Reviews

Arcadia

By Tom Stoppard. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. February 8 – April 2, 2016

Stoppard’s Arcadia was inspired by the book, Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick. Such a title should be enough of an alert to the intricate nature of this piece; enough perhaps to deter first-timers to Stoppard; but somehow STC have managed to present the text tangibly without detracting from its intelligence. Of course if you’re worried, it doesn’t hurt to pick up a copy of the play and become acquainted with the cerebral subject matter before walking in.

Luisa Miller

By Verdi. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. February 11 – 29, 2016

History plays strange tricks deeming this 1849 Verdi opera one of his lesser known ones. 

In its first ever production, Opera Australia, in collaboration with Opera de Lausanne, shows Verdi’s musical narrative and characterisations to be rich and stirring, and the five  central singers equally outstanding.

Barbu Electro Trad

The Royal Croquet Club. The Panama Club. Adelaide Fringe Festival. Feb 14th-March 14th, 2016

A showcase of music, circus antics and eccentric characters make this an event not to be missed. Performed in a large tent within the Royal Croquet Club, enormous video screens either side of the performing space means there is not a bad seat in the house.

Two Brunettes and a Gay

Gluttony – Carry On. Adelaide Fringe Festival. Feb 14th-28th, 2016

A cabaret designed to make you laugh and sing along needs to do just that, but this show never really finds its feet or an appreciative audience. Cabaret performers must work hard to develop a rapport or shows of this nature become laboured and cringe-worthy.

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare. Directions Theatre. Directed by Ellen Roe. Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart,12 Feb – 5th March 2016 and Shakespeare in the Vineyard at Delamere Vineyard, Pipers Brook on March 13th

For its18th production of Shakespeare in the Gardens, Directions Theatre Pty Ltd present Much Ado About Nothing set in a 90s Music Festival with a novice director to inject a new angle to the well known comedy. Although it seems light and possibly trivial, a darker theme underlying Much Ado About Nothing is what happens when wordplay meets hearsay.

Life Without Me

By Daniel Keene. Illuminate Educate. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre (NSW). February 10 – 16, 2016

Australian playwright Daniel Keene has placed – or displaced – his characters into a world of insecurities and confusion that “plucks apart the underlying tensions of what we feel about where we’ve been and where we imagine ourselves going, exposing how illusion and wish fulfillment are as powerful guiding forces as fact.” (Cathy Hunt, Director).

On the surface the set and the characters are very ordinary: a run-down hotel lobby; and seven people who are trying to make sense of the perceived disorder of their lives.

West End to Broadway …In The Reservoir

Underground Opera @ Spring Hill Reservoir, Brisbane. Musical Director: Brendan Murtagh. 12 - 28 February 2016

Underground Opera’s West End to Broadway satisfied on many levels, mixing songs from a clutch of popular and art-house musicals. Highlight of the night was the finale in which the four singers, Ana Marina, Louise Dorsman, Bradley McCaw and Lionel Theunissen, performed a rafter-raising quartet of Les Misérables’ “Bring Him Home”. It was thrilling. It was also interesting, different, and what the concert needed more of.

Dropped

By Katy Warner. Adelaide Fringe. Gobsmacked Theatre Company. Directed and designed by David McVicar. The Queen's Theatre, Adelaide. 13-25 February, 2016.

A depiction of unsettling existence and traumatic memory in the combat zone, Dropped would seem to have the ingredients necessary for an engaging and impactful experience: two female members of the defence force, attempting to maintain a steely exterior while seeming to crumble from within.

Doctor Who’s Midnight

by Russell T. Davies. Directed by David Dyte. Holden Street Theatres, Hindmarsh. Adelaide Fringe. February 12-27, 2016

This is a relatively straightforward stage adaptation of Midnight – one of the most intimate, small scale episodes in the history of long running British TV series, Doctor Who. This adventure sees the enigmatic time traveller known as “The Doctor” (Hugh O’Connor), book passage on a shuttlecraft embarking on a flyover of the resort planet, Midnight. Halfway through the trip, the shuttle breaks down and is infiltrated by a hostile alien lifeform that has the ability to take possession of the passengers.

Lungs

By Duncan Macmillan. Melbourne Theatre Company (Vic). Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne. Director: Clare Watson. Set Designer: Andrew Bailey. Lighting Designer: Richard Vabre. 5 February - 19 March, 2016

In The Guardian in September 2014, playwright Duncan Macmillan is quoted thus: ‘There’s nothing I can do in my life to compensate for the fact that the world would be better without me in it’. Perhaps never before in the history of this planet has the anxiety level regarding our negative environmental impact been so acute.