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Chilling Portrait One Shot On Show At The Edge

One Shot

by Mark Kilmurry

“… a chilling portrait of Charlie Murray, the personification of fan obsession”

Writer/Director Mark Kilmurry

Producer Jeremy Brennan

Cast John Trutwin

Venue Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE®

Jersey Benny Productions, happyjack productions and THE EDGE®


Mark Kilmurry’s


Love, Obsession and Robert De Niro at Herald Theatre

Love, revenge and celebrity obsession come together in the acclaimed black comedy, One Shot, opening at the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE® in June.

Presented by Jersey Benny Productions, Happyjack Productions and THE EDGE®, One Shot is a chilling portrait of Charlie Murray, a man obsessed with Robert De Niro.

Like Stan's confession to Eminem, One Shot is Charlie's letter to his 'special friend' Bobby (Robert De Niro) in an attempt to justify his involvement with the angelic Marie, and the tv actor Ian who has been bold enough to adopt some of Bobby's traits.

Written by British-born writer Mark Kilmurry, One Shot premiered at Sydney's Belvoir St in 1993, has played to acclaim at New York and Edinburgh fringe festivals and has been staged in Wellington and Adelaide, and for a second season in Sydney.

It premieres in Auckland on June 3 as part of STAMP – a new theatre initiative at THE EDGE® which brings together contemporary works and new genres in the ultimate live performing arts experience

Young New Zealand actor Jeremy Brennan has returned to Auckland to produce One Shot with Australian actor John Trutwin. John and Jeremy worked together on the show for its Sydney and Adelaide seasons and are pleased to be bringing the show to Auckland.

“One Shot examines so many of those things we forget to have a sense of humour about – loneliness, jealousy and paranoia,” Jeremy says.

“And it’s theatre in our language – we have our own celebrity stalkers here in New Zealand and we understand the power of fame, but as New Zealanders we have a unique cynicism towards the hype and that will make our experience of Charlie’s obsession all the more gratifying because we recognise its futility.”

One Shot writer Mark Kilmurry is still very involved in the production of the show and is currently rehearsing with John Trutwin in Australia.

“Mark’s theatrical trademark is his black humour and the use of filmic conventions like soundtrack sequences, guns and cars, even editing techniques like jump cuts and rewinds. One Shot is filmic theatre.”

One Shot plays at the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE® from June 3-19. Book at Ticketek on (09) 307-5000 or


“...there can be no doubt about the considerable skills of John Trutwin as the tortured fan who passionately follows every detail of De Niro's film and real life, every nuance of his performance.

"Trutwin delivers a tour de force performance. The violent psychosis he builds in the character in a long, slow, logical |progression is highlighted splendidly with the terrible jealousies which consume him and the vulnerability which essentially drives him to become other than he is.

"This is a young actor of tremendous talent being showcased in a very demanding role in which he triumphs…” Adelaide Messenger

about the show …

Charlie Murray has an unnatural fixation on living screen legend Robert De Niro and as he composes a dangerous love letter to his idol, Charlie’s reverent guardianship twists itself into volatile jealousy …

One Shot is dark comedy – it examines the things we forget to have a sense of humour about – loneliness, jealousy and paranoia to name a few. And there’s plenty for De Niro fans – picture this: an actor playing Charlie Murray doing Robert De Niro playing Jake La Motta doing a Marlon Brando impersonation; for those who remember the film Raging Bull, it’s gotta be good.

The name Charlie Murray is something of a play on words; to be ‘a right Charlie’ is to be a fool, while a ‘Murray’ is Mafia talk for someone who thinks he’s better than he is. And so, Charlie Murray is the kind of man who takes offence at a B-grade TV star affecting De Niro-like mannerisms on a hospital soap.

British-born writer Mark Kilmurry’s theatrical trademark is his black humour and the use of filmic conventions – soundtrack sequences, guns and cars, even editing techniques like jump cuts and rewinds.

In Mercy Thieves, his behind-the-scenes road movie take on Hamlet, there’s a hilarious scene in which one of the characters is nailed to a coffee table… Mark’s not afraid to put anything on stage.

Kilmurry wrote One Shot in ’93 and has himself performed the show in New York, throughout Australia, the UK and even Wellington, but this is the first time it will play in Auckland.

And as for De Niro himself – did he see the play in New York?

Word has it that when Mark Kilmurry was performing the play off Broadway, one of Bobby’s pals sent a note backstage saying that Bobby would have been pleased with the show. If he ever saw it he certainly didn’t stick around to meet the wacko playing his most ardent fan. But it has been mooted that the ultimate production would have De Niro himself playing Charlie – that would be awesome!”

Robert De Niro playing Charlie playing De Niro playing La Motta doing Brando? Perfect.

about the producer…

Jeremy J. Brennan

Jeremy Brennan’s international performance career began with a trip to Japan at the age of 11, singing in the Auckland Boys Choir as part of an international cultural exchange. That same year he wrote his first musical and appeared in Auckland Opera’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

He has since performed throughout Australia and New Zealand, been a guest of HRH Prince Phillip in Norfolk Island for the 1988 Bicentenary celebrations, and has been a featured performer at Disneyland… all by the age of 15.

New Zealand-born, Jeremy began his professional career immediately after finishing his schooling. His first acting role at 17 was Romeo, for Michael Hurst’s acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre.

After the prerequisite stint on Shortland Street, Jeremy went trans-Tasman as the youngest cast member and dance captain for the Australasian tour of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story which resulted in him relocating to Sydney, Australia.

Jeremy holds a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts in Acting from Sydney’s prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). Since graduating Jeremy has toured Australia and Singapore with Actors At Work for the Bell Shakespeare Company (Hamlet/Romeo) and in 2002-2003 he was a featured member of the cast/orchestra of Sam Mendes’ multi-award winning Broadway production of Cabaret.

While in Sydney he also produced, wrote and musically directed a number of shows and short films including Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind and Mark Kilmurry’s One Shot and his own one-man-unplugged show Welcome To My Shoebox. Jeremy also works as a voice artist, backing singer and repetiteur, and has been a guest tutor at both NIDA and the Newtown High School of Performing Arts.

Most recently Jeremy composed an original score for Josephine Wright’s short film Secret Beach and featured in Cloud Nine at he SiLo Theatre.

This project is the largest scale work yet for producer Jeremy Brennan who has returned home to set up his production company, Jersey Benny Productions, and re-establish his career in New Zealand. His choice of the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre as the venue for One Shot is sentimental – it was here that he made his professional acting debut as Romeo exactly 10 years ago.

“I dream of filling our stages with dramas, music, images and magic. I dream of filling our theatres with audiences, orchestras, artists and technicians; and devastating our audiences with wonder.

“I believe we have a responsibility to preserve our cultures, our stories, our voices, in whatever way each of us can… share that responsibility with me.”

Jeremy Brennan: at the launch of Jersey Benny Productions, February 2004

about the writer/director…

Mark Kilmurry

Mark Kilmurry graduated from the Coventry Centre for the Performing Arts in 1986 and co-founded the Snarling Beasties Theatre Company with Debbie Isitt. He played the male leads in all Isitt's plays, including Punch in Punch and Judy, Jimmy in Femme Fatale and Kenneth in The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband.

The Snarling Beasties won many awards including the Edinburgh Festival Perrier Pick of the Fringe Awards, The Independent Theatre Award and the Time Out Theatre Award

The company toured internationally, including the US, Australia, Ireland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Europe and Ecuador.

Since 1993, Mark has written, directed and performed his own plays. One Shot, about a lonely man obsessed with Robert De Niro, opened in Sydney to excellent critical and audience response and has since toured Britain, the US and New Zealand.

In July 1996, Mark opened his second play, will the real James Dean please stand up? at the Santa Fe Stages International Theatre Festival in the US. James Dean received excellent reviews, played to sold-out houses and toured Britain. For the Santa Fe Stages 1997 season, Mark co-wrote with American actor Brad Bellamy a western, John Wayne Never Slept Here, once again receiving excellent reviews.

Mark settled in Australia in 1996. In 1997, he wrote, directed, filmed and performed A Film For You, which was selected as a finalist for Tropfest, Sydney's renowned short film festival. In 1998, Mark returned to England to play the lead in The Football Factory, based on the best-selling novel by John King. The play toured England for three months.

In 1999, Mark appeared in Sydney Theatre Company's Cyrano de Bergerac. He also became an Australian citizen. In January 2000, Mark made another short film, The Assassin, which was shown at the Short Stuff film festival, part of the 2000 Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Mark opened his one-man adaptation of Dorothy Porter's verse novel, what a piece of work, in May 2000 at the Stables Theatre, receiving universally enthusiastic reviews and impressing Porter with his interpretation of her work. In February 2001, also at the Stables, Mark directed the English-language premier of Yasmina Reza's Hammerklavier. This production has since played in Paris, Edinburgh and London, well-received everywhere. Mark's first radio play, The Light Comes Up, aired on Radio National in September, and he also received his green card for permanent residency in the US, based on his theatrical experience.

Two of Mark's plays, Mercy Thieves and Happy as Larry and Viv, premiered in Sydney early in 2002 to great reviews and packed houses. Mark directed and acted in both. In July he played the lead role in Japes by Simon Gray at the Ensemble Theatre, winning the Norman Kessell Award for outstanding performance. Also in 2002, Mark's play Bruised toured the UK and another of his radio plays, The Mime Artist's Wife, aired on Radio National.

In 2003, Mark starred in the Australian premiere of Morris Panych's Aunty and Me at the Ensemble Theatre. He was invited to appear at the New York Fringe Festival last August, where he performed One Shot. His production of Hammerklavier had its London premiere last September.

Mark has appeared in a number TV roles including White Collar Blue, Backberner and CNNNN. Two of his feature film scripts, A Day Out and Mercy Thieves, have been optioned.

about the actor…

John Trutwin

John trained in Adelaide, South Australia, at the Centre for Performing Arts. Since graduating in 1997 his theatre credits have included Macbeth and Courtyard of Miracles (State Theatre South Australia), Cyrano de Bergerac (Sydney Theatre Company), Actors at Work and The Taming of the Shrew (Bell Shakespeare Company), Mercy Thieves and The Dumb Waiter (Studio Company), Rhinoceros (flybyproductions), Slum Clearance (Adelaide Fringe Festival), Resolution (Adelaide Telstra Festival), White Trash Medium Rare (is theatre ltd.).

Film and television credits include Young Lions, CNNNN, God Forgive Us All and Swimming, and Love and Other Bruises.

He first played the role of Charlie Murray in One Shot in Adelaide in 2000, playing it again in Sydney in 2001 with Jeremy Brennan as producer.

Playing the role of Charlie has meant watching Robert De Niro films over and over again. “Each time I remount the show I go back and immerse myself in the old De Niro films – Taxi Rider gets better and better every time I watch it, as does Raging Bull.”

John says it is exciting to perform a piece as physical as this, although he says the role of Charlie Murray is emotionally taxing. “Here is a guy who is alone and who believes that if he’d only had one lucky break, then he really could have been a contender in life – all his ‘knowledge’ could have been put to better use and he would have been respected and well liked.”

Following the Auckland season of One Shot, John will return to Sydney to begin rehearsing the role of Laertes for Studio Company’s production of Hamlet.

reviews …

With Mark Kilmurry – writer, director, original cast

Chris Tolan, New York season:

I must admit I developed a bit of a sinking feeling as I waited for Mark Kilmurry's One Shot to begin, knowing only that it had something to do with Robert De Niro. I have long felt that too many actors today are obsessed with the American cinema of the 1970s. Don't get me wrong. Without question, many of the films from this period are among the greatest ever made. But I prefer to see new visions brought to life, rather than poor attempts to rehash greatness from thirty years ago.

Imagine my relief, then, to discover that Kilmurry's fast-paced and disturbing play is no such attempt, but instead an argument against obsession with these films, and in this case with De Niro. To say the least.

One Shot is a chilling portrait of Charlie Murray, the personification of fan obsession with a fuse as short as a character you'd expect his idol to have played. His only friend seems to be Bobby himself (De Niro, that is), to whom the play is a dictated letter. Charlie feels compelled to explain his actions involving Marie, a young woman who has briefly shared his appreciation of Bobby's work (as an amateur, of course), and Ian Fisher, a television actor--a bad one, Charlie informs us--who has had the audacity to steal some of Bobby's mannerisms. Ian has apparently stepped in to protect Marie from Charlie's stalking. Charlie works hard to justify his behavior, often employing scenes from De Niro's films to relate a point.

Mark Kilmurry is a very smart actor. Poorly portrayed craziness is the worst of bad acting, and One Shot would be doomed in the hands of an actor without Kilmurry's skill. His performance is controlled, committed, and always eerily natural. To portray such a complicated character all alone on stage is no small feat, and Kilmurry more than meets the challenge. The high-intensity pace he sets--he has directed himself--is intoxicating. It's fast, but never rushed. With simple but effective lighting and music, he breaks up the dialogue, giving us a few seconds here and there to catch up. Some non-verbal moments work better than others. Charlie's repeated attempts to look cool smoking a cigarette are fantastic, but a semi-slow-motion pantomime of a brawl that occurs after Charlie becomes violent with Marie looks a little odd. Overall, One Shot is a compelling character study with first-rate acting that is worthy of attention. Just don't become obsessed.

Ian Shuttleworth - London Evening Standard:

It's so obvious it must have been done before. "One man's obsession with love, revenge and Robert De Niro" proclaims the programme to Snarling Beasties' one-man show, and that about sums it up.

Mark Kilmurry's protagonist Charlie is a brooding sociopath with only two things on his mind – Bobby D. and the angelic Marie, who first comes to his notice precisely because she so reminds him of Travis Bickle's “angel” Iris in Taxi Driver. The play takes the form of a dictated letter to De Niro, which jumps with the speed of Charlie's disordered thoughts from disturbed idolatry to psychotic personal history. Details of Marie's disenchantment with endless evenings in the cinema and Charlie's violent, jealous retribution are jostled by paeans to Scorsese movies, even to the extent of a line-for-line re-enactment of a duologue from Raging Bull in which Kilmurry shows off a mean De Niro impersonation and an even better Joe Pesci.

Kilmurry's first-division talents as a mime artist are put to full use, be it fiddling with an imaginary cigarette lighter or being beaten up in slow motion. Yet his physical presence is indefinably less substantial here than in his performances of Debbie Isitt's plays for the same company. He evokes the banality of obsessives' lives in all other respects than the obsession itself; Charlie is a shambling nobody out of the Mark Chapman mould, except when fired by a recollection of King Of Comedy or Cape Fear.
Over a short 50 minutes reality and fantasy merge – as is their theatrical wont – until a succession of alternative endings leave one uncertain how many of the preceding events actually took place outside Charlie's febrile imagination. But Kilmurry demonstrates that, as a writer, he can fashion a world almost as dark in its own way as any of Isitt's more nightmarish creations. One Shot plays by way of preview for its stint on the Edinburgh Fringe, where it will no doubt attract enough attention to warrant a return trip to London.

Oh, and yes – after a prologue delivered in darkness, the first words of the play proper are "You talkin' to me?"

With actor John Trutwin

Adelaide Messenger:

“...there can be no doubt about the considerable skills of John Trutwin as the tortured fan who passionately follows every detail of De Niro's film and real life, every nuance of his performance.

“Trutwin delivers a tour de force performance. The violent psychosis he builds in the character in a long, slow, logical progression is highlighted

splendidly with the terrible jealousies which consume him and the vulnerability which essentially drives him to become other than he is.

“This is a young actor of tremendous talent being showcased in a very demanding role in which he triumphs...”

Sydney Morning Herald:

“It's a muscular, dark and subtly threatening piece...

“Trutwin gives a very restrained and controlled performance, saving his energy for the monologue's big moments.”

© Scoop Media

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