Reviews

Taxithi – An Australian Odyssey

By Helen Yotis Patterson. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Space Theatre, 7th and 8th June, 2019.

Taxithi is an enthralling homage to the wave of Greek migrants who arrived in Australia in the 1950’s and 60’s, in particular to those strong women who sailed here with heavy hearts and spent a lifetime yearning for their homeland, their loved ones and their Hellenic identity.

Helen Yotis Patterson has skilfully written a heartfelt piece of verbatim theatre and fused it with moving pieces of Greek folk music, or rebetika, which was popularised during the period that the Greek migrants become an indelible part of our Australian society. 

Megan Mullally and her band Nancy and Beth

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide, 9 June 2019; Elizabeth Murdoch Recital Hall, June 1 & 13; Sydney Opera House, June 16; QPAC, June 19.

Nancy and Beth is the creation of Megan Mullally (from Will & Grace) and Stephanie Hunt (Friday Night Lights), a singing and dancing duo reviving and restyling songs old and new. Their harmonies are sublime, their choreographed dancing is beat-perfect – and together, it’s hilarious.

All My Sons

By Arthur Miller. National Theatre Live. The Old Vic and Headlong. Cinema Nova. 15 – 19 June 2019. And at other participating venues.

In this intimate, beautifully acted production, Arthur Miller tells his story of 1947 America through a mid-Western family, the Kellers, and their neighbours.  Set two years after the end of WWII, it tells of individualism versus community, of the ruthless ethos of ‘winning and ‘success’ at any cost, of idealism versus hard-headed pragmatism, of the big lie in plain sight and of the rationale of the of ‘family’.  You might go to see this because it’s a venerable if ‘old’ play, or because it stars Sally Field, Bill Pullman and Jenna C

The House is Live

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The Thebarton Theatre. Friday 7 June, 2019

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2019 kicked off with a ‘gala’ event entitled The House is Live, directed by Craig Ilott. The highlights of this ‘gala’ were truly magnificent but not all was well.

Shadowlands

By William Nicholson. Directed by Helen Ekundayo. Presented by Villanova Players. The Ron Hurley Theatre. 8 - 23 June, 2019

This philosophical work covers a short span in the life of author and theologian C.S. Lewis. Set in 1950s Oxford, we see the conservative and chaste Christian man Lewis’ unlikely romance with an American Jewish divorcee and fellow writer, Joy Davidman. They have a keen, intellectual bond, but set-in-his-ways bachelor Lewis is too inexperienced with the fairer sex to take the relationship past friendship.

Drive

By Rebecca Meston. Theatre Works, St Kilda (VIC). 6 – 15 June 2019

Based on the true story, so the program tells us, of ex-astronaut Lisa Nowak who drove fourteen hours non-stop from Houston, Texas, to Orlando, Florida, to confront – or kill? – her ex-husband’s lover.  In the car’s back seat, she carried equipment for disguise, kidnap and murder.

Away

By Michael Gow. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport. Director: Stuart Lumsden. June 8th – 29th, 2019

This production of Michael Gow’s play is also Stuart’s thesis project for his Master of Applied Theatre Studies.

The interesting story line features three internally conflicted families: one with a dominating, opinionated mother, hen-pecked father and daughter who wants to be a normal teenager; the second, British immigrants devoted to each other with a teenage son who has a terminal illness and the third, a dysfunctional couple dealing with the death of their son in Vietnam.

Ute Lemper – Rendezvous with Marlene

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide. 8 June 2019

Ute Lemper was just 24, dubbed la nouvelle Marlene by the Parisian press; the original Marlene was 87, living out her last years in the French capital. Ute wrote her a letter and expecting nothing back, was surprised and suspicious when told Marlene had replied. Later that night, the old and the new talked on the telephone for three hours, the original Marlene sharing her love of poetry, of music and movies, of her lost homeland and stories of her lovers, both men and women.

Mutating Roots

Created by Mayu Muto and Celia White. Presented by Gush in partnership with Vulcana Women’s Circus. Brisbane Powerhouse Stores. 8 – 9 June 2019.

When you look at a modern, young woman, what do you see? What are your preconceptions? What added biases do you hold when the young woman is a Japanese Australian?

The Swell Mob

Flabbergast Theatre. Artspace. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. 8-22 June 2019

My expectations of this piece of immersive theatre were high, as its reputation for being a ‘masterpiece’ and the promise of ‘transporting’ me preceded its showing. It is sold as a clever mix of physical theatre, puppetry, clowning and character acting.

The Swell Mob is the brainchild of Flabbergast Theatre which first emerged at the Edinburgh Fringe. It is directed by Henry Maynard, who himself is part of the acting troupe.

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