of the circuitous plotting to display their many delicate talents. However, a standout performance from David Woodland holds the play together. He grasps our hearts at the very start as a man in the rain with a fish in his hands about to meet his estranged son for the first time, and he holds us close, even when we squirm to get away, as he embodies our greatest fears and becomes a monster to us. His performance brought tears to my eyes several times, no small feat given the sensitive material he projects and without giving any spoilers, makes us feel when we’d rather just hate. I’ll never forget his shaking hands at one of the plays crucial climaxes.
– Lisa Thatcher
Chant has a good cast of actors at her disposal. Woodland shows his range playing the affable, secretive Henry and his dishevelled grandson, in whose shabby Alice Springs bedsit Bovell stages a powerful act of remembrance before the assembled ghosts of the past.
- Jason Blake SMH
David Woodland, as Henry and his grandson, Gabriel York, has the most demands placed upon him and he doesn’t shirk or disappoint: Gabriel’s opening monologue is state-of-the-art compelling; the scene in which Henry is cornered by his wife’s discovery of his predilection for young boys is chillingly naturalistic.
- Lloyd Bradford Syke
David Woodland is engrossing as both Gabriel York and Henry Law, the latter being quite a departure from the raffish characters that Woodland excels at. The audience should by rights be repelled by Henry Law, but we aren’t, Woodland’s portrayal is sympathetic.
– The Buzz from Sydney
Additional mentions go to David Woodland (Gabriel York/Henry Law). His opening monologue was impeccably performed and gave the show the momentum it needed to get through into the second half.
The ensemble of When the Rain Stops Falling worked beautifully together. David Woodland leads the charge as Henry Law, the father of Gabriel Law. Woodland has always been a solid presence on stage, and here he is no different. In particular, there are some difficult emotional reveals for Henry, all of which Woodland tackles fearlessly. As an adult Gabriel York, Woodland gives a memorable monologue at the beginning of the piece, solidly setting the sombre tone and pace of the piece.
– Dinner and a show
Under the terrific direction of Rachel Chant the strength of the ensemble of seven is obvious, each of them individually tremendous. David Woodland as Gabriel/Henry is compelling and commanding. This is a gripping production that asks searing questions, with splendid performances all round.
- Lynne Lancaster, ARTSHUB
The ensemble of seven is uniformly arresting, each with their own distinctive presentation styles, but all are able to find for the piece, an exacting cohesion in tone and pace. David Woodland’s performance is most compelling.
- Suzy Wrong
'Wittenberg' by David Davalos. Produced by Brevity Theatre Company. Performed at The Old Fitzroy Theatre, Sydney, January 2014
“This is an absolutely brilliant play, brimming full of references to philosophy, psychology, theology and literature.”
“The direction is simple but precise, driving the show along at a rollicking speed, theological arguments and all. And while the whole cast is excellent, special credit must go to David Woodland, who is totally brilliant as Faustus. He is absolutely on point with his portrayal of the doctor as a charismatic dedicated devil’s advocate, believable both when he is delivering academic lectures on philosophy to conducting pseudo-Freudian psychoanalysis to pleading with his mistress to marry him to playing the ukulele in his local bar. The scene where he and Luther get drunk together and argue about the problem of purgatory while throwing peanuts at each other is perfect.”
David Woodland's Faustus is rogue academic sexiness incarnate and he plays a mean ukulele.
-Jason Blake, SMH
Hilliar has pulled together quite a luminous ensemble of cast and creatives. Both David Woodland, as Faustus, and Nick Curnow, as Luther, not only tick the boxes for what at least used to be considered standard equipment for actors (diction and projection), but flesh out their characters such that they become both believable and relatable. We can begin to have sympathy for both, regardless of how much we agree or disagree with their views and arguments.
-Lloyd Bradford Syke
“David Woodland as John Faustus is exceptional and in a league of his own. His musical interludes on the ukulele make it all worthwhile.”
“Performances are consistently strong, and all actors seem to be very thoroughly rehearsed. Intentions are clear, and their control over their tricky lines are very accomplished. David Woodland’s performance however, is completely show stealing. His portrayal of John Faustus is charismatic, committed and irresistibly convincing. He has a fearless approach that effervesces unceasingly, and he resonates strongly at every turn. We hear his points of view clearly, and we empathise with his vulnerabilities.”
“David Woodland rises to the Faustus challenge with a charismatic elegance, painting Faustus as an intellectual rogue, his causal manner masking a fierce mental independence that borders on reactionary. Passion belongs to love – everything else is open to debate in Woodland’s Faustus. Woodland navigates the shifting sands of his characters moods and ideas smoothly, giving over the appearance of control admirable in all those skilled at making their feisty point.”
Saw amazing production of Wittenberg at the Old Fitzroy last night! Great performances and fascinating play. Don't miss it! And David Woodland absolutely amazing.
“Under Richard Hilliar’s direction, the Brevity Theatre cast tackle Wittenberg with brio. It’s a tough script, demanding complex diction and on-the-mark timing. David Woodland delivers a charismatic and rebellious take on Faustus, while Nick Curnow is a commanding yet deeply perturbed Luther. Hilliar makes the most of the contrast. Their exchanges — whether comical or filled with ire — are edgy and real.”
“Wittenberg is further evidence that Sydney would do well to roll out the red carpet in celebration of the company’s arrival. Having set out with the mission of “producing theatre told in a sharp and simple way”, they’re doing a fine job of achieving their intention.”
“What a brilliant start to the year. This production by the Brevity Theatre Company in association with the Sydney Independent Theatre Company could well be one of the highlights in theatre for 2014.”
“The casting was superb. David and Nick both accomplished actors brought out the very best from their characters, I certainly couldn't fault them. I doubt there is be many, if any productions of this play that will beat the standard of this performance”.
-What’s on Sydney
“David Woodland is the standout as the self-determined Dr Faustus. He fills the stage with an easy charisma, and manages the dialogue with aplomb. Woodland mixes devil’s advocacy with the enthusiasm of a spirited academic, giving balance to the Faustian hubris. There is a simple charm to Woodland and in this way he is Brevity’s Richard Roxburgh. (He also plays a mean ukulele).”
-Dinner and a show
'Woodland’s intelligent, arrogant, and utterly sexy Dr Faustus has the audience in the palm of his hand from the outset. The man also does a mean blues scale, complete with ukelele.'
- Show and Tell- A Theatre Journal
'David Woodland does a wonderful job of bringing this likable and passionate rogue alive.'
'David Woodland is brilliant as Dr Faustus, his scene stealing performance is hilarious and riveting to watch.'
-The Buzz from Sydney
'Heaven Help Us!' by Keith Bosler. Produced by Gherkin Global. Performed at the Bordello Room Kings Cross Hotel, Sydney, March 2014
The performances are excellent, everyone on top of their game and having a lot of fun with the show. David Woodland, always good, is a fabulous Devil, seductively OTT in his lace up faux leather, matching his talent for oozing sex appeal that he seems to bring to each of his performances (or is it just me?). He delivers Bosler’s great lines carefully and cleverly, most of the tongue-twisters end up his, tumbling out playful and clear. He is posited against the great Lyn Pierse as God and some of the best moments are when the two of them riff off each other, Pierse’s God being a patient, witty performance, commanding the stage in oversized shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. She performs Bosler’s words on a slow burn which works well, so that God develops throughout the play, a nice point of difference from Woodlands in-your-face Devil. The work between these two fine actors is one of the primary reasons to see the show, Pierse being such a well crafted talent, so it’s a little bit of Sydney theatre-watchers porn to see the pair engaged in some clever word play so close to the audience
– Lisa Thatcher
The highlight of the production are actors Lyn Pierse and David Woodland who seem to be able to “sing the phone book”. David Woodland plays the devil with a lot of flamboyance. His work is filled with tricks and techniques to prevent the character from ever becoming too plain. Woodland is a highly entertaining performer.
– Suzy Wrong
David Woodland exudes a sleazy charm as the prince of pandemonium, black leather clad and hairy chested hubris, a slinking, strutting Satan who marvels in mischief. There’s a nice detail in his devil.
– David Kary, SYDNEY ARTS GUIDE
'One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest' by Ken Kesey. Produced by Epicentre Theatre Company, Performed at the Zenith Theatre, Sydney, November 2011
The key roles of Chief Bromden, Randle P McMurphy and Nurse Ratched dominate the play, as they do the film. Cheyne Flynn as the Chief, Dave Woodland as McMurphy and Suzy Wilds as Ratched drive the production impressively.
Woodland’s McMurphy is a genial larrickin.
A strong central acting ensemble portrays the inmates of the institution credibly, with sensitivity, generally balancing well on the fine line that could so easily take them over the top.
Given that the film was one of those great cathartic experiences for me, an impact I just can’t hope to duplicate, that I was genuinely affected by this production is testimony to the talents and efforts of the Epicentre cast and crew.
-Neil Litchfield Stage Whispers
Dave Woodland impresses as one of the ultimate rebels, Randle P.McMurphy. This is a night in the theatre that works both as entertainment and as world class drama. This play really has it all!
-David Kary Sydney Arts Guide
This production is nevertheless strong and entertaining, thanks mainly to a fine lead performance from Dave Woodland as Randle McMurphy – the character that won Jack Nicholson his first Oscar.
Woodland, as her nemesis, is a delight to watch. Hilariously crass, uninhibited and egotistical, in his hands McMurphy is also intuitively wise and genuinely, if roughly, kind – a complex mixture of elements always threatening to erupt.
-Jennie Sharpe ArtsHub
The focal character Randle P. McMurphy was played stunningly by Dave Woodland, who, for some reason reminded me of Dennis Quaid, in a good way though, definitely in a good way. Nurse Ratched and McMurphy have great chemistry and some very intense exchanges that make for exciting viewing.