Reviews

Remembrance

Victorian Opera. Conductor: Richard Mills. Hamer Hall. August 13, 2015

During this period of the centenary of the First World War there have been several concerts remembering this momentous event in our history. This was perhaps one of the more successful.

Doubt – A Parable

By John Patrick Shanley. Directed by Stephen Wheat. Produced by Ryan Lewis, RL Productions. Chapel off Chapel. August 13th-22nd, 2015.

When a play is as good as Doubt, and it has been filmed starring Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, you might be inclined to think that there is nothing to be gained by seeing it live on stage. Well, you would be wrong and run the risk of missing this terrific production. RL Productions has mounted a gem of a show in Chapel off Chapel’s Loft which really is a must see for lovers of good drama.

Ruby Moon

By Matt Cameron. Samsonite Productions. Directed by Johann Walraven. Fusebox, Factory Theatre Marrickville. August 12 - 23, 2015.

Ruby Moon by Matt Cameron is a contemporary play that explores the grim mythology of the missing child in Australian folklore. The Fusebox at the Factory Theatre is the perfect venue for this intimate, sensitive production of the play by Samsonite Productions, directed by Johann Walraven.

A Social Service

Created & performed by Nicola Gunn and David Woods. Beckett Theatre, Malthouse (VIC). 11 – 29 August 2015.

Nicola, a ‘conceptual artist’ (or a ‘post-conceptual artist, actually’ as she puts it) is installed as ‘artist in residence’ at a high rise housing estate.  She isn’t too sure yet as to what her ‘concept’ is, but that doesn’t inhibit her from being witheringly condescending towards a real resident who already has a substantial project in train.  Middle-class Nicola, who may (or may not) have been acclaimed for her ‘Art’ in the cocooned elite art circles she normally inhabits, naturally wants to ‘involve

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

By Edward Albee. University of Adelaide Theatre Guild. Little Theatre, The Cloisters (off Victoria Drive), University of Adelaide. Wednesday August 12th – 15th, 19th – 22nd, 2015

George and Martha stumble home from a faculty party and as the liquor flows so too does the caustic banter between the two of them. We sense within moments that all is not right with this married couple. A dialogue filled with dissatisfied and resentful repartee is served up with a sense of entitlement as each focus on the other's vulnerabilities.

 

The 39 Steps

By Patrick Barlow. Third Door Theatre. Directed by Cale Maclaren. Metanoia Theatre Mechanics Institute Brunswick. 12-15th August, 2015

This is a dazzling production that does not fail in any instance to faithfully reproduce the excitement and suspense of the original Hitchcock film. All the parts are played by four performers whose ability to act as masters of disguise enables them to invoke the vast array of characters and locations that inhabit this filmic masterpiece.

The Present

By Andrew Upton, after Anton Chekhov’s Platonov. Sydney Theatre Company. Directed by John Crowley. Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay, Sydney. August 4 – September 19, 2015

This was more like a symphony than a play. Think 1812 overture without the music. There were fireworks, guns, passion and huge helpings of  full throated Russian drama.

The leading soloists were Richard Roxburgh (Mikhail) and Cate Blanchett (Anna). The play is set at her explosive 40thbirthday party, in  Russia 1995 in a modern home,  more than a century after Chekhov first penned the play. 

The Songs of McKenzie-Spencer and Strano (Nailed It)

Chapel off Chapel July 20, 2015 and Edinburgh Fringe Festival 5-17 August

There’s a large and diverse contingent of Australians at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, but it’s hard to imagine anyone pleasing the crowd more than the wonderfully eclectic and super talented combination of Loclan McKenzie-Spencer and Andrew Strano.

Wheeler’s Luck

By Nigel Collins, Toby Leach and Damon Andrews. The Southside Players . Theatre Royal Backspace, Hobart. Director: Adam (Gus) Powers. 7 – 14 August 2015

The Southside Players’ Hobart version of Wheeler’s Luck (by arrangement with New Zealand Playwright’s Market) was a demonstration of good fun theatre show-casing talented energetic actors, with an excellent script. It was also one of the funniest nights’ I have spent at the theatre in months, maybe years. Wheeler’s Luck, written by Nigel Collins, Toby Leach and Damon Andrews is a hilarious romp, with three actors, playing fifty characters, set in one town.

What is the matter with Mary Jane?

By Wendy Harmer and Sancia Robinson. Seymour Centre (NSW). Aug 5 – 8, 2015, and touring

Theatre that educates and puts its audience in an empathetic position for the suffering, joy and triumph of another is what makes the performing arts so special. Within 60 minutes, you can leave the theatre with a newfound understanding of an issue, a person, a cultural way of life. When we learn, we grow. What is the matter with Mary Jane? is a beautiful illustration of the power of theatre in changing lives. The audience is given keen insight into the real-life story of Sancia Robinson’s battle with anorexia and bulimia.

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