Mainstage Reviews

25th July 2017 – Grand questions swirl in this acting masterclass

This production is an acting masterclass…the ensemble of four performs with impressive clarity and precision, distinguishing multiple characters

22nd March 2016 – Green Room Awards – Arts Hub
Accepting the Green Room Award for Male Actor in the Theatre Companies category, for his performance in Red Stitch’s Dead Centre/Sea Wall, Ben Prendergast evoked Sir Isaac Newton’s famous quote: ‘That we are able to see further than our predecessors is not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their shoulders.’

He then called on the crowd to ‘stand on the shoulders of our great artists past, on the shoulders of our great women, our inspiring Indigenous, our brilliant filmmakers and technicians, and create works that debunk fear and hatred, that champion the misrepresented and unheard … We should stand on shoulders so that every other bugger may see what we stand for. You can hold my hand for balance; I’ll be on the next shoulder across.’

July 20th 2015 – Dead Centre / Sea Wall – Stage Whispers – 5 Stars
This is very special theatre…a production of sheer perfection. I have rarely seen an audience so still, so moved by a performance which is essentially low key and without Mr Prendergast’s usual charisma. I myself couldn’t stop the mascara from running….fortunately the male audience members with tears in their eyes were not wearing mascara. No amount of acting can make an audience believe if the actor doesn’t come from a place of emotional reality. Truth is everything, and that’s all this actor needs.

July 20th 2015 – Dead Centre / Sea Wall – Daily Review – 4 Stars
Both actors seemed to me to be faultless. As Stephens’s writing requires, Prendergast is more nakedly emotional, yet never self-indulgent. It is the kind of acting where the technique is invisible and absolutely at the service of the characters it summons up. Afterwards it occurs to you the risk that has been taken: it is theatre that demands a strong emotion from the audience and any false note on the part of the writers, the actors or the director would make the whole thing collapse.

July 19th 2015 – Dead Centre / Sea Wall – The Sydney Morning Herald – 4 Stars 
Alex (Ben Prendergast), softly spoken and, like his estranged wife, stoic to a fault, he nonetheless churns with barely concealed rage and anguish. It’s a brilliantly sustained piece of domestic horror. 

May 23 2015 – The Flick – The Saturday Paper
Nadia Tass directs a splendid cast with a glowing, understated brilliance that has no false steps. Sam is a great portrait of a man with a heart and mind as good as the next one. The Flick shows why the theatre is its own magic lantern, and it shows how it can take on everything the cinema creates and come off triumphant.

May 23 2015 – The Flick – Stage Whispers
Prendergast is such a charismatic actor that there are moments when you see him hunch the shoulders a little more, bow the head, work at hiding the charisma; in Act 2 he is simply superb, generously sublimating his power as an actor and handing the stage to Dion Mills (always powerful in his own right) in a cameo role and to guest actor Kevin Hofbauer. Four stunning performances beautifully directed in a superb play.

May 04 2015 – The Flick – Australian Book Review – 4 Stars
There is an understated rivalry between Sam and Avery from the beginning and Prendergast excels as the bluff, older man who longs to assert his authority and make something of his life.

Dec 30 2014 – The Flick – The Age Year in Review – 5 Stars
My favourite Red Stitch offering [of the year] was Nadia Tass’s production of Annie Baker’s The Flick, which received pitch-perfect performances in the musty ambience of an underground theaterette

Aug 4 2014 – The Flick – ArtsHub – 4.5 Stars
The Flick very much represents the epitome of theatre. The cast are brilliant in their roles, subtly displaying these aching affections with utmost sincerity. Prendergast is a delight to watch, and his desperate attempts to gain Rose’s attention is both heartbreaking and endearing.

Aug 3 2014 – The Flick – The Sydney Morning Herald – 5 Stars
All three actors generate a riveting and precise ensemble performance which resists easy comedy to create a deep and satisfying humour – one strongly rooted in character – as dappled with darkness and betrayal as it is streaked with hilarity and moments of profound recognition. 

Aug 4 2014 – The Flick – Herald Sun
The cast is revelatory, Prendergast resists the very easy temptation to make Sam a creepy loser, instead conjuring a man shackled to his own existence, searching for an out. This is Red Stitch’s finest work in recent memory and, as three-hour stints in movie theatres go, this one’s totally worth it.

Dec 21 2013 – NSFW – Stage Whispers
The dazzling Ben Prendergast brings us editor/magazine chief Aidan; driven, hungry, ruthless but with a tiny streak of decency…or is it merely self-preservation? Prendergast’s presence is always compelling; he’s an actor of authority with an anarchic edge bubbling just beneath the charm, whatever the role. Here, a monumental battle of great acting. It’s mesmerising, and worth every cent of the ticket price.

Sept 2nd 2013 – Straight – Crikey
The final scene was a brilliant and sensitive piece of comic acting by the male leads Ryan Gibson and the wonderful Ben Prendergast. At one point, I almost fell out of my seat with laughter during a set piece involving what looked like an exploding tube of lubricant.

Nov 25 2012 – Midsummer – Vulture Mag
This Vulture got her moment in the sun in an unexpected cameo performance (sans notebook) and has decided to give away the writing and defect to the theatre. Preferably with the gorgeous Mr Prendergast. An uncanny likeness to Ewan McGregor, enhanced by a pretty authentic Scottish accent, did this young man no harm. Throw in his mastery of guitar and a very nice singing voice, and you have the whole package.

Nov 20 2012 – Midsummer – Herald Sun – 4 Stars
Midsummer is enough to make anyone want to hightail it to Edinburgh as soon as the lights come up, because life’s little debacles have never looked so fun as they do when Helena and Bob are trying to survive them.

Nov 18 2012 – Midsummer – Aussie Theatre
Ella Caldwell and Ben Prendergast’s performances are touching and real, and so very funny. Midsummer is as welcome and gorgeous as a warm turquoise day under a shady tree with a shamelessly expensive picnic basket with your best friends, and your favourite musician turns up with a guitar.