Reviews

Ruben Guthrie

By Brendan Cowell. La Boite. Roundhouse Theatre, Brisbane. 8 October – 10 November, 2011

Ruben Guthrie is a modern Icarus. Alcohol is to Ruben what the sun was to Icarus: both high flyers crashed ignominiously.

It’s hard to decide who is the star of this show: Gyton Grantley for his brilliant performance? Or Brendan Cowell for his honest, vulnerable autobiographical script?

This is not a play to ‘enjoy’; rather it is to ‘live through the experience’ with one or other of the characters. We all know them: family, acquaintances, social revellers, business colleagues.

Cinderella

By Malcolm Harslett. Mighty Good Productions, SA. Star Theatres. Director: Malcolm Harslett. October 4 - 14, 2011

The Cinderella tale, done well, can introduce a new generation to the magic of theatre. And Mighty Good’s production does just that.

Unless you skipped childhood, you know the story of Cinderella. The differences between the popular story and that told here are the addition of a couple of characters.

The first is Buttons (Vince Fusco), whose friendship with Cinderella (Tahlia Monaghan) provides her with relief from the cruelty of her stepmother (Dianne K Lang) and step-sisters.

Aftermath

The New York Theatre Workshop Production. Presented in Association with ArKtype and Amnesty International. For Melbourne Festival. Malthouse Theatre. 11 to 14 October, 2011.

Crystallised from many, varied collected stories and individual experiences, distilled, then beautifully crafted into thematic theatre - Aftermath is presented as a collage of embodied stories from a city held to ransom, manipulated and violated. It is a story of communities/people/tribes set against each other by the invasion of external forces. Though didactic, the touch is light, enlightening, edifying and ultimately uplifting.

Driving Miss Daisy

Wyndam’s Theatre, Covent Garden, London. Wednesday 28th September 2011

In my more than 50 years of involvement in live theatre I can count on one hand the number of times I was really in awe at a production and its performers. Driving Miss Daisy now joins that list. We bought tickets for the second performance on the day and were lucky to get the last 2 stall seats 6 rows from the front and 4 seats off centre. Another Aussie (Star) I saw there had also bought tickets on the day and was sitting in the upper circle.

The play has transferred to London from an award winning season on Broadway with the cast intact.

The Magic Flute

By Mozart. Adapted and Directed by Mark Dornford-May. Musical Director Mandisi Dyantyis. Choreographer Lungelo Ngamlana. Additional music and lyrics by Mandisi Dyantyis, Mbail Kgosidintsi, Pauline Malefane, Nolufefe Mtshabe. Performed in English and Xhosa. The Isango Ensemble presented by the Melbourne Festival. The State Theatre, Melbourne.. October 11 - 16, 2011

This production was the centrepiece of the Melbourne Festival for 2011 and it received a deserved standing ovation on opening night. If Mozart had been born in South Africa this is what the “Flute” would have looked like.

The Pillowman

By Martin McDonagh. University of Adelaide Theatre Guild. Little Theatre. Oct 4 – 15, 2011.

British/Irish playwright Martin McDonagh has had a few plays on stage in Adelaide in recent times. You might have seen The Beauty Queen of Leenane by The Rep this year, or The Cripple of Inishmaan at State in 2008.  The Pillowman earned McDonagh the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2004.

The Pajama Game

Music & Lyrics: Richard Adler & Jerry Ross. Book: George Abbott & Richard Bissell. Babirra Music Theatre Inc. (Vic). Co-Directors: Jaison Hoernel & Kerryn Hoernel. Choreography: Kerryn Hoernel. Musical Director: Naomi Osborne. Oct 7 – 15, 2011.

All but a few seats were filled on the second night of Babirra’s The Pajama Game. As the audience settled down through the overture (for which the house lights remained lit), white sewing machines loomed out of the darkened stage, a part of a wonderful array of bubblegum, colourful, no-expense-spared sets and lighting, which complemented the 1950s style of the show perfectly.

Site UnSeen

Melbourne Festival 2011. Site Unseen is supported by a partnership between The City of Port Phillip, The St Kilda Inclusion Project (SIP), the Port Phillip Community Croup, Many Moons Group and Sacred Heart Mission. Co Writers/Artistic Directors: Graham Pitts and Robyn Szechtman. Designer: Shaun Patten. Cast: Brendan Bacon and Chris Bunsworth as Wozza; Joseph O’Reilly and Elliot Cyngler as Nigel; Joanne Davis and Annie Stanford as Felicity; Andrew Gray and Sean Kavanagh as Maurice; Sharon Kirchner and Margie Howlett as Francesca. October 6 to 22, 2011.

The audience gathers, with a palpable expectation and trepidation, in the car park by the Palais, St Kilda for this site specific work that examines homelessness. Riddled with intimate knowledge, brutal experience, caring and passion, the part experiential part informative journey thence to Theatre Works has a great deal to recommend it. 

Mother & Son

By Geoffrey Atherdon. Matt Byrne Media. Holden Street Theatres. Oct 5 – 22, 2011.

The night started with the most amusing announcement to shut off phones, from a puppet left over from Matt Byrne Media’s last production, Avenue Q

Nunsense

Book, Music & Lyrics: Dan Goggin. S.Q.U.I.D.S. (Southeast Queensland Independent Dramatic and Musical Society). Director: Julie Jones. Musical Director: John Carey. Choreographer: Carol Carey, Tamzin Franz. Redcliffe Cultural Centre, Redcliffe, Qld. Oct 6 – 8, 2011. Touring to Narangba (Oct 15), Gympie (Oct 22) and Chermside (Nov 5).

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