Reviews

The Rose Tattoo

By Tenessee Williams. The Guild Theatre Limited, Walz Street, Rockdale. August 4 to September 2, 2017

Who knew Tennessee Williams had written a comedy? I confess, I didn’t!

Parsifal

By Wagner. Opera Australia. Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House. August 9 – 14, 2017

Wagner may have been famous for synthesising all the arts into his operas, but with this concert version it’s a starker affair.  The singers stand in a row, the mighty chorus at the back and the Opera Australia Orchestra moves from pit to centre stage.  

Here the conductor, Pinchas Steinberg, is the star.

The Real and Imagined History of The Elephant Man

By Tom Wright. Directed by Matthew Lutton. Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank. 4-27 August, 2017.

This play is a poetic exploration of the story of Joseph Merrick which is entrenched in its setting: 19th century industrial heartlands of the English midlands. While the text is far removed from the dramatisation in the 1980 film, The Elephant Man (David Lynch), there is a delicate acknowledgement to this cinematic heritage.

Lohengrin

By Richard Wagner. Melbourne Opera. Director: Suzanne Chaundy. Musical Director: David Kram. Regent Theatre, Melbourne. August 7 – 12, 2017

After a successful Tannhäuser in 2016, Melbourne Opera lifted the bar further with Wagner’s Lohengrin. We knew we were in for a special evening with an ethereal start to the overture, the sixty piece orchestra under the firm baton of David Kram. Having the brass in the boxes at the side of the auditorium added to the excitement.

Other Desert Cities

By Jon Robin Baitz. Playlovers. Directed by Barry Park. Old Mill Theatre, South Perth, WA. Aug 4-19, 2017

The currently homeless Playlovers has taken temporary residence at South Perth’s Old Mill Theatre, with a nicely polished, well directed production of Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities.

Director Barry Park’s set design, brought to fruition by Greg Aylmer, convincingly creates the living room of wealthy Palm Springs couple, Lymen and Polly Wyeth. The set was solid, believable and classy, and did not feel crowded on the compact Old Mill stage.

A very strong cast worked well together, creating believable family dynamics.

Jekyll and Hyde

Book and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. Music by Frank Wildhorn. Triple Threat Theatre Company, Mackay. Mackay Entertainment Convention Centre. August 4 & 5, 2017.

Jekyll and Hyde is a musical written to reflect the duality of the human condition, and I was thrilled when I found out that Triple Threat Theatre Company in Mackay was taking it on for their first big performance in the Mackay Entertainment Convention Centre. Triple Threat have been making a name for themselves over the past few years hosting smaller productions, and in a town this size it’s brave to see a smaller company tackling such a large show and venue.

My Name is Jimi

Based on a story by Dimple Bani, Jimi Bani and co-created with Jason Klarwein. Directed by Jason Klarwein. Queensland Theatre. Bille Brown Studio, South Brisbane. July 22-August 13, 2017

You don’t know Jimi Bani’s family when you take your seat. But by the time the welcome mat is rolled up at the end of the show, you feel part of it.

That’s not only a testament to the love of family that Jimi Bani shares as the next chief of Wagadagam, Mabuiag Island in the Torres Strait, or his infectious smile and easy audience rapport following 12 years of stage, film and TV acting. It’s in the humble way four generations of his family have come together to share their past and present and hopes for the future through music, dance and storytelling.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

By Dale Wasserman, adapted from the novel by Ken Kesey. Sport for Jove. Seymour Centre. August 3 – 19, 2017.

Ken Kesey’s controversial novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was based upon his experience as an orderly at a mental hospital in California. It was adapted for the stage by Dale Wasserman in 1963 with Kirk Douglas in the leading role, and the 1975 movie adaptation directed by Michael Douglas won five Academy Awards.

La Fille Mal Gardee

Music: Ferdinand Herold, arranged by John Lanchbery. Choreographer: Marc Ribaud, staged by Craig Lord-Sole. Queensland Ballet & West Australian Ballet. Music Performed by Camerata–Queensland Chamber Orchestra, conductor Nigel Gaynor. Playhouse, QPAC. 4-19 August 2017

The French countryside has never been so explosively joyous as in Queensland Ballet’s new production of La Fille Mal Gardee.

The 39 Steps

By John Buchan and Patrick Barlow. Theatre on Chester, Epping (NSW). August 4 – 26, 2017.

Film buffs and theatre goers alike may be a little surprised by this production, yet surely delighted. If you’ve only watched the Hitchcock film, don’t expect a thriller. If you’ve seen previous stage versions, don’t anticipate an exact reproduction of the frenetic physical farce.

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