Reviews

Gloria

By Benedict Andrews. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre, Darlinghurst. August 26 – October 8, 2016.

This is the second play written by the celebrated director Benedict Andrews, now running a global career from Iceland.  Critics shredded his first play, Every Breath at Belvoir, about an indulged, bullying family living behind top security.

In Gloria, this time a star actress (Marta Dusseldorp) and her fractious family live high in a penthouse as a dystopian city below explodes into civic mayhem.

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare. Presented by Third Door Theatre, Doncaster Playhouse, 679 Doncaster Road, 31 August - 11 September, 2016

Third Door Theatre produce a well-polished and orchestrated performance of this delightful comedy. The modern setting allows for some very clever adaptations of the script. The masquerade ball resonates particularly well with the themes of duplicity and dishonour that dominate the play. Beatrice (Claire Abagia) is undoubtedly the star of the show. Abagia executes a good measure of both the lightness and the drama of her character and this enables her to show a great range and depth of emotion.

Rent

Music, lyrics, and book by Jonathan Larson. Marie Clark Musical Theatre. Goodwood Institute, Adelaide. 30 August - 3 September, 2016.

When a stage musical achieves, at multiple moments, the kind of electricity and warmth that Marie Clark's production of Rent does, one naturally wants to offer a wholehearted recommendation to get along and see it.

Oscar and Felix

By Neil Simon. The Adelaide Repertory Theatre. Arts Theatre. September 1-10th 2016

Why mess with perfection? Neil Simon wrote his smash hit, The Odd Couple in 1965. A story of flawed friendships, it became a huge hit on Broadway and later as a movie and television series. In 2002 Simon reworked his masterpiece to produce an updated version, Oscar and Felix.

Barefoot In The Park

By Neil Simon. Director: Mark Kilmurry. Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli. From 31st August 2016.

Ensemble Theatre’s classy and tasteful production proves that Neil Simon’s 50 year-old comedy classic is just as relevant as ever. Sure, some parts of the script definitely reflect their late ’60’s time frame but what the show is really about hasn’t dated. Neil Simon’s one–liners and quips still zing and the Cast breath zesty life into these characters.

The Beast

By Eddie Perfect. Directed by Simon Phillips. The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. August 25 – September 10, 2016

Eddie Perfect would be considered a major talent anywhere in the solar system. When The Beast burst onto the scene in 2013 at MTC, it took everyone by surprise. Carefully handled by Director Iain Sinclair, it was perhaps the best offering from MTC that year. Personally I believed we were witnessing the birth of a major new playwright in the style of Edward Albee. The play was flawed, but the potential was breath-taking.

The Wharf Revue: 2016 AD

By Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott. Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. August 31 – September 3, 2016.

That clever trio is “Back to Bite You” with a program that makes the most of a year that has, both locally and internationally, lent itself to ridicule and revue. And where better to set their snappy snipes than on the steps and columns of Ancient Rome – or Australia 2016 AD.

Grease

By Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Australian Performing Arts Network. Directed by Olivia Collier. Regal Theatre, Subiaco, WA. 26 Aug - Sep 4, 2016

The musical Grease at The Regal Theatre is a lavish, high energy production, produced by the Australian Performing Arts Network. It features professional stars alongside local, emerging artists and a supporting cast of young performers.

Guest artists Lynne McGranger (Miss Lynch), Carmelo Pizzino (Vince Fontaine) and John O’Hara (Teen Angel) add a great deal of pizazz to the show, with McGranger’s comedic teacher and O’Hara’s fabulous “Beauty School Drop Out” highlights of the show.

Around The World in 80 Days

Written by Toby Hulse (from the novel by Jules Verne). Directed by Terence O’Connell. Alex Theatre St Kilda. August 23 – September 4, 2016 – then National Tour.

There’s no doubt in my mind that once this production settles in, and the actors relax, this will become a much funnier show; as it stands, it’s a pleasant, if overly long, homage that doesn’t realise its full potential, and that’s a pity.

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

By Bertolt Brecht. Theatre Works, Acland Street, St Kilda (VIC). 25 August – 10 September 2016

The temptation – in the age of Trump – to update and make ‘accessible’ Brecht’s satiric parable about the rise of Hitler and the Nazis is well nigh irresistible – and this production gives in to it.  The play is not exactly Brecht’s best work, but it is continually revived: it has a black, cynical and chilling humour and its warning of incipient fascism is, sadly, ever topical.  Written in 1941 and intended for the American stage, Arturo Ui was not, in fact, performed until 1958 – and in Germany.  (Hence the famous warn

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