Reviews

Carrion

Justin Shoulder. Arts House, North Melbourne. June 27 – 30, 2018.

Carrion is a mesmerizing new solo show by Justin Shoulder. It is a challenging  performance combining dance, music, multi media and modern sculptural practice.

Justin Shoulder is a multi–disciplinary artist who develops work around alter- personas, queer ancestral myths and migration. Carrion is an evolutionary extension that has beckoned its own life from his two earlier shows, also combining masks, costume, and gestural language.

Lucia di Lammermoor

Opera by Gaetano Donizetti. Libretto by Savlatore Cammarano/ After Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Bride of Lammermoore. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. June 28 – July 27, 2018.

This opera is famous for launching the career of Dame Joan Sutherland into the stratosphere. The frenzied ovation on opening night had an intensity which brought back memories of La Stupenda.

Jessica Pratt was towering and terrifying as the insane Lucia. Her top notes could almost crack glass.  Driven to murder on her wedding night she enters the stage covered in blood. In a giddy night of highlights her duetto with a flute, at the height of her madness, was the most sublime moment of the evening as her voice and the instrument echoed then melted into each other.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

By Simon Stephens. The National Theatre of Great Britain. Directed by Marianne Elliott. Canberra Theatre, 27 June – 1 July 2018, and touring nationally.

The National Theatre of Great Britain’s production of Simon Stephens’s play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time reflects very well the tenor of Mark Haddon’s very popular 2003 novel, admirably translating to live theatre the novel’s depiction of the inner world of the play’s young protagonist, Christopher.  The play succeeds in adding nuances impossible in book form, and in fact is sprinkled throughout with delightful surprises, including circular references to writing the book and turning it into a play.

Out of the Box Festival

Duck, World Premiere created by the Out of the Box Festival, Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane, June 26-July 1, 2018 and The Arrival, Red Leap Theatre Company, Playhouse Theatre, QPAC, June 26-July 7, 2018

Shoes belong in boxes. Children don’t. Building a theatre festival specifically for children requires looking beyond the stereotypes and traditional theatrical devices. With characters in Duck and The Arrival taking to the stage without shoes, the early indication is that the box has its rightful occupant.

White Hat Hackers

An Ella Filar and Krows Bar Kabaret Production. Performed by Greg Fryer, Linda Cookson, Joanna Millet, Anthony Winnick & Chris Molyneux. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton, VIC. 26 June – 1 July 2018

Billed as the story of a ‘self-confessed Internet addict… [who] stumbles on Krows Bar Kabaret – a special branch of the wildly subversive White Hat Hackers’, this black comedy cabaret show satirises our contemporary obsessions with on-line stuff and how it can take over our lives. 

Don’t Monkey With Broadway

Patti Lupone with Joseph Thalken (Piano) & QCGU Choir. QPAC, Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. Conservatorium Theatre, Southbank. Brisbane, 27 June 2018

Patti LuPone is a Broadway legend. In a spectacular career that has seen her win two Tony Awards and been nominated for another five, there has rarely been a theatre season on Broadway since she starred as Evita in 1979 when she hasn’t appeared in a musical or play. This new show, which originated in her hometown of Newport, Long Island, is a career run-down with a difference as she sings songs from shows that influenced her, songs that were originally sung by other characters, and of course songs from her hit shows.

Unqualified

By Genevieve Hegney and Catherine Moore. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Janine Watson. 22 June – 21 July 2018

Before an over-insistent backdrop of Casual Jobs advertisements (‘Must be willing to wear coconut shells’) and on the setting for another play (Marjorie Prime), come two 30-something female actors with something to say. Between raising young families and all the stresses of feeding acting careers, Genevieve Hegney and Catherine Moore have snatched the time to write and perform Unqualified, the story of two women who start a temp agency with no extra employees. They’re on to a winner.

Les Misérables

Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg. Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. Original French text byAlain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel. Additional Material by James Fenton. Adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Savoyards (Qld). Iona Performing Arts Centre. June 23 – July 7, 2018.

When Victor Hugo wrote about the political and social issues of his day, he never would have imagined the ripple effect his novel would have in the musical world. The questions are epic. We follow protagonist Jean Valjean and the iconic characters and their struggles to face what it means to be humane and compassionate, to love and to die, and to listen to the stories of silenced voices. With Savoyards at the helm, they take this already iconic show and bundle it together with some of the best talent Brisbane has to offer.

Brave World

Retro Futurismus. fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. June 21 – July 8, 2018.

Brave World is the dynamic new show by Retro Futurismus!

Robust and fabulous, distilled with their own peculiar blend of feminist cabaret, circus and vaudeville, they ardently deliver innovative acts that question our dystopian age.

The show begins with the Gemini twins Anni and Maude Davey delving into a poignant socio–politico singing commentary about the passing decades from the sixties through to our current Trump era. A dazzling duet with cutting edge material that sets the show on fire.

4Seasons

Devised by Expressions Dance Company and City Contemporary Dance Company (Hong Kong). Choreographed by Natalie Weir, Dominic Wong and Kristina Chan. Rehearsal Directors Bruce Wong, Sally Wicks and Lizzie Vilmanis. Presented by Expressions Dance Company, City Contemporary Dance Company (Hong Kong) and Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Playhouse Theatre QPAC, 14 – 22 June, 2018

A truly magical cross cultural collaboration of contemporary dance was presented on the Playhouse Theatre stage this month. The show was the result of months of teamwork between the highly regarded Expressions Dance Company from Australia and City Contemporary Dance Company from China. Three amazing choreographers created work with the dancers from both companies on the theme of ‘four seasons’.

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