Reviews

This is Beautiful

Presented by Public Studio, for the Malthouse Helium series. Tower Theatre, Malthouse (Vic). 19 July – 3 August, 2013

This is Beautiful is a hauntingly rich, sensual and fascinating new hybrid performance art/multi media piece.

It is a precise and skillfully crafted, highly collaborative work that, on one level, questions perceptions of beauty, love and narcissism and on another, perhaps more primal visual level, is about those old profundities - sex, life and death.

Two Weeks With The Queen

By Mary Morris, from the novel by Morris Gleitzman. Directed by Carryn McLean. Stirling Theatre, Innaloo, WA. July 12 - 27

This Mary Morris play, based on the novel by Morris Gleitzman, was a great choice for a season that spanned WA school holidays, although I don't think that the message has really got out to the community. The Sunday matinee I attended was sadly underpatronised and generation z were in extremely short supply.

Based on a novel aimed at older children and teens, the show covers some heavy issues, including terminal cancer and AIDS, it is really accessable and surprisingly funny.

And Evermore Shall Be So

By Norman Robbins. Directed by Anita Bound. KADS. Town Square Theatre, Kalamunda, WA. July 19 - August 10, 2013.

Director Anita Bound states that And Evermore Shall Be So will be her directorial swansong and while I am loathe to see her go, this nicely directed little murder mystery makes a lovely artistic curtain call.

Based loosely around the folk tune Green Grow the Rushes O, as the play opens we hear this song, beautifully pre-recorded by Manaui Long and Eden Sambridge. This is an ongoing theme and we continue to hear snippets throughout the play until sung (albeit not quite as prettily) by the cast in their curtain call.

Aladdin Jr.

By Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Additional lyrics and book by Jim Luigs. Eltham Little Theatre (Vic). Director: John Leahy. Musical Director: Emily Crawford. Choreographer: Amy Jenkins/Katrina Powell. July 12 – 21, 2013.

After the successful The Pirates of Penzance last year I was looking forward to Aladdin Junior and I was not disappointed. With a large cast and small stage, the sets were of necessity fairly basic, but very effective. I particularly loved the huge skull with red headlights for eyes representing the cave – very impressive.

The chorus, well-trained by Emily Crawford, was strong and confident. The choreography was appropriate and well executed. The dancers representing the magic carpet, glowing fluorescent in the ultra-violet light, was very effective.

Little Shop of Horrors

By Alan Menken & Howard Ashman. Redcliffe Musical Theatre (Qld). Redcliffe Entertainment Centre. 19 – 28 July 2013.

This is deliciously gross rock musical entertainment!

It embraces dire poverty, romantic attraction, domestic violence, obsession with new indoor plants, murder, meteoric rise to media success, and redemption. All joyfully, brashly explored in big bold rock numbers, and over-the-top characterisations without a shred of irreverence or guilt. The performance joy is contagious.

Don Pasquale

By Gaetano Donizetti. Opera Australia. Director: Roger Hodgman. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. July 18 - Aug 15, 2013.

This production reminded me of gelato - vivid, rich in colour, and delicious.

The curtain opened to a glamorous set, in the style of the classic 1950’s movie Roman Holiday.

It left the impression that any minute Audrey Hepburn might glide in, hair flowing on a wind-swept motorbike, with her arms around Gregory Peck.

Three ‘buildings’ neatly rotate to reproduce a street café, a garden and the inside of a grand home.

Dial M For Murder

By Frederick Knott. Woy Woy Little Theatre. Director: Brendon Flynn. Peninsula Theatre, Woy Woy July 19-Aug 4

There's little doubting the popularity of murder mysteries and detective fiction. Consequently Agatha Christie's plays are a fail-safe drawcard for many community theatre organisations. Frederick Knott  wrote both the play and screenplay for Dial M For Murder in the early 1950s. It's a murder mystery with a twist, in that it's not so much a 'who-dunnit' as a 'will-he-get-busted'. 

Foxfinder

By Dawn King. Directed by Kat Henry. Red Stitch Theatre. Australian Premiere. July 19th – August 17th, 2013.

We expect Red Stitch, as a company, to confront us, push our boundaries, invade our comfort zones and, most importantly, present us with exciting theatre. Once again they do not disappoint.

Ubu Roi

By Alfred Jarry. 5pound theatre. Director: Jason Cavanagh. The Owl and the Pussycat. Swan Street Richmond (Vic). July 17th to 27th, 2013.

5pound theatre is offering the opportunity to view a classic we seldom get the chance to see.  As yet another adventurous gamble from this troupe, who never seem to ‘take themselves too seriously’, it is a raucous engaging messy romp. 

Adapted from an ancient work by Alfred Jarry Ubu Roi is an Absurdist piece that lends itself to Theatre of Cruelty. Therefore - what a great choice to stage it on a set of mud in front of an evocative fading mural reminiscent of a cave painting, designed by Mattea Davies.

Jack Charles v The Crown

By Jack Charles and John Romeril. Ilbijerri Theatre Company, with Uncle Jack Charles, directed by Rachael Maza. The Playhouse, Canberra, 17–19 July 2013, and touring

Advance publicity, billing Jack Charles as a recently reformed heroin addict and cat burglar, made me ponder what kind of tale he was going to spin; cautious lest, albeit subtly, it excuse, even glorify, social destructiveness.

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