Reviews

A Doll’s House

By Henrik Ibsen, adapted by by Elena Carapetis. State Theatre Company of SA. Dunstan Playhouse. June 30-July 22, 2017

Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play A Doll’s House was the most controversial play of the 19th Century. This was primarily due to the ending in which the main female character, Nora, decides to leave her comfortable bourgeois home, husband and children.

Merrily We Roll Along

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by George Furth. Directed by Sara Grenfell. Musical Director Cameron Thomas. Southbank Theatre – The Lawler. 29th June- 15th July, 2017

Let’s be honest, ANY Sondheim is better than no Sondheim at all. And, although the chronologically reversed narrative doesn’t truly work, so the emotional arc is hugely problematic, Merrily does contain one of Sondheim’s most beautiful ballads in “Not a Day Goes By.”

Rice

By Michele Lee. Queensland Theatre. Directed by Lee Lewis. Bille Brown Studio. June 24 - July 16, 2017, followed by seasons in New South Wales.

This is the part where we talk about something new. A renaissance of new contemporary Asian-Australian stories on stages across Brisbane this year.

The Secret Garden

Book & Lyrics by Marsha Norman. Music by Lucy Simon. Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Directed by Katherine Friend. Melville Theatre, Palmyra, WA. Jun 30 - Jul 15, 2017

Another Perth show for which it is difficult to get tickets is Melville’s The Secret Garden. This simply lovely show, does not disappoint.

The Rapture

Created, written and performed by Moira Finucane. Directed by Moira Finucane and Jackie Smith. fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, June 29-July 16 2017.

Moira Finucane is renowned for producing visually astonishing and confronting burlesque theatre and for radically pushing boundaries. Her work demands a more political perspective and her shows have created a cult-like following. In The Rapture, Finucane has maintained the risqué nature of this theatrical form as well as her unique style, and her devout fans are able to revel in her performance.

70, Girls, 70

Book and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Music by John Kander. Gold Coast Little Theatre. Director: Roger McKenzie. July 1st – 29th, 2017

“No good parts for older actors!” - a common complaint, but yes there are  - in 70, Girls, 70 at Gold Coast Little Theatre. This is a Kander & Ebb musical about seniors on a shop-lifting spree to finance a secure place to stay in NY. Because? Well, who would arrest old people? Who even notices old people?

In vaudeville style, Melba and Fritzi (Marlene Blight and Noni Buckland) delivered rousing intro and song'n'dance breaks covering frequent scene-changes to Director Roger McKenzie's simple but effective set.

1984

Adapted & Directed by Robert Icke & Duncan Macmillan. Based on the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. Sydney Theatre Company in association with State Theatre Company South Australia and by arrangement with GWB Entertainment and Ambassador Theatre Group presents the Headlong, Nottingham Playhouse and Almeida Theatre production. Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay. June 28 – July 22, 2017

This new, celebrated British adaptation of George Orwell’s prophetic novel is here impeccably recreated by an Australian cast.  The co-adaptors/directors Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan have forged an artful, compelling telling of Orwell’s authoritarian world of doublethink, where histories are erased and words stripped of meaning.

Justine Clarke’s Look! Look! It’s a Gobbledygook

Sydney Opera House Playhouse. Saturday 1 July – Tuesday 11 July 2017

Justine Clarke is one of Australia’s best loved children’s entertainers and I’m sorry to admit that I have never gotten around to taking my children (aged 7 and 4) to see one of her shows. So we were very excited to kick off the school holidays with Justine’s new show Look! Look! It’s a Gobbledygook.

Eve

Written by Margi Brown Ash. Directed by Leah Mercer. Presented by Force of Circumstance and Nest Ensemble in partnership with Brisbane Powerhouse. Visy Theatre, 28 June – 16 July, 2017

It’s a brave performer who decides to do a live double-feature but that’s exactly what Margi Brown Ash has done. Eve is playing at the Powerhouse’s Visy Theatre on a double bill with He Dreamed a Train. In a chat leading up to the shows, Margi likened it to people who choose to participate in a triathlon. How she had any energy in the tank after putting her heart and soul into He Dreamed a Train only an hour earlier, I can’t conceive. Yet there she was, leaping about the stage with the energy of a three-year-old on a sugar bender.

He Dreamed a Train

Written by Margi Brown Ash and Travis Ash and co-devised with Benjamin Knapton. Directed by Benjamin Knapton. Presented by Force of Circumstance and Nest Ensemble in partnership with Brisbane Powerhouse. Visy Theatre, 28 June – 16 July, 2017

The Visy Theatre is the perfect space to experience the intimately powerful performance of He Dreamed a Train. The raked seating that kisses the stage’s edge along with Margi Brown Ash’s pre-show introduction encourages you to feel you belong, that you’re at home in the lived-in lounge room set.

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