Reviews

International Gala 2012

Queensland Ballet. Playhouse, QPAC. 3-5 August, 2012.

This fifteenth annual gala was a cornucopia of delights.

Retiring Artistic Director François Klaus invited many QB alumni now gracing overseas stages to return home for this brief season to join the world class company that he nurtured and developed over his fifteen year tenure. They are the real centrepiece of this entertainment.

10th Fabiversary Concert

Fab Nobs Theatre Inc. (Vic). 3rd – 5th August, 2012.

If there was an Olympic gold medal for great ensemble singing, Fab Nobs would win it hands down. This little theatre company, based in a warehouse in Bayswater, sets a standard in professionalism, enthusiasm and sheer talent that is hard to beat. What a pity they’re not also swimmers!

Hell House: Provocation, Belief and Morality

Presented by Arts House and Back to Back Theatre (Vic). Director - Bruce Gladwin, Designers - Mark Cuthbertson and Emily Barry, Sound Designer - David Franzke, Lighting Designer - Jennifer Hector, Costumes - Emily Barry, Artistic Associate - Marcia Ferguson, Production Management – Bluebottle. Arts House – Meat Market. 3-5 July, 2012.

If you are interested in theatre that provokes debate don’t miss Hell House and subsequent forums - if you can, get to get to the Meat Market in North Melbourne either today or tomorrow. It will be discussed for months and judging by the Provocation Forum, the ideas examined will germinate awareness, considerations and questions about both organized religion and theatre that will be influential.

The Memory of Water

By Shelagh Stephenson. Canberra Repertory. Director: Ed Wightman. Theatre 3, Acton. 3 to 18 August 2012.

This play is frankly a treasure: a great yarn of psychological medicine, medical science, and old family hurts; revealing, touching, and surprisingly funny.  (The title refers to intergenerational influence, via the discovery by French scientist Jacques Benveniste—and later by dozens of replicating experimenters—that the high-“potency” solutions that homoeopathic medicine commonly uses retain detectable physical and medicinal properties of their absent solutes.)

The Philadelphia Story

By Phillip Barry. Theatre on Chester, Epping (NSW). Director / Designer: Joy Sweeney. July 27 – August 18, 2012.

Gershwin jazz piano arrangements drift across the room from the gramophone. A smart-looking young man lounges nonchalantly reading the paper in a stylish period living room, filled with furniture and paraphernalia stylishly matched in predominantly black, white and grey tones. Effective use of coloured cyclorama lighting complements the setting attractively, in a stylishly attractive production from start to finish.

There’s a clever, engaging illusion; a twist which I won’t spoil, to Director Joy Sweeney’s prelude to the play’s main action.

Blood Wedding

By Federico Garcia Lora, adapted by Raimondo Cortese. Director: Marion Potts. Set and Costume Design: The Sisters Hayes. Lighting Design: Paul Jackson. Composition: Tim Rogers. Assistant Director: Claudia Escobar. Performed by Silvia Colloca, Nicole Da Silva, Irene Del Pilar Gomez, Ivan Donato, Mariola Fuentes, Ruth Sancho Huerga, Matias Steven, Greg Ulfan and David Valencia. Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse (Vic). 21 July to 19 August, 2012.

Malthouse’s production of Lorca’s Blood Wedding sees language as no barrier to understanding a narrative of overwhelming desire and crushing grief, and potentially, injects heat and passion into the bleak, cold and wet Melbourne mid-winter.

Mademoiselle

By Michael Dalley (World Premiere). High Performance Company (Vic). Forty-Five Downstairs, Melbourne. Devised and Performed by Paul McCarthy and Michael Dalley. Music: John Thorn and Michael Dalley. Design: Joel West. August 1-19, 2012.

Mademoiselle is a whirlwind of political incorrectness. Michael Dalley’s witty hour-long script had the packed audience in Flinders Lane laughing and gasping in its assault on the “lower middle-class”.

The Pride

By Alexi Kaye Campbell. Red Stitch Actors Theatre (Vic). Director: by Gary Abrahams. July 24 – August 18, 2012

If you really want to see strong, powerful acting, then Red Stitch Actors Theatre will not disappoint. The Pride is a gripping tale of two gay men, and a woman, who are living in very different eras: the 1950s and the present day. Playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell first shows us two men who are drawn to each other but cannot be together because of society’s rules. Then the play takes an imaginative, and startling, turn into the 00s, where homosexuality is a lot more accepted, even celebrated. But that freedom comes at a price, too.

 

Punk Rock

By Simon Stephens. ATYP Under the Wharf. Studio 1 (NSW). 25 July- 11 August, 2012.

If judged by the promotional material on ATYP’s website, Punk Rock is very nearly made out to be an angsty teenage drama. However, the title seems to have been more of a philosophical basis for the writer, Simon Stephens. This production is simply outstanding.

The 39 Steps

By Patrick Barlow, adapted from the book by John Buchan and the Hitchcock film. Castle Hill Players (NSW). Pavilion Theatre. July 27 – August 18, 2012.

Since its resounding success in London and New York, this play has become the new ‘pop’ comedy for community theatre. It has much appeal. To begin with, for the audience, the story is well known through book, the film and television make-overs – and the dashing but beleaguered Richard Hannay was, after all, the very first of the British super spies.  But for theatre practitioners, the play has even more altruistic appeal.

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