Reviews

La Traviata

By Giuseppe Verdi. Blanke Knochen Opera. Director: Kate Millett. Musical Director: James Penn. 75 Reid St Auditorium, North Fitzroy. Aug 18 – 26, 2017

BKO continues to impress. As one of a small number of amateur companies, they stand out with their innovative direction and committed performances.

This was a shortened version of the opera, but only those familiar with the opera would have noticed. Conductor, James Penn, had done an excellent job rearranging the music. Surprisingly, the ballet in the third act was included, without the traditional ballet dancers. However, this was given quite a different take with the girls flaying the boys with whips! It worked very well.

The Inheritance

By Greg Gould. Budding Theatre. Directed by Cate Clelland. Belconnen Community Theatre (ACT). 16–19 August 2017

Having set the scene for three sisters’ adult interactions with a prologue portraying them as youngsters whose early inclinations we are to believe set them on their lives’ trajectories, the substance of Greg Gould’s first full-length play, The Inheritance, nominally focuses on the reading of their father’s last will and testament, in the offices of their late father’s executor, his old friend and lawyer John Lauder.  The action mostly alternates between Lauder’s office and a sanctuary from

4:48 Psychosis

By Sarah Kane. Workhorse Theatre Company. Director: Anthony Skuse. Old Fitz Theatre, Sydney. 16 August – 9 September 2017

4:48 Psychosis refers to that moment in the early morning when a muddled, besieged mind achieves clarity. So it was with playwright Sarah Kane. And having struggled through the hour of dark and twisted action to achieve such momentary awareness myself, I have to bow my head. For Kane was never to see her play performed. She committed suicide at 28.

A Happy and Holy Occasion

By John O’Donoghue. The Basin Theatre (Vic). Friday, 11 August 2017 - Saturday, 2 September 2017

The Basin Theatre Company’s recent season offering is the intense, dramatic, heart wrenching, yet sometimes darkly humorous work of John O’Donoghue.

A Happy and Holy Occasion tells the story of a family gathering in the home of the working class Irish-Catholic O’Mahon family - set early 1942 in Newcastle, just before the fall of Singapore in WWII.

The special ‘holy’ occasion celebrated is the farewell dinner for the O’Mahon’s eldest son, the night before he leaves for the Seminary.

If These Walls Could Talk...?

By Dislocated. Glow Winter Arts Festival. Chapel off Chapel. 17 – 20, August 2017

Using a single room in a threadbare apartment, Dislocated have created a powerful set of stories of six "generations" of tenants, with a bittersweet thread of love and loss woven throughout, underpinned with a deep current of humour.  Every nuance is communicated solely through physical movement - combining dance, circus arts, and physical theatre - by this superbly-talented set of acrobats and dancers.  

Motherhood the Musical

Book and Music by Sue Fabisch. The Bondi Theatre Company. Director: Ruth Fingret. Bondi Pavilion Theatre. August 17-26, 2017

Who’d have thought you could stroll along the front at Australia’s premiere ocean beach and come across a gem of a show like Motherhood the Musical? Four cracking girls give their all at the Bondi Pavilion: 20 songs in 80 minutes, covering pregnancy, flabby boobs, leaking tubes and motherhood in general.

An Almost Perfect Thing

By Nicole Moeller. Directed by Gabrielle Metcalf. The Main Space, The Blue Room Theatre, Northbridge, WA. Aug 8-26, 2017

An Almost Perfect Thing by Nicole Moeller is a beautifully constructed play which tells of Chloe, recently free after being held captive for seven years, but who refuses to share details or give up her kidnapper.

Chloe, her captor Matthew and journalist Greg tell their stories and interact, as they move through different timelines, but always with a wonderful cohesion of idea and meaning, as each searches desperately for love and connection.

MELBA – A New Musical

By Nicholas Christo and Johannes Luebbers. Hayes Theatre Company and New Musicals Australia. August 11 – September 9, 2017.

Writer Nicholas Christo and composer Johannes Luebbers must be delighted with this production of the musical they have spent “eight years and countless drafts creating”.

Hir

By Taylor Mac. Belvoir. August 12 – September 10, 2017

American queer performance artist Taylor Mac has written a sharp comedy drama not just about transgender shifts but also wider transitions across the country in gender roles and masculine and working class identities.

US Marine Isaac, dishonourably discharged, returns to his fibro home to find his once alpha male Dad now stroke-ridden, the former plumber dressed in a nightie and the bad makeup of a clown.

Julius Caesar

Play by William Shakespeare. Director/Co-Designer: Jo Loth. Jo Loth Production. Events Centre, Caloundra, Qld. 17 – 19 Aug, 2017

Women playing traditional male roles in classical theatre are nothing new. Breeches roles have always been a staple of theatre, especially in opera and that most English of traditions pantomime. Even Shakespeare was not immune to creating roles where women disguise themselves as men. So, coming to this new all (mostly) female cast version of Julius Caesar is not asking an audience to make that great a leap of faith. The only question is does the gender-switch clarify or hinder the playwright’s original intent and in this case director Jo Loth has succeeded admirably.

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