Reviews

David Suchet—Poirot and More: A Retrospective

Co-created by David Suchet and Liza McLean. Starring David Suchet. Interviewed by Jane Hutcheon. Kay and McLean Productions. Canberra Theatre, 20 – 21 January 2020 and touring

Of course you know David Suchet from his role in Agatha Christie’s Poirot. With 70 episodes from 1989 to 2013 and much loved by a fan base who know every detail that Christie wrote, Agatha Christie’s Poirot has been so successful that it’s impossible to think of the character without picturing Suchet in the role. What you might not know is that prior to his television career, David Suchet was a successful actor in the Royal Shakespeare Company with multiple Olivier nominations.

The Intervention

By Valentin Lang. French Santa. Fringe World. Directed by Elle Harris. The Moon Cafe, William St, Northbridge, WA. Jan 21-26, 2020

Independent theatre company French Santa has two productions in this year’s Fringe World Festival, with the first playing in the intimate theatrical space in The Moon Cafe. The quaint, eclectic decor, and messy, but lived in feel, is perfect for this new work set in a share house.

Housemates Ryder and Maya, decide that their third roomie Steve needs “an Intervention”. They want him to stop selling drugs from the house, and his alcohol consumption is excessive, but is it Steve who really requires the intervention.

Bed Bug Zoo

Written and directed by Suzannah Churchman. Townshend Theatre Subiaco, WA. Jan 22- Feb 1

Sweet, visually fascinating and whimsical, Bed Bug Zoo is a little charmer of a show with lovely messages of friendship and facing your fears. Gorgeous puppets and some lovely storytelling in this new work.

Mia, a school girl with some anxieties, needs to stay overnight at Mrs Mortien’s boarding house, as an “emergency case”. While she is not afraid of monsters under the bed, she finds herself face to face with some fascinating escaped crypto-entomology.

The Visitors

By Jane Harrison. Moogahlin Performing Arts. Sydney Festival. Carriageworks, Bay 20. Jan 22 – 26, 2020

Jane Harrison’s intriguing new play imagines seven Aboriginal men watching and arguing over the arrival of Arthur Phillip and his ships at Botany Bay in 1788.

They’ve arrived from across country and lead warriors on the ready to give resistance. But first, passing the message stick, they hold a formal council of elders. Another plan eventually wins support: they really pity these ugly looking visitors and, expecting that they pine to return their own country, will welcome them, briefly, to theirs.  

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

By Edward Albee. Butterfly Theatre. Holden Street Theatres. January 22-26, 2020

Butterfly Theatre is taking time out from the excellent ‘Beer’ Theatre the company usually presents in a pub venue. Yet the theme continues, because Edward Albee’s now classic Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which the company is currently staging at Holden Street Theatres, is steeped in what seems to be as many bevvies as any pub, let alone as much alcoholic brawling as one might find outside late night clubs.

Body Rights

By various authors. WA Youth Theatre Company. Fringe World. Directed by James Berlyn and Phoebe Sullivan. The Art Room and Cookery Room, The Girls School, Wellington St, Perth. Jan 17 - Feb 2, 2020

WA Youth Theatre Company presents four short new works about young people, power, their bodies and their rights. The collection showcases the work of 42 young performers as well as emerging creatives including directors, a composer, lighting designer and stage manager.

Outside the Girls School, the audience is divided onto two groups, who will see the evening’s performances in different orders. My group went to the Cookery Room first, so that is the order I will describe. Your experience may differ. 

Air Play

Acrobuffos. Sydney Festival. Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay. January 21 – 25, 2020

Air Play flies well across Sydney Festival’s long tradition of staging magical visual theatre, with lots of flying fabric, mime and clowning. James Thieree’s shows, for example, were standouts.

Here so-called acrobuffos, American husband and wife team, Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, begin like Wiggles, one yellow-costumed, one red, with wide-eyed naivete and the simple act of loosing a balloon into the audience. And the kids loved it.

Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr Fox

Adapted by Nick Skubij. Shake and Stir Theatre. Directed by Ross Balbuziente. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of WA. Jan 22-26, 2020

Shake and Stir Theatre’s Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr Fox starts with a rock star vibe and quickly morphs into one of the most visually impressive pieces of theatre I have ever seen.

Aradia

By Milkbox Theatre. Directed by Michelle Endersbee. Fringe World. The Chaos Room, The Blue Room Theatre, James St, Perth. Jan 21-25, 2020

Aradia is a new piece of feminist theatre, centred around the story of Aradia - sent to earth to educate about Witchcraft. A series of vignettes, this is a story about the strength of women and of self-belief, both historically and in the here and now.

Milkbox Theatre was born from a need for female lead artistry. Its mission is to share stories from the perspective of and lead by people who identify as female. Aradia delves into the deep history and mythology of witches, telling their stories and how their history effects and can inspire women today.

Oakley and Olivia

Written and directed by Paris Ceglinski. Fringe World. The Studio, Subiaco Arts Centre, WA. Jan 17-20, 2020

Oakley and Olivia, nicely written and directed by Paris Ceglinski, was a brand new musical which was one of the handful of shows to open Fringe World 2020. What better way to open FringeWorld than this child centred, wild and vibrant statement of hope for the future?