Reviews

The Ugly One

By Marius Von Mayenburg. Griffin Theatre, Sydney. Director: Sarah Giles. November 23 – December 17, 2011

Grey Gardens

Music: Scott Frankell, Lyrics: Michael Korie, Book: Doug Wright. The Production Company. Playhouse, the Arts Centre (Vic). November 24 – December 4, 2011.

Let us give thanks to the Theatre Gods for Jeanne Pratt, Chairman of the The Production Company, for being brave enough to bring to Melbourne many offerings, Grey Gardens being one, that larger commercial companies do not even have on their radar.

‘Allo ‘Allo

By Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft. Lilydale Athenaeum Theatre (Vic). Director: Nicholas Ryan. November 15 – December 3, 2011.

Café René is the centre of all the action in ‘Allo ‘Allo, the stage adaption of the popular BBC TV wartime comedy series, complete with the marauding Germans looking after their future, British airmen using the café as a safe house while the Resistance comes up with crazy plans to help them escape and poor René, the proprietor, his wife and two waitresses trying to run the restaurant in a little French village, despite all that is going on around them.

We Will Show The Country

Concept: Giordano Nanni. Adapted by Andrea James and Giordano Nanni. Ilbijerri Theatre Company (VIC). La Mama Courthouse Theatre. Director: Isaac Drandic. Designer: Darryl Cordell. November 18 – 27, 2011.

The motif for the Ilbijerri Theatre Company is Bold Black Brilliant. And this is the case for the company’s latest work We Will Show the Country.

We Will Show The Country is a unique collaboration of theatre and historical fact that tells the story of the Coranderrk station; land that is now, near present day Healesville.

The station, a thriving and self-sufficient home to a number of aboriginal clans in the 1800’s inevitably came under the threat of expanding European colonisation, displacing the inhabitants yet again.

The Perils of Purity Pimble

Eltham Little Theatre. Directors: Kellie and Ian Tweeddale. Saturday November 11 – December 4, 2011

Eltham Little Theatre’s annual Music Hall was another enjoyable evening’s entertainment. Utilizing a melodrama by Joan Dalgleish, again there was no MC but we did have songs to sing along with and a few bawdy jokes.

God’s Ear

By Jenny Schwartz. Seymour Centre and Pursued by a Bear. The Reginald, Seymour Centre (NSW). November 12 – December 3, 2011.

Jenny Schwartz’s play God’s Ear deals with the pain, distress and emptiness of that is felt by a parent in the wake of the loss of a child. Conversations between partners, friends and relatives become stilted, repetitive and almost meaningless until they descend into an absurdist tapestry of clichés.

Games in the Backyard

By Edna Mazya. ATYP Studio 1 (NSW). November 17 – December 3, 2011.

Chains, a bare floor and dark shadows set the stark scene for this gut wrenching drama by Israeli playwright Edna Mazya. As the lights come up, lawyers stand still, fixing the audience, their initial interrogation establishing immediate tension. The lights go down; the characters transform; the music changes; a swing falls; and we are taken from a court room to a playground on a kibbutz where a fourteen year old girl is beguiled, teased, taunted and eventually raped by a group of teenage boys.

The Giraffe’s Uncle.

By Kieran Carroll. Type Faster Productions. King Street Theatre (was Newtown Theatre) (NSW). November 17 – 27, 2011.

The character of Les Robinson is interesting, but knowing that he was a real living breathing human being inhabiting Sydney not too long ago makes him absolutely fascinating.

Gross and Klein (Big and Small)

By Botho Strauss, translated by Martin Crimp. Sydney Theatre Company. Sydney Theatre. Director: Benedict Andrews. November 19 – December 23, 2011, then touring Europe.

The audience gets more than their money’s worth from Cate Blanchett as the troubled lead character Lotte Stein. In the course of three hours she presents a kaleidoscope of motion and emotion; a spinning diamond shining different shades of light and feeling across the stage.

One minute she is dancing and tearing around, waving her arms wildly. The next she has collapsed to the floor. We see her fight, have a piece of wood smashed over her head and bleed in intimate places.  

Fractions

By Marcel Dorney. Queensland Theatre Company & HotHouse Theatre . Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. 14 November -10 December 2011

This is a splendid play, brilliantly written, and destined for literary greatness.

Queensland Premier’s award winner, it will polarise audiences: if they like to be challenged they’ll love it (in scope it resembles The Crucible); those who seek light entertainment won’t.

Muslim terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre marked the start of this century; Christian zealots’ destruction of the Library of Alexandria, then seat of the world’s learning, took place 1600 years earlier.

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