Reviews

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

By Tennessee Williams. Belvoir. Director: Simon Stone. February 16 – April 21, 2013.

Simon Stone’s decision (explained at great length in the program) to use a contemporary setting and local accents for this very American play seems to work for the first half hour or so. As Maggie “the Cat” (Jacqueline McKenzie) hits the revolving stage through a cascading curtain of crepe paper streamers, complaining about her brother-in-law’s children to her off stage husband Brick (Ewen Leslie), while she tries on and discards a wardrobe of dresses, a local setting is believable.

You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

Book, Music, Lyrics Clark Gesner. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director: Darryl Vine. February 22nd – March 16th, 2013.

This is the second production of Charlie Brown I have seen this year and both have been enjoyable.

I was surprised to find that this was the first show in the creative capacity for each of the production team: Director Darryl Vine, Musical Director Liam Cruz and Choreographer Brad Wilmhurst and the end result was full of humour and pace.

Under Liam’s baton, the orchestra was one of the finest I’ve heard for a long time and didn’t overpower the performers. Brad’s routines brought the best out in the young cast.

An Aussie Affair

El Rocco, Kings Cross. Performer: Florian Korty. Director: Naomi Livingstone Musical Director: Clare Heuston. Choreographer: Clancy McWaters. 14 Feb – 1 March, 2013.

Kraftywork.

Florian Korty has devised a fast paced, funny and poignant cabaret show based upon his own story of a young gay man travelling from his small home town in Germany to Sydney – the glittering LGBTQ capital of the southern hemisphere. Upon arrival he’s somewhat surprised, but very pleased, that there’s not a kangaroo to be seen in Oxford Street or Newtown.

Fiddler on the Roof

Book by Joseph Stein. Music by Jerry Bock. Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. Director: Don Gay. Friday 22nd February – 9th March 2013

When director Don Gay suggested staging Fiddler on the Roof at the Playhouse Theatre, the Hobart Repertory Theatre Society board said the space was not large enough for the large cast. However, 31 cast members, and a full and changeable set representing various village scenes, did fit onto the stage. With over forty years in theatre, experienced director Don Gay extracted the most from the cast, providing great entertainment with the much loved musical.

God of Carnage

By Yasmina Reza. The Stirling Players (SA). Stirling Community Theatre. 22 Feb – Mar 9, 2013.

Hayley and Malcolm Horton’s (set design) aspirational middle class living room is signaled by a coffee table groaning under piles of trophy books and a cubist display cabinet sparsely inhabited by a few mementos. French playwright Yasmina Reza has written a brace of extremely popular major award-winning plays – this one was produced by State Theatre a couple of years ago.  You may notice the similarity to David Williamson in the lampooning of the tussle between the left and the right, and an exposé of pretension and suffering in the suburbs.

Breaker Morant

By Kenneth Ross. Redcliffe Mousetrap Theatre Company Inc. (Qld) 15 Feb – 2 March 2013.

Second exposure to Ross’s revised script alerted me to more evidence not included in the film, which supports Morant and Lt Hancock’s case. It appears they merely followed orders ‘from their British superiors’ to shoot Boer prisoners.

The Motherf**ker With A Hat

By Stephen Adly Guirgis. Director: Adam Mitchell. Studio Underground, State Theatre of WA Jan 17 – Feb 3, 2013

While I don't consider myself a prude, I wasn't particularly excited about seeing The Motherf**ker With A Hat. The title and the promises of extremely frequent course language, explicit sexual descriptions, drug use, adult themes and possible nudity, didn't seem likely to be hiding great theatre, but I would urge people with similar misapprehensions to go.

Writer Stephen Adly Guirgis produces dialogue that is profanity strewn but at times has the clever humorous dialogue of Coward or Wilde.

Gargantua

Midnite Youth Theatre. Pink Flamingo Theatre, Northbridge (WA). Directed by Drew Stocker. Feb 13-17, 2013.

GARGANTUA at the Perth Fringe Festival was challenging for both performers and audience. Battling noise pollution from a neighboring venue, the actors were working very hard to be heard. Sightlines were also tricky, with much of the action happening on the floor in a flat venue. It was also extremely hot.

Key For Two

By John Chapman and Dave Freeman. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount (WA). Director: Andrew Warwick. Feb 1-23, 2013.

I'm not usually a huge fan of English farce, but tightly directed and well acted they can be a pleasure to watch. Darlington Theatre Players’ Key For Two was delightful.

A kept woman tries to keep her two married lovers unknown to each other, which leads to a series of pretences, mistaken identities and misunderstandings.

Falling To the Top

By Robert Woods and Tyler Jones. Director: Tyler Jones. Half Moon Tent, Perth Cultural Centre (WA). Feb 8-16, 2013.

Falling to the Top, in its second incarnation (it premiered at community theatre Playlovers in 2012), lives up to its subtitle 'the musical trashtacular', in a trashier, brasher version for Fringeworld.

Authors Robert Woods and Tyler Jones have tightened the show and pared it down for the smaller venue and tight stage space, but it remains an extremely funny send-up of reality TV, the quest for fame at all costs, pop success and the music business.

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