Reviews

Private Lives

By Noël Coward. Castle Hill Players. Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill. Nov 16 - Dec 8, 2018

With the voices of Gertrude Lawrence and Coward himself infusing the action, director Jan Mahoney pays tribute to one of the twentieth century’s theatrical ‘greats”. Playwright, composer, librettist, musician, satirist, actor, director – Sir Noël Coward made his special mark on stage and screen in England and America. His plays live on as classic vignettes of the wealthy social ‘set’ of London in the 1920s and 30s.

Hedda

A re-imagining of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler By Melissa Bubnic. Directed by Paige Rattray. Presented by Queensland Theatre. Bille Brown Theatre, 10 November - 8 December, 2018

It’s always with some trepidation that we approach a modern adaptation of a well-known classic. Reinventing a script from the 1890s and turning it into something that’s relevant and relatable to contemporary audiences is no easy task. It often just feels gimmicky and forced. So it’s with much relief that we see Melissa Bubnic’s reimagined Hedda Gabler doesn’t just do the original Ibsen work justice, it’s also exceptionally relevant to modern Australian society.

The Wharf Revue – Deja Revue

By Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsythe. Sydney Theatre Company. Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay. Nov 13 – Dec 15, 2018

Eighteen years later and still a riot, the annual Wharf Revue has now moved across the road to the big theatre, the Roz Packer. 

And while the founding writers and creators, Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsythe, have gained two new cast members and a new musical director, their show has lost a touch of its old home’s intimacy.  

Rachael Beck is a great musical and dancing addition; so not surprisingly music director Andrew Worboys has upped the number and pizzazz of the songs.

School of Rock

By Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julian Fellowes and Glenn Slater. Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne. Opening Night: November 9, 2018.

Based on the 2003 film of the same name, School of Rock has been revamped by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julian Fellowes and Glenn Slater into a highly-enjoyable romp that appeals, literally, to all ages.

12 Angry Men

By Reginald Rose. Everyman Theatre. Directed by Jarrad West. Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 14-24 November 2018

Take a room full of testosterone. Pressurise it with heat, sweat, humidity, life and death decisions, a fan that doesn’t work and just the one face towel that pretty much all the men use to mop their brows. Throw in racism and rationality, and you have the makings of a tense 90 minutes. 12 Angry Men is the prototypical jury drama, written in 1954 by Reginald Rose and reworked dozens of times thereafter.

Mandy Patinkin In Concert: Diaries 2018

Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House. November 14, 2018

Broadway musical theatre legend Mandy Patinkin, also well known for his film and television work, has returned to Australia, this time presenting a far more personal, reflective concert than we’ve seen before.

1916, A Love Story

By John Beaton. Darlington Theatre Players. Directed by Neroli Sweetman. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. 11 Nov - 8 Dec, 2018

Darlington Theatre Players opened this locally written world premiere on Remembrance Day, a fitting choice for this show, which is set around the Conscription Referendum of 1916.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

By Wagner. Opera Australia. Director: Kasper Holten. Revival Director: Dan Dooner. Conductor: Pietari Inkinen. Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre. November 13 – 22, 2018

Wagner’s comic opera, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, made a triumphant return to the Arts Centre last night. The sweep of the music and the power of the production kept the audience enthralled at a very long night at the opera.

Orchestra Victoria was in fine form, and there was added interest when some brass and percussion took up positions in the boxes at the side. The chorus singing was thrilling.

Next Move 11

Chunky Move. Lauren Langlois & Joel Bray. Chunky Move Studios, Melbourne. Nov 9 – 17, 2018.

Next Move began ten years ago, creating opportunities for dance artists  to explore and develop their own  full scale productions.

This year we see two innovative experimental dance performances, Nether (Lauren Langlois) and Dharawungara (Joel Bray).

The Dance of Death

By August Strindberg. Belvoir St Theatre. November 10 – December 23, 2018

Constantly revived, August Strindberg’s portrait of a murderously unhappy marriage on their silver anniversary, has been a honey pot for star actors for decades.  

Star actor herself, Judy Davis here turns again to directing her husband, Colin Friels, matched with the celebrated Pamela Rabe.  Living in an old Swedish island fortress, Edgar is a retired captain of uncertain health and Alice a former, probably bad, actress plotting his end. 

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