Reviews

American Psycho the Musical

Book by Roberto Aguirre-Sarcasa. Music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik. Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis. BB Arts Entertainment & Two Doors Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Company. May 10 – June 9, 2019,

The source material for this musical is eloquently described by the director Alexander Berlage as “a post modern masterpiece, a shockingly graphic, provocative and damning critique of toxic masculinity, yuppie capitalism and solipsistic alienation”.   

The novel is still kept in plastic wrapping in parts of the world, such is the R-rated nature of its content. In this production, it was the stage that was wrapped in plastic, as the serial killer Patrick Bateman - kitted out in a raincoat - got to work on a victim. 

All About Eve

By Joseph L Mankiewicz. Directed by Ivo van Hove, presented by National Theatre Live and Sharmill Films, Cinema Nova, 380 Lygon Street, Carlton and cinemas nationally. Limited season from 25 May, 2019.

The relevance of the story of as depicted in the original 1950 film and the stage play The Wisdom of Eve by Mary Orr has even more relevance in today’s media saturated society where fandom has often become a cult. This stage version is an incisive exposé of all the insecurities that fuel celebrity culture.

Present Laughter

By Noël Coward. PAANDA - Performing Arts Association of Notre Dame Australia, Mouat St, Fremantle. Directed by Matthew L. Jones. May 14- 25, 2019.

Noël Coward’s Present Laughter is having a surge of popularity in WA, with this being the middle of three productions within a year or so. A successful directorial debut for Matthew Luke Jones, this unusual choice of play for a university drama club plays very well.

PAANDA has a comfortable and pleasant venue, and the comfortable 1930s home of actor Garry Essendine, is nicely created by Thomas Blaffwitch, Zakaria Hourani and Troy Coelho, with good efforts from costumier Georgia Grubelich and props manager Justine Ralph to set the era.

Cosi Fan Tutte

By Mozart. Opera Australia. Director: Sir David McVicar. Revival Director: Andy Morton. Conductor: Keri-Lynn Wilson. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. May 18 – 25, 2019.

I am often disappointed at performances of the Mozart operas when the singers don’t understand the refinement required for this style of singing. This cast had it in spades! The singing was refined and beautiful, and the balance between the voices impeccable.

This was particularly noticeable in the famous trio, “Soave sia il vento”. I don’t recall hearing a better.

The Gospel According to Paul

By Jonathan Biggins. Soft Tread Productions. Playhouse, Sydney Opera House. May 13 – 18, 2019.

This is surely the best week to spend a night with Paul Keating.  Jonathan Biggins’ masterful rendering of Australia’s 24th Prime Minister, with its witty cuts and tug to the values of true leadership, packs up and leaves us all to it on the day we must vote.

After two decades honing his Keating impersonation in the Wharf Revues, Biggins delivers a fully satisfying 90 minute autobiography of the man and the politician, from his own gilded, faintly Napoleonic sitting room (designer Mark Thompson).

The Poor Kitchen

By Daniela Giorgi. Patina Productions. Directed by Julie Baz. Limelight Downstairs, at Limelight on Oxford. 231 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney. 8 to 26 May 2019

Who doesn’t love Italy?  David Dale once asserted that Italy had colonised Australia by stealth.  Coffee being our national drink, and pizza our national food.  So who could resist The Poor Kitchen by Daniela Giorgi?

The Poor Kitchen is a new Australian play set in Italy.  The play had its first outing at a season for new works in 2016, and many people were keen for it to be given a full season.

Silver Lining

By Sandi Toksvig. Directed by Brian Hinselwood. Presented by Centenary Theatre Group. Chelmer Community Centre, 11 May – 1 June, 2019

A group of senior women in a care facility are trapped by rising floodwaters. All hopes for rescue seem dashed, when help appears in the form of a young woman called Hope. In preparing to evacuate, the women fight off a looter, challenge one another’s beliefs and reveal some of their darkest regrets.

Bitch on Heat

By Leah Shelton. Theatre Works, St Kilda (Vic). May 14 – 19, 2019

Bitch On Heat is the new show by feminist renegade, cabaret performance artist extraordinaire Leah Shelton, also directed by the amazing live art provocateur Ursula Martinez. It is a superb satirical show that taunts us with mythology, “vintage sexism” and delivers a visual post-postmodern mash up.

Bare – a Pop Opera

Book by John Hartmere & Damon Intrabartolo, music by Damon Intrabartolo, lyrics by John Hartmere. Lane Cove Theatre Company. The Performance Space @ St Aidan's, 1 Christina Street, Longueville. May 10 - 25, 2019

Bare is not your usual musical. Sure, it’s about love and trust, but its also looks at them in a very different setting and through a much broader, more inclusive eye. Bare is the love story of two schoolboys in a catholic boarding school in America or anywhere. There are whimsical moments, very touching moments and some amusing moments – all told in thirty-six musical numbers that vary in pace and style. Singing a story isn’t ever easy. Singing it when it involves such poignantly contemporary themes is even more challenging.

Jesus Christ Superstar

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Stray Cats Theatre. Directed by Karen Francis. Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (WA). May 9-12, 2019

Jesus Christ Superstar was a huge scale production, played with great spirit, by Stray Cats Theatre at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.

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