Reviews

The Vicar Of Dibley

By Ian Gower and Paul Carpenter adapted from the original TV series by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer. Wyong Drama Group. Directed by Madeline Parker and Alexandra Travers. The Art House, Wyong. March 17-25, 2017

In one of those bizarre twists of nature, this reviewer somehow managed to completely miss the Dibley Train when it pulled into the ABC station all those years ago. While a lot of English Sitcoms rate very highly in my top 40 TV shows of all time, quite a few cult hits are missing. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for it really. So this review comes from the freshest of perspectives on the piece.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Script: Rachel Sheinkin. Music and Lyrics: William Finn. Midnite Youth Theatre Company. Directed by Gregory Jones. Subiaco Arts Centre, Subiaco, WA. 15-18 March, 2017.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, as presented by Midnite Youth Theatre Company, is a feel good, rollicking good time.

Six competitors, and four audience members, compete to be the best speller in Putnam County. A lovely insight into some truly quirky middle school kids, who despite this being a ‘youth’ company are played by adults.

Constellations 

By Nick Payne. Queensland Theatre. Bille Brown Studio, Brisbane. 9 March - 9 April, 2017, then on tour throughout regional Queensland.

British playwright Nick Payne's internationally successful play is in the spotlight here in Queensland with an original production eloquently introduced in the programme and directed by Kat Henry.

Absent Friends

By Alan Ayckbourn. Lilydale Athenaeum Theatre (Vic). March 2 – 18, 2017.

It is fantastic to see an amateur theatre company reveling in the words of Alan Ayckbourn. Lilydale Athenaeum’s current season, Absent Friends, is one of his lesser-known works.

Consensual

By Evan Placey. Australian Premiere. New Theatre, Newtown (NSW). March 16 – April 15, 2017

Classrooms out there are a sexual minefield for naïve teachers.

Consensual shows schools bristling with hormonal teenagers, porn savvy through social media, bullish, even assaulting and yet all pumped up about their rights.  And that’s just the girls.

British writer Evan Placey puts Diane (Lauren Richardson) right in the middle of it, as she struggles also to deal with a thwarted young man at the school gate, back after seven years and accusing her of unconsensual sex. 

Backbone

Gravity and Other Myths. Adelaide Festival. Dunstan Playhouse. March 14th – 19th, 2017

Raw, entertaining and at times mesmerising - this is Backbone, presented by Gravity and other Myths (GOM). The concept of this production, directed by Darcy Grant, is a devised circus that examines strength honestly, ironically and personally. Whilst this reviewer couldn’t quite grasp the underlying theme, I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle and show for what it was, an amazing and jaw dropping showcase of dedicated and talented acrobats.

The Places You’ll Go

By Hila Ben Gera. Lama Theatre Company. The Garage International.Adelaide Fringe. March 1 – 17, 2017

Lama Theatre Company was founded by Hila Ben Gera, who is also the author of The Places You’ll Go. Having premiered the play in New York City in 2014, she has assembled an all-Australian cast to breathe life into this version for the Adelaide Fringe.

The Laden Table

By Yvonne Perczuk, Nur Alam, Raya Gadir, Chris Hill, Marian Kernahan & Ruth Kliman. bAKEHOUSE Theatre Company. KXT – Kings Cross Theatre, Kings Cross Hotel. March 10 – 25, 2017.

Like the long table that dominates the set (designer Courtney Westbrook), this play is also ‘laden’ – with diverse opinions, racial and religious vilification, family values and traditions and strong, passionate characters that articulate their beliefs and emotions in meaningful and judiciously scripted dialogue. It is also ‘laden’ with love surmounts barriers and promises hope.

H.M.S. Pinafore

By Gilbert and Sullivan. Melbourne Opera. Director: Robert Ray. Conductor: Greg Hocking. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne, March 14 – 18, 2017 and Monash University’s Robert Blackwood Hall, April 22.

Melbourne Opera stepped out of their comfort zone in presenting a G&S operetta. However, they employed one of the most experienced G&S directors and a number of music theatre professionals to make for an enjoyable production.

Robert Ray’s approach was traditional, but with some neat twists. He included a recently discovered duet for the Captain and Josephine, “Reflect My Child”, though it didn’t seem as musically inspired as the rest of the score.

Every Brilliant Thing

By Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahue. Paines Plough. Pentabus Theatre Company. Adelaide Festival. The Space Theatre. 14-18 March, 2017.

Has ever a show carrying cautions about 'themes of mental illness and self-harm' been able to generate so much capacity for optimism and joy?

This one-man-plus-willing-audience presentation is one that makes you want to hug the performer in question; not out of pity, but of gratitude and respect. Every Brilliant Thing elicits the kind of audible audience reactions - chuckles, gasps, and moans - that reflect total viewer engagement.

 

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.