Reviews

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).

The Critic

By Gabriel Bergmoser. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. Sep 9 – 15, 2019

The Critic is a hilarious new comedy about the theatre world by the award winning writer Gabriel Bergmoser, from the innovative team at Bitten By Productions. These guys are set on delivering quality, thought-provoking material to their growing audiences.

A Night of Comedy

By Don Zolidis and James Forte. Directed by Taneal Thompson, Rebecca Höök and Chris McRae. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. August 30 - Sep 7, 2019

Darlington Theatre Players presented an evening of one act comedies as a prelude to their entries in Hills Fest and Youth Fest, both of which are also being held at Marloo Theatre.

Kinky Boots

Book by Harvey Fierstein. Music and Lyrics by Cyndi Lauper. Rockdale Musical Society. Directed by Rod Herbert and Carina Herbert. Rockdale Town Hall. September 6 to 14, 2019

The curtain opened to the sight of a highly sophisticated set portraying the factory floor of Price and Sons shoe factory. The hardware was imported from CLOC Musical Theatre in Melbourne, but just as spectacular were the costumes and boots, lovingly sewn together by the volunteers of the Rockdale Musical Society.

The Rapture Chapter II: Art vs Extinction

Created, written and directed by Moira Finucane. Co-directed by Jackie Smith, presented by Finucane & Smith, fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 4 – 29 September, 2019.

While The Rupture has not been described as a work of ecofeminism, Chapter II brings Finucane’s work much closer to this realm. Here she makes strong links between patriarchal structures and the threat to the environment. Finucane opens the performance dressed as a fantastical ice queen, typical of her magic realism, and both the feminist and ecological messages are merged. This sequence speaks to the ways in which patriarchal ideology is often self-imposed by women and this is immediately juxtaposed with the destruction of Antarctic glaciers.  

The Woman in the Window

By Alma de Groen.  Canberra Repertory. Directed by Liz Bradshaw.  Theatre 3, 5–21 September 2019. 

The consequence of societal failure to learn the lessons of history underpins this combination of historical and science fiction.  In 1950s Stalinist Russia, innocents are routinely arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned or “disappeared” in ideological pogroms, and the politically suspect poet Anna Akhmatova (a historical poet of the era, played with compelling restraint by Karen Vickery), is obliged to appear at her window at two set times daily to prove that she has not left her flat, which she now shares with Lili (played with great intensity

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