Grey Rock

Written & directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi. Remote Theatre Project. Melbourne International Arts Festival. Merlyn Theatre, The Coopers Malthouse. 9 – 12 October 2019

The ‘grey rock’ is the Moon.  In a West Bank, Palestine, villageYusuf (Khalifa Natour), a widowed and retired television repairman, is building a rocket to go there.  He’s already done time for being a troublemaker.  He keeps his project secret from his daughter Lila (Fidaa Zaidan) and definitely from Lila’s fiancé, play-it-safe Jawad (Alaa Shehada).  But he sees that he needs the help – if not the blessing – of the village imam, Sheik (Motaz Malhees).  Yusef is so intent – if not obsessed with – his plan, he is

Fully Sikh

By Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa. Barking Gecko and Black Swan. Directed by Matt Edgerton. Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth. Oct 10 - Nov 3, 2019

The World Premiere of Fully Sikh is a vibrant, clever celebration of Sikh and Punjabi culture, that is funny, warm and subtly informative. Proving very popular. this Barking Gecko and Black Swan Co-Production has already been extended, and deservedly so.

Hairspray Jr

Music: Marc Shaiman. Lyrics: Scott Wittman, Marc Shaiman. Book: Mark O’Donnell, Thomas Meehan. Adelaide Youth Theatre. Arts Theatre. October 10-12, 2019

I was lucky enough to attend the matinee performance of Adelaide Youth Theatre’s toe-tapping musical Hairspray JR. This was made extra special when I attended, as the company opened the doors for free to those with disabilities and their families. They capped the audience size, allowing for those with autism to have the space they needed to feel comfortable.

The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes

By Back to Back Theatre ensemble. Directed by Bruce Gladwin. Melbourne International Arts Festival, Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio. 9-20 October, 2019.

The five performers Michael Chan, Mark Deans, Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring and Scott Price, each with their own unique disability, recreate a kind of public forum to discuss the ways in which their contribution to and visibility in society is suppressed. From the conversations which unfold, this suppression results in excruciating personal humiliation and even unabated physical and psychological exploitation.

My Best Dead Friend

By Anya Tate-Manning and Isobel MacKinnon. Zanetti Productions. Riverside Theatres Parramatta. October 11 & 12, 2019.

The stage is bare. The backdrop looks like a chalkboard – because it is! Attached to it are five small slates. One is blank. On the bottom of each of the others the names Ali, Dougal, Tessa and Emma are printed in thick white chalk. They are the characters in the story that Anya Tate-Manning is about to tell.

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare. Bell Shakespeare. Directed by James Evans. The Playhouse, Canberra, 11–25 October 2019, and touring.

Much Ado About Nothing is the classic (and probably the first ever) romantic comedy, setting up two characters — the prince’s competent but increasingly nervous friend Benedick and the very sharp Beatrice, best friend of her cousin Hero — who are philosophically opposed though in fact they are both completely likeable, share a good deal of caustic wit, and observe life similarly.  Benedick’s friends — Claudio; Hero’s father, Leonato; and the prince, Don Pedro — and Hero’s closes

Grand Finale

Hofesh Shechter. Melbourne International Arts Festival. Arts Centre Melbourne. October 10 – 3, 2019

Contemporary composer and chorographer Hofesh Shechter offers a brilliant history of world bloodshed with true experimental finesse in his new show Grand Finale. He is no stranger to Melbourne; debuting in 2009 (Uprising and In Your Rooms), this will be his fourth spectacular visit alongside his company, at this year’s International Arts Festival.

In this wonderful powerhouse of modern dance, Shechter unravels the chaotic assemblage of the world at war, including the current climate change crisis.

13: The Musical

Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Book by Dan Ellish and Robert Horn. Adelaide Theatre Academy. Goodwood Institute, Adelaide. 11 & 12 October, 2019.

Can there be any milestone in one’s life that is more bursting with uncertain potential - for either blissful highs or ghastly lows – than the onset of puberty?

The Producers

By Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan. Babirra Music Theatre (Vic). Director: Karl McNamara. Musical Director: Vicki Quinn. Choreographer: Steve Rostron. The Whitehorse Centre, Nunawading. October 11 – 19, 2019

Babirra’s production of The Producers was a hoot!

This high energy, riotous show exceeded Babirra’s lofty standards. It was camp, it was slapstick, and it was hilarious! The dancing of the ensemble was tight, the lighting subtle, and multiple set and costume changes smooth.

A Girl’s Guide To World War

Music & Musical Direction: Aleathea Monsour. Book, Lyrics & Direction: Katy Forde. Musical Theatre Australia Inc. Events Centre, Caloundra, Qld. 11-12 October 2019 and Maleny Arts Council, 9-10 November 2019.

First produced in 2018, this new musical is being revived for runs at Caloundra and Maleny. Telling the true story of Agnes Bennett, an Australian/New Zealand doctor who, with other women, ran a hospital which served the Serbian Army in Macedonia during World War 1, the musical was highly effective in dramatising the frontline situation with comedy and pathos. More a play with songs, the cast of eight, all women, played a multitude of roles from doctors, surgeons, nurses, and ambulance girls, to Aussie soldiers and Serbian military Colonels.

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