Reviews

Conviction

By Zoe Dawson. Darebin Arts Speakeasy and The Zoey Louise Moonbeam Dawson Shakespeare Company. Northcote Town Hall. 23 July – 6 August, 2016

Set in three time frames – early 19th century Australia, the suburban present and some kind of dog-eat-dog, dystopian future – Zoe Dawson tracks a young woman who somehow survives ‘impossible odds’ and creates… nothing.  It begins promisingly enough with some clever staging from director Declan Greene, ingenious set design from Romanie Harper hand-in-glove with Amelia Lever-Davidson’s lighting.  Caroline Lee and Ruby Hughes are Mother and Daughter, felons passing themselves off as airs-and-graces free settlers in this land of opportu

After January

Adapted by Philip Dean from a story by Nick Earl Javeenbah Theatre, Nerang, Gold Coast. Director: Amy-Louise Anderson. 22nd July – 6th August, 2016.

Set on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, After January tells the story of two teenagers’ chance meeting and subsequent relationship.

Dig for the Diggers

By Lynn Brittney. Square Pegs. Directed by Meredith McQueen. Hobart Anglesea Barracks Officers’ Mess, and touring. 8 - 16 July 2016

It may seem hardhearted to say that the Centenary of ANZAC has proved to be a rich field of material for theatrical performances, but that has been the case, with many productions commemorating the 1914-1918 conflict, during which thousands of Australian armed service personnel died. Of the many wonderful productions, one of the most powerful to date is a short play called Dig for the Diggers written by Lynn Brittney and performed by Square Pegs.

 

Drift

By Tara Clark and Kieren Foster. Two Peas. ATYP, Wharf 4/5, Walsh Bay. July 20 – 30, 2016.

Two Peas productions aims to nurture new and emerging artists. Drift is the work of two young co-writers, Tara Clark and Kieran Foster, and a cast of six young actors who are making their names in the Sydney arts scenes.

Nought Point Five Above Zero - No Wind

By Maria Kilpi, translated from the Finnish by David Hackston. Nordic Noir Season at La Mama, Carlton (VIC). 21-31 July 2016.

Laura comes by bus from Helsinki to spend Christmas with her long widowed Mummi (grandmother) in Mummi’s small town.  The weather is, of course, cold, hovering just above and just below zero.  It’s better when there’s no wind.  Laura (Sophia Riozzi), a stiff, pale young woman, appears tense, preoccupied, even faintly hostile.  We might wonder why she’s come.  It is mere duty?  Tiny, bird-like Mummi (Shirley Cattunar) seems to be the only family she has.

A Chorus Line

Music: Marvin Hamlisch. Lyrics: Edward Kleban. Book: James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante. Savoyards. Director: Shelley Quinn. Musical Director: Ben Murray. Choreographer: Sue Harvey. Star Theatre, Manly, Brisbane. 15 - 23 July 2016

A Chorus Line is about the “C” word – commitment – and that’s what Savoyards had in spades in their version of this Broadway classic about a group of dancers who put their talent and their lives on the line for a job in the chorus. No one could doubt the company’s level of commitment in dance, song and acting.

 

Cain and Abel

By Kate Davis, Emma Valente & Dana Miltins. The Rabble. At The Substation, Newport (VIC). 20-30 July 2016.

Cain and Abel: the Biblical, archetypal figures of fraternal conflict.  A story, say this show’s creators in their program notes, that has gone ‘beyond its religious beginnings… [and] has defined our contemporary understanding of violence’.  This very bloody production seeks to question stereotypes and the roots of masculine violence. 

God of Carnage

By Yasmina Reza. Pymble Players (NSW). July 20 – August 13, 2016

When one 10 year old boy hits another with a stick in a park in Paris, their parents agree to try to settle the matter amicably. As any parent – and playwright Yasmina Reza – knows, such encounters can be a little hazardous! From a strained but polite beginning, the tenor of the meeting declines until the behaviour of the boys is almost forgotten as tempers rise, accusations fly and etiquette is forgotten.

Edges: A Song Cycle

Music: Justin Paul. Lyrics: Benj Pasek. Understudy Productions. Director: Ian Good. Musical Director: Dominic Woodhead. Metro Arts, Brisbane. 20-23 July 2016

Edges: A Song Cycle was the first chance for Brisbane audiences to hear the work of Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, and although it showed the potential these two young American musical theatre writers would later achieve with their Dogfight and A Christmas Story scores, Edges was the work of two writers still in their embryonic stage. Written when they were 19 the cycle of songs were all about middle-class American youth coming-of-age and finding and losing love.

Macbeth

By William Shakespeare. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Director: Chris Hamley. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. 15- 30 July 2016

In his reimagining of Macbeth, director Chris Hamley was inspired by elements of Japanese culture. He chose to feature live Taiko drummers, samurai-like warriors, ninja-like murderers, a geisha-like Lady Macbeth and five witches, creating a creepy and action packed Macbeth. These commanding and decisive new elements, especially the initial impact of the Taiko drumming, set the tone of menace and danger. Drum interludes, scene and act changes were riveting to watch and hear.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.