Reviews

The Object Lesson

Created and performed by Geoff Sobelle. Sydney Festival / Perth International Arts Festival. Sydney Town Hall. Jan 7 – 22, 2016, then Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA, Feb 11 - 14, 2016

Boxes – and the objects in them – are the remains of life. And for the esoteric American performance artist Geoff Sobelle, this means they’re ripe for exploration.

You’re invited into his space – in this case, stacks of cardboard boxes installed into Sydney Town Hall – with the suggestion you open some of the boxes, rifle through them and see what you learn.

Jasper Jones

Adapted by Kate Mulvany from the book by Craig Silvey. Belvoir. January 2 – February 7, 2016.

Belvoir is off to a flying start for 2016 with Jasper Jones. Kate Mulvany has proved yet again she can do no wrong with her playful, poignant adaptation of Craig Silvey’s book.

When a parochial country Australian township becomes paralysed by fear following the disappearance of teen Laura, the racist, abusive underbelly of the town is exposed. Jasper Jones and sidekick Charlie’s determination to do good and solve the mystery of Laura’s mistreatment see them unearthing truths that turn dreams to nightmares. 

Oklahoma!

By Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Emma Knights Productions. Four Oaks Farm, Littlehampton (SA). 7th-10th January, 2016

A massive success when it debuted on Broadway in 1943, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first musical Oklahoma!, based on Lynn Riggs play Green Grow the Lilacs, has stood the test of time, clocking up many revivals.

Fiddler on The Roof

Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Book by Joseph Stein. Directed by Roger Hodgman. Princess Theatre Melbourne, January 5, 2015 until end of Feb, 2016, the Capitol Theatre, Sydney from March 24, 2016.

When Tevye and the villagers open the show with a rousing rendition of “Tradition” at The Princess Theatre, they are singing, not just about history, but about the production itself. There’s nothing wrong with this new Fiddler, but there’s nothing new, exciting or innovative either. It’s traditional. If you like your theatre with a little bit of edge (and certainly the story lends itself to drama and edge) then you will be disappointed; ‘on the other hand’ if you’ve never seen Fiddler live before, you will probably love it.

Miss Lily's Fabulous Feather Boa

Directed by Michael Barlow. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle, WA. Jan 4-30, 2016

Although I have had the pleasure of seeing Miss Lily's Fabulous Feather Boa before, this incarnation is perhaps even more magical, a gorgeous production aimed at kids, presented and received with joy.

Miss Lily is an exuberant and friendly crocodile, who runs a tropical holiday house. Among the guests are cricket-loving koalas and footy playing wombats, but most in need of Miss Lily's company is 'The Last Poteroo' who is lonely and feeling lost.

But Wait… There’s More

Circus Oz. Under the Big Top, Moore Park, Sydney. Dec 30 2015 – Jan 24, 2016

When you enter the foyer of the Circus Oz big top, there’s a man loudly selling programs, promising that if you buy, you can learn to read, become even smarter and pick up invaluable information to help “understand the show”. At interval, the same man is selling choc tops, again an over-the-top salesman, promising products that will change your life.

Mary Poppins

Music and lyrics by The Sherman Brothers and George Stiles and Anthony Drew. Book by Julian Fellowes. PLOS (Vic). Directed by Karl McNamara. Frankston Arts Centre. December 31st 2015 –January 9th 2016.

It’s becoming a tradition on the Mornington Peninsula….end the old year with a spectacular PLOS production, and Mary Poppins is certainly that – a delightful musical that offers the best of the 1964 Disney film married with additional music (not quite up to the standard of The Sherman Brothers) and with a book by Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes. Essentially it’s the story of the Banks Family, which may be why the PLOS family tells it so beautifully.

Club Swizzle

Adelaide Festival Centre. The Space Theatre. 29 December 2015 – 17 January 2016

A combination of talent, originality and pizazz awaits you as you enter the world that is Club Swizzle. Four handsome and buff lads greet you with enthusiasm, promising you a wonderful evening ahead and with the help of an extraordinary company of performers, they deliver with aplomb.

Pinocchio

Writer: Les Winspear. Big Monkey Theatre. Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart. Director: Les Winspear. 30 December 2015 – 24 January 2016

The timeless tale of Pinocchio, the puppet who wanted to be a boy, has been given fresh life by Big Monkey Theatre and the writing of Les Winspear, in the delightful setting of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. This summer’s presentation is the 22nd family show at the gardens, and the beginning of this year’s public season. The actors - Will Pridmore,

Sport for Jove Summer Season 7

Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare, directed by Damien Ryan, Shakespearealism by Josh Lawson, directed by Lizzie Schebesta and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, directed by Damien Ryan. Bella Vista Farm, Baulkham Hills, Dec 11 – 30, 2015 and The Everglades Garden, Leura, Jan 10 – 25, 2016

The presentation of these two renowned works at Bella Vista Farm is a remarkable achievement, a phenomenal experience for the audience and likely also for the cast and crew. Picnicing in the grass amphitheater in front of the new pavilion takes us on a journey back to the roots of theatre as a community pursuit and of the pageantry, drama and laughs it has delivered to humankind for many thousands of years. Sport for Jove do this so well. They are likely the best theatre company in Sydney and Damien Ryan is definitely the best director.

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