Reviews

Underpass

Conceived and Created by Untreated. Presented by Big West Festival. Writer / Director: Casey Nicholls. Performers – David Bol, Damien Busuttil, Justin Grant, Dara Klein and Rexson Pelman. November 16-19, 2011.

Under a bridge with a graffiti backdrop, a set of a couple of simple scaffolds and a stage of hilly rocky dirt to work on - raising the dust are five strong and talented young actors who express some of the torture of lives fractured and destabilised by brutal neglect, violent attack, the abuse of substances and mental illness.  This is confronting site specific theatre embedded in a wholly suitable site.

Under Milk Wood

By Dylan Thomas. Heidelberg Theatre Company. Directed by Chris Baldock, assisted by Helen Ellis. Nov 17 – Dec 3, 2011.

Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood is a dazzling piece of writing, so alive and so descriptive of the inhabitants of the Welsh village of Llareggub, you can see, hear, smell and feel the place. From this gorgeous source material, director Chris Baldock and assistant director Helen Ellis have created a truly magical show.

From its clever, deceptively simple set - allowing characters to move in and out of each other’s lives, doorways and hearts with ease – to the impressively consistent performances of its large ensemble cast, this show is a delight.

Starship Odyssey

Impro A.C.T. Directed by Christopher Allen. The Street Theatre. 25–26 November 2011.

Impro theatre is going from strength to strength in Canberra.  That may partly be due to the training that Impro A.C.T.'s players receive in creative response to the unexpected.  But it must be due too to the fun of watching the players' reactions and hearing great lines delivered unrehearsed.

The Ugly One

By Marius Von Mayenburg. Griffin Theatre, Sydney. Director: Sarah Giles. November 23 – December 17, 2011

Grey Gardens

Music: Scott Frankell, Lyrics: Michael Korie, Book: Doug Wright. The Production Company. Playhouse, the Arts Centre (Vic). November 24 – December 4, 2011.

Let us give thanks to the Theatre Gods for Jeanne Pratt, Chairman of the The Production Company, for being brave enough to bring to Melbourne many offerings, Grey Gardens being one, that larger commercial companies do not even have on their radar.

‘Allo ‘Allo

By Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft. Lilydale Athenaeum Theatre (Vic). Director: Nicholas Ryan. November 15 – December 3, 2011.

Café René is the centre of all the action in ‘Allo ‘Allo, the stage adaption of the popular BBC TV wartime comedy series, complete with the marauding Germans looking after their future, British airmen using the café as a safe house while the Resistance comes up with crazy plans to help them escape and poor René, the proprietor, his wife and two waitresses trying to run the restaurant in a little French village, despite all that is going on around them.

We Will Show The Country

Concept: Giordano Nanni. Adapted by Andrea James and Giordano Nanni. Ilbijerri Theatre Company (VIC). La Mama Courthouse Theatre. Director: Isaac Drandic. Designer: Darryl Cordell. November 18 – 27, 2011.

The motif for the Ilbijerri Theatre Company is Bold Black Brilliant. And this is the case for the company’s latest work We Will Show the Country.

We Will Show The Country is a unique collaboration of theatre and historical fact that tells the story of the Coranderrk station; land that is now, near present day Healesville.

The station, a thriving and self-sufficient home to a number of aboriginal clans in the 1800’s inevitably came under the threat of expanding European colonisation, displacing the inhabitants yet again.

The Perils of Purity Pimble

Eltham Little Theatre. Directors: Kellie and Ian Tweeddale. Saturday November 11 – December 4, 2011

Eltham Little Theatre’s annual Music Hall was another enjoyable evening’s entertainment. Utilizing a melodrama by Joan Dalgleish, again there was no MC but we did have songs to sing along with and a few bawdy jokes.

God’s Ear

By Jenny Schwartz. Seymour Centre and Pursued by a Bear. The Reginald, Seymour Centre (NSW). November 12 – December 3, 2011.

Jenny Schwartz’s play God’s Ear deals with the pain, distress and emptiness of that is felt by a parent in the wake of the loss of a child. Conversations between partners, friends and relatives become stilted, repetitive and almost meaningless until they descend into an absurdist tapestry of clichés.

Games in the Backyard

By Edna Mazya. ATYP Studio 1 (NSW). November 17 – December 3, 2011.

Chains, a bare floor and dark shadows set the stark scene for this gut wrenching drama by Israeli playwright Edna Mazya. As the lights come up, lawyers stand still, fixing the audience, their initial interrogation establishing immediate tension. The lights go down; the characters transform; the music changes; a swing falls; and we are taken from a court room to a playground on a kibbutz where a fourteen year old girl is beguiled, teased, taunted and eventually raped by a group of teenage boys.

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