Reviews

East

By Steven Berkoff. Directed by Peta Hanrahan. Lighting and Set Design by Kate Kelly. AV design by Matt Croft. Presented by Black Water Theatre Productions. At Revolt Artspace, Kensington (Vic). Until 9 March, 2014.

As theatrical endurance tests go, they don’t come much more loaded than this first play by Steven Berkoff, which premiered at the 1975 Edinburgh Festival. As impossible as it is to believe that this was Mr Berkoff’s first play, it signaled the arrival of one of the most game-changing and controversial theatre artists of his time.

Luminous

Presented by Art Kinetica. Adelaide Fringe. Gluttony – La Petite Grande. February 14 – March 2, 2014.

Human bodies are remarkable things. How easily we take them for granted when putting them to the familiar uses of everyday life! At its best, Luminous reminds its viewers what kind of a spectacle can be made of the physical form when it is placed into an unusual context, and particularly when combined with the unique artistry that colour and music can provide.

MANON

Ballet by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, after the novel Manon Lescaut by Abbe Prevost. Music by Jules Massenet. Australian Ballet. Guest Repititeurs: Patricia Ruanne and Mark Kay. Music Director & Chief Conductor: Nicolette Frailion. With the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. 21 February - 1 March, 2014

In the twenty years since the Australian Ballet danced Manon in Brisbane the company has gone from strength to strength, evidenced by the talent on display in this remounting of one of the most popular ballets in their repertoire.

The story of the virginal Manon who becomes a courtesan in 17th Century France has enough drama and passion to fill any Mills and Boon novel, and with its debauchery, fetishism, and hints of incest, it could almost be accused of melodrama overkill.

Tosca

By Giacomo Puccini. Directed by Stuart Maunder. Supreme Court Gardens, Perth (WA). Feb 15.

The City of Perth's Opera in the Park played to a capacity crowd at the Supreme Court Gardens and was simulcast to ten venues throughout Western Australia.

This free event, supported by Lotterywest, was an excellent taster for trying opera as a genre and to experience the beautiful voices of the West Australian Opera and the excellence of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

Pacific Overtures

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by John Weidman. Additional material Hugh Wheeler. Directed by Alister Smith. Theatre Works. 20th Feb-March 9th, 2014

“Watch This” productions burst onto the Melbourne scene last year with an impressive production of Sondheim’s Assassins. Now, with exemplary casting and impeccable vocal skills, the company brings us Sondheim’s rarely performed and little known Pacific Overtures.

Noises Off

By Michael Frayn. Sydney Theatre Company & Qantas.. Director: Jonathan Biggins. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. 17 Feb - 5 April 2014

Jonathan Biggins’ crackerjack production of Michael Frayn’s famous play (‘The funniest farce ever written!’, according to the posters) is a must for theatre people of every level of experience. Haven’t we all dried on stage? Haven’t we all had to climb through the rickety window because the door was stuck? Haven’t we all had a thing for the ASM on the book?

Rom Com Con

Presented by Mace and Burton. Adelaide Fringe. The Bakehouse Theatre. February 17 – March 16, 2014.

Lizzie Mace and Juliette Burton may have struggled through the wilderness of singlehood, or endured the shock of being suddenly single again after years in a partnership, notching up more successive heartaches and disappointments than you’d wish on a sworn enemy – but they’ve never given up, nor have they lost their humour or high spirits. Now, their pain is our gain. Not to imply that this reviewer is sadistic, because Rom Com Con is an utter delight; endearing, playful, poignant, funny, wise, wonderful!

IN CANBERRA TONIGHT IN ADELAIDE TONIGHT

The Adventure Club. Adelaide Fringe. Gluttony – The Bally Tent, Adelaide. February 18-23, 2014

Those not sure which of the many Fringe shows they should see first, or those on a budget looking for a “greatest hits” sampler of Fringe acts, might want to check out this amiable variety show hosted by affable Canberra-based funnymen Chris Endrey and Pablo Latona, backed up by music from the considerably talented House Rats.

Blitz! A Sentimental Journey

By Claire Dawson & Rod Anderson. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Director: Rod Anderson. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. 14 -22 February 2014.

Blitz! A Sentimental Journey, presented by Hobart Repertory Theatre is a one-woman-and-one-accompanist show with heart and energy. Dynamic Claire Dawson dazzles - singing, dancing and interpreting the music of the 20s, 30s and 40s, when the show is set.

The original concept by Claire Dawson is based on the experiences of her late grandmother, written around her career as a performer on London stages during the World War 2 bombing.

Jump for Jordan

By Donna Abela. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre – Feb 14 to March 29, 2014. Merrigong Theatre Company – April 2 – 5.

Informed by her Maltese background, Donna Abela has written a witty and endearing snapshot of what it means to be second generation Australian.  Such alternative takes on Australian identity, a “new multiculturalism”, appeared on our stages in the late 1980’s. It’s good to see them back!

The difference perhaps is the ambitious, poetic storytelling structure with which Abela, not always successfully, takes us on the journey of young Sophie.

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