Reviews

The Melbourne Monologues

Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. La Mama Courthouse. 27 November – 2 December, 2018

Director Elizabeth Walley has brought together six very strong monologues with six excellently cast performers to create an extremely engaging. crisp and lively evening of ‘Writers’ Theatre.’

The Merry Widow

By Franz Lehár (libretto in German by Viktor Léon and Leo Stein). State Opera SA. Festival Theatre. Nov 29 – Dec 6 2018.

The Merry Widow or Die Lustige Witwe is one of the world’s most beloved comic operettas. Performed in three acts with the score by Franz Lehár (libretto in German by Viktor Léon and Leo Stein), it premiered on December 30, 1905.

Hanna Glavari is a wealthy young widow who Baron Zeta would prefer to marry a Pontevedrian, not a Frenchman, to keep her money in the country. The obvious choice is Count Danilo, but there is a problem. They are exes, and he is too proud to marry her because of her fortune.

Invisible Things

Alex Mizzen, Brisbane Powerhouse, Wonderland Festival. 29 November, 2018

The Brisbane Powerhouse’s Wonderland Festival is a carnival that gives the stage over to comedy, burlesque and circus acts that might not quite fit in any other theatrical genre. The ‘misfit’ label would probably delight the internationally renowned physical theatre performer, Alex Mizzen. She has the physique of an acrobat and dancer and uses movement in a kind of absurdist short play or film on stage. Her latest piece – Invisible Things – is inspired by her own journals, exploring personal reflections and emotional journeys.

North By Northwest

Adapted by Carolyn Burns from the screenplay by Ernest Lehman. Music: Bernard Herrman. Director: Simon Phillips. Kay & McLean Productions and QPAC. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. Brisbane. 27 November – 9 December, 2018

Since its premiere by the Melbourne Theatre Company in June 2015, this stage adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic sixties chase-movie has successfully played around the world in Canada and the UK. An obvious crowd-pleaser, Carolyn Burns’ treatment sticks very close to Ernest Lehman’s screenplay (perhaps a little too close) in putting this mistaken identity spy escapade on stage.

Fireside

Midnight Feast. Sydney Opera House. Nov 29 & 30, 2018

In the battle for inclusion, no group has to fight more strongly than those who are challenged physically, intellectually and emotionally – and the people who love them. Two weeks in a row I have seen that that ‘fight’ manifested gloriously in two of the biggest performance spaces in Sydney.

Aspects of Love

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart. Based on the Novella by David Garnett. Walk This Way Productions. Hayes Theatre. Directed by Andrew J. Bevis. Nov 22 – Dec 30, 2018

This is as sophisticated a performance of this musical as you could ever hope to see at close quarters.

The standards were so high that it felt like you were watching Opera Australia rather than an Independent Theatre production.

Aspects of Love is already opera-like in the sense that it is sung through. The generous sized cast of sixteen and orchestra of ten squeezed onto the Hayes Theatre stage added to the feeling of abundance.

The musical is Andrew Lloyd Webber at his most florid.

The Director

Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall. Nov 21 – Dec 2, 2018

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a funeral director?

Wonder no longer, this production will demonstrate in vivid detail a day in the life of a funeral director. The Director is a newly devised show, co directed by Lara Thoms and ex (third generation) funeral director Scott Turnbull.

Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.

By Alice Birch. Directed by Karla Conway. The Street Company. Childers Street, Acton, Canberra. 28 Nov – 1 Dec 2018

Not subtle, this play starts with a couple in congress, the woman wresting dominance from her partner while renegotiating the language of sex. Later another woman presents her sexual availability and naked body as a consumable alongside grocery items, the shop staff more horrified by her lack of attractiveness than her nakedness.

Strata Inc.

By Laura Lethlean & Faran Martin. North of Eight Company. The Burrow, 83 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC. 20 November – 8 December 2018

Strata Inc is Laura Lethlean and Faran Martin’s ‘response’ to Aristophanes’ Lysistrata – but the text has moved a long way from the original inspiration.  Strata Inc is set in the world of high finance, with a struggle for control between a brother and a sister trapped in a crisis engineered by the patriarch, their father.  (That’s the underlying connection with Aristophanes: men still call the tune.) 

Alondra Conducts Mahler 3

An orchestral guide to the universe. Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO)/ Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). 24 November, 2018

In 2016, the QSO ran an audacious campaign declaring ‘She’s Ours!’ – to celebrate their coup in snaffling the captivating and world-renowned Alondra de la Parra as their Conductor and Music Director. Now I can see what all the fuss was about! De la Parra’s passion for music is infectious. In her role as Music Director, she starts Mahler’s 3rd Symphony with a short explanation of each of the six movements. She doesn’t believe in the usual classical music boundaries – urging us not to hold back.

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