Reviews

Going Down

By Michele Lee. Sydney Theatre Company. Directed by Leticia Cáceres. Wharf 2 Theatre, Walsh Bay. March 23 - May 5, 2018

The new play Going Down, by Melbourne writer Michele Lee, is semi-autobiographical. She’s Asian-Australian, like her lead character Natalie. More specifically they’re Hmong-Australian, originally from Laos.

Both Michele and Natalie are seen by their audiences as more Asian than Australian. Natalie may live in hipster Melbourne and write frank books about sex and feminist ideas but people who come to see her want to hear Hmong stories. In many ways, Natalie is actually more Australian than Asian but most people see her the other way around.

You Stupid or What?!

By Dr Jason Leong. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Coopers Malthouse, 113 Sturt Street. 28 March – 22 April, 2018

Dr Jason Leong seems a very unlikely comedian given his title. In fact, Jason is an MD and his medical knowledge forms an important part of his highly amusing material. Jason has a vast array of issues and frustrations that provide ample opportunity for him to reflect on the absurdities of many of our daily activities and attitudes.

From Here to Infirmity

Written & performed by Sue Ingleton. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton VIC. 29 March – 8 April 2018

Before the show begins, it’s already begun.  An old bloke in a lightweight sports jacket, a sporty, narrow brim hat and a ‘pencil’ moustache roams about the audience waiting to enter the theatre.  He seems to know a few of us and isn’t shy about saying so.  “Jeez, Michael,’ he says to me, ‘you’re getting fat, mate.  Tsk.’  Then, turning to The Companion, he tells her she’s beautiful, and me that I’m a lucky man.  There’s just a touch of the salacious about the compliment – but that&rs

Duets with Myself

Written & performed by Charlotte Kerr. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne CBD. 27 March – 1 April 2018.

At the start of her show – and there’s some uncertainty that the show has started – Charlotte Kerr, seated behind her keyboard, thanks the audience for coming to ‘this trial’.  Oh, we think, it’s that kind of show – self-reflexive, pretending that it’s a ‘work in progress’ - a test of audience response to the material.  But maybe not. 

42nd Street

Music by Harry Warren, Lyrics by Al Dubin. Book by Michael Stewart & Mark Bramble. Presented by Free Rain Theatre. Directed by Chris Baldock. The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 26 March – 15 April 2018

It’s 2018, and we can add 42nd Street to the list of things that Harvey Weinstein has sort of ruined for us. Look at Abner Dillon – old, gauche, his only attractive quality his wallet…there’s no question why poor Dorothy Brock is with him, or what she does to maintain his patronage.

Adults Only Pirates of Penzance

By Gilbert and Sullivan. BK Opera. Director: Kate Millett. Musical Director: James Penn. Kindred Studios, Yarraville. Mar 29 – 31, 2018.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. An “Adults Only” version of The Pirates of Penzance could potentially be very funny or very embarrassing.

Fortunately it was the former.

Grace

Written & performed by Katie Reddin-Clancy. Directed by Peter Blackburn. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne CBD. 27 March – 1 April 2018

The teaser hook on the poster and the flyer – ‘A comedian’s first time on stage… as a woman’ – might lead you to think Grace is a drag show.  It’s not.  It is, however, about identity and gender while being very funny.  It’s also about role-playing, survival and ghosts.

The Resistable Rise Of Arturo Ui

By Bertolt Brecht, translated by Tom Wright. Sydney Theatre Company. Roslyn Packer Theatre. March 21 – April 28, 2018

Brecht wrote this diatribe about a gangster-turned-political saviour when in exile back in 1941, as the rise of Hitler looked assured.  

He wanted audiences to see the fragility of our democratic institutions, and the urgency for vigilance against the honeyed, fake truths of the next brute to turn demagogue.   He would love this version directed so sharply by the STC’s Kip Williams.

Home Invasion

By Christopher Bryant. Presented by An Assorted Few. Old 505 Theatre. Directed by Alexander Berlage. March 21 – April 7, 2018

Written by award winning playwright and performer Christopher Bryant, Home Invasion was short listed for the Griffin award in 2015. This is its Sydney debut.

We Will Rock You

By Ben Elton and Queen. Directed by Trevor Patient. His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth. March 23 - April 7, 2018

With 144 cast members (by my best count), We Will Rock You, currently playing at His Majesty’s Theatre would have to be one of the biggest shows to hit Perth in recent times.

Big, bold, brassy and loud, We Will Rock You by Queen and Ben Elton is constantly updated to stay relevant to audiences and it remains as fun, vibrant and topical as it was when the show first played in Perth in 2004 - when some of the cast were not yet born.

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