Reviews

Silver Lining

By Sandi Toksvig. Directed by Brian Hinselwood. Presented by Centenary Theatre Group. Chelmer Community Centre, 11 May – 1 June, 2019

A group of senior women in a care facility are trapped by rising floodwaters. All hopes for rescue seem dashed, when help appears in the form of a young woman called Hope. In preparing to evacuate, the women fight off a looter, challenge one another’s beliefs and reveal some of their darkest regrets.

Bitch on Heat

By Leah Shelton. Theatre Works, St Kilda (Vic). May 14 – 19, 2019

Bitch On Heat is the new show by feminist renegade, cabaret performance artist extraordinaire Leah Shelton, also directed by the amazing live art provocateur Ursula Martinez. It is a superb satirical show that taunts us with mythology, “vintage sexism” and delivers a visual post-postmodern mash up.

Bare – a Pop Opera

Book by John Hartmere & Damon Intrabartolo, music by Damon Intrabartolo, lyrics by John Hartmere. Lane Cove Theatre Company. The Performance Space @ St Aidan's, 1 Christina Street, Longueville. May 10 - 25, 2019

Bare is not your usual musical. Sure, it’s about love and trust, but its also looks at them in a very different setting and through a much broader, more inclusive eye. Bare is the love story of two schoolboys in a catholic boarding school in America or anywhere. There are whimsical moments, very touching moments and some amusing moments – all told in thirty-six musical numbers that vary in pace and style. Singing a story isn’t ever easy. Singing it when it involves such poignantly contemporary themes is even more challenging.

Jesus Christ Superstar

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Stray Cats Theatre. Directed by Karen Francis. Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (WA). May 9-12, 2019

Jesus Christ Superstar was a huge scale production, played with great spirit, by Stray Cats Theatre at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

By Bertolt Brecht - translated by Eric Bentley. Brisbane Arts Theatre, Qld. Directed by Jane Oliffe. May 1 – 11, 2019.

Set in Georgia in the Caucasus, this epic play is one of the many plays and poems written by Bertolt Brecht and is a reflection of his thinking and, in some ways, his political beliefs. He brings to the storyline a reflection of his own life in the time of political instability, war and carnage as he developed his skills in various countries before returning to Berlin with many Marxist beliefs. He uses a baby to represent what is in dispute – the land and the people - and this becomes the symbol of unreason, disorder and injustice.

Miss Saigon

Music: Claude-Michel Schonberg. Lyrics: Alain Boublil & Richard Maltby Jnr. The Metropolitan Musical Theatre Co. of SA. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. May 9 – 18, 2019

First produced in London in 1989, Miss Saigon by Claude-Michel Schonberg (Music), Alain Boublil and Richard Maltby Jr. (Lyrics) was and remains one of the most internationally successful of the late-20th century ‘mega-musicals’. It has also, however, been perhaps the most controversial, attracting negative criticism from the start, generally associated with accusations of ‘sexism’, ‘racism’, ‘racial stereo-typing and negativity’, ‘misogyny’ and ‘cultural appropriation’.

Water

By Jane Bodie. Black Swan State Theatre Company. Directed by Emily McLean. Studio Underground. State Theatre Centre of WA. May 9-26, 2019

Black Swan State Theatre Company’s World Premiere of Water, by Jane Bodie, set around the themes of water, immigration and family, looks at three families over three eras. Almost three interlocking plays, Water is a fascinating new work.

Don Juan in Soho

University of Adelaide Theatre Guild Inc. Little Theatre, The Cloisters. May 11 – 26, 2019.

In the era of the ‘Me Too’ movement, Director Megan Dansie is both courageous and provocative in presenting Patrick Marber’s Don Juan in Soho. Written in 2006 and updated in 2017, this play is more than a comedy. Set in modern day Soho in London, it pointedly flaunts modern hedonism by confronting the audience with a gentrified ‘twit’ who lives his life unashamedly, for his own pleasure. Played by Peter Davies, Don Juan is called DJ, but we all know who he is.

Rigoletto

By Verdi. Opera Australia. Director: Elijah Moshinsky. Revival Director: Hugh Halliday. Conductor: Andrea Licata. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. May 11 – 29, 2019

Rigoletto is one of my favourite operas and I have seen many productions over the years, but can’t remember one as impressive as the current OA production.

I had not encountered this production before and it worked very well. It started in Rigoletto’s dressing room, then the set revolved to show the Duke’s party in progress, and later Rigoletto entered from the dressing room. At the end of the first scene, he returned to his dressing room, changed and the set revolved again for him to exit into the street.

The Temple

Created by – Gavin Quinn, the cast and Nicola Gunn. Pan Pan / Malthouse Theatre. Becket Theatre. 2 – 26 May 2019

The Temple is a co-production with the innovative Irish company Pan Pan.  It is provocative theatre at its most acute.  Five actors (Alijin Abella, Ash Flanders, Genevieve Giuffre, Mish Grigor and Marcus McKenzie) work as a tight, well-oiled and rehearsed ensemble.  They portray a group of characters - young contemporary individuals - engaged in a self-lead residential retreat. 

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