Reviews

The Diary of Anne Frank

By Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. Castle Hill Players. The Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill. September 20 to October 12, 2019

Few World War II stories are more touching than schoolgirl Anne Frank’s naïve description of the three years she and her family spent hiding with others from Nazi occupation above her father’s factory in Amsterdam.

Her guileless words tell the story of eight people crowded together in a makeshift hideout, keeping silent by day lest the factory hands grow suspicious. How they shared meagre rations scrounged on the black market by two trusted friends. How they lived in fear every moment of being informed upon by ruthless Nazi sympathisers.

This Is Our Pilot

Created & performed by Annie Lumsden & Lena Moon. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Coopers Inn, Exhibition Street. 20 – 27 September 2019

Here’s the set-up: Annie and Lena have (somehow) secured an interview to pitch some ideas for new television shows to Mr Big TV Man (unseen).  The motive is more mercenary than artistic.  Thus their show has the opportunity to reference – and send up – a variety of television show genres: the ‘reality’ show, the quiz show, the Playschool type show, and so on. 

Spencer

By Katy Warner. Lab Kelpie. Directed by Sharon Davis. The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre NSW. 19-21 September, 2019, and touring

It’s always incredible and maybe even a bit disconcerting to watch a piece with personalities that you feel you really know. The characters in Spencer are so keenly written that they felt immediately recognisable, especially if, like me, you come from a family of Aussie bogan sports nuts.

Kelly

By Matthew Ryan. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director: Cilla Scott. 20th September – 5th October, 2019

Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly (December 1854 – 11th November 1880) was an Australian bushranger, outlaw, gang leader and convicted police murderer. By far our most famous bushranger, he is best remembered for wearing a suit of bulletproof armour during his final shootout with police, which resulted in his capture. Originally interred in an unmarked grave, his remains were reburied in the cemetery at Greta, Victoria on 20thJanuary 2013.

Class of 2019 Musical Theatre Showcase

Batchelor of Musical Theatre Students from the Performing Arts Department of Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. Piano: Heidi Loveland. Choreographer: Joseph Simons. Burke Street Studio, Wooloongabba, Brisbane. 18-21 September 2019

This year’s third-year student showcase was extremely well-co-ordinated, with the segues from one item to another handled with melodic invention, making it one of the best showcases of recent times. Singing mainly contemporary musical theatre pieces from the past 20 years (a lot of Jason Robert Brown and Justin Paul and Benj Pasek), the hour quickly disappeared as the cast showed off their considerable talents.

The Wharf Revue 2019: Unr-dact-d

By Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phil Scott. Sydney Theatre Company. Riverside Theatre Parramatta. September 18 – 21, 2019 and touring.

2019 has given the Wharf Revue creators – Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phil Scott – a wealth of material with which to work. Their sharp eyes and mischievous minds have crafted a revue that maintains the trademark of their brand: cutting satire interspersed with a few serious moments. Politics and parity loom large this year – and nothing is redacted!

The Briefing

Created and performed by Melissa McGlensey. Directed by Adam Hembree. Melbourne Fringe. Universal Restaurant, 141 Lygon St, Carlton. 19-24 September, 2019.

This performance highlights the strange and troubled times that we face in the current global political landscape. The show imagines the former White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, on tour in Australia and wreaking havoc. McGlensey cleverly structures the comedy routine as a press briefing where the audience stands in as the members of the press.

Hard Sell

A circus variety showcase from NICA’s 2019 graduating class. Presented by NICA National Circus Centre, 39-59 Green St, Prahran. 18 - 21 September, 2019.

Hard Sell is contextualised as form of auctioning of circus talent, where the performers are determined to outshine their competitors in the hope of being selected by talent scouts. The idea of creating a showcase which focuses on the pressure and importance of the graduating class performances is ingenious. This provides a great structure for the individual artists to own the stage and test their talents to the fullest.

High Performance Packing Tape

Sydney Opera House presents a Branch Nebula production. Studio Theatre, Sydney Opera House. 17 – 22 September 2019

Be prepared: there are no numbered seats, so when the audience is allowed into the Studio Theatre (after queuing for 15 minutes past the advertised start time) there’s a scramble for seating. There’s also no program, so I have only the Opera House’s What's On Guide to tell me that it’s Lee Wilson who is flat on his back blowing up a big balloon.

Broken River

By Tony Reck. Directed by Richard Murphet. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton. 12 -22 September 2019

It begins in traditional style: in the dead of night, two men – brothers - carry an eviscerated corpse wrapped in black plastic.  Their mother has ordered them to dump it in a mine shaft.  They don’t; they bury it in a shallow hole at Broken River.  We know the body will be found and somebody, besides this pair, will be in big trouble… 

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