Reviews

Cyprus Avenue

By David Ireland. Empress Theatre in association with Redline Productions. Directed by Anna Houston. Old Fitz Theatre, Sydney. May 15 - June 8, 2019

Few Australians would have a solid understanding of Northern Ireland and the full impact of fanaticism there. Over the past 20 years, extremism has been narrowly framed by the media and politicians - usually Islamic extremism or, more recently, that of the far right. But we all fear people who are different - and this shocking and brutal play is a warning of how ugly that fear can become.

Lazarus

By David Bowie & Enda Walsh. Music & lyrics by David Bowie. Directed by Michael Kantor. The Production Company and EY, in association with Mene Mene Theatre. Playhouse, Arts Centre, Melbourne. 18 May – 9 June, 2019.

Lazarus is music theatre of an original and full blast overwhelming kind.  There are eighteen David Bowie songs, across his varied range of genres, satire, a Japanese sequence – in Japanese – a vicious killer, jazz balletdance numbers, a rocket ship, dazzling video projections and visceral sound design.  As a story, Lazarus continues the fate of Thomas Jerome Newton, the trapped alien David Bowie played in Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 movie, The Man Who Fell to Earth.  But it is also Bowie’s own dreamscape metaphorical autobi

Moon Over Buffalo

By Ken Ludwig. Tea Tree Players Theatre. Directed by Jo Allenby. 22 May – 1 June, 2019

In Buffalo, New York, George and Charlotte Hay are fading stars of the 1950s, just surviving with repertory theatre productions of "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Private Lives". Their finances and marriage are on the rocks and their only daughter is about to get married to someone who isn’t in show business.

This 1995 American farce was originally a Broadway showcase for the stage return of Carol Burnett, but its roots are in British comedy: slapstick, confusion, characters having secret dalliances and constantly avoiding each other on stage.

Dropout

True North. DreamBIG Children's Festival. Tandanya, Adelaide. May 22 - 27, 2019

‘There must be another way’ - this is the message that Dropout, presented by True North, leaves its audience to ponder.

In the current environment of dropping out due to dissatisfaction with conventional schooling, this showposes some questions that are pertinent to students, teachers, parents and society in general, usingmultimedia and a cast of around 40 students from the ages of 7 years up, all under the impassioned direction of Alirio Zavarce.

The Cunning Little Vixen

By Leos Janacek. State Opera of South Australia. Ridley Centre, Adelaide Showground. 18-25 May, 2019

The State Opera of South Australia’s production of Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen is an absolute delight and a triumph in more ways than one. For a start, this production is staged in the Ridley Centre in the Adelaide Showground. This is a bold move, a new initiative by State Opera’s new Artistic Director, Stuart Maunder to mount productions in other venues than the more formal Festival Centre. In this case, it is a complete success.

English Baroque with Circa

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, (featuring Jane Sheldon & Lauren Stephenson). Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). Brisbane 21 May 2019

The Brisbane performance of English Baroque marks the end of a three-week tour of Australia that has been earning dazzling reviews. The 90-minute program showcases a sublime selection of tunes chosen by Brandenburg Artistic Director Paul Dyer and Circa Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz, showcasing pieces from star 16th- and 17th-century composers, including Purcell, Handel, Dowland and Corelli, plus a handful of traditional tunes such as Scarborough Fair.

A Hymn to the Hateful

By Finegan Kruckemeyer. Running with Scissors. DreamBIG Festival. Adelaide High School Hall, 20 - 24 May 2019

“It is easier to hate than to help,” says a teenage girl, eagerly explaining the lack of satisfaction in doing good over being bad; one of the fourteen performing this new play by Finegan Kruckemeyer.

Calamity Jane

By Paul Francis Webster and Sammy Fain. Murray Music and Drama. Directed by Tammy Peckover. Pinjarra Civic Centre, WA. May 10-24, 2019.

Murray Music and Drama’s production opens with a tribute and dedication to Doris Day, star of the movie Calamity Jane, who passed away May 13, 2019. I can’t help feeling that she would be touched by the dedication, and would have enjoyed this warm production.

Catch Me If You Can

Book: Terrence McNally. Music and Lyrics: Marc Shaiman and Lyrics: Scott Wittman. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director / Choreographer: Clay English. 17th May – 8th Jun, 2019

This musical version of the popular movie is based on an incredibly true story and follows the exploits of teenage rebel turned con-man on his journey, passing himself off as a pilot, a doctor and lawyer and briefly as an FBI agent.

As the wily Frank Abignale Jnr (an expert at forging identities and passing dud cheques), Jack Harbour leads FBI agent Carl Hanratty, played by Chris Catherwood, on a merry chase around the USA and beyond; always managing to keep one step ahead until he falls in love and decides to get married which leads to his downfall.

The Pillowman

By Martin McDonagh Directed by John Boyce Brisbane Arts Theatre, Qld. May 18 – June 10, 2019.

It is easy to understand why this script won various awards, as it relates a story that is both intriguing and challenging to the audience. Two detectives  challenge, rather forcefully, a writer, Katurian, whose stories have many similarities to murders that have occurred in the district. We learn that his mentally retarded brother has been involved. It goes from there. Tupolski and Ariel, the police, are determined to find the truth – or rather any truth - before  carrying out their form of justice.

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