Reviews

The Mercy Seat

By Neil La Bute. DoLittle Productions. Sidetrack Theatre, Marrickville. August 20 – September 3, 2011.

The biblical Mercy Seat rests on the Ark of the Covenant and is connected to the atonement rituals of Yom Kippur. Nick Cave’s song The Mercy Seat also calls for forgiveness – and it is the words of this song that echo eerily in the final moments of Neil La Bute’s play at the Sidetrack Theatre:  and in a way I’m yearning to be done with all this measuring of truth

Shakespeare's Will

By Vern Thiessen. The Old 505 Theatre, 505/324 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Director: Gareth Boylan. August 14 – 21. Sydney Fringe season – September 8 - 11, 2011.

Kismet

By Robert Wright and George Forrest, adapted from the music of Alexander Borodin. The Production Company. State Theatre, the Arts Centre, Melbourne. Director: Terence O’Connell. Musical Director: Peter Casey. Choreographer: Alana Scanlan. August 17 – 21, 2011.

Kismet is a big show, so not often tackled by the amateur companies, and unlikely to be produced professionally. Hence it was an ideal vehicle for a semi-staged production by The Production Company, and they did it well. Orchestra Victoria provided the biggest orchestra they have used, and they were in fine form under the excellent Peter Casey, who combined rhythmic vitality with lyrical phrasing.

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By William Shakespeare. Eagle's Nest Theatre. Director: Colin Craig. Broken Mirror Studios, Brunswick. August 11 – 28, 2011

Ghosts in hoodies; an assassin in a white t-shirt and beanie; and a chorus of vampish women who would not look out of place in a 60s horror movie are all part of a modern take on Macbeth by Eagle's Nest Theatre.

'm' is a refreshing version of this most bloody of Shakespeare's plays, one that manages to be playful and fun whilst also capturing the horror.

Life x 3

By Yasmina Reza. Canberra Repertory, Theatre 3. Director: Garry Fry. 5–20 August 2011

Life x 3 demonstrates three various approaches to the one evening's events by two couples.  Altogether, the comparison is instructive.  In essence a very serious piece, the play offers as its chief amusement crescendoing clashes of fixed, self-interested viewpoints.

Noises Off

By Michael Frayn. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart (Tas). Director: Ingrid Ganley. August 5 – 20, 2011

A play within a play is an opportunity for Hobart Repertory Theatre Society to showcase the superb talents of its core group of actors, in its latest incarnation of Noises Off, written by Michael Frayn.

The play, described by director Ingrid Ganley as “the most fun you can have rehearsing a show”, is a fast-paced classic farce. “Simultaneously a traditional sex farce Nothing On, and the backstage “drama” that develops during rehearsal of Nothing On and then later on tour”, the show is side-splittingly funny.

Three Sisters

By Anton Chekhov. State Theatre Company (SA). Dunstan Playhouse. 5 to 28 August, 2011

As the title suggests this show tells the story of the three Prozorov sisters, Olga, Irina and Masha. They have been living in a small Russian country town for 11 years after their father, a military man, was posted there. Since their father died the girls have stayed in town, living a high-class life, wishing all the while to move to Moscow. In a desperate attempt to allay boredom they host social events with officers of a local military barracks.

The themes are essentially centred around following your dreams, and the consequences and outcomes of not doing so.

Songs From an Unmade Bed

Music: Debra Barsha, Mark Bennett, Peter Foley, Jennifer Giering, Jake Heggie, Stephen Hoffman, Lance Horne, Gihieh Lee, Steven Lutvak, Steve Marzullo, Brendan Milburn, Chris Miller, Greg Pliska, Kim D. Sherman, Jeffrey Stock, Joseph Thalken. Lyrics: Mark Stephen Campbell. Joymas Creative. Director: Lewis Jones. Musical Director: Rainer Pollard. Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane. 13 August, 2011.

This one-man song-cycle, originally produced by the New York Theatre Workshop, New York, 2005, is about a young gay man’s experiences in a big city (think New York) with love lost and found. It’s told completely in song using the lyrics of Mark Stephen Campbell working with 18 different composers.

Alex & Eve: The Baby

By Alex Lycos. Director: Michael Block. The Factory Theatre (NSW). August 11 to 21, 2011.

200 Greeks and 200 Lebanese walk into a theatre, what happens?

Two hours of riotous laughter provoked by the outrageous squabbles and self-righteous posturing of the Karrastopoulos and El Masri families.

The divide for this modern day love struck Romeo and Juliet is their Greek and Lebanese roots and all the baggage their heritage and their families constantly drag into their lives, now more complicated by a baby! But in the end loves conquers all, including disputes about whether the Greeks or Arabs created Baklava.

Talking Heads

By Alan Bennett. The 1812 Theatre (Vic). Director: Helen Ellis. Aug 11 – Sep 10, 2011.

1812 Theatre’s August season is two monologues from Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads.

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