Reviews

Flash Donahs

Written & directed by Graeme Dale. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton VIC. 12 – 22 April 2018.

Flash Donahs is ‘documentary theatre’ set in Melbourne in the 1880s.

Cock

By Mike Bartlett. Bakers Dozen Theatre Company. Directed by Beng Oh. The Stables – Meat Market. 11 to 21 April, 2018

Opening night of Cock was refreshingly ready for an audience.  There was no evidence of a lack of time spent in the rehearsal room in this superbly directed (Beng Oh) 2009 work by British playwright Mike Bartlett. 

Cock is about relationships, sexual identity, romantic relationships, and performed identity.  At its heart is the suggestion that the act of sex can be isolated from gender and feelings of love, and, an individual’s behaviour can be controlled by social expectations and the coercion of others.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Music & Lyrics: Richard & Robert Sherman. Book: Jeremy Sams & Ray Roderick. Northern Light Theatre Company (SA). Shedley Theatre, Elizabeth. April 14 – 28, 2018

Just in time for the school, holidays Northern Light Theatre Company are presenting that ‘child catcher’ of a musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Loosely based on the book by Ian Fleming, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang became a film in 1968 starring such luminaries as Dick Van Dyke, Lionel Jeffries and of course the legendary Sir Robert Helpmann as the Child Catcher.

Antony and Cleopatra

By William Shakespeare. Bell Shakespeare. Director: Peter Evans. 12 – 21 April 2018 Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra. 26 April – 13 May 2018 Fairfax Studio, Melbourne.

With a style like a movie thriller, Peter Evans’ Antony and Cleopatra is fast-paced, witty and exciting, and its tight, lean edit makes it fresh and comprehensible to a modern relatively lay audience. Every production of Shakespeare needs to decide to whom to pitch, and here, Evans seems to have aimed at a broader, more youthful group. Purists hanging out to hear each line of the sacred text for the richness of meaning and poetry probably consider it butchery, but I like the way each scene drives forward.

Frank Enstein

The Farm, in collaboration with Co3 Australia. Directed by Gavin Webber and Grayson Millwood. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. April 11-15, 2018

Frank Enstein is a thoroughly engaging, beautiful piece of theatre. Contemporary dance with a strong, well constructed story, about the struggle to fit in, and accepting yourself.

In this fresh take on the classic Frankenstein story, Frank is a lonely teenager who “wants to make his imaginary friends real”. Living with a physical impairment (as does the actor who plays him) he creates monsters to fulfil his desire to be normal and be accepted by others”.

Let’s Get Practical! Live

The Very Good Looking Initiative. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Tower - Coopers Malthouse, Southbank. April 10 – 22, 2018

Let’s Get Practical! Live is more than just your average comedy show - it is an hilarious, cutting edge and satirical poke-in–the-eye probe into the world of TV hosts, live variety and quiz shows, performed by a talented, eclectic, ensemble cast.

The Very Good Looking Initiative presents its second season after winning Melbourne Fringe Best Emerging Performance ensemble and rightly so; this is a real show-stopper of a show and l mean what l say.

#FirstWorldWhiteGirls: Botox Party!

Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Speakeasy HQ, 522 Flinders St, Melbourne. April 10 – 22, 2018

Welcome to #FirstWorldWhiteGirls: Botox Party!

This show is for the female who has everything but a conscience, hosted by the glitzy-sassy-glam girl Tiffany (Judy Hainsworth) and her co-host the ditzy-chic Madison (Meggan Hickey), ready to take their party (audience) on a journey into their rich and vacuous world.

After Dinner

By Andrew Bovell. State Theatre Company of South Australia. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide. April 7-29, 2018.

With his comedy After Dinner acclaimed Australian playwright Andrew Bovell takes us on a step back, to a time before social media and mobile phones, when if you were looking for love you had to drag yourself out of the house to the local pub or nightclub.

Designer Jonathon Oxlade has done a fine job in capturing the pub dining room of the 80s for this State Theatre of South Australia production; from the apricot tablecloths to the single fake carnation placed in the centre of each table, from the wood panelling on the walls to the insipid pale green carpet.

Constellations

By Nick Payne. 1812 Theatre in association with RedFox3. Director: Justin Stephens. 5th – 28th April, 2018.

It is near on impossible to describe the plot of Nick Payne’s Constellations. The only clear identifiable feature is that there are two characters – Roland and Marianne - and that over the course of the play, their lives intersect innumerable times. They connect via infinite possibilities, sometimes with similar results, sometimes vastly different.

It’s Not Funny

Written & performed by Fiannah de Rue. Directed by Hayley Tantau. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tasma Terrace, Melbourne CBD. 10 – 22 April 2018

It’s a risky title – and could prompt a one-word review.  Fortunately, Fiannah de Rue’s show is funny.  What isn’t funny (usually) is death.  This show is, she says, her response to the recent death of her beloved larrikin father, as in, ‘You have to laugh…’  There isn’t, in fact, a lot about her Dad in the show, although there is a running gag about his ashes and a brilliant sequence about the wake she organised and supervised to ensure that it stayed sad.  Watching her patrol the wake and remind pe

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