Reviews

A Scandal in the Weimar

By Jennifer Piper and Claire Bowen. wit incorporated (Victoria). Bluestone Church Arts Space. Director: Belinda Campbell. August 25 - September 9, 2017 as part of the Due West Festival

‘Family isn’t just people,’ says Ebony McGuire as Irene Adler, ‘it’s place.’

A Scandal in the Weimarfinds its origins in the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes story, A Scandal in Bohemia.

This wit incorporated version flips gender roles and addresses issues of place.

Arché

Melbourne Ballet Company. Directed and choreographed by Simon Hoy. The Q, Queanbeyan. 26 to 27 August 2017 and touring to Melbourne

Adding to music from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake a sequence of disparate pieces by Einaudi, Morricone, and Elgar, Melbourne Ballet Company’s director and resident choreographer Simon Hoy has created a surprisingly integrated soundtrack to which he has choreographed a visually charming and often arresting ballet.

Lip Service

By John Misto. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Nicole Buffoni. 17 August – 30 September, 2017

Something is wrong. The audience all round is laughing fit to burst while I am unable to crack a smile. The laughs get bigger as the play sets sail and I am left on the shore, lonely and untouched. John Misto’s biographical play about the 1950’s ladies of New York glamour, Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, is not working for me. 

The Father

By Florian Zeller, translated by Christopher Hampton. Sydney Theatre Company / Melbourne Theatre Company. Director: Damien Ryan. Wharf 1 Theatre, Sydney. 24 August – 21 October, 2017

There’s so much in The Father that doesn’t seem right. The wall-mounted telephone surely was in the centre of the set a few minutes ago, and now it’s on a stage-left wall. If must have been moved silently during one of intense blackouts that punctuate the production. 

That’s nothing. Soon whole tables disappear, dinner settings, comfortable chairs: the whole room is crumbling, insubstantial. Just like André, the Father himself, played by John Bell.

The Last Five Years

Written and Composed by Jason Robert Brown. Segue Productions. Music Director and Director Ben Stefanoff. Star Theatres Adelaide. August 24 – 26, 2017.

The Last Five Years is the inaugural production of Segue Productions.

The Absence of Knowing: Four Men and Dog Play

By Elvis Peeters. Directed by Richard Murphet. La Mama Theatre, Faraday Street, Carlton, VIC. 17 August – 3 September 2017

This strikingly original production of two short plays by Belgian writer Elvis Peeters is by theatre veteran and award winner Richard Murphet.  Elvis Peeters’ texts supply no scene setting and no directions.  The writing is powerful, but the texts are no more than intertwining and juxtaposed monologues.  There is very little interaction between the characters – at least on the page.  It is up to the director what he or she does with this.  What Mr Murphet does is inventive, to say the least; it is also visually and aurally powerful – close to overw

Frailty

Written & directed by Sue Ingleton. Pricking Thumbs Collective. The Engine Room, View Street, Bendigo. 16-20 August 2017

‘Frailty, thy name is woman,’ says Hamlet.  He’s fulminating about his oh-so-recently widowed mother’s o’er hasty marriage to his uncle Claudius.  She’s weak, he thinks; she gave in to Claudius and to base, rank desires – which, really, she is too old to feel…  Really? 

Niche

Created by Eryn Jean Norvill & Emily Tomlins; directed by Nic Holas; original soundtrack/music by Eryn Jean Norvill, Marcel Dorney & Robin Waters. Elbow Room and Darebin Arts Speakeasy. Northcote Town Hall, Northcote, VIC. 16-26 August 2017

Niche is a witty and coolly intelligent show, beautifully realised, about the manufacture of celebrity and other infectious creations that ‘go viral’. 

Fame – The Musical

Conceived and Developed by David De Silva. Book by Jose Fernandez. Lyrics by Jacques Levy. Music by Steve Margoshes. Title Song ‘Fame’ by Dean Pitchford and Michael Gore. Birdie Productions Executive Producer – Rodney Bertram. Director – Jordan Vassallo. Bryan Brown Theatre, Bankstown. Friday 18 – Sunday 27 August 2017

From the moment the screen lifts, the cast of Birdie Productions’ Fame – The Musical delivers a high energy performance. The choreography is tight and the movements sharp, rivalling professional musicals, while the acting and harmonies are strong.

Uncle Vanya

Written by Anton Chekhov. Directed by Michael Beh. Presented by The Curators. Magda Community Arts, Bardon Qld. 18 August – 2 September, 2017

On a windswept evening in Bardon in a lovely, intimate venue, a small independent troupe called ‘The Curators’ performed Uncle Vanya. Chekhov’s work was appreciated by a supportive opening night crowd that clearly enjoyed the script’s existential ennui, unrequited love and dark humour.

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