Reviews

Glengarry Glen Ross

By David Mamet. Melbourne Theatre Company, The Sumner, Southbank Theatre (VIC). 5 July – 9 August 2014

This play is about: selling.  Fiercely competitive, testosterone-fuelled, live-or-die, dog-eat-dog selling.  Winning means bragging rights, (temporary) power and money.  Failure means emasculation and humiliation.  The ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ of the title is a housing development in the ‘mountains’ of Florida.  There are as yet no houses, only ‘views’.  In other words, it’s a con – but also, in this 1984 play by David Mamet, a device.  

My Life in the Nude

Maude Davey – Performer/Writer. Anni Davey – Director. fortyfive downstairs – 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 15 - 27 July 2014

Wicked?  Goddess?

Whatever - Maude Davey is a legend!

Sex With Strangers

By Laura Eason. Brisbane Powerhouse. Visy Theatre. 17 - 26 July 2014

Provocative title? Yes. There are sex scenes aplenty but if you’re expecting rough, all-bare, no-holds-barred explicit action, you’ll be disappointed. But you will be drawn in.

It is delightfully simple: two (beautiful) people, two acts, two similar but different sets and a standard romance plot (too stylish and clever to rate a red flower on the programme). You’ll love it!

A Doll’s House

By Henrik Ibsen. Sport For Jove. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre (NSW). July 17 – August 2, 2014

There are good actors and then there are actors with X Factor. Just like there are good roles and then there are roles with that extra something-something. Matilda Ridgeway in the role of Nora in A Doll’s House is double-whammy X Factor goodness. It’s pretty exciting.

Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is a tried and tested terrific play. Nora Helmer naively commits a crime in an act of love to save her husband’s life only to find - when her sins are exposed - that all the joy and happiness she thought to be true are baseless.

Thom Pain (based on nothing)

By Will Eno. Sydney Independent Theatre Company. Old Fitzroy Theatre. July 15 – August 2, 2014

It’s hard not to admire Julie Baz and David Jeffrey, the co-artistic directors of the Sydney Independent Theatre Company. Putting on a one-man play, with Baz directing Jeffrey in the lead and – from what I could tell – not much extra help, must be a lot of work. It’s people like this who keep a lot of interesting theatre happening in this country. They give us access to a whole range of plays we’d never see otherwise.

Guys and Dolls

By Frank Loesser. (Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows). The Production Company (Vic). State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. Director Gale Edwards. Musical Director Guy Simpson. Choreographer Nathan M Wright. Lighting Designer Robert Cuddon. Costume Designer Tim Chappel. 19th- 27th July 2014

A conglomerate of high-flying directors, stage actors past and present, and politicians and were on hand at the opening of this old favourite, featuring the slickly swingin’ strains of Orchestra Victoria atop a raised stage-wide scaffold.

Chelsea Plumley, resplendent in red coiffure, captivates as Miss Adelaide, effortlessly oscillating between fragility and resilience. Her robust solo work pairs cleanly with quirky physical comedy, although some lyrics were undecipherable in Take Back Your Mink tonight.

Legally Blonde The Musical

Music and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin. Book by Heather Hach. Free Rain. Directed by Derek Walker. Produced by Anne Somes and Chris Neal. ANU Arts Centre, Acton, ACT. 4–27 July 2014

Ohmigod you guys! This is pink, fluffy, fabulous and with a heart bigger than Elle. There are sparkles, happiness, determination, bad hair days, fantastic shoes, and choreography that will make you wish you’d stayed in dance class a bit longer.

The Red Shoes

Ballet by Natalie Weir based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson. Expressions Dance Company, QPAC & QUT Creative Industries Production. Choreography: Natalie Weir with the EDC Dancers. Musical Director: Tania Frazer. Playhouse, QPAC, Brisbane. 18-26 July 2014.

When guest artist Sam Colbey as the Dark Angel burst onto the stage last night he gave The Red Shoes a dynamic shot in the arm. Dressed in a black leotard and whispy black coat, he leapt, slid, crawled and spiralled as he cast his spell over the ballerina Victoria. It was an explosive entrance and what followed was one of the best performances of the night. Among the others was the exemplary work of the five musicians who made up the Southern Cross Soloists, particularly violinist Victoria Sayles, who was as much a part of the evening’s success as the dancers.

Beauty and the Beast

Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Book by Linda Woolverton. Packemin Productions. Parramatta Riverside Theatre. July 18 - August 2, 2014.

Half way through the first act my 10 year old daughter asked me whether this was a professional production? My answer was half professional – half community theatre. Some aspects however led to the confusion.

The scintillating leaping and tumbling dancers and the feast for the eyes dinner scene with golden dancing cutlery come to mind for starters. Both were of such a high standard that (save for the size of the theatre ) most members of the general public would find it difficult to separate the experience from a seat in a fully professional production.

A Little Touch of Chaos

By Peter Rutherford and James Millar. VCA Music Theatre Company 2014. Director: Iain Sinclair. Musical Director: Adrian Portell. July 17 – 26, 2014

What a thrilling night of musical theatre. Having been privileged to see part of a rehearsal the previous week I’d eagerly anticipated the opening night of Chaos, a world premiere, and was not disappointed.

Facilitated by consultant Martin Croft, Arts Victoria had given a grant to the VCA music theatre school to commission a new Australian music theatre work. After sifting through 100 applications Chaos came to the top of the pile which was thoroughly deserved.

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