Reviews

Happy Days

By Samuel Becket. Queensland Theatre Company. Billie Brown Studio, Brisbane. Directed by Wesley Enoch. 18th July - 15th August, 2015

QTC's version of Becket's famous play is in town, this production having an interpretation with a distinctively Australian feel. First impressions to set the mood are an eerie score in the foyer by Alan Lawrence followed by a design by Penny Challen with, firstly, a stage curtain depicting the Australian landscape, a painting by artist John Glover, followed by a surreal set influenced by contemporary artists like Drysdale and Nolan: all combined to create an expression of the bleak and desolate 'entrapment' of the central character, Winnie.     

Women in War

Composer: Tassos Ionnides. Librettist: Deborah Parsons. Artek Productions Pty Ltd. Director: Alkinos Tsilimidos. Venue: Arts Centre, Melbourne. July 30 to August 1, 2015

Numerous theatrical events have commemorated this year’s centenary of Gallipoli. New Australian contemporary opera Women in War takes quite a different tack, showing how World War 1 affected women, through the eyes of three contrasting characters.

Medea

By Euripides. Complete Works Theatre Company. Union House Theatre, University of Melbourne. 28 – 31 July 2015.

The character of Medea will be known forever as ‘the woman who killed her children’.  Of course, it’s more complicated than that.  A despised outsider – a ‘barbarian’ - in Corinth, driven mad (or is she?) when she is dumped by her opportunist, social climber husband, Jason, for a younger model, and she and her children by him are about to be sent into exile…

Stars of Track and Field

By Amanda Miha. La Mama (Vic). Director: Darren Vizer. July 29 – Aug 9, 2015.

Stars of Track and Field sounded like my sort of gig, having been a practising athlete for my entire adult life. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This edgy drama about a dysfunctional family centres on the mother, who was preparing to sprint in the Olympics when involved in a car accident which left her with a broken body and shattered dreams.

Private Lives

By Noël Coward. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport.. Director: Roger McKenzie, July 25th to August 15th, 2015

Quoting NoëlCoward, "I've sometimes thought of marrying - and then I've thought again.”

Private Livesopened at GCLT, preceded delightfully - and appropriately - with French chanteuse Huguette Raman performing pre-show in the bar-foyer.

Coward's plays are a unique style; his wit is in portraying and sending up the questionable manners and sophisticated posturing of the 1920’s - 30's idle rich. In this case it is two couples who aren't quite sure to whom they want to be or whether they want to remain married.

The Insomnia Project

Written, composed and directed by Natasha Moszenin.. La Mama Courthouse (Vic). July 29 - August 9, 2015

Devised from personal experience by Natasha Moszenin, this piece captures the tortuous afflictions that sleep deprivation causes. A powerful piece of theatre, without being heavy handed, The Insomnia Project treats the problem seriously without taking itself too seriously and genuinely allows itself to discover moments of irony and humour.

Legends

Performed by Tom McLean, Elliot Roberts, Carly Milroy and Chris Chosich. Directed by Harley Hefford. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. July 21 – 26, 2015

Sketch comedy is currently enjoying a resurgence (if it ever truly went out of style) and the cast of Legends had the intention to"explore myths and legends ranging from the Boy who Cried Wolf to Prometheus, Atlas to Humpty Dumpty and much more."

Betrayal

By Harold Pinter. State Theatre Company of South Australia. Directed by Geordie Brookman. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre. 24 July-15 August, 2015

One of great British playwright Harold Pinter’s most innovative, thought provoking and subtly humorous scripts is given an extremely plodding, unimaginative and heavy-handed staging from the State Theatre Company of South Australia. Some bravura acting from the leading players and the compelling wit of Pinter’s words are the only things that save it from being a complete disaster, as the intrusive, monotonous soundtrack, coupled with some really leaden direction, serves to drain so much life out of the story being told onstage.

Lea Salonga in Concert

Cannon Hill Anglican College Auditorium, Brisbane. Sunday 26 July 2015,

It’s not every day a Broadway star and a Disney Princess performs in Brisbane, so it’s not surprising that the audience were waiting with anticipation for superstar songstress Lea Salonga to step on to the stage.

The Perfectionist

By David Williamson. Adapt Enterprises Pty Ltd. Director: Ross Vosvotekas. Assistant Director: Mark Milton. Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. 24 July-8 August, 2015.

Human relations, human foibles, human obsessions, human systems of family and government - all of these themes continue to provide rich and relevant material for dramatists, but not every play dealing with this kind of subject matter proves equally durable down the tracks of time. Adapt Enterprises have, happily, demonstrated David Williamson's The Perfectionist to be a work of enduring strength and intrinsic interest, more than thirty years after its premiere production.

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