Reviews

Into The Woods

By Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Benjamin Northey. Director: Stuart Maunder. Playhouse Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. July 19 – 26, 2014

I have seen a couple of amateur productions of Into the Woods which were quite impressive, so I was interested to see what the professionals would do. Victorian Opera certainly stepped up to the mark.

Cranford

Adapted by Martyn Coleman from the novel by Mrs Gaskell. Directed by Ailsa Travers. Garrick Theatre, Guildford, WA. 10-26 July 2014

I must confess to being a closet fan of Cranford, both the novel by Mrs Gaskell and the BBC television series, so I was looking forward to Garrick Theatre's production. I was not disappointed, this production of the play adapted by Martyn Coleman, is absolutely lovely.

Briefs: One Act Play Season

Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport, Qld. 7 Plays, 5 Directors, 17 Performers. 17th – 19th July, 2014

Under the heading of Briefs, Gold Coast Little Theatre presented their Annual One Act Play Season.

This year’s offerings included 6 plays written especially this season and Lauri Wylie’s evergreen piece Dinner for One which is frequently shown on German Television.

Relative Values

By Noël Coward. Melville Theatre Company. Directed by Tarryn Harris. Roy Edinger Theatre, Palmyra, WA. July 11-26 2014

Tarryn Harris (nee Bullock) made her directorial debut with this production for Melville Theatre Company, her favourite of Noël Coward's plays. A welcome addition to Perth's directorial stable, Tarryn led a solid team to create a very strong show.

Set on a very well dressed, traditional box set, we were convincingly transported back to Britain among the upper classes in July 1951, with wonderful attention to detail and lovely upper-class costuming by Michelle Sharp.

Glengarry Glen Ross

By David Mamet. Melbourne Theatre Company, The Sumner, Southbank Theatre (VIC). 5 July – 9 August 2014

This play is about: selling.  Fiercely competitive, testosterone-fuelled, live-or-die, dog-eat-dog selling.  Winning means bragging rights, (temporary) power and money.  Failure means emasculation and humiliation.  The ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ of the title is a housing development in the ‘mountains’ of Florida.  There are as yet no houses, only ‘views’.  In other words, it’s a con – but also, in this 1984 play by David Mamet, a device.  

My Life in the Nude

Maude Davey – Performer/Writer. Anni Davey – Director. fortyfive downstairs – 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 15 - 27 July 2014

Wicked?  Goddess?

Whatever - Maude Davey is a legend!

Sex With Strangers

By Laura Eason. Brisbane Powerhouse. Visy Theatre. 17 - 26 July 2014

Provocative title? Yes. There are sex scenes aplenty but if you’re expecting rough, all-bare, no-holds-barred explicit action, you’ll be disappointed. But you will be drawn in.

It is delightfully simple: two (beautiful) people, two acts, two similar but different sets and a standard romance plot (too stylish and clever to rate a red flower on the programme). You’ll love it!

A Doll’s House

By Henrik Ibsen. Sport For Jove. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre (NSW). July 17 – August 2, 2014

There are good actors and then there are actors with X Factor. Just like there are good roles and then there are roles with that extra something-something. Matilda Ridgeway in the role of Nora in A Doll’s House is double-whammy X Factor goodness. It’s pretty exciting.

Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is a tried and tested terrific play. Nora Helmer naively commits a crime in an act of love to save her husband’s life only to find - when her sins are exposed - that all the joy and happiness she thought to be true are baseless.

Thom Pain (based on nothing)

By Will Eno. Sydney Independent Theatre Company. Old Fitzroy Theatre. July 15 – August 2, 2014

It’s hard not to admire Julie Baz and David Jeffrey, the co-artistic directors of the Sydney Independent Theatre Company. Putting on a one-man play, with Baz directing Jeffrey in the lead and – from what I could tell – not much extra help, must be a lot of work. It’s people like this who keep a lot of interesting theatre happening in this country. They give us access to a whole range of plays we’d never see otherwise.

Guys and Dolls

By Frank Loesser. (Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows). The Production Company (Vic). State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. Director Gale Edwards. Musical Director Guy Simpson. Choreographer Nathan M Wright. Lighting Designer Robert Cuddon. Costume Designer Tim Chappel. 19th- 27th July 2014

A conglomerate of high-flying directors, stage actors past and present, and politicians and were on hand at the opening of this old favourite, featuring the slickly swingin’ strains of Orchestra Victoria atop a raised stage-wide scaffold.

Chelsea Plumley, resplendent in red coiffure, captivates as Miss Adelaide, effortlessly oscillating between fragility and resilience. Her robust solo work pairs cleanly with quirky physical comedy, although some lyrics were undecipherable in Take Back Your Mink tonight.

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