Reviews

RU4ME

By Annie Byron. True West Theatre & Riverside. Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. August 22 – 31, 2013, and touring.

RU4ME is a quirky comedy about a middle-aged woman’s foray into internet dating. Inspired originally by her own and a friend’s experiences, and adapted from Andee Jones’ book Kissing Frogs, Annie Byron adds skillful playwrighting to her already established theatrical career. As well as Andee Jones, Byron pays credit to Wayne Harrison for his encouragement, support and dramaturgical advice during the writing and editing of the play.

Savages

By Patricia Cornelius. 45 Downstairs (Vic). 16 August – 8 September, 2013.

Savages is a rich, rewarding powerful theatrical investigation of the type of masculine reality, relationships and circumstances that support, what is ultimately, predatory anti-social behavior. 

It is based on the Dianne Brimble case and explores events leading up to the discovery of her body in the small cabin on a P&O Cruse Ship that was occupied by the men who drugged and assaulted her.

Jerusalem

By Jez Butterworth. New Theatre, Newtown (NSW). August 13 – September 14, 2013.

Nicholas Eadie, as Rooster Byron, leads a very large and energetic cast in Helen Tonkin’s deft production of this play she describes as ‘a wildly original hymn to eccentricity … a lament about the erosion of country life, in part a rebuff to the antiseptic modern world’.’

Tequila Mockingbird

By Nelle Lee et al. Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Shake & Stir’s Première Production. Cremorne Theatre. 21 Aug – 7 Sept, 2013

Shake and Stir do it again – a fifth consecutive popular hit!

Inspired by Harper Lee’s classic novel, the six cast members and experienced director of new works, Michael Futcher, workshopped and rehearsed Nelle Lee’s draft script.

Babyteeth

By Rita Kalnejais, State Theatre Company of SA. Aug 16 – Sep 7, 2013

Babyteeth was a 2010 work commissioned by Belvoir and young Australian playwright Rita Kalnejais’ work ran to mixed reviews. The play, about a young teenage girl with terminal cancer, is now being staged in Adelaide under the direction of Brink Productions’ artistic director, Chris Drummond.

Indian Embrace

By Carol Dance. Nautanki Theatre. Riverside Theatre, Parramatta (NSW). Aug 21 – 25, 2013.

Indian Embrace is a complex mixture of messages about family, friends and cross-cultural relationships. There are some moments that are very moving and some that are very funny, and some characters that are well drawn and sensitively portrayed. But because the play tries to comment on so many aspects of relationships and culture, the resolution of the many complications makes the second act a little too long and much too laboured.

The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer

Writer and performer: Tim Watts. Melbourne Arts Centre, State Theatre Rehearsal Room. Saturday August 14 – 18, 2013

The production tells Alvin’s simple story of loss and hope. He is portrayed variously by Tim Watts himself, a puppet he manages formed by a glove and fishing float and an animated figure projected on a circular screen.

My eight year old companion was delighted by the cleverness of how the swaps between each of these was managed. In question time at the end she asked for details of timing and how it was done and was very satisfied with the explanation.

Singin’ in the Rain.

(Based on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film). Screenplay by Comden and Green. Songs by Brown and Freed. The Production Company Director: Gary Young. Musical Director: John Foreman. Costume Designer: Kim Bishop. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. Aug 21 – 25, 2013.

Melbourne has a healthy appetite for old time musicals. In a jammed packed State Theatre punters were all after the same thing - a night of quality entertainment and, for some, a chance to reminisce. Singin’ in the Rain tickets sales have been so good an extra show is scheduled.

In a populist move, impressive dance choreography borrows heavily from the film. And why not?  Some moves are downright iconic: Rohan Browne (Don Lockwood) splashes in puddles, there’s the couch walkover in Good Morning, and comic antics in Make Em Laugh.

Kid Stakes

Written by Ray Lawler. Directed by Christine Grant. The Basin Theatre Group. Aug 16th- Sept 8th, 2013.

No-one would deny that Lawler’s Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll is an iconic Australian play, but the prequel, Kid Stakes, written twenty years later, is not in the same league. In fact, it’s so mundane that it seems like an episode of a 1937 soapie. Therein lies the problem for TBTG, who have given me so many hours of enjoyment. Christine Grant is a very good director, I know that from previous offerings, yet she has chosen a very “middle of the road” – and thus uninspiring – approach to Lawler’s character and text.

The Comedy of Errors

Written by William Shakespeare. Directed by Imara Savage. Bell Shakespeare Fairfax Studio. Arts Centre Melbourne from Aug 20 to 31, 2013 and touring until December 7.

Most of we drama lovers are so in awe of William Shakespeare that we tend to forget that not every play is a masterpiece. Indeed, some of them are downright clunky, full of plot holes, awful exposition and are as subtle as an episode of “Mrs Brown’s Boys”.  The Comedy of Errors is one such play, written early in Will’s career as a crowdpleaser for the masses. The plot may have been new 500 years ago, but now the story of mistaken identity and separated twins, of coincidence and convenience, is just overworked.

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