Reviews

My Lover's Bones

From a story by Cameron Costello. Brown Cab Productions.. Melbourne Festival. Footscray Community Arts Centre – 45 Moreland Street Footscray. 14 – 18 October, 2014

My Lover’s Bones is a contemporary interpretation of a very old story of an Aboriginal youth trapped by his own sorry misadventure.  It is a haunting tale of a young hunter leaving the comfortable intimacy of his lover’s embrace when lured by the call of the hunt.   

As a darkly fascinating reinterpretation of a retelling of a Bunyip story, by Cameron Costello a Ouandamooka man, it reverberates with the mystery of an absorbing multi-layered tale, mesmerizing, dark and rewarding.  

Where I End & You Begin

By Cathy Petőcz. Directed by Caroline Stacey. The Street Theatre. World Premiere. 18 – 26 October 2014.

Visually beautiful, darkly poetic, wryly self-referential, Where I End & You Begin is a surreal, highly stylised play exploring personhood, memory and identity. Ostensibly about two private detectives in an undefined science fiction space setting, the writing has roots in the absurdist theatre of the last century, such as Brecht, Beckett and Ionesco, with nods to Terry Gilliam and scriptwriter Charlie Kaumann. As with all absurdist theatre the fun is in working out what it all means. The audience brings their own experience and will come out with differing interpretations.

My Fair Lady

Music: Frederick Loewe. Book & Lyrics: Alan Jay Lerner based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. Directed by Barry Hill. The Metropolitan Musical Theatre Co of SA. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. 16-25 October 2014

The Met’s latest production of My Fair Lady is “comfort theatre” of the highest order. Rather like a well-cooked Sunday roast… it is a nice, safe, conventional interpretation of an established favourite, that does little surprising or inventive with Lerner & Lowe’s beloved musical. But it is nonetheless a deeply satisfying experience, because every aspect of the production has been crafted with meticulous care by a team working at the top of their game.

In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)

By Sarah Ruhl. National University Theatre Society (NUTS). Directed by Dylan van den Berg. The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre. October 1-4 2014

This play is possibly the most hilariously awkward and excruciatingly funny experience you’ll have in the theatre.

Why awkward? Three words: On Stage Orgasms. Dozens of them, I kid you not, each more intimate than the last. No intimate detail is shirked. Each big O is followed by—oh, my labyrinthitis-afflicted aunt—a ritual washing of the hands.

Bonnie and Clyde

Book by Ivan Menchell. Music by Frank Wildhorn. Lyrics by Don Black. Directed by Hamish Anderson. FabNobs – Bayswater (Vic). October 10 – 25, 2014

There has been a plethora of “flop” musicals in Melbourne over the past few months. But “Flop” doesn’t automatically mean bad – as the wonderful Parade showed us. Add to the ‘pleasant surprise’ list Bonnie and Clyde, a musical I knew nothing about until this week. It has a good score, intelligent lyrics, a pretty impressive book, and you know when FabNobs do something, it’s going to be an enjoyable production.

Sunset Boulevard

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. Based on the Billy Wilder Film. Directed by Stephen Pike. Musical direction by Sharon Tree. The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. October 8 – 25, 2014.

Sunset Boulevard is a challenging musical to stage and it is to the credit and strength of the Q Team that they have chosen this work.

Have I No Mouth

By Feidlim Cannon & Gary Keegan, Brokentalkers. Melbourne Festival. The Coopers Malthouse, Merlyn Theatre. 10-13 October 2014

On the way in, we are handed empty balloons.  The show begins.  Dr Erich Keller, psychiatrist, playing Dr Erich Keller, psychiatrist, puts us through a relaxation exercise.  We are told to breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth, and feet flat on the floor.  Whether this is simply good for us or to make us more receptive to the show isn’t clear.  Later, he asks us to inflate our balloons by blowing our anger into them.  

Complexity of Belonging

Concept, direction and choreography by Falk Richter and Anouk van Dijk. Chunky Move & Melbourne Theatre Company. Melbourne Festival. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. Monday 6 October - Saturday 1 November 2014

The deep stage of the Sumner Theatre is backed by a cyclorama depicting a vast, indifferent outback sky, the horizon a mere streak.  Such is the lonely setting, designed by Robert Cousins, in which the show asks the questions, ‘Who belongs?  And how do they belong?’ 

Cirkopolis

Cirque Éloize. Directed by Dave St-Pierre & Jeannot Painchaud. Melbourne Festival. Arts Centre, State Theatre. 10-12 October 2014

Cirkopolisis ‘circus’, but not a circus with a ring, trained animals and red nose clowns.  This show is big and its resources are more than sawdust and tinsel, skill and dedication.  It scarcely ever lets up and can be all twelve performers juggling or one juggler juggling then dancing and juggling, and acrobatic routines on wheels and trapezes and poles and teeterboards, and some other routines that segue seamlessly into dances. 

Calpurnia Descending

By Ash Flanders and Declan Greene. Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse. Wharf 2 Theatre, 9 October to 8 November, 2014 and Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse, Melbourne, 13 – 30 November 2014.

Melbourne’s outrageous Sisters Grimm teamed last year with the Sydney Theatre Company to bring us Little Mercy, a high camp, highly sophisticated spoof on 1940’s psycho-horror films. Now they’re back with a witty take on film divas past, this time matching the considerable acting and drag talents of Ash Flanders with those of unique cabaret artist/actor Paul Capsis. 

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