Reviews

Mindgame

By Anthony Horowitz. Director Blake Barnard. Set and costume designer Stacey Townsend. Stage Manager Eliza Wood. Lighting designer Robin Thomas. Sound designer Tom Backhaus. Composer Lyndon Chester. Presented by Baker’s Dozen Theatre Company at Gasworks Art Park until November 16, 2013. (Vic).

What an unfashionable conceit this young, independent theatre company has dared to display! Who do they think they are? In Mr Horowitz’s psychological thriller – a gripping, beautifully-structured three-hander – we have a perfect example of something that has been noticeably absent on Melbourne’s stages for years: a well-made play, brimming with ideas. In two acts. With an interval. God forbid I should have the chance for a glass of wine, a bag of chips, and a think about what I have seen and what I am yet to see in the middle of it all.

Orphans

By Denis Kelly. Bluefruit Theatre. The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. November 7-23, 2013

Fledgling professional company Bluefruit Theatre has set a high bar with only its second production. Its interpretation of Denis Kelly’s psychological thriller Orphans is superb.

In researching the personality profiles behind the story, the director and cast met with some of Adelaide’s leading psychiatrists and psychologists. This meticulous attention to detail has delivered devastatingly true-to-life characters, portrayed by sublime acting.

Rehearsal for Murder

Adapted by D. D. Brooke from a teleplay by Richard Levinson & William Link. New Farm Nash Theatre. 2 – 23 November 2013

This is the time of year for thrillers and murder mysteries. This one comes burdened by its origin: short sharp scenes in mosaic format swing between the past and present and keep us engaged but confused.

Gaslight

By Patrick Hamilton. Centenary Theatre Group (Qld). 2 - 23 November 2013

This Gaslight goes from dim to brilliant.

Our early Sunday evening performance had a HOUSE FULL sign out. The place was buzzing.

I heard about Gaslight decades ago but this was my first viewing. The Manningham couple were already on stage under faux-gaslight, she sewing, he reading a paper. Sue Watson’s totally professional design impressed from furniture down to bric-a-brac; I suspect equal credit should go to those involved with its construction and decoration. Likewise for the costumes: no expense was spared on details.

The Women

By Clare Booth Luce. The Theatre on Chester, Chester Street Epping. November 8 – 30, 2013.

Playwright Clare Booth Luce said of this, her second play:

The women who inspired this play deserve to be smacked across the head with a meat axe and that, I flatter myself, is exactly what I smacked them with”.

West Side Story

Music: Leonard Bernstein. Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Book: Arthur Laurents. Queensland Musical Theatre. Schonell Theatre, St Lucia, Brisbane. Director: Deian Ping. Musical Director: Andrew Firth. Choreographer: Julianne Burke. 6-10 Nov 2013

The best thing about Queensland Musical Theatre’s production of West Side Story was the vocals of Sam Huybregts as Tony. His singing of “Something’s Coming”, “Tonight” and “One Hand One Heart” was exemplary. But it was his tour-de-force performance of “Maria” that was a heart-breaker.

The Producers

Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks. Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan. Director: Jane Court. Musical Director: Ian Nisbet. Choreographer: Taylor Hollands. Presented by MLOC (Vic). Phoenix Theatre, Elwood (Vic). Until November 16, 2013

There is a moment in MLOC’s production of The Producers that serves to remind us what it is about community theatre companies that transcends the comparatively futile discussions about the elusive difference between professional and non-professional productions. And it belongs, in the first instance, to the program.

Corpse!

By Gerald Moon. Therry Dramatic Society. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. November 6 – 16, 2013,

Adelaide’s Therry Dramatic Society is on a winner with its lively and hilarious production of Gerald Moon’s comedy thriller, Corpse!

Directed by Norman Caddick, this play murders any pretense at a realistic plot almost as quickly as it disposes of victims, but it does this with such light-hearted cheekiness the audience laps it up.

All My Sons

By Arthur Miller. Darlinghurst Theatre Company. The Eternity Playhouse. November 1 – December 1, 2013.

The decision to mount Arthur Miller’s seminal play All My Sons as the debut production at Sydney’s newest theatre the Eternity Playhouse is one that brings with it so much weight of expectation that it could have backfired spectacularly and set a somber tone for the rest of the theatre’s inaugural seas on.

The Dumb Waiter

By Harold Pinter. Metanoia Theatre. Director: Gorkem Acaroglu. Brunswick Mechanics Institute (Vic). 5th-16th November, 2013.

In a city like Melbourne, filled with excellent independent theatre companies, one might feel that another is superfluous. However Metanoia have slipped beneath the radar to show that there is always room for one more, if it has quality and originality.

This production is a “teaser”, since Metanoia doesn’t actually launch until early 2014, but it’s a delicious portent of things to come.

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