Reviews

Il Viaggio a Reims

By Rossini. Opera Australia. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. May 24 – Jun 1, 2019

Opera Australia gave this Rossini opera its Australian premiere.  Written to celebrate the coronation of Charles X of France in 1825, the characters are technically on their way to Reims for the coronation...although when they are delayed and decide on Paris instead to aim for the post-coronation parties, nobody seems overly upset, although nobody notably departs for anywhere, a "Godot for the 1820s".  It is very grand disposable art.

Katie’s Birthday Party

DreamBIG Festival. John Bishop Room, Adelaide Festival Centre. 22 – 26 May 2019

Who doesn’t love a birthday party with cake and decorations and a marshmallow eating competition?

Twelve year old Katie, played by Mary Frances Doherty, is at a crossroads and is making that monumental leap to secondary school. It is daunting, but without your best friend it can be terrifying, testing and life changing.

This 35 minute performance chronicles the insecurity, the bullying, the being excluded, lonely and lost, but also offers us a chance to share Katie’s optimism and hopes for her future.

The Three Graces

By Laura Lethlean. Directed by Katie Cawthorne. Theatre Works & The Anchor. Theatre Works, St Kilda. 22 May – 2 June 2019

On a rectangle of bright, white sand, three women recreate (more or less) the famous 1817 statue by Canova of ‘The Three Graces’ of classical antiquity – Euphrosyne, Aglaia and Thalia.  Mirth, Elegance and Beauty.  The actors are Candace Miles, Anna Rodway and Madelaine Nunn.

Nunsense

Book Music and Lyrics by Dan Goggin. New Farm Nash Theatre Qld. Directed by Brenda White. May17 – June 1, 2019

Nunsense.  Nonsense.  What’s in a name? Well here it is important, as this musical tells the story of five nuns attempting to raise money to bury their dead colleagues. After the Mother Superior wasted what money they had, the decision is made to hold a variety concert in the school hall. The nuns offer a cross-section of society in their backgrounds and we are entertained as their pasts are revealed, along with their hopes, through song, movement and dance. The whole concept is great and explains why the show has been so successful since it began in 1985.

Miss Westralia

By Jake Nielsen, Madeline Clouston, Amelia Burke and Matthew Predny. Directed by Madeline Clouston. The Blue Room Theatre, Northbridge, WA. May 21 - Jun 8, 2019

This “almost” World Premiere is a biographical musical about the first Miss Australia, Beryl Mills, from Geraldton WA, who was crowned in 1926. A musical with the same name, characters and basic concept, by the same authors premiered at FringeWorld 2018, but this version is different in tone and style and runs as a full length show.

Love

By Patricia Cornelius. fortyfivedownstairs (Melbourne). 23 May – 9 June 2019

Love is cutting-edge theatre  a tough, relentless love story about drug addiction and abuse.  Written by Patricia Cornelius fourteen years ago, and performed several times since, it has received numerous awards, including the Wal Cherry Award in 2003.  Here, Cornelius again teams up with long-time collaborator director Susie Dee on this new production.

A Bunch of Amateurs

By Ian Hislop and Nick Newman. Red Phoenix Theatre. Holden St Theatres. May 23- June 1 2019

Red Phoenix’s latest play A Bunch of Amateurs is a must see piece of theatre. This troupe are far from amateur and deliver the sharp, witty lines with skill and perfect timing. The piece, written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman was originally conceived of as a film, starring Burt Reynolds, Derek Jacobi and Imelda Staunton.

A Bunch of Amateurs is about a village drama group in Stratford St John in Suffolk, who, facing financial issues, seek an unusual solution.

Heisenberg

By Simon Stephens. Directed by Tom Healey. Melbourne Theatre Company. Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio. 17 May – 3 July 2019

An unusual – and unlikely - love story begins outside London’s St Pancras Station when Georgie Burns (Kat Stewart), an unhappy, over-sharing forty-two-year-old American, picks up Alex Priest (Peter Kowitz), a taciturn, reclusive seventy-five-year-old London butcher.  Her first move - so we’re told because we don’t see it – is to kiss him on the neck.  (It’s a good thing we don’t see it because not seeing it makes it easier to believe.)  That’s the ‘meet-cute’ of the traditional rom-com and Heisenberg does in

Prima Facie

By Suzie Miller. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre, Kings Cross. May 17 – June 22, 2019

Barrister and prolific playwright Suzie Miller has written a full courtroom battle delivered by just one woman.  Sheridan Harbridge is Tessa, from a working class background but striding success in a privileged world as a criminal defence barrister.  She knows this game.  

She even knows how to play the naïve female interrogator, to induce a confident plaintiff to let run – perhaps a woman alleging sexual  assault – till she trips herself up in confused memories and brings doubt to her charge. 

Puffs

By Matt Cox. TEG Live, in association with Tilted Windmills Theatricals, John Arthur Pinckard and David Carpenter. Pop-Up Theatre, The Showring, Moore Park, Sydney. Director: Kristin McCarthy Parker. 17 May – 30 June 2018

There are two types of people who might go to Matt Cox’s Puffs at the terrific tent-theatre that has ‘popped-up’ in Sydney’s Moore Park: fans of the books and films about the school life of Harry Potter, and everyone else. I put myself in the latter category. I’ve missed the books, viewed one of the movies in the cinema (the first) and managed to escape their myriad, commercial-ridden repeats on television. So, not ideal then.

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