Reviews

The Nixon Tapes

By John Adams. Opera Australia. Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House. June 5, 2017

John Adams’ thrilling opera Nixon in China has, inexplicably, never been seen in Sydney. Now thirty years after its premiere, Opera Australia is at least performing four extracts in a Concert Hall version, and dubbing it The Nixon Tapes.

Andrew Mogrelia conducts the full OA Orchestra and Chorus and five soloists singing the roles which made this historic 1972 meeting in Beijing.  

True West

By Sam Shepard. Mount Players (Vic). Mountview Theatre Macedon May 26 - June 10, 2017

True Westis a strong and interesting play by Sam Shepard. It seems to be produced every now and again but not as often as Cowboy Mouth, and not surprisingly as it is challenging for both actors and audience.

It is a courageous choice for Mount Players and its success is a testament to the especially strong ethic of team playing that this company thrives on.

1984

By George Orwell. New adaptation created by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan. Ambassador Theatre Group & GWB Entertainment present the Headlong, Nottingham Playhouse & Almeida Theatre production. Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. 31 May – 10 June 2017

There is little to add to Lesley Reed’s comprehensive review of this powerful touring production.  I must certainly agree that this Australian cast set design, lighting and sound are excellent – all are indications of what can be done when imaginations completely in keeping with the text are adequately resourced.  The design by Chloe Lamford, in particular, makes possible numerous coups de theatre – surprising and frightening appearances and disappearances by Winston Smith’s nemeses and the transformation before our eyes (that makes what we’v

Out of Earshot

Conceived and Directed by Kate Denborough. Created in collaboration with the cast. KAGE for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. At Chunky Move, 11 Sturt Street – Southbank. 1 to 10 June 2017, then Adelaide.

The remarkable aspect of this performance is that not all the dancers are hearing.

Out of Earshotbrings its audience closer to an awareness of how individuals experience sound and vibration and how it may and may not inform movement.

We all have our own unique rhythms - a kind of beat of your own internal drum.  As a hearing person it is fascinating to consider what a Deaf person actually hears or feels or sees with regard to sound and rhythms/pulses.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Music & Lyrics: Richard & Robert Sherman. Book: Jeremy Sams & Ray Roderick. Babirra Music Theatre. Whitehorse Centre, Nunawading (Vic). June 3 – 17, 2017.

Babirra have outdone themselves with this enthralling production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Little Shop of Horrors

Book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken. Based on the film by Roger Corman, screenplay by Charles Griffith. Blackwood Players (SA). Blackwood 21. May 26-June 17, 2017

Long-established Adelaide community theatre group Blackwood Players is getting its mojo back. The company had some heady early years through the 1950’s-90’s but more difficult times in later years, particularly from the mid 2,000’s. However its current very enjoyable production of Little Shop of Horrors is evidence of hard work and strategic thinking aimed at turning the group’s fortunes around.

Antigone

Written by Jean Anouilh. Directed by David Paterson. Based on the play Antigone by Sophocles. Music composed and performed by Josh Lyons, Brodie Greenhaigh and Steve Pearton. Heartbeast Theatre. Spring Hill Reservoir (Qld). 2 to 17 June, 2017

It was a cold Brisbane night. The shivering crowd tentatively descended the scaffold-staircase into the brick-lined belly of the Spring Hill Reservoir. The venue was literally and colloquially speaking, very cool for opening night of Antigone. Thankfully the Heartbeast Theatre production team had left a few blankets about for the frosty audience.

Ode

Original Concept by Karen Sibbing. Co-created by Samara Hersch and Karen Sibbing. Directed by Samara Hersch. Performed by Karen Sibbing. Sound design by Joost van Dijk. Lighting design by Michelle Thorne. Produced by Pietjan Dusee and Esther Bruls. La Mama Theatre, June 2 – 4, 2017.

Ode is a barefaced depiction and unraveling of a day in the life of a vulnerable human struck down by the horrid disease that is dementia. Live theatre can be confronting and Ode is very much that, yet it is performed and directed with great sensitivity and honesty; it awakens an actuality that maybe our loved ones, or we, may one day have to face this frightening fate.

The Advisors

Writer / Director: Gita Bezard. Writers and Performers Jeffrey Jay Fowler, Arielle Gray, Chris Isaacs, Frieda Lee, Mararo Wangai. The Last Great Hunt. Rehearsal Room 1, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. Northbridge, WA. 31 May - 10 Jun, 2017

In The Last Great Hunt’s The Advisors, a group of young people, whom if you squint could be the new Power Rangers, or perhaps an incarnation of Hi 5, throw a relentless slew of advice at the audience for 70 minutes. As a premise, this sounds questionable, but this is a really exciting and engaging piece of theatre.

The Witches

By Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood. Griffin Theatre Company. SUNPAC. May 25 and 26, 2017.

Presented by Griffin Theatre Company, and directed by Lucas Jervies, Christian Charisiou brings this wicked Roald Dahl tale to life as a one-man show. Playing a total of nine characters, intertwined with perfectly timed sound effects and lighting cues – this was a 50-minute show that required your full attention and for all the right reasons. Being a solo performer with minimal props and scenery is difficult enough but to bring to life each character almost instantly and with perfect execution is a tribute to the incredible skill of Christian’s craft.

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