Reviews

National Interest

Written and Directed by Aidan Fennessy. Melbourne Theatre Company. Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio. June 6 – July 21, 2012.

The Balibo Five story is well-known to Australians, especially since a coronial investigation in 2007, which confirmed the long-held suspicion that the journalists had been murdered by Indonesian forces in Balibo, East Timor in 1975. Then came the film, Balibo, and now Aidan Fennessy's play, National Interest, making its Melbourne debut with MTC this month.

The Truth About Kookaburras

By Sven Swenson. La Boite Indie and Pentimento Productions. The Roundhouse. 6 – 27 June 2012

The 2009 Kookaburras version sold out at Metro Arts. That probably accounts for the ticket rush this season.  

The frisson of watching thirteen nude AFL players in their locker room cavorting in politically incorrect ways during Act I led to that 2009 ticket rush. This version has a full AFL team! Any wonder they’re selling out?

BLAKDANCE 2012

Bille Brown Studio, Queensland Theatre Company. 4-9 June, 2012

Blakdance was an international showcase event celebrating First Nation Contemporary Dance through the demonstration of a suite of works from Aboriginal and Maori cultures.

The evening began with a bright, short and effective welcome dance of local Aboriginal North Stradbroke Island origin, including an entertaining didgeridoo demonstration. This was followed by a selection of works from choreographers Rita Pryce, Tammi Gissell, Albert David, Ojeya Cruz Banks, Jack Gray and Cathy Livermore.

The Motherf**ker with the Hat

By Steven Adly Giurgis. Director: David Bell. Red Stitch Actors Theatre (Vic) June 8 - July 7

Jackie (Demitrios Sirilas) is a young New Yorker who returns home to the apartment he shares with his hot girlfriend, Veronica (Michelle Vergara Moore) to tell her he has found a job. We learn that he is a recovering drug addict on parole whose rehab treatment is sponsored by a clean-living, energy drink swilling friend, Ralph (Adam McConvell). Despite the fact we know Veronica is still using, hopes are high for Jackie. That is, until he finds a man's hat (not his) in the  apartment he shares with Veronica.

KURT

Justin Burford. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The Banquet Room. June 8 – 10, 2012.

In a ballsy move, ARIA Award winning frontman of End of Fashion, Justin Burford makes his cabaret debut with KURT, the story of 90’s grunge god Kurt Cobain.

After casually mentioning the long held idea for a John Waters-esque take on Cobain’s epic rise and demise to the Rock of Ages production team, Burford was given the opportunity to develop the show and present its debut performance at the 2012 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Misanthropology

Eddie Perfect. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse (SA). June 8 – 10, 2012

Flight of the Concords and Tim Minchin are names that come to mind when you see Eddie Perfect.

Three Sisters

By Anton Chekhov. Directed & Adapted by Liz Arday. Factotum Theatre. Tap Gallery (Sydney). June 7 – 23, 2012.

Anton Chekhov’s naturalist play – based, it is believed, on the life of the Bronte sisters – sees three sisters, Olga, Marsha and Irina, and their brother Andrei, in a provincial garrison town in Russia. Dissatisfied with their lives, despite the comings and goings of the soldiers of the garrison, the girls, brought up in Moscow, dream, unsuccessfully, of returning to the symbolic sophistication of that city. Both Marsha and Andrei have made unfortunate marriages. Olga, a schoolteacher, is unhappy. Irina, just turning 20, longs for something more than just being at home.

The Nutcracker on Ice

The Imperial Ice Stars. Capitol Theatre, Sydney. June 6 – 10, 2012; Canberra Theatre Centre, June 13 – 17; Lyric Theatre, QPAC, June 20 – 24; Adelaide Festival Centre, July 18 – 22; Arts Centre, Melbourne, July 25 – 29; His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth, Aug 2 – 12.

These bravado Russians on ice have skated across Australia already with Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and twice with Swan Lake. Now they’re back with an ice version of Tchaikovsky’s 1890’s ballet, The Nutcracker.

Reasons to be Pretty

By Neil LaBute. Square Peg Productions. Theatreworks. May 31 – June 17, 2012.

It claims to be a play about “our culture’s fixation with vanity and physical attractiveness”.  The title fits: Reasons to be Pretty.  But I must have missed this.  I witnessed the scope of beauty, yes, but it was in the total ugliness of some characters and relationships.

Square Peg Productions and Director Eddy Segal brings Reasons to be Pretty, from American playwright and screenwriter Neil LaBute, to Theatreworks.  LaBute wrote the play over a ten year period which explains its disjointedness at times.

Miss Saigon

Music: Claude-Michel Schonberg. Lyrics: Alain Boublil & Richard Maltby Jnr. Savoyards. Director: David Williams. Musical Director: Geoffrey Secomb. Choreographer: Tamsin Sutherland. Iona Performing Arts Centre, Wynnam (Qld). June 2 – 23, 2012.

Full disclosure; I love Miss Saigon and consider it one of the best written musicals of the last twenty-five years. Schonberg and Boublil’s richly layered score never fails to move me.

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