The School for Scandal

By Richard Brinsley Sheridan. PLoT (Produce Lots of Theatre). Director: Mark Morgan. Peacock Theatre, Hobart. 24 April – 3 May 2014

The Peacock Theatre in Hobart was recently the venue of an unpleasant school - The School for Scandal. PLoT (Produce Lots of Theatre) presented a new version of the much-produced Sheridan play.


By George Orwell. Adapted and presented by shake & stir theatre co. Directed by Michael Futcher. The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 30 April - 3 May, 2014 and touring Australia

In his famous essays on clear language, George Orwell counselled against the use of the “decorative adjective”, which is a shame because this adaptation calls for a slew of superlatives.  shake & stir’s take on the 1948 masterpiece is inspired, with an overbearing wall of huge plasmas standing in for Big Brother’s screen. Sometimes the visual amplifies the horror by closing in on an emotional response.  At other times, it projects Winston Smith’s thoughts, or as he imagines scenes of respite reads from his illegal diary.

The Tender Land

By Aaron Copland. Lyric Opera of Melbourne. Director: John Kachoyan. Conductor: Pat Miller. Chapel off Chapel.

Opera is usually associated with big voices singing in big venues. With The Tender Land, Lyric Opera put up a strong case for the opposite approach.

In this intimate venue beautiful pianissimo singing was the order of the day, and didn’t the audience love it. The small orchestra at the side was lovingly controlled by Pat Miller and so voices didn’t have to fight to be heard. It meant that no voice dominated the ensembles, and it was a real ensemble opera.

The Turk In Italy

Composer: Gioachino Rossini. Libretto by Felice Romani. Direction and surtitles by Simon Phillips. Opera Australia. Arts Centre Mebourne. May 1 – 13, 2014.

Make no mistake, from the second you see the beach montage, set to Rossini’s glorious overture, you know that this is going to be a “fun” night. Anything starring the divine Emma Matthews, she of the thrill trills, is bound to bring pleasure. Hers is a world class coloratura voice, and the role of Fiorilla might have been written by Rossini with her in mind.

Cruise Control

Written and directed by David Williamson. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). April 30 - June 14, 2014.

Is this the play which finally gives Australia’s most successful playwright a long run on both sides of the Atlantic?

It certainly has the credentials of becoming a red hot hit.

An Australian couple, two Jewish New Yorkers and a pair of stiff upper lip Poms board a cruise ship in London – retracing the journey of the Titanic. They are trapped on the same dining table for seven nights as their relationships hit icy waters or sink.

4000 Miles

By Amy Herzog. La Boite and Mophead & Catnip Productions, with the support of QPAC. Director: Anthony Skuse. Roundhouse Theatre (in Indie format). 30 April – 17 May 2014

This totally modern family study comes fresh from a Sydney Ensemble theatre season. The la Boite Indie format also brings the audience close enough to become immersed in this family situation. The warm message in 4000 Miles will stay in the memory long after you leave the theatre.

How I Learned to Drive

By Paula Vogel. NUTS (ACT). Directed by Emily Clark. ANU Arts Centre. 23-26 April, 2014

Given the subject matter, this could have been gruelling. Luckily the script, a Lolita-style story of an abusive relationship told from the girl’s point of view, is a piece of quick witted brilliance that deserves the Pullitzer it won in 1998. NUTS have done a great job living up to the material. Director Emily Clarke is to be commended for coaxing well-tuned deliveries from the cast. The timing is spot on.

Danse Noir

Presented by Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. Concept and Choreography by Penelope Mullen. Sat 26 April – Sat 3 May, 2014

After Blaque Bordello, last year’s cheeky entry to the professional stage attracted critical and public attention, *Lewis Jones approached Penelope Mullen to create another all-black dance production using ‘best of the best’ dancers.

The Rocky Horror Show

Book, Music and Lyrics by Richard O’Brien. Directed by Christopher Luscombe. Comedy Theatre, Melbourne from April 26th, 2014.

Cool, crazy, charismatic and comic, the consummate Craig McLachlan, as Frank’n’Furter, takes The Rocky Horror Show, chews it up with much Bette Davis apomb, and spits it out all over the front row, along with a few hairs stuck between his teeth which really are Too Much Information. Now sing to the opening 4 bars of “Timewarp” – ‘It’s inspiring – we’re gobsmacked admiring”’….fill in the rest with your own superlatives.

Death In Bowengabbie

Written by Caleb Lewis. Directed by Peter Green. The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. April 24th-May 10th, 2014.

Death in Bowengabbie is an amiably funny one-man-show that, while written within a well-established formula, never comes across as an assembly line product.

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