Reviews

Heroes

By Tom Stoppard. Adapted from Le Vent des Peupliers by Gerald Sibleyras. Director: Margaret Bell. Centenary Theatre Group, Chelmer Community Centre, Chelmer, Brisbane. 9-30 March, 2019.

Tom Stoppard’s 2005 comedy Heroes is as fragile as the wounded egos of its three protagonists. Set in a French veterans home in 1959, and based on the original play by Gerald Sibleyas, three World War 1 vets plan a fanciful escape from their restricted environment: first to Indochina, then to a picnic outside, and finally to a copse of poplars on the far horizon. That it’ll never happen is in no doubt, but their daily cantankerous musings about it on the porch of the retirement home are the basis of the play.

A Greek Tragedy ‘Oedipus Rex – The King’ The Musical

Athens Production. Adelaide Fringe Festival 2019. Multiple Venues. 9-17 March, 2019

This one-man show by Loucas Loizou is wonderful and rather special. Loucas Loizou is something of a living ‘legend’ in certain circles. A Greek Cypriot refugee who began his performing career in London restaurant owned by Cat Stevens whose father was also a Greek, Loucas Loisou has subsequently performed around the world.

Green Tea

By Luke Townson. Adelaide Fringe Festival 2019. The Third Space at Live from Tandanya. 9-10 March, 2019

Luke Townson’s Green Tea is a ‘psychological thriller’ based on the 19th Century book by Sheridan Le Fanu.

In this intriguing one-man show Luke Townson plays the ‘philosophic physician’ Dr. Martin Hesselius, as well as a number other characters. He is absolutely terrific, not only in his performance but also in contending with a rather difficult venue that is not really ‘friendly’ for this creepy ‘gothic’ tale.

Salome

Music and lyrics by Richard Strauss. Based on the play by Oscar Wilde. Originally Directed by Gale Edwards. Set by Brian Thomson. Opera Australia. Dame Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. March 6 – 26, 2019.

This twentieth century opera has the most confronting story-line of almost any work in the genre – and to put the audience in the mood for a night of extreme drama was a set (and costumes) to die for. At the top of the stage were green lit animal skeletons hanging above the court of King Herod, where a panel of different religious leaders are enjoying a banquet.

On the menu is a debate about John the Baptist, who is imprisoned in a pit below them. Is he a prophet who has seen the face or God or can he be executed?

Super Woman Money Program

By Elizabeth Davie. Adelaide Fringe. Gluttony- Little Sparrow. March 2-9, 2019

Super Woman Money Program, delivered with pizazz and pathos by Elizabeth Davie, is one of the particularly raw and thought-provoking pieces in the Fringe. Davie confronts us through comedy, song and storytelling about the harsh financial realities of being a woman. She raises the audience’s awareness that women truly are disadvantaged when it comes to superannuation-building as they are the ones who stop work to have and raise children, whilst their husbands continue to thrive in the work force.

Man With The Iron Neck

By Ursula Yovich. Legs on the Wall. Adelaide Festival 2019. Dunstan Playhouse, Festival Centre. 8-11 March, 2019

Legs on the Wall's Man With The Iron Neck by Ursula Yovich is based on the book by Josh Bond, and is about youth suicide within a tight and loving indigenous Australian family.

Co-directed by Josh Bond and Gavin Robins with a terrific cast of indigenous Australian actors, including Ursula Yovich, this an extremely moving, poignant and spectacular production about something that is relevant and important to us all.

Twelfth Night.

The Handlebards. Adelaide Fringe. The Bally, Gluttony, 5-17 March 2019

Four men playing every part (with a little help from a willing audience) race hilariously through the famous Shakespearean comedy of misdirected love and gender swaps, Twelfth Night. Colour-coded in knee-high socks and braces, they engage the audience with warmth and wit and keep them there through ninety minutes that pass too quickly.

Teechers

Adelaide Fringe Festival 2019. Main Hall at Australian Education Union South Australia. March 7 -10, 2019

“It’s a fact of life that all teachers dance like idiots”. So says one of the actors in the play Teechers. I am a teacher and I have to confess this is largely true.

Teechers by John Godber was originally conceived for 2 males and 1 female, the female to play 21 roles. In this production it is played by 3 females.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

By Joan Lindsay, adapted by Tom Wright. Darlington Theatre Players. Directed by Rob Whitehead. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. 1-16 March, 2019

If you are looking for muslin dresses and pan pipes, this is not the Picnic at Hanging Rock for you. But, if you would like to see some creative story-telling, dynamic use of sets and strong narration, you will love Darlington Theatre Players’ Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Connected – The Rock Musical.

Book, Music and Lyrics by Craig Christie. Director: Kim Spargo. Choreographer: Nina Richards. Platform Academy. Adelaide Fringe. Nexus Arts. 7-9 March, 2019.

The impact on schoolchildren of the internet in general, and social media in particular, would appear to make for a potentially terrific stage musical that could combine education with entertainment. The Adelaide premiere of Connected does not quite convince this reviewer of it being a first-rate show, coming off as too uneven in quality, with regard to flaws both in the basic material and some specific elements of this particular production.

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