Thursday, December 26, 2013

I've Just Worked on... (DELAYED!)

So I haven't updated this blog for about a year so here's a whole bunch of stuff from my website that's been waiting to move over here.... 

NIDA's Open Program Summer sessions. I taught an intensive course on Accents. Five days and nearly 20 accents covered! We did focus on the big ones - RP, Cockney, GenAm, Southern American, etc. but we also looked at West Country, Yorkshire and Liverpool, Irish dialects and Scottish, Appalachian, Chicago, New England and New York, and a smattering of French! The five students came in leaps and bounds from the first day - the more accents we covered the greater the understanding of sounds and speech - I was very proud at the end! 

BWM's TVC campaign for iiNet with The Finch Company. I've was brought in to coach cast members in an Irish accent. I sat in on the casting process in Sydney with Fountainhead Casting and then on Skype for the Melbourne auditions! I was onset for the shoot helping the actors portray iiNet's main character Finn's crazy family from Ireland. Originally the brief was Southern Ireland, but we ended up going for Northern - although they used a take for one shot where an actor went South on one word - there's only so much we can do! Generally I think it came out fantastically! 

Pilot season. Actors of all types are putting down scenes for the busy US pilot season. I've coached people on their auditions for projects including The SaintTrophy WifeBloodline, a new Cinderella fairy tale TV series, and numerous as-yet-unnamed-or-undisclosed projects. Clients like Caroline Craig, Casey Burgess, Briden-Starr Aspinall as well as fresh, new faces have polished their accents with me for their auditions. 

I also currently have two clients for foreign accent reduction - one Italian and one American. Both present unique challenges but are making great progress. For the former the difficulty is largely about the consonants and their interaction - initial /h/ especially - will vowel length is also a challenge. The latter drops a lot more -g's from their -ing's than I would have expected, finding them hard to insert in common contexts. Also the GOAT diphthong is predictably hard to realise and hard to conceptualise. For both a developing awareness of their own sounds is vital. 


Celebrating it’s 20th anniversary Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing returns to Sydney in an exciting new production. by Burley Theatre ​


Beautiful Thing is an urban fairytale about two young men set on a London housing estate. It tells the story of teenager Jamie’s relationship with classmate and neighbour Ste. Together they find comedy, warmth and the music of Mama Cass with their loud-mouthed neighbour Leah. This queer theatre classic exquisitely depicts what it is to be sixteen, in the first flush of love, and full of optimism.

Cast: Michael Brindley, Luke Willing, Amanda Stephens Lee, Stephanie King and Andrew Hearle. 

Director  Brandon Martignago
​Designer  Jasmine Christie
Lighting Designer Benjamin Brockman
Stage Manager Daniel Oliver
Publicist Nick Creevey 


The Crucible for Lane Cove Theatre Company, directed by Dan Graham. Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of its first production, Miller’s exquisite American tragedy is more relevant today than it ever was. A classic parable of mass hysteria, The Crucible draws a chilling parallel between the Salem witch-hunt of 1692 – 'one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history' – and the McCarthyism which gripped America in the 1950s. The story of how the small community of Salem is stirred into madness by superstition, paranoia and malice, culminating in a violent climax, is a savage attack on the evils of mindless persecution and the terrifying power of false accusations. A searing tale of belonging, intolerance, and moral courage that is destined to resonate for centuries to come. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Play in 1953.


Featuring a talented cast including Dimitri Armatas, Jessica Sullivan, Michaela Baker, Gemma Munro, Edward Hart, Shannon Fallows, Patrick Lester, Kevin Weir, Matthew Thomas, Melody Duan, Neil Khare, Ruth Murphy, Claire DeMellow, Lauren Adams, Courtney Gibson, Pam Ennor John Bowring and Emily Rader.

10th May - 1st June
Mowbray Public School
635 Mowbray Road, 
Lane Cove

JUNE 2013

A 30 minute short film being shot in Los Angeles, REDENCIÓN is an epic sci-fi short set in 2038 on a future Earth entrenched with enough pollution that the government has restricted air travel and the rationing off of travel miles is just as important as money. At the core of it all is the story of a man on a quest to reconcile with his estranged daughter when a natural disaster hurls his plans off course. Written by Helen Shang and Aimee Long, Directed by Aimee Long and produced by Kelly Li and Xing-Mai Deng. 

I'm coaching the lead actor Valentino del Toro in a Canary Islands dialect - for those curious, the most famous example of this sound is none other than Javier Bardem. 


JUNE 2013

The Australian Premiere of Enron at the New Theatre. 
"The only difference between me and the people judging me is they weren't smart enough to do what we did."


One of the most infamous scandals in financial history is transformed into a theatrical epic, charting the notorious rise and fall of the American energy giant Enron and its founding partners Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. I'm acting in this one after a nearly two year hiatus from performing. I'm playing the accounting wunderkind who was the architect of Enron's ultimate downfall, Andrew Fastow. 

Directed by Louise Fischer, with a cast including Alexander Saloyedoff, Alexander Butt, David Todd, Donald Ferguson, Lisa Fletcher, Peter Flett, Lisa Franey, Cheyne Fynn, Jorjia Gillis, Paige Leacey, Cassandra Lee Heschl, Tristan McKinnon, Matt Young, and Gareth Cruikshank. 

Great reviews rolled in - see below! 
Previews Tue 4 & Wed 5 Jun 7:30pm
Wed - Sat 7:30pm, Sun 5pm
Final performance, Sat 29 Jun, 5pm
REVIEW: StageWhispers
REVIEW: Lisa Thatcher
REVIEW: Shit On Your Play
REVIEW: Timeout Magazine
REVIEW: Sydney Arts Guide


My second production for the year of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, this one for Emu Heights Productions, directed by Ian Zammitt. They've taken the plunge and sought my help for the Cornish dialect Miller himself has been quoted as saying was one of his sources for the unique language of the play. 


Into a small Puritanical community struggling to survive the harsh conditions of the early American frontier, a new threat arises: witchcraft.A girl lies in a catatonic state under strange circumstances. Whispers of the devil’s influence begin to grow and shameful truths are lost among pointed fingers. Pride, jealousy, ignorance and terror are allowed to flourish amid the hysteria, with shattering consequences. 

Written at the height of the paranoia of the Cold War, Arthur Miller’s classic of modern theatre is a searing indictment of mass hysteria.

Q Theatre, Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre
597 High Street, Penrith

Preview: 11am Fri 15 November (half price tickets)
Matinees: 11am Tues 19, Wed 20, Thu 21 & Fri 22 November
Evenings: 8pm Fri 15, Sat 16, Fri 22 & Sat 23 November


Equus for the Sydney Fringe Festival. I was brought in towards the end of their process to fine tune their vocal work. 
The British play Equus, by Sir Peter Shaffer was first produced at the National Theatre in London on July 26 1973. 40 years later the impact the play has on audiences is still as strong as it was when first produced. The universality of some of the plays themes: crime, religion, the media, coming of age and identity, drive the play through a narrative that is mysterious, captivating, unnerving and breathtaking. A narrative that audiences can't help but connect with. This is one of the great plays centering around youth in society. A 2007 - 2009 London revival which transferred to Broadway starred Daniel Radcliffe and the late Richard Griffiths. You are invited to share in the celebration of this classic British play. 
Check out the company's website here

Fango Negro for Future Classic Theatre. Directed by Paul Ellis, this unique theatrical experiences comes to Sydney out of the depths of South America, i.e. Venezuela! Street theatre with a twist - the audience follows this story on a bus ride through the city, seeing the action unfold amidst bustling traffic, taking interactive theatre to another level. 

The cast includes Latin Americans and Australians so I'm helping them all sound Latino, but also with the significant challenges of performing on a moving bus! 

Cast includes: Diego Melo, Aurora Arista, Diab Metry, Vanessa Londoño, Will Perez Ronderos, Miriam Marquez, Veronica Clavijo, Christian Valle, Felicity Tchorlian, Diego Boy, Roberto Zenca, Cecilia Habak, Fernando Segura, and Shane Imbert. 

Season Commenced Thursday 29th August 2013
Shows Thu - Sat: Arrive 6:55pm for a 7:00pm start
Dawes Point Park


EMPIRE - Terror on the High Seas, a new play by Toby Schmitz, directed by Tamarama Rock Surfers' Artistic Director Leland Kean. I last worked with Leland on All The Rage in 2012, and the cast includes some old colleagues of mine and some wonderful new colleagues. I'm coaching this large and talented cast in the wide variety of accents and dialects called for - including Received Pronunciation, Cockney, Lincolnshire, Scottish, New York, South African, French, Barbadian (Bajan), Indonesian, and an Australian from the 1920's. Here's the official blurb... 
Christmas, 1925. Somewhere on the Atlantic. Welcome aboard the ocean liner Empress of Australia as it steams towards New York with a full complement of passengers – a Chicago bag-man, a South African fighter pilot, a London society ‘it’ girl, a serial killer, and one dogged ship’s detective. The scene is set for a murder mystery at sea. What unravels is far darker. Prepare yourselves for a rough crossing.

Be transported back to the high-water mark of the British Empire for the kind of gothic thrills that will leave you haunted long after you disembark the Empress.

Director Leland Kean
Producer Kar Chalmers
With Ella Scott Lynch, Nathan Lovejoy, Duncan Fellows, Billie Rose Pritchard, Fayssal Bazzi, Anthony Gooley, Phil Spencer, Robert Alexander, Anthony Gee, Ben Woods, James Lugton and Elaine Hudson. 

At the Bondi Pavilion Theatre

Previews 28 – 31 August
Season 4 – 28 September
Times Tue – Sat, 8pm


A one man show! As part of the Sydney Fringe Festival I teamed up with Brevity Theatre's Alexander Butt to put on Becky Mode's fantastic play Fully Committed
This sharp and funny one act play follows a day in the life of Sam Peliczowski, an out-of-work actor who mans the red-hot reservation line at Manhattan's #1 restaurant. Amid the barrage, Sam's got his own needs to contend with—his recently widowed dad wants him home for Christmas, and he's up for a choice part at Lincoln Center. While juggling scheming socialites, name-dropping wannabes, fickle celebrities and egomaniacal bosses, can he manage to look out for himself? 

We did three shows at the Fringe venue the New Theatre, and had great houses. Here are some reviews: 

Lisa Thatcher - " of the most impressive feats of comic performance you are ever likely to see. Curnow is in full command of his challenge... 
[He] races around the desk answering loud, imposing, dominating phones as he physically transforms into each of the personas he embodies. Speed, wit and comic timing are in perfect balance in a performance that almost can’t be improved upon." 

Theatre Red - "Nick Curnow is superb, creating thirty eight characters in fifty minutes... Curnow’s ability to delineate such an enormous cast of characters is awe inspiring. The laughs come thick and fast. His vocal work is nothing short of extraordinary...  This is silver service satire." 

Shit On Your Play - "Certainly Curnow’s vocal skills were terrific. We recognised each character immediately and his nuance and range was impressive...It's a performance marathon."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I've Just Worked On...

All the Rage.
by John A D Fraser

Tamarama Rock Surfers' All the Rage at the Old Fitzroy Hotel. Written by local John A D Fraser, directed by Leland Kean and starring Duncan Fellows, Laurence Coy, Xavier Coy and Scarlet McGlynn. I'm coaching the men on a Derry dialect (Northern Ireland) and the lady on a North London sound.

When peace doesn’t bring Skin The Goat enough respect, he drags his best bomber back to the war for one last spectacular stab at glory. All the Rage is an explosively funny tale of sex, honour and cruelty. Writer John AD Fraser teams up again with Rock Surfers Artistic Director Leland Kean to present this wickedly funny new work.

The Old Fitzroy Theatre
Season Dates: June 20th to July 14th
Times: Tue-Sat 8pm, Sun 5pm

 Image: Laurence Coy. Photographer: Kar Chalmers

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I've Just Worked On... A Holiday!

My partner and I have just returned from a well deserved 5 week holiday to North America. New York for 11 nights, Montreal for 3, Winnipeg for 7, Banff for 2, Calgary for 2, Vancouver for 3, then Los Angeles for 5. We didn't have enough time in any city, but especially not New York or LA.

I was naturally listening to and notating every accent I could and recording all that I could so part of the trip was work for me, plus I met some industry types in Vancouver and LA. In New York on the PATH train system which goes between Jersey and Manhattan, a fabulous New York accent delivered an announcement in a flat drawl: "Your attention please. Your attention... please. We are working hard to keep you safe on PATH everyday." The words "working hard" were my favourite.

I've Just Worked On...

Reasons to be Pretty.
by Neil LaBute

The Australian premiere of Reasons to be Pretty by Neil LaBute at the Darlinghurst Theatre. Directed by the amazing James Beach, a fellow postgrad at NIDA during my time there, and starring Andrew Henry, (who I worked with on The Chronic Ills of Robert Zimmerman... ), Lucy Maunder, Julia Grace, and Stephen James King.

I was called in to consult during the audition process and to coach the cast during rehearsals. The play is set in Chicago, so I helped the cast with the sounds of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift. Actors love LaBute, and this is attested to by the enormous response to the wide casting call - heck I would have auditioned if the season wasn't right across my holiday. Some amazing actors at the auditions, and the cast assembled were carefully and cannily chosen!

Boy Meets Girl - Boy Dates Girl - Boy Compares Girl with Other Girl...

Greg and Stephanie have been together for a while when Greg says something pretty dumb to Stephanie that pushes her to the very edge. Their familiar struggles of wanting to be loved, wanting to feel attractive and wanting to understand each other are at the bedrock of this searing comedy.

Reasons to be Pretty gets stuck into timeless arguments between women and men in LaBute's trademark frank, honest and arresting style. Anyone who's ever written a letter to an ex, felt ugly, or generally wanted lover's revenge will be delighted by Reasons to be Pretty, LaBute's first play to transfer to Broadway (nominated for three Tony Awards).

Previews: 4 - 6 May
Season: 9 May - 3 June

I've Just Worked On...

Time Stands Still.
by Donald Marguiles
Time Stands Still by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Donald Margulies at the Darlinghurst Theatre Company. I coached the lovely cast in American accents. Two of them I've worked with before at the Ensemble - Noel Hodda (The God Committee) and Richard Sydenham (Murderers), and Harriet Dyer I've only ever encountered onstage and in foyers - most recently stealing the show in Pygmalion for Sydney Theatre Company. Rebecca Rocheford-Davies produced and starred, but as a US native, didn't need my help.

The adrenalin and excitement of documenting the realities of war is addictive, as journalists Sarah and James know all too well. Together they have shared a passion for reporting on the world's war zones and have led a heightened life between the extremes of domesticity and the danger.

Their lives catch up with them when Sarah is injured in a car bombing and she is forced to return home to start a more conventional life with James. Although they have spent much of their lives bearing witness to horrific violence, Margulies' quietly powerful play illustrates just how much is required in the everyday business of two people creating a life together.

Season: 4 - 22 April
Director : Kim Hardwick
Production Designer : Lucilla Smith
Lighting Designer : Teegan Lee
Sound Designer : Michael Huxley

Friday, June 22, 2012

I've Just Worked On...

La Traviata.
by Verdi
Verdi's La Traviata with Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour / Opera Australia. That's right! I entered the world of Opera. Although my role was as an actor on stage with the chorus and the principals - so a glorified extra who did a lot of moving, posing, lifting, and had a whole lot of costume changes. Opera Australia usually run auditions for actors depending on the production's requirements, and it's somewhat a luck of the draw cattle call. I was just lucky this time to be selected one of twelve men of varying sizes, shapes and descriptions to play various waiters, removalists, gardeners. We rehearsed out at Olympic Park in Homebush on a huge purpose built mock-up of the stage while it was being built IN Sydney Harbour.

"Fireworks, a harbour stage and a giant chandelier will transform opera in Sydney like never before when Opera Australia presents La Traviata on Sydney Harbour for an exclusive three-week season. It will be the first opera in Australia to be held on a tailor-made stage built over the water off the Royal Botanic Gardens and will be directed and designed especially for this unique outdoor staging. It is the Company's most ambitious project to date, working in conjunction with Events NSW on behalf of the NSW Government to attract audiences from across the globe to be a part of this uniquely spectacular opera event." A massive chandelier made up of Swarovski crystals was constructed at around 9 metres diameter, and was suspended above the stage. It was big.

Francesca Zambello was the stage director for the production which also featured sopranos Emma Matthews and Rachelle Durkin, and tenors Gianluca Terranova and Ji-Min Park as well as Jonathan Summers and Warwick Fyfe.

Season ran March 24th - April 15th 2012 at Mrs Macquarie's Point in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. All perfectly timed for my holiday in May-June to North America.

I've Just Worked On...

The Gingerbread Lady.
by Neil Simon

The Gingerbread Lady by Neil Simon at the Ensemble Theatre, directed by Sandra Bates. The cast was Adriano Cappelletta, Danielle Carter, Kellie Clarke, Tamblyn Lord and Kate Raison. I worked with Kellie back in 2007 in James and the Giant Peach at the New Theatre and have been looking for an excuse to work with her again! I coached the accents for Neil Simon's curious cast of characters living in Manhattan's West Seventies.

The Gingerbread Lady has all the ingredients that make for theatre at its best - recognisable characters who take us on a high stakes journey, where we ride with them through the fun times and the tough times. We laugh with them, we cry with them, but most of all we care about them.

Evy Meara is a cabaret singer just returned from rehab to be met by her long-time friends and daughter Polly. What ensues is warm, witty, heartbreaking and life affirming.

Season: March 16 - April 29

Ive Just Worked On...

The Weir.
by Conor McPherson 

The Weir by Connor McPherson at the newly re-branded New Theatre. Directed by the fabulous Alice Livingstone, and many-a-time collaborator of mine on numerous projects in numerous capacities. The cast was likewise amazing: Patrick Connolly, Barry French, Lynden Jones, Peter McAllum and Amanda Stephens-Lee. The play is set in County Sligo in the north west of Ireland. Resources on the dialect proved hard to find - Donegal, just above, being more prominent. Best lead was the always useful IDEA and Chris O'Dowd of IT Crowd and Bridesmaids fame being a Sligo native. In some ways, the research is my favourite part!

In an isolated Irish country pub, four middle-aged men spin yarns to impress a young woman visiting from Dublin.  Over pints of Guinness, with the night closing in and a faint whiff of sexual tension in the air, what starts out as blarney and bluster soon turns dark and sinister as their tales drift into the realm of the supernatural. Then Valerie reveals a startling story of her own. Funny, offbeat and spellbinding, The Weir is superb theatrical storytelling in the best Irish tradition.

Season dates were 7 - 31 March 2012

"The whole cast speaks with a convincing accent; something which is either done well or best left alone. I wouldn’t be surprised if Patrick Connelly is a native of the area, so good was his effort." Joan Beal, ArtsHub

"Dialect coach Nick Curnow should be commended for the effort that’s gone into catching the Irish accent for the stage."

"McPherson’s quirky, engaging characters are fleshed out with charm by this troupe, and maintain highly credible accents throughout. No mean feat, to be sure." OzBabyBoomers

I've Just Worked On...

The Paris Letter
by Jon Robin Baitz

Picture The Paris Letter by John Robin Baitz at the Darlinghurst Theatre. Directed by the acclaimed and accomplished Stephen Colyer, and with a truly amazing cast of Caleb Alloway, Peter Cousens, Susie Lindeman, Nicholas Papademetriou and Damian Sommerlad. I directed Caleb and Damien in Canary last year, so it was great to be on board with them again. I'd seen Susie's and Nicholas's work a number of times and have been a huge fan of both for some time. Peter Cousens is the stellar performer he is, and his portrayal of Anton was tender and heartbreaking. I was called in to check up on their accent work in the last few weeks of rehearsal - some GenAm, some New York - wealthy, working class, Anglo-Saxon and Jewish, or affected. All in all it's a play with a beautiful array of voices.

The Paris Letter starts with a bang, literally. A complex and lethal affair with a young male associate forces successful businessman, Sandy Sonnenberg to confront a lifetime of half-buried desires. Sandy's life is thrown into turmoil by the affair that threatens to destroy everything he has fought to build. From New York in the sixties to present day Paris, The Paris Letter traces attitudes to sexuality in a thrilling tale of trust, friendship and betrayal.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I've Just Worked On...

God's Ear
by Jenny Schwartz

Pursued by a Bear's  production of Jenny Schwartz's stunning play God's Ear at the Reginald Theatre (the old Seymour Downstairs space). A darkly funny and profoundly moving theatrical vision by a brilliant new American playwright. When Mel and Ted’s son dies, the couple discover the ways in which language sometimes is inadequate when dealing with loss.

I was called in to perfect their American accents. The cast were all very talented and dedicated, meaning I could get very specific - which is great to do, not just for me but for the actors as well. Their hard work on every aspect, and the director's detailed guidance, really paid off.

Directed by Jonathan Wald, produced by Jocelyn Brewer, and with an amazing cast comprised of Natasha Beaumont, Julian Garner, Victoria Greiner, Helen O'Leary, Kieran Foster, Cam Knight and Gael Ballantyne. The season ran Thursday 10 Nov to Saturday 3 Dec with previews Thursday 10 and Friday 11 Nov 
Victoria Greiner, Gael Ballantyne, Kieran Foster and Natasha Beaumont. Photo Bob Seary
I was very proud to have rated a mention for my work in one review which said "Nick Curnow as dialect coach has done an absolutely superb job - you almost believe the cast is American, which is a massive achievement." Stage Whispers by Whitney Fitzsimmons

Other reivews for the show were resoundingly positive:
Aussie Theatre by Felicity Burke
FBi Radio by Nick Hose