Reviews

Confessions of a Mormon Boy

By Steven Fales. Midsumma Festival. February 7 – 9, 2020

An international one man show - Confessions Of A Mormon Boy - a true story, has returned to Australia for the Midsumma Festival. It’s performed and written by Steven Fales, who exudes a charming stage presence, matched with a big cheesy smile and loads of gay Mormon pride.

Faust

Music by Charles Gounod. Librettists : Jules Barbier and Michel Carré. Opera Australia. Sydney Opera House. February 14 - March 11, 2020

This is an extraordinary production of an opera which might not boast the best known tunes in the genre, but jolts the senses with musical lighting. The first act is rather grim. Faust, weary of life, is stopped from taking his own life by the light of dawn and the appearance of Satan (Mephistopheles). He does the famous deal with the devil, where his hedonistic demands will only be met if he agrees to hand over his soul.

Heathers

By Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy. HAMA Productions. Fringe World. Directed by Olivia Collier, vocal direction by Veronica Bravo. Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA, Perth, WA. Feb 6-9, 2020

HAMA Productions’ Heathers played to full houses during its short Fringe World run, and it deserved its success, a well produced and tight show, with some strong performances.

Using the full depth of Studio Underground’s stage, the show was played on an almost bare stage, usually using only rostra and lighting to set each scene. Costuming was “traditional”, reflecting both the source film and the original Broadway production, with colour used very well.

The Actress

By Peter Quilter. Directed by Carryn McLean. Stirling Theatre, Morris Pl, Innaloo, WA. Feb 7-22, 2020

Peter Quilter is known for his plays about theatrical women, including End of the Rainbow, about Judy Garland, and Glorious, about amateur opera diva Florence Foster Jenkins. The Actress’ central character is the fictional Lydia Martin, but is another wonderful role and very interesting story.

Be More Chill

By Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz. Old Nick Company Summer School. The Playhouse, Hobart. 6-15 February 2020

Be More Chill could be just another high school musical but it manages to be something quite different. Yes, there are stereotypical characters and the issues are the same, but the show is an energetic visual feast.

The Innocent Pawn

Written and directed by Amanda Crewes. Actors Hub. Fringe World. The Actors Hub Studio, Kensington St, East Perth, WA. Jan 23-Feb 14, 2020

The Innocent Pawn plays as part of the Actors Hub’s 4x4x4, which features 4 different plays, presented over 4 nights each week, over the 4 weeks of Fringe World. The Innocent Pawn is an examination of porn culture and its influence on society. First performed in August last year, it returns for an encore season for Fringe World.

Rehearsal for Death

Created, directed and performed by Rebecka Stuart and Sophie Thompson. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton. 6 – 9 February 2020

Rehearsal for Death is a dance work that enacts a circular journey to the inevitability of death.  In this hour-long presentation, there are at most a dozen spoken words, ‘Shall I jump?’ and ‘You are going to die’ among them.  It begins with two dimly lit figures.  Their stillness and their posture suggest corpses.  They come to life – reluctantly – and drag themselves into the light… We come out of darkness and we return to it.  

Leopard Print Loincloth

By Jake Stewart. Theatre Works and Kissing Booth. Midsumma Festival. Theatre Works, St Kilda. 4 – 8 February 2020

As the blurb for this show has it, ‘There’s something about a room when there’s only men inside it.’  Well, that’s certainly true.  The characters here, anyway, are young, many are teenagers.  Leopard Print Loincloth is a depiction of a variety of contemporary Australian masculinity.  It is made of a series of sketches and vignettes.  There is no narrative as such.

The Deep Blue Sea

By Terence Rattigan. Sydney Theatre Company. Roslyn Packer Theatre. Feb 4 – Mar 7, 2020

Terence Rattigan wrote this once searing domestic portrait of class, shame and lost love reportedly after the suicide of a male lover.  The play however centres on a suicidal woman who leaves her marriage to a judge, only to be abandoned by her alcoholic lover; it was a West End hit in 1952, and beyond.

Rattigan, later Sir Terence, shows himself a master of dialogue and slowly unfolding plot in this neat three-act story, as over one day a host of characters parade through Hester Collyer’s crummy London flat. 

13: The Musical

Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Book by Don Elish and Robert Horn. Spotlight Theatre, Benowra, Gold Coast. Director / Choreographer: Hannah Crowther. February 7 – 29th, 2020

Spotlight’s production of 13 is the result of their senior youth theatre class holding a three week intensive workshop during the school holidays and the cast and crew (under the guidance of a few adults) are responsible for a fantastic show!

What a great idea to introduce young people into all the workings of a major production and have them own the end result.

This type of training can only happen when everyone is dedicated and working to produce a show that they can all be proud of.

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