Reviews

The Removalists

By David Williamson. Baker’s Dozen Theatre Company. Directed by Lara Kerestes. Design by Daniel Moulds, Lighting Design by Jake Jobling, Sound Design by Tom Backhaus & Russell Goldsmith. Cast: Josiah Lulham, Patrick Durnan Silva, Brendan Barnett, Hannah Monson, Emma Cox and Matthew Connell. November 17 to 27, 2016

Melbourne based independent Baker’s Dozen Theatre Company, with the support of Malthouse Theatre, present David Williamson’s AWGIE winning play The Removalists at the Mechanics Institute Brunswick.  Running until the 27th of November it is a must see. It is not designed for easy enjoyment, although I did laugh at some of the extreme truths of malice in parts, a satirical laugh at the disbelief and shamefulness of some of societies evils.

Grease

By Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Manly Musical Society. The Star of the Sea Theatre, Stella Maris College, Manly. Nov 18 – 26, 2016.

A rockin’ band, in all senses, led by musical director Anthony Cutrupi, support a cast of excellent singers, ensuring that this live, and lively, incarnation of the Grease soundtrack is a real crowd pleaser. Favourite songs from the film replace several original numbers in the current hybrid version of the musical.

Eye-catching costumes by Elle Cantor, and some lively, frequently imaginative choreography by Kim Dresner, set against the smart black and white check set, evoking a classic 50s diner, further ensure that the iconic musical numbers delight the audience.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Book by Larry L King and Peter Masterson and Music by Carol Hall. Ballina Players. Director: Paul Belsham. Players Theatre. November 18th to December 11th, 2016.

Ballina Players have decided to re visit the “Chicken Farm” for their final offering of the year.

Over 30 performers brought the ‘goings on’ to the people of Ballina with all the Yee Haw they could muster.

Paul Belsham doubled as Director and Musical Director, assisted by his wife Sue and Choreographer Jaime Sheehan to bring this unusual storyline to life with a cast headed by Jacquie McCalman as Miss Mona with Roy Ramsay; Sheriff Ed Earl, Lee Millward; Jewel, Sienna Pamphilon; Aangel and Dylan Wheeler as Melvin P. Thorpe.

When the Rain Stops Falling

By Andrew Bovell. Director: John Boyce. Brisbane Arts Theatre, Brisbane, 19 Nov – 10 Dec 2016

If it weren’t for Norman Doyle, Brisbane Arts’ When the Rain Stops Falling would be just another community theatre production. As it was, his sensitive performance as Gabriel York/Henry Law elevated the production of this complex play to a higher level.

Andrew Bovell’s award-winning work, one of the best Australian plays of the last decade, continually shifts time in its examination of abandonment, loss, isolation and identity within four generations of family over an eighty-year period.

Blaque Showgirls

By Nakkiah Lui. Directed by Sarah Giles. Merlyn Theatre – Malthouse. 11 November to 4 December 2016

Blaque Showgirls is a unique, timely, riveting work that is not for the faint hearted.  It is raucous, lewd, crude and ridiculously funny, politically very dodgy and out there.  Depending on one’s sensibility, it is perhaps a little destabilizing and disconcerting. 

Little Voice

By Jim Cartwright. KADS. Directed by Terry Hackett. KADS Theatre, Kalamunda, WA. 11 Nov - 3 Dec, 2016

Opening Night of KADS’ Little Voice, by Jim Cartwright, was a packed to the rafters full-house, who adored this play with music.

The audience included two bus loads of very mature patrons, who were very vocal about what they liked (which was pretty much everything) and who were very familiar with the old songs and songstresses featured in this play about a shy young woman who finds her voice through her father’s old records.

Little Shop of Horrors

By Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. Roleystone Theatre, WA. Directed by Lys Tickner. Nov 18 - Dec 3, 2016

Roleystone Theatre ensemble member Charlie Darlington had a Peggy Sawyer moment this week. Four days before opening night it was realised that Little Shop of Horrors’ leading man would be too ill to perform, and the decision was made for the lone male ensemble actor to take on the role of Seymour.

Charlie, although still on book during some of the wordier sections, did an excellent job, acting the role with conviction in a notable performance.

The Shadow Box

By Michael Cristofer. Dino Dimitriadis / Red Line Productions. Old Fitz Theatre. November 15 – December 10, 2016

There’s heaps of acting prowess and experience in this cast of eight squeezed onto the tiny stage of this famous Sydney pub theatre. 

The Shadow Box, which won playwright Michael Cristofer the Pulitzer and Tony Award in 1977, is about three people and their carers living in hospice cottages and learning how to face death.

Rust and Bone

By Caleb Lewis based on three stories by Craig Davidson. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton, VIC. 16 – 27 November, 2016.

The rust is the taste of your own blood in your mouth.  The bones are what get broken, smashed and crushed.  This is a play about fighting, about male aggression and violence.  About being robbed of power.  Caleb Lewis has taken stories by Craig Davidson of three men – a boxer, a fighting dog breeder/trainer, and an Orca trainer at Sea World - and woven them together into a sort of contrapuntal aural montage so that the three stories and the three men who tell them bounce off each other, illuminating, contrasting and yet revealing what they have in common.

The Accused

By Jeffrey Archer. Castle Hill Players. The Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill Showground. 18 November to 10 December, 2016.

Director Bernard Teuben brings the tension and theatricality of the courtroom to the stage in this absorbing drama by well-known novelist (and one time guest of Her Majesty’s prisons) Jeffrey Archer. With the Scales of Justice towering above on a huge and colourful backdrop, the stage transforms to the pomp and be-wigged ceremony of the Old Bailey and the trial of cardiologist Patrick Sherwood (Jason Spindlow) – charged with murdering his wife by administering the poison potassium chloride.

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