Reviews

Four Dogs and a Bone

By John Patrick Shanley. Q44 Theatre Company. Abbotsford Convent, St Heliers Street, Abbotsford. 9 -26 May 2019

It’s a play about ‘Hollywood’.  The ‘bone’ in question is a low-budget movie already in production.  The ‘dogs’ are four competing and very self-interested parties: the fading lead actress, Collette (Tania Knight), the beset producer, Bradley (Kostas Ilias), the ambitious ingenue (does anyone say ‘ingenue’ anymore?) Brenda (Xanthe Gunner) and the ‘sensitive’ writer, Victor (William Atkinson).  Bradley’s problems, apart from wrangling these people and a painful anal problem, is that it’s a seven-mill

The Honouring

Created and performed by Jack Sheppard. Yirramboi Festival. La Mama Courthouse. May 7 – 11, 2019

The Honouring is a courageous and hauntingly orchestrated hybrid piece of theatre created and performed by Jack Sheppard (Kuttjar Clan of the Gulf of Carpentaria), as part of the biennial Yirramboi Festival, currently on at La Mama Courthouse.

Folk

By Tom Wells. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Terence O’Connell. 3 May – 1 June 2019

Sister Winnie’s regular Guiness and singalong evening with middle-aged guitarist Stephen is abruptly shattered when 15-year-old Kayleigh hurls a brick through the front window of the nun’s house in the deprived Yorkshire seaside town of Withernsea. There’s nowt so queer as Folk, as the saying goes, and playwright Tom Wells takes pleasure in introducing us to three of the queerest, most mismatched characters ever to share space in the same play.

Small Mouth Sounds

By Bess Wohl. Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Director: Jo Turner. Eternity Playhouse, Sydney. 3 - 26 May, 2019

The small mouth sounds referred to in Small Mouth Sounds by American Bess Wohl are conversations, everyday chatter. All speech has been banned from the group of six starting a weeklong silent retreat at a hippie institute somewhere in country Australia. So how will that go? No chatter and only the occasional grunt or snatched comment among the cast for the majority of the play will lead to nothing much? Not at all: the audience must work hard to get the full story on everyone.

The Tempest

By William Shakespeare. Wyong Drama Group. Co-directed by Andy Kabanoff and Alexandra Mitchell. Wyong Grove Theatre. May 3-11, 2019

As brilliant a wordsmith as he was and as intriguing as his stories may be, Billy's oeuvre isn't for everyone. It's a veritable brain banquet when done well or downright baffling in the wrong hands. And the more our vernacular changes, the less accessible he becomes. Little wonder then, that some companies choose to specialise in his works, to keep honing and reinvigorating the genre.

The Violent Outburst That Drew Me To You

By Finegan Kruckemeyer. Melbourne Theatre Company Education. Southbank Theatre, The Lawler. 2 – 18 May 2019 and touring 22 May – 7 June.

Here’s a pacey, humorous play about ‘troubled teens’ – for teens, but with plenty of fun, insight and good writing for general audiences.  Connor (Harry Tseng) is angry, violent and in trouble at school, with his family and even with his best mate Timo (Josh Price).  His Mum and Dad (Izabella Yena and Josh Price again), at their wits’ end, take him to an old shack deep in the bush and leave him there to sort himself out.  There, by chance, he meets Lotte (Ms Yena again), a teenager with much better reasons to be angry than Connor thinks he has.

Barbara and The Camp Dogs

By Ursula Yovich and Alana Valentine. Songs by Alana Valentine, Ursula Yovich and Adm Ventoura. Director Leticia Caceres. A Belvoir Production. Queensland Theatre, Billie Brown Theatre Brisbane . May 1 – 24, 2019.

What an interesting, intriguing and absorbing play this really is. We follow the path of discovery - really re-discovery – of indigenous singer Barbara, who is singing with her band The Camp Dogs at some lowly gig  as she seeks out close family in Darwin and then Katherine. She is joined by sister Rene, also a singer, on the long motor bike trip. This was not only about the physical distance travelled but the even longer emotional one as they go back into the past of their family life and their people’s history.

Theatresports All Stars: Battle of the Champions

Enmore Theatre. May 6, 2019

Competition across the ages was buzz-word for this impro extravaganza. Theatresports veterans from the heady days of the 1980s teamed up with, or were pitted against, some of the bright young things that are making their mark on the twenty-first century impro circuit … and other stages. Together they battled for the ‘Championship’ title in a series of impro games that stretched the imagination – and the discerning eyes of the judges, led by another veteran David Poltorak.

A View from the Bridge

By Arthur Miller. Directed by Chris McLean, Heidelberg Theatre Company. 36 Turnham Ave, Rosanna. May 3 – 18, 2019.

Eddie Carbone (Mark Tregonning) is a down to earth wharfie working hard on the New York docks to provide for his family.  He is dedicated to his wife Beatrice (Catherine Christensen) and her niece Catherine (Ruby Duncan), whom he has raised as his own daughter. The idea of aiding relatives from their home country is portrayed as a genuinely altruistic act which is indicative of the kindness and compassion that the family shows towards each other and their community.

Don Giovanni

By Mozart. Co-Opera. Thomas Edmonds Opera Studio (SA). May 4-16, 2019 and touring.

Co-Opera is well known for supporting new talent and taking opera to regional and remote places. The company’s production of Don Giovanni is no exception, travelling from Adelaide to places such as Dubbo, Penola and Roxby Downs.

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