Reviews

I'll Break My Own Heart.

Devised and performed by Rose Grayson. Tasmanian Theatre Company Cascade Indie Program. Theatre Royal Backspace, Hobart. Director: Andrew Kotatko. Musical Director: Peter Dasent. Wednesday 7th to 9th November, 2102

Think of cabaret, think of burlesque – then forget the bump and grind! From the moment Rose Grayson sashayed on stage in her cut-away tux-and-tails, black satin and lace corselet, top hat, high heels and fish-net stockings, she radiated burlesque vamp, but in a very classy way, darling. The long-awaited Tasmanian premiere season of I’ll Break My Own Heart, the sexy cabaret show that wowed audiences at Sydney Fringe Festival last year had arrived.

Everything Must Go

Written and performed by Rachel Leary. Presented with the support of the Tasmanian Theatre Company Cascade Indie Program. Theatre Royal Backspace (Hobart). Director: Damian Callinan. November 7 – 11, 2102.

Times are changing, and Nancy Browne, comic creation of Rachel Leary, must make sense of her shifting world. The quirky play Everything Must Go has evolved, over almost five years, out of a series of comedy sketches performed by Rachel Leary. It has received wide praise from critics and comic peers during its seasons at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Rachel was a finalist of Victorian Raw Comedy in 2007.

The Drowsy Chaperone.

Book by Don Martin and Don Kellar. Music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. Director: Karl McNamara. Fab Nobs, Bayswater (Vic). 9th-24th November, 2012.

It’s Fabulous! There you go, my shortest review ever. Oh, you want details? Well if you insist. This is the slightly goofy story of a shy agoraphobic man – The Man in the Chair - who rarely goes out of his run down apartment, instead playing his Broadway show records….yes, vinyl ones….for comfort. He includes us, the audience, as confidantes and shares with us his favourite little known show, the 1928 musical “The Drowsy Chaperone”. As he does, the musical comes to life in his tiny apartment.

Signs of Life.

By Tim Winton. Sydney Theatre Company and Black Swan Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. November 7 - December 22, 2012

We were spoiled by Cloudstreet, an epic novel filled with wonderful characters that was also a sensation as a stage play. Tim Winton’s novel Dirt Music has a similar epic and broad brushed landscape. It concludes with a plane crash.

If you are expecting an exhilarating night of action in this style you might be a little underwhelmed by the scope and pace of Signs of Life.

Tim Winton picks the story up after Dirt Music is finished. 

Hell Hath No Fury

By Wayne Tunks. Revolt Melbourne. 8 – 24 November, 2012

Hell Hath No Fury, written, produced and directed by Wayne Tunks, is a solid effort at contemporary theatre and, whilst engaging enough for a mainstream audience, sadly misses the mark in delivering an insightful, bold work.

A theatre space in Revolt Melbourne is transformed into a beauty salon where sixteen female staff and customers are all having relationship woes. Roberta, the salon’s owner, is at the centre of the play. 

Bare Witness

By Mari Lourey. Bare Witness Company. Director Nadja Kostich. The Street Theatre, Canberra, and touring the eastern states till 23 November 2012

Less a play than a sequence of sketches in reverse chronological order, Bare Witness portrays impressions of photojournalism in a war zone: the daily confrontation with killing, maiming, and dying; the characters inhabiting these regions for a photograph; and its effects on them.

Soulmates

By David Williamson. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. Director: Meredith McQueen. 26 October – 10 November, 2102

Revenge is a dish best served funny. What better way for a playwright to get back at critics than to write a thinly disguised dig at his enemy? Hobart Repertory Theatre took on the David Williamson play Soulmates and imbued it with humour but possibly less spite than the original version in 2002.

Into the Woods

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by James Lapine. North Shore Music Theatre, The Pumphouse, Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand. Nov 3 – 17, 2012.

As a storyteller Sondheimpolarisesaudiences worldwide. You either love him, or hate him, are spellbound or bored to tears, adore or hate his thematic repetitive phrases, are touched by or turned off by his plots. None more so, perhaps, than Into the Woods. Act One combines a mish-mash of several fairy stories which culminate in the endings we know so well from childhood. Act Two – so all your dreams have come true? Here is what happens in reality! Life, once all our dreams come true, doesn’t always mean living happily ever after.

Mothersmilk

By Joanne Trentini. One Other Productions. Director: Claire Phillips. Producer and Set Designer: Kathryn Hooper. Producer and Creative Stylist: Renee Trentini. Actors: Joanne Trentini, Lelia Rodgers, Gerard Lane and Stefan Bramble. Live Music – Earthwire: A J Winnick, Cloud Unknowing and Nick Hadjelias. 45 Downstairs – 45 Flinders Lane (Vic). 31 October to 11 November 2012.

With it beguiling, beautifully produced flyer, superb photo on the program and lovely little filmic scene of a young boy being given a toxic glass of milk to drink it is bemusing that this production of a supposedly new play is not billed as a reworking of Medea. It would make sense as the basic story is the same and there always seems to be an enthusiastic audience for reworked classics.

Dusty The Original Pop Diva

Songs recorded by Dusty Springfield, book by John-Michael Howson, David Mitchell and Melvyn Morrow. Chatswood Musical Society. Zenith Theatre, Chatswood (NSW). November 2 – 11, 2012.

The musical is called Dusty, it’s utterly defined by the portrayal of pop diva, and with Linda Hale in the title role it is in safe hands, both in vocals and acting. Thanks to musical director David Lang, a capable off-stage orchestra and strong back-up singers, the production boasts an effective, slightly theatricalised 60s (and later) pop sound.

Linda Hale’s energy in the musical numbers and sympathetic playing of scenes, overcoming sometimes two-dimensional writing, is the full deal, doing full justice to the pop icon.

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