Reviews

The 39 Steps

Adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan and Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps. Director: Terence O’Connell
. Hit Productions. The Q, Queanbeyan, 8-12 October 2013 and touring Australia

If you’re partial to noir thrillers and like your humour hammy, you’ll enjoy The 39 Steps. Based on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 classic thriller, this adaptation is a top class piss-take. Mike Smith gets to show off his dashing strut and pencil moustache flaunting skills as hero Richard Hannay, while Anna Burgess hams the bejesus out of three femmes fatale, using wigs, gorgeous makeup and overacting to perfection to distinguish mysterious foreigner Annabella, unworldly Scottish Pamela and ditzy Margaret.

Carousel

By Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Babirra Music Theatre. Director: Chris Bradke. Musical Director: Ryan Jacobs. Choreographer: Di Crouch. The Whitehorse Centre, Nunawading. October 11 – 19, 2013.

There was much to like about Babirra’s Carousel, though it didn’t quite scale the heights they have been achieving recently. The opening was impressive with a full size abstract carousel being erected by Billy Bigelow on the revolving stage with flashing lights and two dimensional horses. It was a lot of effort for a few minutes.

The revolving stage occupied most of the stage area and was used quite extensively with great effect. It also meant that some scenes were played with a bare stage, but effective lighting made for a successful show. 

Hay Fever

By Noël Coward. New Theatre. October 8 – November 2, 2013.

Australian’s aren’t too practised at perfecting Noël Coward and certainly not at the New, where he’s the antithesis to its historic association with socially relevant theatre.

Coward requires the lightest of touches. The truth needs careful separating, slow heating into a bouncy soufflé, sprinkled with crisply nuanced dialogue: a gossamer of society and manners which amuses as much as it disguises.

ROAM

By Adam Cass. Directed by Gary Abrahams. Red Stitch Actors Theatre, St Kilda. 10 October – 9 November, 2013.

Adam Cass’ ROAM opens with couple, Johnny and Julia, sitting down to dinner, mobile phones prominently placed on the table alongside their meals – one small example of modern technology obtruding into their lives. From the start it’s clear this couple are having some problems – but their lack of communication is about to get much worse.

M+M

Daniel Schlusser Ensemble / Melbourne Festival. Theatre Works, Melbourne. October 11,12, 13, 14 and 16, 2013

The Daniel Schlusser Ensemble’s M+M is a piece of theatre that defies easy categorisation and straightforward description. You could broadly call it a piece of avant garde performance art, but that catch-all overview doesn’t give much indication of style or content. The program notes invite the audience to enter it as “a piece of theatrical architecture, a space where reality is a fragile commodity”.

Fat Pig

Written by Neil LaBute. Directed by Daniel Frederiksen. Labkelpie Productions. Chapel off Chapel. 9th - 20th October, 2013.

They say that love is blind, but how do you make it deaf and dumb as well? And if you fall in love with a fat girl, can you withstand the onslaught of jibes and jokes from your friends and colleagues? That’s the dilemma playwright LaBute explores in Fat Pig. La Bute has been labelled a misogynist and a misanthropist many times over.  Certainly he’s a cynic, but actually the play is surprisingly gentle.

Othello

By William Shakespeare, directed by Nicholas Hytner. National Theatre Live (cinema screening of Britain’s National Theatre production). Participating cinemas nationwide from October 12.

Sharmill Films continues its very worthy presentation of the National Theatre Live film series with Nicholas Hytner’s production of Shakespeare’s Othello, starring Adrian Lester as the Moor and Rory Kinnear as Iago. The contemporary setting in a Middle Eastern military base, with the cast dressed in combat greens, serves once again to underscore the timelessness of Shakespeare’s work and the depressing realisation that human nature has barely changed one jot since this work was first staged back in the 17th century.

God Of Carnage

By Yasmina Reza. Directed by Justin Stephens. The Bakery. 1812 Theatre. Oct 9th – Nov 2nd, 2013.

1812 has another successful production on its hands thanks to the considerable skills of young director Justin Stephens and an exemplary cast. Once again the line between Community Theatre (amateur) and professional theatre is blurred to a mere faint smudge.

The Floating World

By John Romeril. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre, Sydney. Director: Sam Strong. 4 October – 16 November, 2013

John Romeril’s free-wheeling 1974 drama is given a welcome revival by Sydney’s Griffin Theatre Company, as dedicated a group of contemporary Australian writing enthusiasts as was Melbourne’s famed Australian Performing Group, whose production of The Floating World at The Pram Factory was one of their proudest achievements.

The Tragedy of Lucrece

By Enzo Condello. World Premiere – 2013 Melbourne Fringe Festival. Directed by Brenda Addie. Richmond Library Theatrette. September 19 – October 6, 2013

This new work is loosely based upon Shakespeare’s narrative poem the Rape of Lucrece. Set in Rome, 500 BC, we find the arrogant Prince Tarquin and his nobleman friend Collantine discussing women in general, and in particular Collantine’s wife Lucrece, whose virtue and modesty is famed throughout Rome.Prince Tarquin believes all women are immoral, and sets out to prove it by raping Lucrece.  

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