Reviews

Malpractical Jokes

Directed by Izaak Lim. Underground at the Maj, His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth, WA. 3-5 Nov, 2016

Malpractical Jokes is a classic cabaret, brought to life by consummate performer Izaak Lim, who delights his audience with his medical themed cabaret built around excellent storytelling and Izaak’s beautiful voice.

Anti-Hamlet

Writer/Director: Mark Wilson. The New Working Group & Theatre Works. Theatre Works. 3 – 13 November, 2016

Anti-Hamlet is a clever slick journey opening with Mark Wilson as Hamlet engaging the audience with fabulous sparkling heightened energy.  This energy is embraced by all actors and doesn’t let up as we are taken on a fast a wild ride and lengthy ride through a sort of Australian ‘boy’s own’ contemporary Australian Hamlet, which, mainly through their absence, highlights aspects of Shakespeare’s original. 

A Flea in Her Ear

By Georges Feydeau. Adapted by Andrew Upton. Directed by Simon Phillips. Set and costumes by Gabriella Tylesova. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. November 4 to December 13, 2016

This production is best summed up by the last line of the first act – a complete farce. Several members of the audience near me were unable to control their mirth, eliciting a horse-like laughter at regular intervals.

Not being a scholar of the French playwright it was difficult for me to ascertain exactly which extra bits of narrative Andrew Upton stitched on to the play, written more than a century ago. Whatever it was, the combination of the script, direction, design and performance made it a night of sublime silliness – a perfect date night.

Leading Ladies

By Ken Ludwig. Therry Dramatic Society. Arts Theatre Adelaide. November 3-12, 2016.

Sometimes it’s good to sit and watch a well-constructed comedy into which the actors can add generous slices of ham. Such is Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladies, which in the experienced hands of Adelaide’s Therry Dramatic Society and the play’s Director Jude Hines is a hoot from go to whoa.

Carousel

Music: Richard Rodgers. Book & Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein ll. Based on Ferenc Molnar’s play Liliom. Queensland Musical Theatre. Director: Ruth Gabriel. Musical Director: Julie Whiting. Choreography: Julianne Burke. Schonell Theatre, St Lucia, Brisbane. 2-6 November 2016.

Over seventy years ago Rodgers and Hammerstein broke the mold when they created Carousel with its wife-beating street-tough anti-hero, and it’s this dark spousal-abuse story thread that still gives the musical its contemporary currency. Their score, one of the finest in the classic musical theatre canon, registered time and time again in Ruth Gabriel’s production which wisely cast voices who could do justice to the songs.

Anna Bolena

By Gaetano Donizetti. Presented by Melbourne Opera and directed by Suzanne Chaundy. Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, Melbourne 2, 5, & 9 November & Monash University 12 November, 2016.

Donizetti’s fascination with Tudor England and the women who feature in this tumultuous history is indulged in Anna Bolena. The opera recounts the period which sees the demise of Boleyn as Queen of England and King Henry VIII’s second wife. This period of history, and in particular Henry's court, is rich with intrigue, betrayal and espionage and in many ways sets the scene for the future reign of their daughter Elizabeth I.

Up For Grabs

By David Williamson. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Directed by Nick Lahey. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. 28 October – 12 November 2016

Ouch! The David Williamson play Up For Grabs by Hobart Repertory Theatre Society is an observation of people who are greedy, affected, pretentious and acquisitive, and we saw some on stage in Hobart. Set around the contemporary art world of the 1990s and written in 2000, Up For Grabs is a fast-paced comedy of (bad) manners, first performed by the Sydney Theatre Company in 2001.

Frankenstein

The Q. Directed by Nick Atkins. The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith. November 3-5, 2016

A thought provoking, sensory experience.

When I agreed to review The Q’s Frankenstein, I was intrigued by the show’s description of a cross-disciplinary performance, using a live musical score, text from Mary Shelley’s original novel and parts of the classic film to retell a tale of doom and destruction.

Not having had a lot of exposure to contemporary theatre (I am more of a musical kind of gal), I didn’t know what to expect and wondered if I would find it weird or if I would even understand it.

White Day Dream

Weave Movement Theatre & Yumi Umiumare. 45 Downstairs, Melbourne. 27 October to 6 November, 2016.

Intrinsic to White Day Dream is a whimsical set by Jennifer Tran made almost entirely of white plastic shopping bags, in fact the plastic bags extend to the auditorium.  They are a marvelous canvas and make great props. 

Gutenberg the Musical

By Scott Brown & Anthony King. Holland St Productions. Directed by Erin Hutchinson. Hellenic Club, Perth, WA. Oct 27 - Nov 5, 2016

Holland St Productions is known for producing quirky, original work, so Gutenberg the Musical, developed by Scott Brown and Anthony King, which had a solid Off-Broadway run, is a departure from their usual fare in many ways. Stylistically though, this show could have been written by Tyler Jones and Robert Woods, Holland St’s usual musical collaborators - a wild and unusual, small cast musical, irreverent and clever, with an off-beat charm.

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