Reviews

Strictly Ballroom

Book by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce. Music by various. Director: Baz Luhrmann. Set and Costumes: Catherine Martin. Produced by Global Creatures and Bazmark. Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne. Opening Night: January 17, 2015.

The “Buzz” saying for 2014 was “It is what it is”, and it might have been coined for Strictly Ballroom – the Musical. So  - what exactly is it?

The Winslow Boy

By Terence Rattigan. The Genesian Theatre (NSW). January 17 – February 14, 2015.

The Winslow Boy is based on an actual incident involving George Archer-Shee who was expelled from Osborne Naval College in 1908 for stealing a postal order from a fellow cadet, but who was eventually exonerated after a lengthy, and very political, struggle.

In Rattigan’s 1946 play, George Archer- Shee becomes Ronnie Winslow, a fourteen-year-old cadet accused of the theft of a five shilling postal order.  An internal enquiry, conducted without informing his family, finds him guilty and his father is asked to withdraw him from the college.

Softly Pouting While Walking Into Breezes

By Jake Stewart. A remount of a Monash Uni Student Theatre production. Part of Midsumma Festival at La Mama, Carlton (VIC). 14 January to 1 February 2015.

Eight actors, male and female, of varying shapes and sizes, bounce onto a tiny white dais and announce, one after another, ‘I am Ben.’  Ben is the protagonist; the play is his story.  It’s a risky start if only because it probably reminds half the audience of ‘I am Spartacus’, but the risky joke is characteristic of the show.  It veers from sharp to purple-pretentious to witty to touching to kitsch – but kitsch redeemed by knowing it is and showing up in scenes that are very nicely observed and embarrassingly truthful. 

As You Like It

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Glenn Elston. Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. 30 December 2014 until 14 March 2015.

It was 1987 when Glenn Elston pioneered outdoor theatre in Australia and Shakespeare in the Park was born here. Nearly 30 years later, the Australian Shakespeare Company is still going strong, and the idea of a picnic and wine in the beautiful Botanic gardens while you watch a play is one of our nicest traditions.

THRILLER Live

QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane. 14-25 Jan 2015. Melbourne, Sydney and New Zealand seasons to follow.

Born out of The Annual Michael Jackson Celebration which started in 1991, when 1000 fans from across the UK descended on London's Hammersmith Palais for a party and concert for the King of Pop, Thriller is Executive Director Adrian Grant’s culmination of the gradual development of this celebration, which, after teaming up with Paul Walden’s Flying Music, BB group and Lunchbox Theatrical Productions after 2007, eventually grew to become a successful tour production.

I Guess If The Stage Exploded

Sydney Festival. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre. January 15 – 18, 2015.

Do you lovers of theatre really remember shows you saw decades ago or even one person shows from just months ago?

In one of the Sydney Festival’s About An Hour program, British performer Sylvia Rimat works hard to make herself unforgettable.  We hear the odd voice over from some of the psychologists and neuroscientists she consulted, offering tips on how the brain can better remember.

Have I No Mouth

Written and directed by Feidlim Cannon & Gary Keegan. Sydney Festival / Brokentalkers (Dublin). York Theatre, Seymour Centre. Jan 15 - 18, 2015.

Welcome to some truly reality theatre, an astonishing portrait of Irish family grief presented at the Sydney Festival by young Dublin company Brokentalkers. 

Feidlim Cannon and his mother Ann are on stage with their real-life psychotherapist Erich Keller.  After a little audience relaxation, the session begins.  As Feidlim bitches against his Mum’s melancholic display of object memories, the reality unfolds – both are desperately grieving the death 12 years ago of Feidlim’s father and, earlier, his baby brother.

Of Mice and Men

Written by John Steinbeck. Directed by Anna D Shapiro. National Theatre Live. Screening in selected cinemas nationally from January 24th, 2015.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, we are blessed to have these live performances filmed and to be able to see stage productions we otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Director Shapiro warns in the accompanying mini-doc that if you don’t like Steinbeck it will be a nightmare. Fortunately Steinbeck is my all time favourite writer, and this play (adapted in 1937 from his novella) resonates as much in the world of today, as it did in the Great Depression.

The Illusionists 1903

Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre, Tim Lawson and Simon Painter. Creative Director: Mark Kalin, Original Music: Evan Jolly, Scenic Designer: Todd Ivins, Costume Designer: Angel Aaron, Lighting Designer: Christopher Boon Casey. Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. 5 – 25 January, 2015.

The Illusionists 1903 have delivered the golden age of magic to their Adelaide audiences. A packed theatre full of anticipation and the hope that they would see the unbelievable and unexplainable, which was delivered with class.

 

Tosca

By Puccini. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 13 – March 17, 2015.

The three imposing sets of this production of Puccini’s Tosca have returned to the Sydney Opera House for a third summer season. And with a stunning and very popular cast, it promises to be just as successful.

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