Reviews

Les Misérables

Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg. Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. Original French text byAlain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel. Additional Material by James Fenton. Adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell. Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne from July 2, 2014. Crown Theatre, Perth from January 2015, Capitol Theatre Sydney from March 2015.

If there is anyone else who needs a good dose of theatrical splendour to take away the bitter taste of the 2012 film of Les Misérables, then this new production is guaranteed to make you feel better and restore your faith in this epic musical. It is simply splendid on all levels.

Henry V

By William Shakespeare. Bell Shakespeare. Directed by Damien Ryan. Fairfax Studio Arts Centre Melbourne. From July 2nd, 2014 and then on tour Australia-wide until November.

There are those who say that Shakespeare is outmoded, obsolete and irrelevant in modern theatre. Let them see this Henry V and then voice such claims about history’s greatest storyteller. Let them argue with the “Band of Brothers” that is Bell Shakespeare.

The King’s Singers

Melbourne Recital Centre. July 3 and 4, 2014.

Renowned British vocal group the King’s Singers brought their warm, complex harmonies to the Melbourne Recital Hall last night in a stylish two hour a capella set featuring classic standards from the American Song Book.

Resplendent in their button-down suits and immaculate grooming, the six male singers exemplified class and a certain British reserve in their demeanour, which they happily made fun of as the show progressed.

The Good Person of Szechuan

By Bertolt Brecht. New translation by Tom Wright, Malthouse. Direction - Meng Jinghui. Set and Costume Design – Marg Horwell. Lighting Design – Richard Vabre. Composition and Sound THE SWEATS. Merlyn Theatre (Vic). 27 June – 20 July, 2014.

Brecht as current and relevant as ever! 

Food

By Steve Rodgers. Force Majeure and Belvoir. Lennox Theatre, Riverside, Parramatta. July 1 – 5, 2014 and touring.

Steve Rodgers has had twenty years of experience working on other writers’ scripts – on stage, film and television – so it is no wonder that he has picked up on some of the clues that make for good writing. Food is just that. There is an insightful economy of words that allows the actors to use all of their skills to show how the characters are feeling. Pauses and looks and gestures work with the words to realise the characters fully and allow the audience to relate with them emotionally and intellectually.

Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography

By Declan Greene. Directed by Lee Lewis. State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. 1-12 July, 2014

This Perth Theatre Company co-production with Griffin Theatre Company plays on a stark set downstairs at the State Theatre Centre.

A man and a woman (never named) meet online through a dating website. Both have secrets, both lie to maintain an image and both have addictions. They are very different, yet very alike. Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography is about dating later in life, about creating a facade and ultimately about absolute raw honesty.

 

Romeo and Juliet

Ballet by Sir Kenneth MacMillan based on the play by Shakespeare. Music: Sergei Prokofiev. Music Director and Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia. Staged by Julie Lincoln. Queensland Ballet @ Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. 27 June – 5 July 2014

Since taking the helm of Queensland Ballet, Artistic Director Li Cunxin has taken the company from strength to strength, and this production proves how far they have come during his brief tenure.

Every Second

By Vanessa Bates. Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Eternity Playhouse. July 1 – 27, 2014

Every Second at Darlinghurst Theatre Company's gorgeous Eternity Playhouse tackles the delicate subject of infertility. Two couples desperate for a child cannot conceive and resultantly bond over their joint struggle. What was once an issue rarely discussed in the public forum now has many writers tackling the subject - Lifeforce the Musical last year and My Private Parts the year before spring to mind.

HalfWorld

A play by Matriark Art Theatre and writer Robert den Engelsman. Matriark Art Theatre. 107 Projects, Redfern Street, Redfern, Sydney. Director: Scott Parker. 27 June – 12 July 2014

Here’s a school holiday entertainment for the children of ‘arty’ families. Inside a carpet-strewn tent apparently made from blankets and sheets, Matriark Art Theatre’s talented collective of performers and artists explore dreams and myths.

Artistically, the 60-minute show under director Scott Parker is quite brilliant. But this is no conventional kids’ adventure, no panto: the 6-and-over target audience must connect the disparate events and images as they may.

The Secret Garden

Music by Lucy Simon, Book & Lyrics by Marsha Norman (based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel). Beenleigh Theatre Group. Crete Street Theatre (Q) 27 June – 12 July 2014

The Secret Garden is a challenge for any production company and their audience. I applaud BTG for tackling it, at the same time updating their technology in lighting, set and effects areas.

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