Reviews

Tristan and Isolde

By Richard Wagner. Melbourne Opera. Director: Suzanne Chaundy. Musical Director: Anthony Negus. Palais Theatre, St Kilda, February 5 & 7, 2018 and Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Feb 10.

I attended what should have been the second performance of Tristan and Isolde after the first was cancelled due to a virus affecting the lead soprano and several other cast members. Fortunately Lee Abrahmsen seemed to have fully recovered.

Isolde is a mammoth role and she sang with power and beauty. She was well matched by English heldentenor, Neal Cooper. They made a very credible couple.

Sarah Sweeting was a sympathetic Brangäne, Michael Lampard a strong Kurwenal and Steven Gallop a powerful King Marke. The amateur male chorus did well.

An Act of God

By David Javerbaum. Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Eternity Playhouse, Darlinghurst, NSW, Feb 2 - 25, 2018

Self-proclaiming “three-time Helpmann Award-winner” Mitchell Butel is here the vessel through which God steps down to revise with us his now musty Ten Commandments. 

It’s a God, of course, more queenly than godly, an acidic, point scoring showman who, while correcting many of our biblical misunderstandings, ends a little conflicted about his values.

Très Masc?

Fringe World. Directed by Clint Strindberg. Connections Nightclub, James St Northbridge, WA. Feb 6-12, 2018

Cougar Morrison, Perth’s Queen of Androgyny, returns with a brand new show - a celebration with dance, drag and diva drama that delights its audience.

Xanadu

Book by Douglas Carter Beane. Music and Lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. Phoenix Ensemble (Qld). Feb 2 - 22, 2018

Can a musical be simultaneously indefensible and irresistible? Why, yes it can. Witness Xanadu, the outlandishly enjoyable stage spoof of the outrageously bad movie from 1980 about a painter and his muse who find love at a roller disco in Los Angeles. The plot, for those unfamiliar with the film, concerns Clio, the Muse of History and leader of the muses who comes down to earth in 1980, abetted by her six raucous sister Muses, to inspire an artistic achievement, a roller disco. An artist has drawn a mural of the Muses that conveniently serves as their gateway to earth.

HIR

By Taylor Mac. Red Stitch Actors Theatre (Vic). 30 January to 4 March 2018

Hir is a real shocker.  It is hugely entertaining, hysterical, disturbing, bewilderingly, disorientating, yet, satisfyingly orientating - all at the same time.  It is a timely immersion into a kitchen sink dramatization (pardon the pun) of changing social sexual mores and, as such, offers a cathartic journey for the audience. 

Children Are Stinky

Fringe World. De Parel Spiegeltent, The Pleasure Garden, Russell Square, Northbridge, WA. Feb 3-11, 2018

Children Are Stinkyis a “highly factual” show which sets out to prove that children are scared, lazy, have no co-ordination, are bad spellers, have no imagination and are most of all - stinky!

Shrek The Musical

Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, Music by Jeanine Tesori. Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the Book by William Steig. Packemin Productions. Riverside Theatres (Parramatta). 2-17 February 2018.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a couple of Packemin Productions’ shows and each time I am impressed not just by the singing, acting and dancing, but the creative detail that goes into each production.

Their latest show, Shrek The Musical is no different. Based on the smash hit DreamWorks Animation film, Shrek is a Tony Award winning fairy tale adventure, featuring all new songs and bringing the beloved characters from the movie to the stage.

Light In Her Eye

By Louise Helfgott. Tempest Theatre. Fringe World. Directed by Susie Conte. Lady Beaufort, Beaufort St Community Centre, Mt Lawley, WA. Feb 2-18

Light in Her Eye, written by Louise Helfgott, directed by Susie Conte and performed by Ana Ika, for Tempest Theatre, is a mesmerising monologue that gives a unique perspective on identity.

Anoush, a young woman born in Iran of Armenian heritage, is trying to find the perfect costume to reflect her inner self for a fancy dress party. Trying burquas, hijab, saris, traditional Armenian dress and what may pass as ‘Australian’, she attempts to find the real Anoush.

Talking Heads

By Alan Bennett. Fringe World. Lady Beaufort, Beaufort St Community Centre, Mt Lawley, WA. Feb 2-18, 2018

Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads are a series of monologues that are familiar to many, as they were televised. In this presentation, by Wild Capers, also known as Dunsborough Theatre Group, we see “Her Big Chance” and “Bed Among the Lentils”.

Minus One Sister

By Anna Barnes. Fringe World / SALT. Directed by Riley Spadaro. Theatre Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA. Jan 27 - Feb 3, 2018

SALT. is an independent theatre collective which aims to perform “explosive writing” in work that is “gripping, divisive and unsympathetic. SALT. delivers their promise in this debut production. Minus One Sister is a fascinating production, with an intriguing plot that is both compelling and controversial.

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