Reviews

The Communists Are in the Funhouse

Written and devised by the ensemble. Tempest. Directed by Susie Conte. The Studio, Subiaco Arts Centre. June 4-8, 2019

The Communists Are in the Funhouse is a devised performance work about the history of hysteria, the experience of periods and the lived experience of women, told through personal experience, video, drama and movement.

The title comes from one of many euphemisms for the time of menstruation. Similar in theme and broad style to its closest theatrical neighbour, Unrule at the Blueroom, this is a vastly different experience, and the two are an interesting theatrical pairing for those who are lucky enough to see both in quick succession.

THRONES! The Musical Parody

By Chris Grace, Zach Reino, Albert Samuels, Nick Semar and Dan Wessels. Director: Chris Grace; Musical Director: Douglas Drew; Choreography: Kim McVicar, Eric Michaud. Sydney Opera House 5 - 30 June, 2019.

I haven't laughed so long and hard in a long time. Thrones! is a musical parody that is superior to and can stand apart from the subject matter it's lampooning.

Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God

By Roland Schimmelpfennig, translated by David Tushingham. Joh Hartog Productions. Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. 5-15 June 2019

Two couples, two dolls and too much wine are the foundations of this unusual play that tries to examine culture clash and colonialism from the perspective of failing relationships. Peggy Pickit is one of the dolls, a favourite toy of the five-year-old daughter of one of the couples, and now a gift to an African girl that was being cared for by the other couple, recently returned running from the developing world. That couple presents the parents with the second doll – wooden and simple; these two toys become the crude proxies for the different worlds inhabited by the two couples.

Bobby Fox: The Irish Boy

Written by Bobby Fox and Christopher Parker. Choreographed by Bobby Fox. Directed by Christopher Parker. Musical Director, Glenn Moorhouse. World Premiere - Sydney Opera House, June 5, 2019 then Adelaide Cabaret Festival on June 14 & 15, and The Art House Wyong on June 22.

The life of the Stage Whispers’ reviewer is unpredictable. This is not really the kind of show that the magazine reviews, ordinarily, but when the call out for reviewers arrived in my inbox, I jumped at the opportunity. The reason? I LOVE everything Irish. Part of my ancestry is from Irish convicts. I’m drawn to the countryside, the music, the history, the folklore, the people...everything. So, I said yes before I had even read the press release.

It’s A Wonderful Life - The Live Radio Show

Adapted for radio on stage by Tony Palermo. Original score composed and arranged by Jonathan Green. Directed by Steve Pearton and Paula-Mary Camilleri. Mousetrap Theatre, Redcliffe, (Qld). May 31 – June 7, 2019.

The challenge here was that this was a youth production in a new venture for many of the young cast on their road to a theatre involvement. The story basically follows the life of George Bailey who does so much in the small town of his childhood. It is set in the depression years through to after the war and we follow his fall and eventual rise in a way that gives hope to all. This is achieved by a cast of twelve who read the many characters through microphones and cover about thirty roles. This was a challenge which was well met for the most part.

End of the Rainbow

By Peter Quilter. State Theatre Company SA in association with Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Royalty Theatre, Adelaide. June 4-22, 2019

‘If I am a legend, then why am I so lonely?’ was Judy Garland’s plea near the end of her life and the theme explored by Peter Quilter in his play, End of the Rainbow.

Quilter takes us through Judy’s Garland’s last concert tour. At the Ritz hotel in London with her fifth husband Mickey Deans and accompanist Anthony we share her tears, fears and the pressure of fame, ill health and decaying relationships.

Escaped Alone

By Caryl Churchill. Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre, East St Kilda. 28 May to 30 June 2019

Just under a sunny, ‘normal’ surface lurk horrors large and small, past, present and future.  Three middle-aged women, seemingly old friends and comfortable together, have afternoon tea in a sunny back garden.  A fourth woman is passing and sees them through a hole in the fence.  They ask her to join them.  The three are identified by their first names – Lena (Marta Kaczmarek), Sally (Caroline Lee) and Vi (Margaret Mills) – but the newcomer is Mrs Jarrett (Julie Forsyth) and she never quite fits in or keeps up… The play begins, however, wit

X-Stacy

By Margery Forde. Directed by Elodie Boal. Presented by Moreton Bay Theatre Company (Qld). Neverland Theatre. 24 May – 2 June 2019.

Solid direction shows in every aspect of a play. It’s obvious that director Elodie Boal has a well-formulated vision for this production of X-Stacy and she’s been able to impart it clearly to the cast and crew. Boal creates an immersive environment, using the entire space as her stage, including placing a ‘bouncer’ on the front door and giving everyone glow sticks as they enter.

Them

By Samah Sabawi. Directed by Bagryana Popov. La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond St, Carlton. May 29 – June 9, 2019.

Samah Sabawi employs humour and irony to tackle a highly sensitive topic and effectively infiltrates the essential humanity of the story. The play takes place in a war-stricken state somewhere in the Middle-East and portrays the lives of the local people who are forced to confront life and death decisions on a daily basis.

Pretence

By Hayley Lawson-Smith. Dramatic Pause Theatre. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. June 3 – 8, 2019.

Pretence is a satirical one-act comedy that explores the dynamics between two actors, at loggerheads over the leading role in an amateur theatre production. The multi-award winning play, written and performed by Hayley Lawson-Smith and presented by Dramatic Pause Theatre, is currently playing at the Butterfly Club.

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