Reviews

Koo Koo the Bird Girl

By Sarah Houbolt. Presented by Darebin Arts Speakeasy and Melbourne Fringe. Studio 2, Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre. 20 – 27 September, 2018.

Sarah Houbolt’s uncanny resemblance to Minnie Woolsley is truly haunting. Woolsley starred as her character Koo Koo in the 1932 film Freaks (Tod Browning), a pre-code horror film about carnival characters featuring disabled performers. The film was considered so shocking and controversial it was banned for 30 years. Houbolt’s affinity to the film and the character is completely indulged in this magical and eerie performance. 

How I Met My Dead Husband

By Lansy Feng. Melbourne Fringe. Gasworks Arts Park ARB Gallery. September 20 – 27, 2018

The Melbourne Fringe Festival is just another reason why Melbourne is one of the great Arts cities in the world. With its open access ethos, the Fringe allows artists to express themselves in spaces large and small and on topics which may not necessarily fit into the mainstream.   

Spartacus

The Australian Ballet, with Orchestra Victoria. Arts Centre Melbourne. 18th – 29th September, 2018

Choreographer Lucas Jervies has spent years working on this world premiere of Spartacus, the latest iteration of Aram Khachaturian’s epic work. For The Australian Ballet, this piece has been spruiked far and wide as the jewel in the crown of this year’s season.

Horror

Concept and Direction: Jakop Ahlbom. Arts Centre Melbourne. September 18 – 22, 2018

You don’t need to be a horror film junkie, or even fan, to get great value and enjoyment out of Horror.  If you are looking for a fun evening that is creepy, sinister, unsettling, weird, full of clever shocks and surprises then it is certainly worth catching this show from Swedish Director Jakob Ahlbom.

The Hatpin

Music: Peter Rutherford. Book & Lyrics: James Millar. Oz Theatricals. Director: David Harrison. Musical Director: Julie Whiting. Spring Hill Reservoir, Brisbane. September 20 – 23, 2018

Brisbane’s newest independent community theatre Oz Theatricals is presenting the Queensland premiere of Peter Rutherford and James Millar’s darkly themed musical The Hatpin. An art-house piece, it’s a brave choice but one that paid off handsomely.

Set in Sydney in 1892 and based on a true story, director David Harrison has given this Dickensian tale an almost grand operafeel with a heightened sense of reality that underlines the horror of the plot - a young single mother who puts her baby into care with tragic results.

Beasts

By Juan Radrigan. Melbourne Fringe. La Mama Courthouse. September 19 – 30, 2018

In a small remote village in the Andes highlands in Chile, back in the early seventies, lived three ageing sisters. Hardworking, god fearing and marginalized by their remoteness, land sources were drying up and local people moving on too bigger cites. They eventually find themselves trapped by distance, increased isolation and a faint hunch of a changing political climate.

The Season

By Nathan Maynard. Tasmania Performs. Riverside Theatres Parramatta. September 20 – 22, 2018, Seymour Centre, September 25 - 29.

I have always had such a sense of pride in our community and wanted to create a story that not only our mob could see themselves in …”. Nathan Maynard has certainly achieved that in this very natural and moving play about the importance of family, traditions, trust and the strength that comes from belonging.

Casting Off.

Created and Performed by Debra Batton, Sharon Gruenert and Spenser Inwood. Dramaturg: Alexandra Harrison. A Good Catch / Melbourne Fringe Festival. The Melba – Spiegeltent, 35 Johnston St Collingwood. 20 – 23 September 2018.

This is a fantastic opportunity to watch three generations of amazing Australian circus talent in one show. Urban knitting functions as both set and costume design and clearly indicates the show’s political edge. The daring, dangerous and awe-inspiring acrobatics are performed with amazing skill and are also accompanied by a sensational delivery of lists, poems, conversations, melodies, arguments and biographies. This discourse is hilarious, profound and touching and the naturalness with which it is simultaneously delivered with the physical feats is truly astonishing.

Jurassica.

By Dan Giovannoni. Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre and Critical Stages. Directed by Bridget Balodis. The Q, Queanbeyan, 19–22 September 2018.

Depicting three generations of an Italian-Australian family, Jurassica weaves backward and forward to unravel the estrangements between grandfather, father, and son, using English and Italian dialogue to great effect.  The play is not entirely realistic: individual speech and action substitutes, in places, tropes for substantial content, and old / middle-aged / teen stereotypical characteristics for individual character traits, resulting in anachronisms of character.  And severa

The Comedy of Errors

By William Shakespeare. A TheatreiNQ production directed by Terri Brabon. Queens Gardens, Townsville. 18 – 30 September 2018.

What a rousin’ riproarin’ production this was – and for a Shakespearean comedy that is not often performed, TheatreiNQ’s latest outdoor Shakespeare The Comedy of Errors has got to be the definitive version in my mind.

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