Reviews

Don Quixote

Music: Ludwig Minkus. Libretto: Marius Petipa. Choreography: Gediminas Taranda after Marius Petipa. Imperial Russian Ballet Company. Concert Hall, QPAC. 4-5 April 2014 and touring the east coast of Australia.

Classical ballet in the grand Russian tradition doesn’t come much better than the Imperial Russian Ballet Company’s Don Quixote. Considered to be one of the most celebrated ballets by Marius Petipa and composer Ludwig Minkus, the work has remained a cornerstone of the classical ballet repertoire since its premiere in 1869.

Artistic Director Gediminas Taranda’s reinterpretation of Petipa’s original choreography has all the trademarks of Russian dance; strong and athletic, yet incredibly graceful and elegant.

Perplex

By Marius von Mayenburg. Translated by Maja Zade. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Theatre. March 31 – May 3, 2014.

If you like theatre of the absurd, and accept that life is pretty absurd anyway, then you’ll love Perplex. On the other hand, if you’re fairly straight and just a little bit of a control freak, you might think it’s pretty silly. In either case, you’ll frown a little, wonder a little, maybe squirm a little – and probably laugh a lot. And either way, you’ll leave the theatre feeling a little … well, perplexed.

Johnny Castellano is MINE

By Emma Gibson. Presented by the Canberra Youth Theatre and The Street Theatre. Direction: Karla Conway. Performed by Alison Plevey. The Street Theatre (ACT). 3-12 April 2014

I found myself mesmerised by this production, based on the timeless themes of obsession, fantasy and rebellion. Gibson’s latest play concerns the uglier side of adolescent yearning, where childhood gives way to monstrous hormonal self-destructive drives. Throughout, sole performer Alison Plevey performed an intense contemporary dance of sinuous, muscular movements, with perfect control, continuously, in perfect synchronisation with Stephen Fitzgerald’s superb modernist sound design.

Music

By Jane Bodie. Stories Like These and Griffin Independent. SBW Stables Theatre, Sydney. Director: Corey McMahon. 4-26 April, 2014

There are lots of great tracks played during Music, Jane Bodie’s powerfully claustrophobic play, but the most disturbing music is playing in the unknowable mind of her mentally ill protagonist, Adam. It’s a devastating portrait of confusion, pain and lost identity. Though there are lighter moments, audiences at the tiny Stables Theatre must prepare for some tough, extra-close-up drama. I ducked for cover several times.

Porcelain Punch The Travelling Medicine Show

Melbourne International Comedy Festival. La Mama Theatre. April 2 – 13, 2014.

“Rejoice as you partake in the phenomenon of the Porcelain Punch Miracle Cure, the extraordinary elixir of Immortality. Curer of incurable conditions, bestower of beauty and extender of the under endowed. Experience amazing acts, fantastic feats, exquisite oddities and old fashioned integrity.”

Suspend your modern disbelief and go back to your great grandmothers day (no current affairs programs outing frauds), and the travelling medicine show comes to town. You are innocent and believe what these people say.

BOY & GIRL

Oscar Theatre Company. Director: Emily Gilhome. Musical Director: Dale Lingwood. Choreographer: Dan Venz. Visy Theatre, Powerhouse, Brisbane. 3-19 April 2014

BOY & GIRL is sexy, filthy, and outrageously entertaining. This raunchy gender-bending fusion of cabaret, musical theatre and pop has buckets of musical muscle. With its mix of a little bit of Weimar Republic cabaret, a little bit of Café de Paris, and a whole lot of Broadway, these boys and girls deliver on every level in song, dance and nudity.

Centrelink The Musical

Conceived by Rohan Harry, written by Adam Wilson, original music by Nathan Leigh Jones and directed by Greg Ulfan. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Mechanics Institute, Brunswick (Vic). April 1- 12, 2014

Centrelink the Musical is a glimpse into the world of four people who are in the queue at the Centrelink office and their interaction with one of the staff.

It is billed as a musical but vocals were not a feature of the night. Jacqueline Cook as Janine, the officious Centrelink case worker, took both the singing and acting gong. Her timing and vocal work stood out. Praise also toDylan Lloyd playing Gary, the Centrelink veteran, for his 110% effort in his song despite a lack of singing ability.

Twelfth Night

By William Shakespeare. Canberra REP. Directed by Ed Wightman, Theatre 3, Acton, Canberra ACT. March 28 – April 12, 2014

This charming production of an old favourite is a pleasant way to spend an evening.  Set in an undetermined time, the costumes are both bright and appropriate to the characters (credit to Heather Spong and her team), and the set design by Quentin Mitchell creates a modernist space lined with shiny, folded plastic for us to project our own imaginations on.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

By William Shakespeare. Garrick Theatre. Directed by Peter Clark. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. April 1 – 26, 2014 (in repertory)

The Shakespeare Anniversary Festival is being held to commemorate the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare; three theatre groups in Perth's hills are working together at the home of Darlington Theatre Players, to present three strikingly different Shakespeare plays.

A Midsummer Night's Dreamis presented by Garrick Theatre. Set on the reproduction Shakespearian era stage - the standard setting for all three festival shows; simple additions help to establish the Palace of Theseus and a wood near Athens.

The Government Inspector

By Simon Stone, with Emily Barclay; devised by the cast. Featuring a short musical by Stefan Gregory. Inspired by Nikolai Gogol. Belvoir. Mar 27 – May 18, 2014.

Actor Robert Menzies enters first with the true story – we are not seeing The Philadelphia Story as planned because the estate of a recently discovered co-writer withheld the rights. And, no doubt, objected to the radical reworking you’d expect director Simon Stone to inflict on that classic spoof of New York high society. 

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