Reviews

The Deep Blue Sea

By Terence Rattigan. Sydney Theatre Company. Roslyn Packer Theatre. Feb 4 – Mar 7, 2020

Terence Rattigan wrote this once searing domestic portrait of class, shame and lost love reportedly after the suicide of a male lover.  The play however centres on a suicidal woman who leaves her marriage to a judge, only to be abandoned by her alcoholic lover; it was a West End hit in 1952, and beyond.

Rattigan, later Sir Terence, shows himself a master of dialogue and slowly unfolding plot in this neat three-act story, as over one day a host of characters parade through Hester Collyer’s crummy London flat. 

13: The Musical

Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Book by Don Elish and Robert Horn. Spotlight Theatre, Benowra, Gold Coast. Director / Choreographer: Hannah Crowther. February 7 – 29th, 2020

Spotlight’s production of 13 is the result of their senior youth theatre class holding a three week intensive workshop during the school holidays and the cast and crew (under the guidance of a few adults) are responsible for a fantastic show!

What a great idea to introduce young people into all the workings of a major production and have them own the end result.

This type of training can only happen when everyone is dedicated and working to produce a show that they can all be proud of.

Annie

Book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin. Wanneroo Repertory. Directed by Katherine Blower. Limelight Theatre, Civic Dev, Wanneroo, WA. Feb 6 - 22, 2020

Despite being one of the most frequently performed community theatre musicals, Annie continues to be incredibly popular, with only a handful of seats remaining for Wanneroo Repertory’s production.

Aladdin the Pantomime

DAPAK and Kelete Studios. Directed by Kelly Mattravers. Phoenix Theatre, Memorial Hall, Spearwood, WA. Feb 8-9, 2020

Aladdin the Pantomime, presented by DAPAK and Kelete Studios, features a cast of 16 performers who live with disabilities including Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome. A joyous celebration of performing, it is a pleasure to watch.

The Beep Test

Music and lyrics by Conor Neylon, book and lyrics by Jackson Peele. Fringe World. Directed by Jackson Peele, musical direction by Conor Neylon. The Gallery at Paper Mountain, William St, Northbridge. Feb 4-8, 2020

Capacity audiences have been joining 7C and their Physical Education teacher as they complete the Beep Test, in this relatively new musical by Conor Neylon and Jackson Peale.

A huge challenge for the performers, who spend much of the show extremely active and working up very realistic sweat, this short musical is a funny and sweet little surprise package, with endearing characters and a clever storyline. A lovely little twist in the tail takes this show to another level.

mi:wi

By Karul Projects. Playhouse Studio 1, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). 5 to 8 February, 2020

Witnessing First Nations contemporary dance is always exciting. This month, QPAC debuts a double bill – mi:wi and CO_EX_EN – works by fresh Queensland company, Karul Projects, whose co-artistic directors, Thomas E.S. Kelly and Taree Sansbury, also perform in the pieces. The group is all about enlightening and enriching contemporary culture and identity by bringing past First Nations stories into the present. In indigenous language, ‘mi:wi’ means ‘inner spirit’ or ‘stomach’.

New Balance

By Christopher Bryant & Emma Palackic. Performed by Christopher Bryant. Directed by Emma Palackic. Theatre Works and Before Shot Productions. Midsumma Festival. Theatre Works, St Kilda. 4 – 8 February 2020

Here is an hour-long monologue performed with such directness and honesty that it compels attention.  Christopher Bryant, simply dressed as if he’s at the gym or about to go on a run, confides in the audience with an account, from various sources, of growing up gay.  Sometimes tentative, sometimes challenging, it’s part autobiography, part anecdotes from other sources; the show questions whether there is (to quote the program note) a ‘universality in the particulars of our [queer] experiences.’

A Streetcar Named Desire

By Tennessee Williams. Directed by Hannah Kassulke. Brisbane Arts Theatre. January 31 – February 29, 2020.

First produced on Broadway in 1947, this play – Williams’ most famous – dramatises the life of Blanche Dubois, a Southern belle, who leaves her 'aristocratic' background in poverty to seek refuge with her sister Stella and brother-in-law Stanley in a dilapidated apartment in the French quarter of New Orleans. Thus develops the conflict between sisters, with very differing views on life, and husband Stanley Kowalski, a basic crude “common” man.

Any Number Can Die

By Fred Carmichael, directed by Theresa Dolman. Tea Tree Players Theatre, Surrey Downs, SA. 5 – 15 February 2020

Imbued with the spirits of a hundred whodunnits, this comedy-mystery presented by Tea Tree Players is a pastiche of intrigue and intricacy, delivered by a twelve-strong cast and well-packaged by director Theresa (Lilly) Dolman.

An estranged family and other hangers-on gather in an old mansion on a stormy island off the American coast to hear the reading of a will (at midnight, obviously). There is mystery aplenty and the plot is held together by a duo of first-case private investigators Ernestine Wintergreen (Lesley Main) and Hannibal Hix (Rick Mills).

Sense and Spontaneity the Musical

Fringe World. Directed by Amanda Ash. The Library, Girls School, Wellington St, Perth. Feb 3-16, 2020

Sense and Spontaneity has proved very popular over the last few years at Fringe World. This year, in the very appropriate venue of The Library, at the Girls School, the Jane Austen improvising queens are shaking it up, by making this “a musical”. 

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