Reviews

Bondi Legal

By Tony Laumberg. Bondi Theatre Company. Director: Richard Cotter. Bondi Pavilion Theatre. October 11 - 26, 2019.

An excellent production of a funny and clever play. Some people thought this was a local parody of the William Shatner TV show Boston Legal. There’s no Denny Crane here. The titles are similar but that’s where the similarity ends.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Dr Miles Gregory. Pop-up Globe, Crown Perth, WA. October 11- November 24, 2019

Pop-up Globe continues its six week Perth season. Dr Miles Gregory, who is the creator of this amazing concept, directs three of the four plays - Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream - which play in a temporary working copy of Shakespeare’s second Globe Theatre, housed in the grounds of Crown Perth. Perth audiences join 550,000 people who have seen Pop-up Globe performances in the past two years.

West Side Story

By Arthur Laurents (book), Leonard Bernstein (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics). A BB Group production presented by Opera Australia and GWB Entertainment. Canberra Theatre 12 – 27 October, 2019. Festival Theatre Adelaide 28 November – 8 December

What an absolute joy it is to see this classic come together so well! The dance, the music, the colours, lights, set, costumes, direction—this production shows meticulous attention to detail and it is glorious. Stylistically, this production has as its inspiration the 1961 movie, reproducing many of the colours, tones and dance style, while refining and intensifying for the stage. Beautiful primary reds and blues, deep purples and rich oranges make stunning backdrops for the dancers.

Seventeen

Matthew Whittet. University of Adelaide Theatre Guild. Little Theatre. Oct 12-26, 2019.

Matthew Whittet’s coming of age play reminds all of us of the end of our secondary education, when, on the brink of launching ourselves into adulthood, we may have celebrated that watershed moment with false bravado, perhaps too much alcohol and not a little fear and trepidation. Although we’d never voice it to our peers at the time, we deeply mourn the friendships that are about to scatter to the winds and perhaps secretly long to remain as we were, comfortably free of the looming responsibilities and future trials of grownup life. 

Cats

By Andrew Lloyd Webber, from the poems of T.S. Eliot. Platinum Entertainment. Directed by Katrina Patient and Trevor Patient. Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, WA. Oct 10-13, 2019

The popular Australian theatrical podcast ‘Musicals Taught Me Everything I Know’, asks its guests “If you could obliterate one musical from history, what would it be?” Among this musical theatre crowd, the most frequently chosen musical to be removed from the planet is Cats. Despite its dubious reputation, Platinum Entertainment’s Cats Mandurah season has had very healthy audiences, showing that among the general public, this remains a very beloved show.

Secret Bridesmaids’ Business

By Elizabeth Coleman. Roleystone Theatre. Directed by Michelle Ezzy. Roleystone Hall, Roleystone, WA. Oct 11-19, 2019

As Roleystone Theatre continue their residence at Roleystone Hall, while their beloved theatre is being rebuilt, they are experimenting with different configurations. Secret Bridesmaids’ Business is being presented with cabaret seating. This is perhaps especially appropriate for this production, as the seating style feels right for a wedding themed production. The show is being staged at the same time as the screening of the very different, but similarly named, TV series, so could prove an interesting comparison exercise for those interested in the tv show.

Grey Rock

Written & directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi. Remote Theatre Project. Melbourne International Arts Festival. Merlyn Theatre, The Coopers Malthouse. 9 – 12 October 2019

The ‘grey rock’ is the Moon.  In a West Bank, Palestine, villageYusuf (Khalifa Natour), a widowed and retired television repairman, is building a rocket to go there.  He’s already done time for being a troublemaker.  He keeps his project secret from his daughter Lila (Fidaa Zaidan) and definitely from Lila’s fiancé, play-it-safe Jawad (Alaa Shehada).  But he sees that he needs the help – if not the blessing – of the village imam, Sheik (Motaz Malhees).  Yusef is so intent – if not obsessed with – his plan, he is

Fully Sikh

By Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa. Barking Gecko and Black Swan. Directed by Matt Edgerton. Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth. Oct 10 - Nov 3, 2019

The World Premiere of Fully Sikh is a vibrant, clever celebration of Sikh and Punjabi culture, that is funny, warm and subtly informative. Proving very popular. this Barking Gecko and Black Swan Co-Production has already been extended, and deservedly so.

Hairspray Jr

Music: Marc Shaiman. Lyrics: Scott Wittman, Marc Shaiman. Book: Mark O’Donnell, Thomas Meehan. Adelaide Youth Theatre. Arts Theatre. October 10-12, 2019

I was lucky enough to attend the matinee performance of Adelaide Youth Theatre’s toe-tapping musical Hairspray JR. This was made extra special when I attended, as the company opened the doors for free to those with disabilities and their families. They capped the audience size, allowing for those with autism to have the space they needed to feel comfortable.

The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes

By Back to Back Theatre ensemble. Directed by Bruce Gladwin. Melbourne International Arts Festival, Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio. 9-20 October, 2019.

The five performers Michael Chan, Mark Deans, Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring and Scott Price, each with their own unique disability, recreate a kind of public forum to discuss the ways in which their contribution to and visibility in society is suppressed. From the conversations which unfold, this suppression results in excruciating personal humiliation and even unabated physical and psychological exploitation.

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