Rapture, Blister, Burn

By Gina Gionfriddo. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Sandra Bates. 31 October – 7 December, 2013

The pocket-sized Ensemble Theatre runs a juicy sideline of smart off-Broadway plays not considered enticing enough by the bigger companies. Exactly a year after successfully staging Gina Gionfriddo’s excellent Becky Shaw, the company now presents her equally bracing new play, a 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Rapture, Blister, Burn may have an obscure and unhelpful title, but this challenging depiction of smart 40-somethings living with the consequences of youthful choices is whip-smart and always compelling.

The Mountaintop

By Katori Hall. Melbourne Theatre Company (Vic). Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne. Director: Alkinos Tsilimidos. Set and Costume Design: Shaun Gurton. Lighting Design: Matt Scott. Composer and Sound Design: Tristan Meredith. 6th November – 18th December, 2013

On a long stormy night in 1968, Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr (Bert LaBonte) is holed up in his Memphis hotel room, weary, alone and downhearted. After years of preaching, ‘testifying’ and advocating for an end to racial inequality what does he have to show for it? Camae, a maid (Zahra Newman), arrives with coffee and the evening plunges into a series of revelations, confessions and surprises.

I thought I was not alone

Part of the Made in Canberra series. Performed by Sydney Creswick and Fresh Funk. Arranged by Joe McEvilly. The Street Theatre. 1 – 2 November, 2013

Canberra band Sidney Creswick teamed up with Tuggeranong dance troupe Fresh Funk and Melbourne jazz composer Joe McEvilly in this sweet show, which is exactly what it sounds like: funk moves set to a live rock band. The audience were encouraged to keep their phones on, take photos and post updates to The Street’s Facebook page.


By Alex Buzo. Don’t Look Away. NIDA Parade Studio. Director Phil Rouse. 30 October – 9 November 2013

The old ‘B’ is still going strong

Disco Inferno

Music from the 70’s. Book by Jai Sepple. Canterbury Theatre Guild. November 1 – 9, 2013.

The smoke machine set off the alarm at the Bexley RSL, so before a note had been played the audience enjoyed the unexpected appearance of the fire brigade on stage.

This was appropriate for a jukebox musical which has a lead song and title Disco Inferno comprising the lyrics Burn Baby Burn.

Thankfully there was smoke but no fire and without much delay the Disco Ball started spinning.

I must declare my interest up front.

The Club

By David Williamson, Galleon Theatre (SA). Director: Vicky Horwood. Domain Theatre, Marion Cultural Centre. October 31 – November 9, 2013

One of the definitions of the word meeting is ‘an assembly or gathering of two or more people for a specific purpose’. The Club, by David Williamson, uses many such informal and self-managed meetings to expose the wheeling and dealing & power struggles in this satirical play set in a late 1970’s Australian Football Club Boardroom.

In Galleon Theatre’s production, Peter Smith is a fervent Ted Parker, the Club president. His character’s great passion and love for the game and the local club seeps through his performance.

The Light in the Piazza

By Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas. Malvern Theatre. Director: Alan Burrows. Musical Director: Shirley White. November 1 – 16, 2013

The Light in the Piazza had its amateur premier recently at the Athenaeum Theatre in Lilydale and I caught the opening night of a return season at the Malvern Theatre, so it was a very well-oiled production and the sets appeared to have been designed for this theatre.

The Light in the Piazza debuted in 2005 with music written by Adam Guettel, Richard Rodgers’ grandson. There was no similarity in style between the two composers. I didn’t come away whistling the tunes, though more familiarity might help. It was not easy to sing.


By Sarah Doyle. Paddington Arts Club and Rock Surfers Theatre Company. The Bondi Pavilion Theatre. October 29 – November 23, 2013.

Phil Walker was sexually abused by fellow private school students. Matty Buttiker stood by and watched. Years later, Walker is arrested for murdering one of his attackers – “It was a mercy killing. He doesn’t have to live with himself now …” – and Buttiker, now a successful barrister, offers to take his case free of charge.

Carmen Sweet

Natalie Weir’s contemporary ballet to Rodion Shchedrin’s reworking of Bizet’s Carmen Suite. Expressions Dance Company & Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Cremorne Theatre. October 31 – November 2, 2013

It’s not surprising that this is the company’s most popular ballet  ̶ familiar story and wonderfully evocative music.

The Pirates of Penzance

By Gilbert and Sullivan. The Production Company. Director: Dean Bryant. Hamer Hall. October 30 – November 3, 2013.

The satire which infused all Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas has long since been forgotten. Who was the model for the Modern Major – General (who knew nothing about the military) that they lampooned? Audiences in the 1880s certainly knew and laughed, for G&S were astonishingly modern and daring for their time.

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