Reviews

Anna Bella Eema

By Lisa D’Amour. The Motley Bauhaus at 8.15. (102 Scotchmer Street, Fitzroy North). 10 -15 September 2019

As invitations to Fringe show are bountiful and reviewers are spoilt for choice, it is difficult to know what to pick to see.  Motley Bauhaus caught my eye.  Confident that Jason Cavanagh would program unique interesting shows I said yes to seeing Anna Bella Eema. And, I am very glad I did, it is a delightful joy filled gem – like an extremely old glowing piece of polished Amber filled with tiny natural treasures. But it has such a short season in a quirky little theatre space.

Anna Bella Eemais by American playwright Lisa D’Amour.

The God of Isaac

By James Sherman. Shalom Institute. Directed by Moira Blumenthal. Eternity Playhouse Darlinghurst. Sept 5 – 22, 2019.

Oy Vey – any more Jewish and they would be serving chicken soup with matzah balls as you entered the theatre. Like a generous Bar Mitzvah spread, there are mountains of food to feast upon. The dishes on offer included a mother’s guilt, corny jokes, angst, marrying out of the faith and Nazis.

A straw poll of Jews at the opening night performance found nine out of ten thoroughly enjoyed the production, one said it gave him indigestion – whilst the non-Jew I spoke to was underwhelmed.

From Darkness

Written by Steven Oliver. Directed by Isaac Drandic. Presented by La Boite and Brisbane Festival. La Boite Roundhouse Theatre. 7 - 28 September, 2019

Spiritualists and scientists have long spoken of the interconnectedness of all things. It’s one of the biggest philosophical concepts one can tackle. Steven Oliver’s From Darkness handles the subject with intelligence, humour and sensitivity. The writing is undeniably excellent. It’s clever yet accessible, heartfelt without being cloying.

Buffy Kills Edward

Created by Laura Wiley. Emma Knights Productions. Directed by Megan Doherty. Gasworks Art Park, 21 Graham St, Melbourne. 12-14 September, 2019.

Can someone (your friendly reviewer, for instance) who, before seeing this show, barely comprehended (and to be honest, barely comprehends after it) that the casts of Buffy and Twilight exist in different realities/universes, still get heaps of hearty laughs from a musical spoof of these phenomena that have largely passed him by? In other words, does Buffy Kills Edward have the potential to deliver a good time in the theatre for a novice newcomer as well as a die-hard fan? Absolutely, it can.

Sex and The Musical

Created by Laura Wiley. Emma Knights Productions. Directed by Steph Gonelli. Gasworks Art Park, 21 Graham St, Melbourne. 12-14 September, 2019.

Before seeing this show, can someone who could name the central quartet of actors from Sex and the City but not necessarily identify their character names with confidence, still enjoy an unofficial, satirical musical prequel to the television series? In other words, can Sex and the Musical potentially ‘cross over’ to novice new-comers in addition to entertaining die-hard fans? Absolutely, it can.

Summer of the Aliens

By Louis Nowra. Essendon Theatre Company, 9 Bradshaw Street Essendon. September 5 –14, 2019

Essendon Theatre Company have every reason to be very proud of this lovely smooth, seamless, clear, and even handed production of Louis Nowra’s coming of age play, Summer of the Aliens.  This production is a must if you haven’t seen this significant slice of Australian Theatre History.

Nowra has written some very probing and moving works such as Inside the Island, The Golden Age and Cosi.  As a playwright he was particularly prolific in the 1980’s and 90’s.

Thrills and Chills

By Richard James, James Forte and Scott Mullen. Directed by Monique Lewit, David Gribble and James Forte. KADS Town Square Theatre, Kalamunda. 20 August - 7 September, 2019

KADS’ One Act Season featured a trio of short plays, all with plots that kept the audience on the edge of their seats, and more than a little on the scary side.

Nine

By Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston. Based on the Fellini movie 8½. Little Triangle. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre. September 6 – 14, 2019

Glorious female harmonies resonate through the tiny black box theatre as Nine opens with the “Overture Dell Donne”, tantalizing the audience with the promise of a musically thrilling evening ahead. That promise is fulfilled in spades.

The visual tone is set too. Simple but striking, an upstage orchestra is seen, filtered through a scrim. Minimal props allow a large cast of talented women, stylishly dressed predominantly in black, with an occasional flash of white, to fill the stage, atmospherically lit by James Wallis

Suavé

The Pink Flamingo Spiegelclub. Gold Coast. Opened Aug 22nd, 2019 for a twelve month season

It isn’t possible to review this show without saying something about the spectacular venue that has been created to house it. Though the words “Las Vegas” are being bandied about, the Spiegelclub is much more like the Lido de Paris in its heyday. It’s Pink (obviously) and pays homage to the wonderful Art Deco period of the 1920s and 30s. The service is spectacular, nothing is too much trouble for the delightful waitresses (ours was Bronte, who was just brilliant), who are modestly dressed, and the food platters are divine and part of your ticket price in most cases.

Swing on This

Courier-Mail Spiegeltent. Brisbane Festival. 7–11 September 2019.

The classy Swing on This team show why they are festival faves – with a high-energy show in South Bank’s Spiegeltent, the ideal venue for this very cool show. With audience participation encouraged, it’s a perfect weekend kickstarter to get the Brisbane Festival up and running – and swinging in style! And what a start – grooving along to hits from the Sinatra canon – Mack the Knife, New York New York, That’s Life, One for my Baby (and one more for the road).

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