Reviews

The Shadow King

Created by Tom E Lewis and Michael Kantor. Coopers’ Malthouse Theatre (Vic). October 16 – 27, 2013. World Premiere.

It isn’t necessary to know Shakespeare’s great tragedy King Lear before seeing this fascinating production. In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t; for, although The Shadow King borrows heavily from the Lear story, Shakespeare’s greatest strength is surely the marvellous poetry of his language, the rhythm and meter. That is all but discarded and replaced with new text, some in English, some in Kriol (pidjin) and some in native dialect, much of it paraphrasing the original text.

Scent Tales

Directed by Joanne Foley. CircuitWest and Little Y Company. Kalamunda Performing Arts Centre, Kalamunda WA. 7 October 2013

This beautiful, gentle, piece of family theatre is touring regional Western Australia until mid November and is well worth seeking out and seeing.

A fairy-tale of sorts, it has a genuine appeal to all ages and uses beautiful bakery smells to enhance the theatrical experience.

Narrated by Schmooey (Georgia King), a child-woman who is eminently likeable, we follow the story of sisters Bea (Rhoda Lopez) and Sanji (Jo Morris) as they move through jealousy and distrust to a loving relationship.

Lost Socks, Love and Lollipops in the Court of King Caractacus

By Craig Parris. Ruby Productions. John Lees Centre, Penrith (NSW). October 12-25, 2013.

Ruby Productions is a relatively new theatre company in Sydney’s west, which aims to provide quality productions and opportunities for experienced and aspiring actors, directors and crew members. Their latest offering, a pantomime with the comically long title, Lost Socks, Love and Lollipops in the Court of King Caractacus, is a delight for families and at $20 for kids, and $25 for adults, and is a reasonably priced couple of hours entertainment.

Calendar Girls

By Tim Firth. Epicentre Theatre Company. Zenith Theatre Chatswood, NSW. October 11 – 19, 2013.

Crossing boundaries for friendship and stepping way outside their comfort zones, a group of women from the usually sedate Women’s Institute (the British equivalent of CWA or similar women’s clubs or auxiliaries) pose for a nude calendar to raise funds for a sofa in cancer ward after the death of one of their husbands from Leukaemia.

Storytime in the Hills

Directed by Nicole George. Roleystone Theatre, WA. October 9-12, 2013

Roleystone Theatre opened its doors to its tiniest patrons with school holiday matinees catering to preschoolers and younger primary school students.

In what must have been a relief to holiday-weary parents in the last days of school holidays, the theatre presented two musical plays for a nominal $5 charge and even provided a healthy morning or afternoon tea at interval.

COSI

By Louis Nowra. Director: Sandra Hines. Mousetrap Theatre, Redcliffe, Qld. October 4 – 19, 2013

Louis Nowra’s play set in a mental health institution where a social worker decides to offer the patients a drama experience, can be interpreted with light and shade, displaying dysfunctional behaviour from clients and outsiders, and potentially delicate moments as characters reveal their deeply troubled backgrounds.

Curtains

By Rupert Holmes, Fred Ebb and John Kander. Playlovers. Director: Kristen Twynam-Perkins. Hackett Hall, Floreat (WA). September 13 – 28, 2013.

This well produced murder mystery delighted its capacity audiences. Gorgeously cast, ensemble and leads were impressive in this production that looked divine.

The Good, The Bad and The Lawyer

By Tony Laumberg. Tap Gallery (NSW). October 10 – 27, 2013.

Like a nice pair of slippers writer Tony Laumberg has settled into the characters of pompous lawyer Henry Crowley (Mark McCann) and his long suffering wife Margaret Crowley (Tricia Youlden) to set the scene for his annual comedy.

Both actors are also veterans of the roles and this familiarity with their characters is endearing.

This time Margaret has set the cat amongst the pigeons by inviting an asylum seeker Ahmed Zahedi (Geoff Sirmai) to live in their comfortable St Ives home.

The 39 Steps

Adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan and Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps. Director: Terence O’Connell
. Hit Productions. The Q, Queanbeyan, 8-12 October 2013 and touring Australia

If you’re partial to noir thrillers and like your humour hammy, you’ll enjoy The 39 Steps. Based on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 classic thriller, this adaptation is a top class piss-take. Mike Smith gets to show off his dashing strut and pencil moustache flaunting skills as hero Richard Hannay, while Anna Burgess hams the bejesus out of three femmes fatale, using wigs, gorgeous makeup and overacting to perfection to distinguish mysterious foreigner Annabella, unworldly Scottish Pamela and ditzy Margaret.

Carousel

By Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Babirra Music Theatre. Director: Chris Bradke. Musical Director: Ryan Jacobs. Choreographer: Di Crouch. The Whitehorse Centre, Nunawading. October 11 – 19, 2013.

There was much to like about Babirra’s Carousel, though it didn’t quite scale the heights they have been achieving recently. The opening was impressive with a full size abstract carousel being erected by Billy Bigelow on the revolving stage with flashing lights and two dimensional horses. It was a lot of effort for a few minutes.

The revolving stage occupied most of the stage area and was used quite extensively with great effect. It also meant that some scenes were played with a bare stage, but effective lighting made for a successful show. 

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