Reviews

M. Butterfly

By David Henry Hwang. St Jude’s Players. St Jude’s Hall. April 27-May 6, 2017

Due to the company’s name and its church hall venue, some people may wrongly believe that St Jude’s Players is aligned to the church. They may also therefore think it unlikely the company would risk producing plays with content that may shock, such as nudity or sexually explicit dialogue. The company’s current production of David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-winning M. Butterfly dispels all such misapprehension; St. Jude’s has demonstrated that, like all fine and independent theatre companies, they will never shy away from a good script.

Forbidden Broadway: Greatest Hits

By Gerard Alessandrini. Playback Productions. Director: Monica Cioccia. Musical Director: Minna Ikonen. Kindred Studios, Yarraville (Vic). April 27 – 29, 2017.

Forbidden Broadway is a cabaret show which pokes fun at the Broadway genre by changing the words of well-known numbers. I fondly remember a professional production a couple of decades ago and haven’t caught another one since.

So I was really looking forward to this production, and I wasn’t disappointed. Though not at the standard of the professionals I’d seen previously, there was an enthusiasm and sense of fun that was contagious.

The Chapel Perilous

By Dorothy Hewett. New Theatre, Sydney. Director: Carissa Licciardello. 27 April - 27 May 2017

For those, like me, who come to Dorothy Hewett's work for the first time it is necessary to take a deep breath before writing a Stage Whispers review of perhaps her greatest play. How could I have missed her scope, her grandeur, her quest for freedom in a nation uncertain of its standards?

Amadeus

By Peter Shaffer. National Theatre Live, Southbank, London. Screening at Nova Cinemas, Carlton, VIC, and cinemas nationally from 6 – 14 May 2017

This sumptuous production of Peter Shaffer’s 1979 play is no mere ‘revival’.  With sixteen actors, six singers and twenty musicians of the Southbank Sinfonia mixing it with the action, director Michael Longhurst makes the play a sprawling Singspiel spectacle.

The Bodyguard The Musical

Book by Alexander Dinelaris. Based on the Warner Bros. Film. Music by various including Whitney Houston. Lyric Theatre, Sydney. Opening Night, April 27, 2017

The Bodyguard The Musical is a high cholesterol entertainment banquet. On the menu is a rock concert, a pyrotechnical extravaganza, a belt song fest, and plenty of gyrating male abs, with an unplanned touch of pantomime.

The movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner was conveniently replayed on TV just last week. The 1990's film depicts a chiselled jaw bodyguard brought in to save a highly strung pop princess from an a crazy fan.

The Play That Goes Wrong

By Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields. Mischief Theatre Company. Directed by Mark Bell; Australian cast director, Sean Turner. Canberra Theatre. 25 April to 30 April 2017

The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society has reached opening night of its first significant production, The Murder at Haversham Manor, with a debut director proud to be at the helm of the society’s first play featuring such a cast.  But trouble is evident even before the lights go down.  (It’s worth being in the theatre early to see that.)

 

Love Me Slender

By Vanessa Brooks. Directed by Anita Bound. Kalamunda Dramatic Society. KADS Theatre, Town Square, Kalamunda, WA. April 21 - May 13, 2017

“Remember girls - not slim for today, not slim for tomorrow, but slim for life.” This is the motto for the slimming club, held in a church hall and led by autocratic over-achiever Siobhan. We follow their progress over half a year.

Strands

By Peta Brady. 1812 Theatre and SwampFox Productions. Bakery@1812. 20th April to 13th May, 2017

As I left the Bakery@1812 last night, I was surrounded by the silent wiping of tears from eyes and softly felt sniffles as the entire house was physically and emotionally moved from the performance they just witnessed.

Peta Brady’s poignant play Strands is about two sisters exasperatingly living in their own world, whilst also living and loving for each other. Sisterly love and frustration, stories within truths, and the strands that bind a family together help create this short but compassionate play.

Cosi

By Louis Nowra. Beenleigh Theatre Group (Qld). April 21 – May 6, 2017

Louis Nowra’s 1992 Cosi is set in a mental hospital in 1971, where, at the insistence of one of the inmates, the patients set out to give a performance of Mozart’s opera Cosi fan Tutte under the direction of recent graduate Lewis (Aaron Dora). None of them can sing, none can act, and the director, just out of drama school, is as sceptical as we are about how this is all going to turn out.

Richard 3

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Peter Evans. Bell Shakespeare. Arts Centre, The Fairfax. 20 April – 7 May 2017.

Kate Mulvany’s Richard is the triumphant centrepiece of this fine and original production of Shakespeare’s bit of Tudor propaganda.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.