Reviews

Delicacy

By Julian Hobba. Brisbane Arts Theatre. 24 May – 15 June, 2013.

This confronting black comedy is based on a recent real event. As such it becomes a modern horror story.

People may recall the social media appeal that attracted international attention when a man advertised for someone prepared to let him eat them. It was too gross for me to pursue if there was actually an outcome, but Victorian playwright Hobba’s long one-acter presents the first stage of what allegedly happened.

The Removalists

By David Williamson. Rock Surfers Theatre Company. Director: Leland Kean. Bondi Pavilion Theatre (NSW). May 14 – June 15, 2013.

Last week  Graham ‘Chook’ Fowler, the infamous  disgraced cop who was caught on video swearing and counting his ill-gotten loot, was laid to rest and there on stage at the Bondi Pavilion appeared his spirit.

From the first moment Laurence Coy appeared as Sergeant Dan Simmonds he made your skin crawl. Here was a Police officer whose every orifice oozed that he was entirely motivated by self-interest.  The New South Wales Police kept producing them for decades after this play was written in 1971.

The Phantom of the Opera

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics: Charles Hart. Additional Lyrics: Richard Stilgoe. Book: Richard Stilgoe & Andrew Lloyd Webber based on the novel Le Fantome de l’Opera by Gaston Leroux. Savoyards. Director: Jason Ward Kennedy. Musical Director: Matthew Nutley. Choreographer: Natalie Lennox. Inona Performing Arts Centre, Wynnum, Qld. 25 May – 15 June, 2013.

After thrilling audiences around the world for the last 27 years and in turn becoming the longest running musical in the West End and on Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera has been released for production to amateur theatres. In that time the musical has become legendary for its crashing chandelier, opulent costumes and sets, and its highly romantic Puccini-like score.

Noël and Gertie

By Sheridan Morley, with words and music by Noël Coward. CDP Production. Director: Nancye Hayes. Glen Street Theatre – May 21 to June 1 and touring.

This is a beautifully set and immaculately executed production that recreates, in a tribute to two of the best-loved performers of their time, all the glamour and elegance of the theatre in the early decades of last century.

Ruben Guthrie

By Brendan Cowell. Directed by Shaun Wykes. National University Theatre Society. ANU Arts Centre Drama Lab. 22 – 25 May, 2013.

Ruben Guthrie is an advertising creative with the world at his feet. He knows everyone who’s everyone in Sydney, he’s engaged to a glamorous model, and his addiction to drink and drugs makes him spark with creativity.  With NUTS’ production and ACT premiere of Ruben Guthrie by the Australian playwright Brendan Cowell, the audience joins Ruben and those who know him in a journey through sobriety, pain, history and a hazy future. The intimacy of the small stage and limited seating of the Drama Lab heighten the emotional effect drawn by the actors.

Lineage

Form Dance Projects. Lennox Theatre, Paramatta Riverside (NSW). May 23 – 25, 2013.

With the multiplicity of nations and cultures coming together in contemporary Australia, it is gratifying that a company such as FORM Dance Projects is emphasisng the multi-cultural influence of traditional dance forms. In Dance Bites 2013, Lineage presents traditional Indian and contemporary Australian indigenous dancers in a program that reflects the creative forces that are building contemporary Australian performance.

 

Phèdre

Written by Jean Racine. Translated by Ted Hughes. Bell Shakespeare. Directed by Peter Evans. Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne - May 17 to June 2, 2013. Sydney Opera House, Playhouse – June 6 – 19.

Bell Shakespeare continues to raise the bar in presenting us “The Classics.” This time it’s Racine’s play of Euripedes’ Greek tragedy Phèdre, translated by Ted Hughes. Much of it is not a literal poetic translation, and just as well, for Racine’s play is a product of its time and teeters between Tragedy and Melodrama. So, although the story and most of the exquisite language remains intact, Hughes has taken some of the edge off the OTT tragedy and allowed us the relief of some black comedy instead.

Carousel

Music: Richard Rodgers. Book & Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein 2nd based on Ferenc Molnar’s play Liliom. Queensland Conservatorium Musical Theatre Production. Director: Brendan Ross. Musical Director: Matthew Samer. Princess Theatre, Brisbane, 22 – 25 May 2013.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel is considered one of the classics of the American musical theatre and quite possibly the best musical to emerge from their collaboration. If today it appears dated that’s because it is. Written in 1945, Rodgers’ music is as lilting as ever with Hammerstein’s lyrics as fresh as newly mown hay, but Hammerstein’s book, while ground-breaking in 1945, today seems morally heavy-handed.

The Woman Tamer

By Louis Esson. Director: Rob Reid. Assistant Direction and Chorography Kate Brennan. The Owl and the Pussycat. 21 – 25 May, 2013.

Rob Reid is nothing if not courageous. So often one hears it said that real Art is born of taking risks. Couched in ambiguity this fascinating production risks being rebuffed for being obscure.

The Death of Peter Pan.

By Barry Lowe. Directed by Robert Chuter. Fly-on-the-Wall Theatre Co. Chapel off Chapel, Vic. 22 May – 2 June, 2013

Being unfamiliar with this play, I was a little perturbed by its title. To my great relief, The Death of Peter Pan turned out not to be an attempt to skewer one of my cherished childhood heroes. Instead, this multilayered, elegantly written and often challenging play tells the sad true story of 1920s Oxford University student Michael Llewelyn Davies - one of the adoptive sons of Peter Pan author JM Barrie - and his tragic love affair with attractively brash and outspoken Rupert Buxton.

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