Reviews

Our House

Music and lyrics by Madness and a book by playwright Tim Firth. Genesian Theatre. September 3 – October 8, 2016

Every now and again theatre companies such as the Genesian, that usually produce dramas, decide to indulge in a musical. Not necessarily one that is well known nor one that requires a large cast, a multi-piece band or a big stage – but a musical, nevertheless. Our House is that sort of musical. It can be staged with a small cast (fourteen in this production), has relatively uncomplicated music (which could easily be have been recorded to disc rather than using a live band); and the action can be adapted to a smaller stage.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. September 12 – October 22, 2016

I remember once seeing a Brazilian production of the Dream so dark that it ended with the noble lovers casually slaughtering the mechanicals after they’d staged their tedious little play.  That Dream had nothing of the pastoral redemption and fairyland sweetness usual to Shakespeare’s play – and nor does this Kip Williams STC version.

A Steady Rain

By Keith Huff. Lost in Translation. Holden Street Theatres, Adelaide. 15-17 September, 2016.

Storytelling on stage can take many forms. Sometimes we get ‘the full picture’, in chronological order, from all characters involved. Sometimes we get the individual perspective of a narrator - possibly an unreliable one. In the case of A Steady Rain, we have Nick Fagan (as Denny) and Rohan Watts (as Joey) comprising the entirety of the cast, sometimes interacting directly with each other, more often speaking in monologue to the audience, painting a vivid portrait of the seediness and moral corruption that police work can entail.

Young Pretender

By E V Crowe. New Theatre / Sydney Fringe. September 13 – 17, 2016

Bonny Prince Charlie still sustains the status of Scotland’s most romantic hero, and his bid to regain the British monarchy for Scotland and the Stuarts remains the stuff of legend. This unusual play, written in modern ‘speak’ by playwright EV Crowe, shows him returning to Scotland in secret to convince the Scottish clansmen to follow him to the Battle of Culloden and the second Jacobite Uprising.

The Element of Consequence

Presented by After Dark Theatre, created and performed by TEOC. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Gasworks, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park. 13-17 September, 2016

This contemporary circus performance makes an explicit crossover with performance art and dance. The circus acts are infused with stylised movement and gesture and generate an unusual relationship with some very ordinary, everyday objects. These objects are recontextualised and played with in order to accentuate the dynamics of the acrobatic feats.

The Measure of a Man

By Gavin Roach. New Theatre / Sydney Fringe Festival. September 13 – 18, 2016.

Gavin Roach first measured his penis at the age of 12 and found it wanting.  And it hasn’t grown much longer when years later he starts trying to use it with other men.  

This gay tale of his teenage innocence, sexual exploration and growing body shame is the meat of Roach’s self-devised work for the Sydney Fringe, the second in his Anxiety Trilogy. The first, apparently much-applauded, was I Can’t Say the F- word.

Leap of Faith

Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Glenn Slater. Book by Janus Cercone and Glenn Slater. Director: Elle Zattera. Musical Director: Josh Ransom. Choreographer: Craig Nhobbs. Rockdale Musical Society. Rockdale Town Hall. September 9 – 17, 2016

Lesser-known and short-lived Broadway musicals frequently find their welcome on the local stage in Community Theatre. Companies and performers love fresh shows to perform, while audiences get to see musicals that don’t make it to our professional stages.

It’s win / win really, especially when a production attracts as much Community Musical Theatre talent as Rockdale’s Leap of Faith.

Wolf Lullaby

By Hilary Bell. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport. Director: Annie Lotocki. September 10th – October 1st, 2016

Chloe Finlay is a busy young lady with a great future ahead of her. Last week she was starring in Legally Blonde Jnr for the National Academy of Performing Arts and now takes on the role of 9 year old Lizzie Gael in Wolf Lullaby. Her portrayal of the young girl was convincing; carrying the action for most of the play.

Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense

By The Goodale Brothers. Based on The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse. Original Direction: Sean Foley. Lunchbox Theatrical Productions in association with Mark Goucher & Mark Rubenstein. St James Theatre, Wellington, 8-10 September 2016 (Touring New Zealand).

Perfect Nonsense is another of those productions in the ilk of The 39 Steps where a few actors play multiple parts wearing dodgy wigs, outlandish clothes, display a variety of accents and cross-dress madly. After playing a year in the West End, winning the Best New Comedy Award at the 2014 Olivier’s, doing three UK tours and a stint in Mumbai, it’s currently touring New Zealand.

The Patrick Pearse Motel

By Hugh Lennard. Players Theatre, Ballina. Director: Sue Belsham. September 9th – 18th, 2016

Sue Belsham makes a welcome return directing this Irish Farce; full of blarney and shillelaghs and not a leprechaun in sight!

With acceptable Irish accents (which easily rolled of their tongues) the cast of Brook Lacy, Daniel Richards, Jaime Sheehan, Mike Sheenhan, Carl Moore, Mechelle Anderson and Mike Harris brought the Gaelic humour to life.

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