Reviews

Don Pasquale

By Gaetano Donizetti. Opera Australia. Director: Roger Hodgman. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. July 18 - Aug 15, 2013.

This production reminded me of gelato - vivid, rich in colour, and delicious.

The curtain opened to a glamorous set, in the style of the classic 1950’s movie Roman Holiday.

It left the impression that any minute Audrey Hepburn might glide in, hair flowing on a wind-swept motorbike, with her arms around Gregory Peck.

Three ‘buildings’ neatly rotate to reproduce a street café, a garden and the inside of a grand home.

Dial M For Murder

By Frederick Knott. Woy Woy Little Theatre. Director: Brendon Flynn. Peninsula Theatre, Woy Woy July 19-Aug 4

There's little doubting the popularity of murder mysteries and detective fiction. Consequently Agatha Christie's plays are a fail-safe drawcard for many community theatre organisations. Frederick Knott  wrote both the play and screenplay for Dial M For Murder in the early 1950s. It's a murder mystery with a twist, in that it's not so much a 'who-dunnit' as a 'will-he-get-busted'. 

Foxfinder

By Dawn King. Directed by Kat Henry. Red Stitch Theatre. Australian Premiere. July 19th – August 17th, 2013.

We expect Red Stitch, as a company, to confront us, push our boundaries, invade our comfort zones and, most importantly, present us with exciting theatre. Once again they do not disappoint.

Ubu Roi

By Alfred Jarry. 5pound theatre. Director: Jason Cavanagh. The Owl and the Pussycat. Swan Street Richmond (Vic). July 17th to 27th, 2013.

5pound theatre is offering the opportunity to view a classic we seldom get the chance to see.  As yet another adventurous gamble from this troupe, who never seem to ‘take themselves too seriously’, it is a raucous engaging messy romp. 

Adapted from an ancient work by Alfred Jarry Ubu Roi is an Absurdist piece that lends itself to Theatre of Cruelty. Therefore - what a great choice to stage it on a set of mud in front of an evocative fading mural reminiscent of a cave painting, designed by Mattea Davies.

Jack Charles v The Crown

By Jack Charles and John Romeril. Ilbijerri Theatre Company, with Uncle Jack Charles, directed by Rachael Maza. The Playhouse, Canberra, 17–19 July 2013, and touring

Advance publicity, billing Jack Charles as a recently reformed heroin addict and cat burglar, made me ponder what kind of tale he was going to spin; cautious lest, albeit subtly, it excuse, even glorify, social destructiveness.

The Glass Menagerie

By Tennessee Williams. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Mark Kilmurry. 17 July – 10 August, 2013

Tennessee Williams was 33 and a published poet when he had his first Broadway hit play in 1944. He called The Glass Menagerie a ‘memory play’ and it deals poetically with memories from his own unhappy Mississippi childhood. This welcome Ensemble revival, splendidly directed by Mark Kilmurry, is a reminder of the author’s spellbinding dialogue and bubbling-under-the-surface character tensions that would, three years later, explode into A Streetcar Named Desire.

 

The Last Five Years

By Jason Robert Brown. Musical Direction by Tim How. Paul Peacock's Underground Cabaret, King's Hotel, Perth, WA. July 11-14, 2013

Paul Peacock introduced the final performance of The Last Five Years by announcing that this had been the first sell-out production since this venue opened.

The Last Five Years deserved its capacity audiences. Expertly performed by Casey Edwards and Charles McComb - they created a very tangible five-year relationship despite the fact that Cathy tells their story from the break-up of their relationship backwards, while Jamie's story runs chronologically - intersecting briefly in the middle of the performance.

The Producers

By Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan. Playlovers. Directed by Peter Clark. Hackett Hall, Floreat, WA. June 28-July 20, 2013

The Producers at Playlovers is one of the most outstanding community theatre productions of the year to date.

Peter Clark’s direction is tight and slick. David Hardie’s Musical Direction is perhaps his best to date. Jessica Russell has created clever choreography that is nicely executed.

Bell, Book and Candle

By John van Druten. Director: Nigel Munro-Wallis. Nash Theatre, Brisbane. 6 – 27 July 2013

What a buzz to remember how enjoyable 1950s ‘well made plays’ were.  Strong characters, no social or political issues, just characters with conflicts and crises we can all identify with.

Director Nigel Munro-Wallis made astute choices of cast and steered the action with assured direction. His actors developed slick, confident dialogue and characters who engaged us, whether we believe in witchcraft or not.

 

The Shifting Heart

By Richard Benyon. Directed by Rachel Vonk. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. July 5-27, 2013.

Young director Rachel Vonk chose the important Australian play, The Shifting Heart, by Richard Benyon as her first full length production. A significant play, that won numerous awards in 1956 and 1957, it remains relevant to modern audiences and was warmly received in this incarnation by Darlington Theatre Players.

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