Reviews

In Search of Owen Roe

Written and performed by Vanessa O’Neill. La Mama, 205 Faraday Street, Carlton. 11-28 May, 2016

The infinite talent of Vanessa O’Neill is the cohesive force behind this production. This is an extremely personal piece of theatre that allows the performer to share the stories and colourful ancestral figures that both inhabit and haunt O’Neill. Her performance often invokes the spectral presence of her predecessors and her natural affinity with these fascinating personas is uncovered via diligent archival research and anecdotal information. The staging is evocative and atmospheric, conveying all the cultural richness of the project.

As We Forgive

By Tom Holloway. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre. May 11 – 21, 2016

Premiered by Tasmanian Performs three years ago, these three beautiful, revelatory monologues by Tom Holloway are welcome visitors to Sydney’s space for new Australian playwriting. It’s madness that such hits in one state rarely cross the border to another.

In these vicious times of shrinking budgets, perhaps this one is on the road because it’s only one actor, a cello and a few chairs.

Straight White Men

By Young Jean Lee. Melbourne Theatre Company, Arts Centre, Fairfax. 6 May to 18 June 2016.

Young Jean Lee is an acclaimed and respected dramatist in New York City.  Each of her varied productions, which she directs herself, are, apparently, edgy, iconoclastic, experimental, provocative, confrontational and excitedly anticipated across the US.  She receives such accolades as ‘ever audacious’ and ‘the most adventurous downtown [but certainly not mainstream] playwright of her generation’.

Are You Being Served?

By Jeremy Lloyd & David Croft. Director: Alex Lanham. Arts Theatre Production. Brisbane Arts Theatre. 20 April – 4 June 2016

Are You Being Served? belongs to another era. One of the most beloved British TV sitcoms, which ran from 1972 until 1985, it pushed the envelope of the time by trading on risqué visual gags, innuendo laced dialogue, and under-grad humour. Mrs Slocombe’s constant references to her “pussy,” and Mr Humphries “I’m free” became popular catch-phrases of the period.

Habeas Corpus

By Alan Bennett. Directed by Scott Hunt. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. 13 - 28 May 2016

Habeas Corpus, written by Alan Bennett, performed by Hobart Repertory Theatre Society, is an example of Nominative Determinism - the hypothesis that a person's name may have a significant role in determining key aspects of job, profession or even character.

Daffodils

By Rochelle Bright. Bullet Heart Club. Lennox Theatre, Riverside Parramatta. May 12 – 14, 2016.

Daffodils wasinspired by a true love story that began in 1964 in New Zealand.

Told through the music that tracked a meeting, a courtship, a marriage, a family and, unfortunately, a divorce, it has all the pace and pizzazz of modern musical theatre without the usual trappings.

Sometimes funny, sometimes a little bit sad, often loud, but never slow, Daffodils has been selected to feature at the prestigious Traverse Theatre in the upcoming Edinburgh Festival Fringe – an honour that has not been afforded a NZ company since 1999.

Bonnie & Clyde

Book, Ivan Menchell; lyrics, Don Black; music, Frank Wildhorn. Spotlight Theatre, Gold Coast. Co-Directors: Brad Kendrick & Brady Watkins. May 13 – June 4, 2016.

Bonnie and Clyde let loose on the Gold Coast!

Thanks to the 1967 film starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the evil deeds of these two American folk heroes revealed the indelible impression on America in the early 1930’s with robbery and murder being their “tools of trade”.

Trailer

By Vanessa Bates. Commissioned and Presented by Tantrum Youth Arts, with the support of Wyong Shire Council and ArtsNSW. Directed by Anna Kerrigan. The Art House Studio, Wyong. 12-14 May, 2016

In 2014 Tantrum Youth Arts were invited on board as 'Artist in Residence' for the now defunct Wyong Shire Council (hello CCSC). Highly regarded playwright Vanessa Bates conducted a series of workshops and candid interviews with Central Coast youth – and in the process became enmeshed in undoubtedly the most typical of Coastie phenomenona – the eternal commute by train between Sydney and Newcastle.

Madama Butterfly

Composer: Giacomo Puccini. Libretto: Luigi Illica & Giuseppi Giacosa . Based on John Luther Long’s short story and the play by David Belasco. Opera Q with Housten Grand Opera, Grand Theatre de Geneve & Lyric Opera Chicago Production, with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Johannes Fritzsch. Director: Michael Grandage. Revival Director: Louisa Muller. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 12-19 May 2016

Opera Q’s first staging in Australia of Michael Grandage’s acclaimed production of Puccini’s masterpiece Madama Butterfly is exquisitely beautiful on many levels. Its production design by Christopher Oram is sparse, delicate and artful, his costumes detailed and stylish, Grandage’s direction is lean and true to the text, whilst the singing by the principals could not have been more assured.

Paper

By Thomas Ian Doyle. Owl & Cat Theatre Company. Owl & Cat, 34 Swan Street, Richmond VIC. 11-14 May 2016.

The show must go on – and if it’s not the show as advertised, here’s another one.

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