Reviews

The Gods of Strangers

By Elena Carapetis. State Theatre Company of South Australia. Dunstan Playhouse. Nov 14 – Dec 2, 2018.

It is always an exciting time when a new Australian play and playwright arrive on the scene and Elena Carapetis’ The Gods of Strangers has much to recommend it.  In State Theatre Company of South Australia’s world premiere production of this play Carapetis tells the stories she grew up with, setting them in the difficult and to new immigrants, strange, country around Port Pirie.

Carapetis fills her play with believable and engaging characters who carry us along in a torrent of English, Greek and Italian (subtitles are provided).

And Then There Were None

By Agatha Christie. Adelaide Repertory Theatre. Arts Theatre Angas St, Adelaide. November 15-24, 2018

Reputedly the most difficult novel Agatha Christie ever had to write, And Then There Were None - originally Ten Little Ni**ers and later, Ten Little Indians,was renamed for obvious reasons. The play is Christie’s own adaptation of the story for the stage. The novel, which clearly had a very grim ending, was changed to make the finale more appealing for theatre-goers.

Ophelia Thinks Harder

By Jean Betts. WIT Incorporated. Bluestone Church Space, Footscray. Nov 9 – 24, 2018

Ophelia Thinks Harder is the new production by WIT Incorporated, who have taken on the grand task of tackling Jean Betts’ masterfully witty post- modern reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Ophelia, as we know her, famously suicided after being driven mad with grief from the death of her father Polonius, who was killed by her lover Hamlet. Not in Ophelia Thinks Harder - a feisty outlook and a wanton list of recognizable relentless characters all create havoc as they poke fun at gender inequality and cultural misdemeanors.  

Private Lives

By Noël Coward. Castle Hill Players. Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill. Nov 16 - Dec 8, 2018

With the voices of Gertrude Lawrence and Coward himself infusing the action, director Jan Mahoney pays tribute to one of the twentieth century’s theatrical ‘greats”. Playwright, composer, librettist, musician, satirist, actor, director – Sir Noël Coward made his special mark on stage and screen in England and America. His plays live on as classic vignettes of the wealthy social ‘set’ of London in the 1920s and 30s.

Hedda

A re-imagining of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler By Melissa Bubnic. Directed by Paige Rattray. Presented by Queensland Theatre. Bille Brown Theatre, 10 November - 8 December, 2018

It’s always with some trepidation that we approach a modern adaptation of a well-known classic. Reinventing a script from the 1890s and turning it into something that’s relevant and relatable to contemporary audiences is no easy task. It often just feels gimmicky and forced. So it’s with much relief that we see Melissa Bubnic’s reimagined Hedda Gabler doesn’t just do the original Ibsen work justice, it’s also exceptionally relevant to modern Australian society.

The Wharf Revue – Deja Revue

By Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsythe. Sydney Theatre Company. Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay. Nov 13 – Dec 15, 2018

Eighteen years later and still a riot, the annual Wharf Revue has now moved across the road to the big theatre, the Roz Packer. 

And while the founding writers and creators, Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsythe, have gained two new cast members and a new musical director, their show has lost a touch of its old home’s intimacy.  

Rachael Beck is a great musical and dancing addition; so not surprisingly music director Andrew Worboys has upped the number and pizzazz of the songs.

School of Rock

By Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julian Fellowes and Glenn Slater. Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne. Opening Night: November 9, 2018.

Based on the 2003 film of the same name, School of Rock has been revamped by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julian Fellowes and Glenn Slater into a highly-enjoyable romp that appeals, literally, to all ages.

12 Angry Men

By Reginald Rose. Everyman Theatre. Directed by Jarrad West. Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 14-24 November 2018

Take a room full of testosterone. Pressurise it with heat, sweat, humidity, life and death decisions, a fan that doesn’t work and just the one face towel that pretty much all the men use to mop their brows. Throw in racism and rationality, and you have the makings of a tense 90 minutes. 12 Angry Men is the prototypical jury drama, written in 1954 by Reginald Rose and reworked dozens of times thereafter.

Mandy Patinkin In Concert: Diaries 2018

Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House. November 14, 2018

Broadway musical theatre legend Mandy Patinkin, also well known for his film and television work, has returned to Australia, this time presenting a far more personal, reflective concert than we’ve seen before.

1916, A Love Story

By John Beaton. Darlington Theatre Players. Directed by Neroli Sweetman. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. 11 Nov - 8 Dec, 2018

Darlington Theatre Players opened this locally written world premiere on Remembrance Day, a fitting choice for this show, which is set around the Conscription Referendum of 1916.

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