Reviews

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

By Edward Albee. National Theatre Live. Nova Cinema, Carlton and participating cinemas nationwide. Opening Saturday 19 August 2017.

This National Theatre Live revival (if that’s the word) of Edward Albee’s famous 1962 play features a stellar cast: Imelda Staunton as Martha, Conleth Hill as George, Imogen Poots as Honey and Luke Treadaway as Nick.  Any production of this play, however, can’t help but aspire to escape the memory of the 1966 movie adaptation (by Ernest Lehman) for which director Mike Nichols had the inspired idea of casting Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.  Comparisons may be odious, but in this case, they are rather inevitable.

Pink Floyd’s - The Wall

Music & Lyrics: Roger Waters. Pannic Productions. Director: Andrew ‘Panda’ Haden. Musical Directors: Jason Zadkovich, Grace Cockburn, Kym Brown. Choreographers: Mike Lapot, Melissa Budd, Drew de Kinderen. Redcliffe Cultural Centre, 11-13 August 2017

Top of the range audio visuals and superb musical backing were the stars of Pannic Productions’ version of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. In fact they were so good I could have gladly sat in the theatre and just watched them and listened to the music. With three LED screens at the rear of the stage with forever changing images and a multitude of coloured lights, the iconic rock album was brought vividly to life.

After the Dance

By Terrence Rattigan. New Theatre, Newtown (NSW). August 9 – September 9, 2017

After the Dance is perhaps the least well known of Terence Rattigan’s plays. Set in the years between the Wars, the play censures the wealthy “bright young things” who flout the foreboding signs of unrest in Europe in favour of drinking and partying. The criticism is gentle, exposing the fears and flaws that hide beneath the brittle personas that the characters assume.

The Uninvited

By Tim Kelly. Tugun Theatre Co, Tugun, Gold Coast. Director: Rianna Hartley-Smith. August 10th – 26th, 2017

First-time director Rianna Hartley-Smith has assembled a talented cast including Nicola Barrett, David Fraser, Peta Simeon, Nathan Schulz, Margaret Radcliffe and Cecile Campbell for this ten-hander thriller, which is full of mystery and intrigue, with strong performances from all involved.  

Set in western England in the 1960’s, the story revolves around an old cliff-top house that has been uninhabited for a number of years and has been the focus of various stories over that time.

The White House Murder Case

Written by Jules Feiffer. Directed by Eddy Knight. Red Phoenix Theatre. The Studio, Holden Street Theatres, Hindmarsh. 10-19 Aug, 2017.

Red Phoenix’s latest Adelaide premiere is a darkly funny, divertingly offbeat, bracingly relevant vision of politics and the military, conceived at the height of the Vietnam War but set roughly at our current point in time. This unusual aspect helps make the play a shrewd selection for staging in 2017 - and with generally excellent performances from an outstanding ensemble, The White House Murder Case should prove a rewarding experience for all audiences.

Three Tall Women

By Edward Albee. University of Adelaide Theatre Guild. Little Theatre. August 9 – 19, 2017

This reviewer has been involved in theatre for longer than I care to remember and the depth of talent both on and off the stage in Adelaide never ceases to amaze me. The latest offering from University of Adelaide Theatre Guild is no exception. Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize winning Three Tall Women was written shortly after the death of his mother in 1991 and is strongly autobiographical. Albee draws on his childhood that, while privileged, was devoid of a loving mother. He draws on memories of a mother who preferred horses to people and almost anyone to her adopted son.

The Rose Tattoo

By Tenessee Williams. The Guild Theatre Limited, Walz Street, Rockdale. August 4 to September 2, 2017

Who knew Tennessee Williams had written a comedy? I confess, I didn’t!

The Real and Imagined History of The Elephant Man

By Tom Wright. Directed by Matthew Lutton. Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank. 4-27 August, 2017.

This play is a poetic exploration of the story of Joseph Merrick which is entrenched in its setting: 19th century industrial heartlands of the English midlands. While the text is far removed from the dramatisation in the 1980 film, The Elephant Man (David Lynch), there is a delicate acknowledgement to this cinematic heritage.

Lohengrin

By Richard Wagner. Melbourne Opera. Director: Suzanne Chaundy. Musical Director: David Kram. Regent Theatre, Melbourne. August 7 – 12, 2017

After a successful Tannhäuser in 2016, Melbourne Opera lifted the bar further with Wagner’s Lohengrin. We knew we were in for a special evening with an ethereal start to the overture, the sixty piece orchestra under the firm baton of David Kram. Having the brass in the boxes at the side of the auditorium added to the excitement.

Other Desert Cities

By Jon Robin Baitz. Playlovers. Directed by Barry Park. Old Mill Theatre, South Perth, WA. Aug 4-19, 2017

The currently homeless Playlovers has taken temporary residence at South Perth’s Old Mill Theatre, with a nicely polished, well directed production of Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities.

Director Barry Park’s set design, brought to fruition by Greg Aylmer, convincingly creates the living room of wealthy Palm Springs couple, Lymen and Polly Wyeth. The set was solid, believable and classy, and did not feel crowded on the compact Old Mill stage.

A very strong cast worked well together, creating believable family dynamics.

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