The Tempest

By William Shakespeare. Bell Shakespeare. Sydney Opera House. August 19 – September 18, 2015.

With this light and magical version of The Tempest, after 25 years at the helm, John Bell delivers an impressive swan song in this his last production for the Bell Shakespeare Company.

Everyone - and notably set and costume designer Julie Lynch, lighting designer Damien Cooper and composer Alan John - has together created a transportive, ethereal island world where Prospero reigns but the spirits have good lessons for humanity. 

Grief and the Lullaby

By Patrick McCarthy. Theatre Works (Vic). 14 – 23 August, 2015

Grief and the Lullaby is a very moving and insightful work that slowly unfolds to make perfect sense.  All four actors embody complex individual characters with considerable skill.  The relationships portrayed are very believable; at times robust and at times delicate, perhaps even fragile.  There is an ebb and flow between them and numerous naturalistic shifts of status that feel particularly real and go a long way towards sustaining curiosity.

The Lion In Winter

By James Goldman. The Therry Dramatic Society. Directed by Megan Dansie. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. August 20-29, 2015

A heady mix of explosive family melodrama, convoluted political intrigue and snarky screwball comedy, James Goldman’s 60s play has lost none of its bite over time, and is treated to a gloriously spirited production from the Therry Dramatic Society.

Savage in Limbo

By John Patrick Shanley. Directed by Gabriella Rose-Carter. Q44 Theatre, Level One 550 Swan St, Richmond (Vic). August 18th-Sept 6th, 2015

Question: How far can Q44 continue to raise the bar at an exponential rate. Though small in stature and financial support, this little company is already the equal of ANY other theatre company in Melbourne, and infinitely superior to most.

The Weir

By Conor McPherson. Melbourne Theatre Company. Arts Centre, Melbourne, Fairfax Studio. 14 August – 26 September 2015.

In a rural village in the west of Ireland, a couple of locals – garage owner Jack (Peter Kowitz) and odd job man and carer for his dying Mammy, Jim (Robert Menzies) – go where they go every night, the little pub owned by young Brendan (Ian Meadows).  But tonight there’s some mild excitement: local-made-good estate agent, Finbar Mack (Greg Stone) is bringing Valerie (Nadine Garner), a newcomer to the village.  She’s come from Dublin – alone – and the word is, she’s attractive.  So there they are, three bachelors and a married charmer -

Matilda The Musical

Book by Dennis Kelly. Music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. Based on the novel by Roald Dahl. Lyric Theatre, Sydney. Opening Night, August 20, 2015.

The breathless anticipation for the opening of Matilda almost led to an unseemly fight between my 19 year old and 11 year old daughters, over who would accompany me to the starry, starry opening night.

Looking around at the uber A list audience it seemed everyone wanted to be there, including Hollywood A Lister Mel Gibson.

Is it worth the hype?  One hundred percent yes.

The larger than life twisted characters of Roald Dahl blend seamlessly with the quirky, rule breaking, sweet and sour music of Tim Minchin. 

The Dead Twin

By Chi Vu. FLIGHT Festival. Footscray Community Arts Centre. August 12-22, 2015

The Dead Twin is a mysterious and haunting experience that ebbs and flows into the genre of horror.  This immersive journey starts from a secret place and is quiet magically enhanced by an amazing haunting sound scape.  It is the very type of work that is satisfying for theatre literate audience with rewards coming from active engagement, remaining focused, observing nuance and piecing inference together.

The Platform at La Mama Collaboration

Platform Youth Theatre. La Mama Theatre, Carlton. August 12-23, 2015

What is not to be missed, at the moment, is the vibrant and exhilarating energy of youth surrounding and permeating every nook and cranny at La Mama. With its distinguished history of experimentation what better place than La Mama to endorse the experimentation of the young emerging theatre makers that is Platform Youth.

Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club

By Jeffrey Hatcher. Woy Woy Little Theatre. August 14 – 30, 2015

Jeffrey Hatcher is an American playwright and screenwriter whose biggest success to date is the brilliantly tender and emotional two hander Tuesdays With Morrie (staged in Sydney several years ago by the Ensemble Theatre, resulting in a short regional tour).


By Patrick Hamilton. Tugun Theatre Company, Gold Coast. Directed by Brenda Warren. Aug 13th to 29th, 2015

Gaslight, a Victorian Mystery Thriller, didn’t quite hit the mark at the performance I reviewed.

The outstanding set gave the audience a true feeling of the era as did the costumes.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.