Reviews

When The Mountain Changed Its Clothing

By Heiner Goebbels. Featuring the Vocal Theatre Carmina Slovencia. State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne. Until Sunday 26 October, 2014

This is a marvelous chance to hear some extraordinary choral work that is moving, mysterious and other-worldly. From a simple start of an almost empty stage When The Mountain Changed Its Clothing leaves a beautiful expanding and flourishing rich sense of spring full of promise. Perhaps ambiguously it is the promise in the life of women or a woman, perhaps a simple homage to womanhood or just a homage to spring and the life-cycle.

In the Next Room; or, The Vibrator Play

By Sarah Ruhl. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. Director: Steven Jones. 24 Oct. – 8 Nov, 2014

A play about the history of the vibrator is a fascinating, but perhaps risky, subject, or is my prudishness showing? In the Next Room; or, The Vibrator Play, written by Sarah Ruhl was presented by Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. The sexual subject matter was enhanced by the themes of love and misunderstanding between men and women, and gender, class and race inequality. The action coincides with the dawn of electricity and 1880s Victorian social environment.

The Wharf Revue 2014 Open for Business

Written and created by Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott. Musical Director: Phillip Scott. Lighting Design: Matthew Marshall. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Theatre. October 22 – December 20, 2014.

Like a beloved TV sit com, the Wharf Revue team returns every year with ever new hysterical laughter and that shared warmth of seeing an expert team again making merry from cant and pomposity. Incredibly, creators Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott have been delivering it since the turn of the century.

Dark Light

Presented by Melbourne Writer’s Theatre. Carlton Courthouse. Until Saturday 25 October, 2014

Melbourne Writers Theatre presents work from emerging, developing and aspiring writers for performance.

Dark Light is a group of five short plays the first two are very dark and focus seem to be exploring misogynistic brutality and after interval the evening lightens up. 

Ragdoll

By Paul Mitchell

Miracle City

Book and Lyrics by Nick Enright. Music by Max Lambert. Directed by Darren Yap. Hayes Theatre Co. October 22 - November 16, 2014

Some musicals date quickly – others stay just as sharp as when they opened. A good example is Chicago. It was written with a timeless cynicism about lawyers, the justice system and the media that still sizzles.

In the case of Miracle City we have a musical which might even be sharper than when it debuted. 

The Sydney Theatre Company staged it in 1996. Word around town was it was a gem of a musical that deserved another look, but sadly Nick Enright died and it lost momentum.

August: Osage County

By Tracy Letts. Free-Rain Threatre. Directed by Cate Clelland. The Courtyard Studio, Canberra. 17 October – 2 November 2014

For those who have seen the film of the same name, August: Osage County will present no plot surprises.  Even the film’s lines largely repeat the play’s verbatim.  Regardless of having seen it, though, I’m confident that you’ll agree that this production of the play is an unmitigated delight, beginning with the detailed setting on a stage that effectively incorporates most of a family home.

Kinship

Developed by Bangarra Dance Theatre. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre. October 22-25, 2014

Indigenous arts troupe, Bangarra, celebrates its 25th anniversary with this special double feature, which presents two of the company’s most enduringly popular dance theatre pieces.

The first half, “Brolga”, is set in North East Arnhem Land and delves deep into the totemic mythology of the region, telling the story of a young girl who becomes separated from her tribe and explores a Brolga feeding ground. On the course of her journey she comes to a deeper understanding of humanity’s connection with nature.

Emerald City

By David Williamson. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre, Sydney. Director: Lee Lewis. 17 October – 6 December 2014, then Parramatta Riverside, 10 - 13, December.

When a David Williamson play opens at Sydney’s staid Ensemble Theatre — and there’s a new one every season — the mainly-older subscribers audience laugh from the off. He’s their (72-year-old) boy. But — guess what! — at this unexpected revival of his 1987 Emerald City by the committed, fiery Griffin Theatre Company a younger, trendier audience also laughed throughout and raised the roof at the end.

The Addams Family

Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Shire Music Theatre. Sutherland Memorial School of Arts. October 17 – 25, 2014.

Based on the characters from the TV series, movies and Charles Addams’ original cartoons, the musical version of The Addams Family tells a story of Wednesday Addams, now grown up, bringing her ‘normal’ boyfriend and his family to dinner at that gloomy mansion, complete with the ructions this causes in her parents’ relationship.

A Good German

By Gabriel Bergmoser. Revolt Theatre Space, Kensington (VIC). 21 – 27 October 2014.

A Good German.  The bad play.  Yes, sadly, this production from Bitten By Production is bad in almost every way.  The writing manages to be naïve, gauche and cliché all at once.  The story lacks any credibility.  The direction, by Justin Anderson and Ashley Tardy, delivers a static mise en scène and stilted performances. 

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