Reviews

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.

What Belongs To You

Written and directed by Richard Maker. Stirling Theatre, Innaloo, WA. Jul 21 - Aug 5, 2017

The World Premiere of What Belongs To You reveals a script with much potential, a fascinating storyline and some strong performances, in a play about a Jewish family in Nazi Germany.

The Jungle Book

By Craig Higginson, based on the book by Rudyard Kipling. Nautanki Theatre. Lennox Theatre, Riverside Parramatta. Aug 3 – 5, 2017.

Nautanki Theatre have undertaken a play that requires fairly difficult physical choreography and characterisation – and a lot of organisation. This is always hard, especially if moving on to the stage with only a short time to co-ordinate the action and dialogue.

Often this results in awkward hesitations and broken pace, and unfortunately this was the case on opening night.

Cry God For Harry!

Adapted by Rob Croser from Shakespeare. Independent Theatre. Space Theatre, Adelaide. Aug 4 – 12, 2017.

Adapting the Henriad of three Shakespeare’s history plays into one is an epic task and Rob Croser’s Cry God For Harry! is epic in every way.

Cry God for Harry! combines several teasers from Richard II and a considerable amount of material from Henry IV and Henry V. However, this adaption focuses on Prince Hal and his relationship with his mentor Sir John Falstaff.

Neighbourhood Watch

By Lally Katz. Presented by Canberra Rep. Directed by Kate Blackhurst. Theatre 3, 3 Repertory Lane, Acton. 3-19 August 2017

In a quiet suburban Melbourne street in 2007, wistful lost soul Catherine (Alex McPherson) is drawn into helping to care for an elderly Hungarian widow, Ana (Liz de Totth). Ana is prickly and independent, resisting efforts of an old friend to be sociable, even going so far as to have a large, aggressive dog to intimidate strangers. But Ana recognises the neediness in her neighbour and draws the young woman into her world. Over time both Catherine and the audience are beguiled by Ana’s stories of her early life and hardships in wartime Hungary.

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