Reviews

When the Rain Stops Falling

By Andrew Bovell. Director: John Boyce. Brisbane Arts Theatre, Brisbane, 19 Nov – 10 Dec 2016

If it weren’t for Norman Doyle, Brisbane Arts’ When the Rain Stops Falling would be just another community theatre production. As it was, his sensitive performance as Gabriel York/Henry Law elevated the production of this complex play to a higher level.

Andrew Bovell’s award-winning work, one of the best Australian plays of the last decade, continually shifts time in its examination of abandonment, loss, isolation and identity within four generations of family over an eighty-year period.

Blaque Showgirls

By Nakkiah Lui. Directed by Sarah Giles. Merlyn Theatre – Malthouse. 11 November to 4 December 2016

Blaque Showgirls is a unique, timely, riveting work that is not for the faint hearted.  It is raucous, lewd, crude and ridiculously funny, politically very dodgy and out there.  Depending on one’s sensibility, it is perhaps a little destabilizing and disconcerting. 

Little Voice

By Jim Cartwright. KADS. Directed by Terry Hackett. KADS Theatre, Kalamunda, WA. 11 Nov - 3 Dec, 2016

Opening Night of KADS’ Little Voice, by Jim Cartwright, was a packed to the rafters full-house, who adored this play with music.

The audience included two bus loads of very mature patrons, who were very vocal about what they liked (which was pretty much everything) and who were very familiar with the old songs and songstresses featured in this play about a shy young woman who finds her voice through her father’s old records.

Little Shop of Horrors

By Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. Roleystone Theatre, WA. Directed by Lys Tickner. Nov 18 - Dec 3, 2016

Roleystone Theatre ensemble member Charlie Darlington had a Peggy Sawyer moment this week. Four days before opening night it was realised that Little Shop of Horrors’ leading man would be too ill to perform, and the decision was made for the lone male ensemble actor to take on the role of Seymour.

Charlie, although still on book during some of the wordier sections, did an excellent job, acting the role with conviction in a notable performance.

The Shadow Box

By Michael Cristofer. Dino Dimitriadis / Red Line Productions. Old Fitz Theatre. November 15 – December 10, 2016

There’s heaps of acting prowess and experience in this cast of eight squeezed onto the tiny stage of this famous Sydney pub theatre. 

The Shadow Box, which won playwright Michael Cristofer the Pulitzer and Tony Award in 1977, is about three people and their carers living in hospice cottages and learning how to face death.

Rust and Bone

By Caleb Lewis based on three stories by Craig Davidson. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton, VIC. 16 – 27 November, 2016.

The rust is the taste of your own blood in your mouth.  The bones are what get broken, smashed and crushed.  This is a play about fighting, about male aggression and violence.  About being robbed of power.  Caleb Lewis has taken stories by Craig Davidson of three men – a boxer, a fighting dog breeder/trainer, and an Orca trainer at Sea World - and woven them together into a sort of contrapuntal aural montage so that the three stories and the three men who tell them bounce off each other, illuminating, contrasting and yet revealing what they have in common.

The Accused

By Jeffrey Archer. Castle Hill Players. The Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill Showground. 18 November to 10 December, 2016.

Director Bernard Teuben brings the tension and theatricality of the courtroom to the stage in this absorbing drama by well-known novelist (and one time guest of Her Majesty’s prisons) Jeffrey Archer. With the Scales of Justice towering above on a huge and colourful backdrop, the stage transforms to the pomp and be-wigged ceremony of the Old Bailey and the trial of cardiologist Patrick Sherwood (Jason Spindlow) – charged with murdering his wife by administering the poison potassium chloride.

Songs for a New World

Music & Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown. New World Theatre. Director: Melanie Evans. Musical Director: Andrew Wadley. Act 1 Theatre, Strathpine, Qld. 17-20 Nov 2016

Sometimes a production comes along that sparkles like a true gem. New World Theatre’s Songs for a New World is just that.

Four experienced performers, Lara Boyle, Simon Chamberlain, Liam J. O’Byrne and Natalie Ridoutt, all with great voices and acting chops, brought Jason Robert Brown’s popular song cycle thrillingly to life. There was no denying their passion for the material, or the brilliance of the four-piece orchestra under musical director Andrew Wadley on keyboard.

Seminar

By Theresa Rebeck. Artefact Theatre Co. Directed by Martin Cox. Chapel off Chapel (Vic). November 9 – 26, 2016.

Theresa Rebeck, famous for her television writing but also a Pulitzer Prize nominee, has written a fine play in Seminar. Full of snappy one-liners to please a main stage audience, it also delves deeply into the psyche of the writer and the constant struggle between art and craft. Real writers - true storytellers - are born, not made.

Tartuffe

Play by Moliere. Adaptation: Justin Fleming. Queensland Theatre/Black Swan Theatre Company. Director: Kate Cherry. Playhouse, QPAC. 12 Nov – 4 Dec 2016.

Moliere’s Tartuffe seems to be flavour of the month at the moment with Sydney Theatre Company joining forces with the State Theatre Company of South Australia to present a version adapted by Phillip Kavanagh, and this co-production between Queensland Theatre and Black Swan Theatre Company by Justin Fleming.

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