Reviews

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

By Tom Stoppard. National Theatre Live from The Old Vic, London. Nova Cinemas, Carlton VIC & other venues nationally. 24 June – 2 July 2017

Do we ever quite know who Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are?  Or like King Claudius and Queen Gertrude in Hamlet, are we ever quite sure which is which?  Why them?

The Haunting

Adapted from Charles Dickens works by Hugh Janes. Prince Moo Productions. Directed by Jennifer Sarah Dean. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. June 14 – July 1, 2017.

The Athenaeum is the perfect Theatre for this brilliantly staged work.   All production values are in place to facilitate suspension of disbelief and immersion in the creepy ‘old world fear’ of a ghostly apparition.   The marvelous picture book set by John Kerr with lots of quirks and illusions is really the fourth character of this stunningly eerie production.

Heathers The Musical

By Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy, based on the film written by Daniel Waters. Miranda Musical Society. Sutherland Memorial School of Arts. June 16 – 25, 2017.

Heathers is a little bit like Grease or Disney’s High School Musical franchise, but way nastier, blacker and dirtier.

As reported in an earlier Stage Whispers interview, the content of the show has polarized Miranda’s regular audience, but a packed, mostly younger opening night house enthusiastically lapped every moment up.

Cyrano De Bergerac

By Damien Ryan, after Edmond Rostand. Sport for Jove. York Theatre, Seymour Centre. June 15 to 24, 2017.

Sport for Jove’s acclaimed outdoor production of Cyrano in 2013 here returns, now indoors and well spread across the thrust stage of Sydney’s York Theatre, Seymour Centre, before touring beyond.  The cast is mostly the same but director Damien Ryan now also fills the shoes of Yalin Ozucelik in the lead.

The King and I

Music: Richard Rodgers. Book & Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II. Based on Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon. Savoyards. Director: Johanna Toia. Musical Director: Benjamin Tubb-Hearne. Choreographer: Carlie McEachern. Iona Performing Arts Centre, Wynnum, 17 Jun – 1 Jul 2017

The magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I is in evidence everywhere in Savoyards new production of their timeless classic, thanks to the strong casting of the principal roles and by the use of the original script and score.

A Night to Remember: The Ghetto Cabaret

Written & Directed by Galit Klas. Dramaturg Evelyn Krape. Musical Director Tomi Kalinski. Design Yvette Coppersmith. Presented by The Kadimah & the Jewish Holocaust Centre. The Kadimah, Elsternwick VIC. 15 – 25 June 2017

It’s 1941.  A Jewish ghetto somewhere in Eastern Europe.  A famous example (there were a thousand ghettos): the Warsaw Ghetto - four hundred thousand Jews packed into three and a half square kilometres.  In the face of constant fear of execution, deportation, mistrust of their own Nazi-approved leaders, their Judenrat (Jewish Council), hunger, the stench of bad sanitation disease and simple, straightforward despair, ‘culture’ - art, music, literature and theatre continues – must continue.

Midwinter Murders

“Murder at Hogwarts” (A Harry Potter murder mystery). Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. Season 8th June- 27th July 2017, weekly.

I have always been a fan of improv theatre, having spent much of my youth playing theatresports, but combine this with Harry Potter and you’ve got to be on a winner.

Sunset Strip

By Suzie Miller. The Uncertainty Principle, Griffin Independent. The SBW Stables Theatre, Sydney. Director: Anthony Skuse. 14 June – 1 July 2017

Everything in Suzie Miller’s new play is not what’s expected. For example, it’s title. Sunset Strip, the name of the holiday spot where Ray brought up his two girls, Phoebe and Caroline, is now a dust bowl, the lake completely dried up. Audiences should approach the action, the characters and everything they say with utmost caution.

1984

Adapted & Directed by Robert Icke & Duncan Macmillan. Based on the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. GWB Entertainment, Ambassador Theatre Group Asia Pacific, State Theatre Company of South Australia, present the Headlong, Nottingham Playhouse, Almeida Production. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. 14-18 Jun 2017 (later Sydney, Canberra, Perth).

This UK production by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan is brilliant in its adaptation and brilliant in its execution. George Orwell’s prescient dystopian future depicted in his 1949 novel has proved to be horrifyingly accurate in many societies since it was written and even more so today in an age of the internet and revelations about secret surveillance.

The Forwards

Written and directed by Stefo Nantsou. Presented by Brisbane Powerhouse, Shock Therapy Productions and Zeal Theatre. Visy Theatre, Brisbane, Qld. June 14-24, 2017.

Like many in the arts, I don’t care for sport and I live in the city. So I wasn’t expecting to connect with a show about an AFL final in a small town. Yet there I was on opening night, enthralled by the energetic, entertaining and electrifying story of the ‘Pintoon Parrots’ and their struggle to attain grand final glory. At first, the story appears lighthearted, but like all country towns, you just have to scratch the surface to find the tragedy bubbling beneath.

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