Reviews

Glory Dazed

By Cat Jones. Directed by Greg Carroll. Red Stitch Actors Theatre (Vic). July 23rd – August 23rd, 2014

With yet another triumph from Red Stitch, Director Greg Carroll gives us a totally satisfying realisation of Cat Jones’ powerful short play about the emotional “Casualties of War” – this time the Afghanistan conflict. He has an exceptional cast and creative crew to work with, but it’s Carroll who seamlessly pulls it all together.

The Importance of Being Earnest

By Oscar Wilde. State Theatre Company S A. Dunstan Playhouse. July 25-August 16, 2014

Oscar Wilde sub-titled the high farce that is The Importance of Being Earnest as A Trivial Comedy for Serious People. Well, there’s nothing trivial about its enduring capacity to delight audiences and this continues to be true with the State Theatre’s current Adelaide production of Wilde’s 1890’s classic.

Dark Voyager

By John Misto. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Anna Crawford. 24 July – 30 August, 2014

John Misto’s new full-length play puts Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe and vicious gossip columnist Hedda Hopper on stage together. This is a two-act drama we’re talking about, not a crazy farce or a revue sketch.

There are loads of laughs and a mention of every factoid, rumour and saucy speculation you’ve ever heard about the power quartet. But can such ingredients make a drama that ends in bitter confrontation and an infamous, real-life murder/suicide? That is the question.

Siren Song

Growling Grin Productions. La Boheme, Grote Street, Adelaide. July 31 – August 2, 2014.

Siren Song is a special cabaret double-feature, performed in central Adelaide venue ‘La Boheme’; a Parisian themed bar with a unique bohemian ambience. Staging this show is Growling Grin Productions, a South Australian based performing arts group founded by Benjamin Orchard and Olivia Jane Parker.

Charitable Intent

By David Williamson. KADS. Directed by Christine Ellis. Town Hall Theatre, Kalamunda WA. 18 July - 9 Aug 2014

Charitable Intent is the third play in David Williamson's Jack Manning trilogy. Director Christine Ellis' son Brendan directed the first play Face to Face for Stirling Players in 2012 and followed it with A Conversation at the Old Mill Theatre last year. Mum, Christine completes the trilogy for Kalamunda Dramatic Society (KADS).

Set in the training room at charitable organisation E & C (Enabling and Caring), a meeting has been called, following a breakdown in staff relations at the charity.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

By Rupert Holmes. Bankstown Theatre Company. Olympic Parade Theatre, Bankstown. July 25 to August 3, 2014

Charles Dickens’ final, unfinished novel gets a different ending each night in this rollicking music hall style entertainment, a Tony Award winning show-within-a-show musical.

Because Dickens didn’t complete his novel, each audience gets to vote for the evening’s murderer, detective, and pairing of lovers. It’s a delightful twist on the musical theatre form.

White Porcelain Doll

Prying Eye Productions. Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts (Qld). 26 July – 2 August 2014

New contemporary works often make their way onto the art scene amid acclaim and savage criticism. This one breaks with convention – it is neither an installation nor an art work to hang in a gallery. A cross-arts performance piece, it embraces music, movement, theatre, lighting, sound and video arts. This is 3D tragic silent performance.

The Great American Trailer Park Musical

By David Nehls and Betsy Kelso. Roleystone Theatre, WA. Directed by Lorna Mackie, Musical Direction by Krispin Maesalu. July 18 - Aug 9, 2014

I had the pleasure of seeing a matinee of The Great American Trailer Park Musical. Given that the show is recommended for mature audiences and contains adult themes and language, the usual matinee crowd was a little depleted and the smaller audience was supplemented by 'actor types' catching the matinee between their own shows. Despite the small (and intimidating) crowd, the actors worked the audience deftly band the cheers and whoops in response to the performance were genuine and well-deserved.

Annie

Music by Charles Strouse. Lyrics by Martin Charnin. Book By Thomas Meehan. Gosford Musical Society. Director: Jillian Logan. Musical Director: Maryellen Gillard. Choreographer: Danielle Hochkins. Set Designer: Daryl Kirkness. Laycock Street Theatre, July 25-August 9, 2014

There's no doubt about it - Annie is one of those shows that just keeps coming back around. It's a perfect show for community theatre with it's large, all-age cast. It's a simple, warm-hearted and seemingly timeless story of an eternally optimistic little girl who wins the heart of the curmudgeon. Being that it's a show that keeps on coming back around - the challenge for any director is to keep it fresh and fun for new and old audiences alike and the only way to do that is to cough up a truly polished production and GMS has come up with the goods here.

Bartleby

By Julian Hobba, after Herman Melville. The Street Theatre, Canberra. 26 July – 3 August 2014

Herman Melville’s 1853 short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street” tells of a subdued law copyist, or scrivener, who, after several days of hard work in a law office, withholds all cooperation, responding with little more than “I would prefer not to”.  The tale is somewhat unsatisfying in failing to reveal a credible cause of the conflict and so being unable to resolve it.

 

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