Reviews

All This Living

Written and Performed by Camilla Blunden. Directed by Rochelle Whyte. The Street Theatre in association with Camilla Blunden. 20 – 31 May 2015. World Premiere

“Retired? Retired from what? Life?” All This Living is sharp, defiant, surreal story-telling about how to negotiate old age in a culture where elderly females are stereotyped as burdens to be patronized, whose only importance is as a market for anti-aging products. One of the Canberra arts scene’s most familiar performers, Camilla Blunden explores old age as a new phase of life to be negotiated. Having arrived at this point seemingly suddenly, the character struggles with her sense of self.

The House on the Lake

By Aidan Fennessy. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre. 15 May - 20 June, 2015

Aidan Fennessy’s The House on the Lake craftily brings to the stage the genre that the film industry seems to be stealing as their own: the thriller. 

The Shoe-Horn Sonata

By John Misto. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). May 22 – June 28, 2015, then The Concourse, Chatswood on July 2.

Ensemble’s reprise of this very special Australian play - and the very special actors who perform it – will be well received by HSC English teachers and students. It has been ‘on the list’ for some years, and seeing it on the stage not only brings Bridie and Sheila to life, but makes the story they tell through John Misto’s carefully researched and evocative script even more poignant for those who study it.

Dream Home

By Emilie Collyer. Darebin Arts Speakeasy. Northcote Town Hall. May 21 – June 3, 2015.

Dream Home is a theatrical experience defined by daring and innovation. The opening scenes immediately put the audience at ease without allowing them to become complacent. The performance is deliberately targeted at creating a tangible and direct connection with the psyche of the characters and the realities of contemporary life.

West Side Story

By Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim. Dural Musical Society. Dural Soldiers Memorial Hall. May 15 – 30, 2015.

If you’re into trendy theatre-speak you might well call Dural Musical Society’s West Side Story ‘Immersive’ theatre.

Don Giovanni

By Mozart. Opera Australia. Director: David McVicar. Conductor: Anthony Legge. Arts Centre Melbourne. May 11 = 30, 2015

I have seen many productions of Don Giovanni, as well as sung a role, but I was engrossed in this exciting production. Everything was dark with most characters in grey or black and the huge grey walls constantly opening and closing to reveal different scenes, opening to a graveyard at the back. This allowed the action to flow. The lighting was stunning.

Sweeney Todd

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Hugh Wheeler. Holroyd Musical and Dramatic Society. Redgum Centre, Wentworthville. May 15 – 23, 2015.

Reminiscent of a period book or newspaper illustration, the black and white London backdrop is the striking first impression for Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s musical thriller, based on the bloodthirsty revenge melodrama of the same name, telling the tale of a barber, wrongfully transported to NSW, who returns to 19th century London after 15 years, bent on vengeance.

Saturday Night Fever The Musical

Based in the Paramount/RSO Film and the story by Nik Cohn. Music by the Bee Gees. Adapted for the stage by Robert Stigwood and assisted by Bill Oakes. Edited by Ryan McBryde. Showbiz Queenstown. May 13 – 23, 2015. NZ Community Theatre Premiere.

Picturesque Queenstown is festooned with the iconic dancing man logo of this 1970s film turned musical and the leading man Cameron Mason is so full of beans it looked like he had leapt out from a poster.

Talk about talent and brains to burn. At 15 he started University to study to be an astronaut. Then the Christchurch talent learnt he was too tall for NASA. Graduating at 19 with some redundant astronomy subjects, he became a private investigator. Now at 21 he is reaching for the stars on stage.

Evita

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Directed by Stephen Carr. Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana, WA. May 15-30, 2015

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's power-house musical is presented with class at Koorliny. A strong cast delivers a nicely nuanced production that also packs a punch.

In the title role, Al Hill sings beautifully and offers an Evita whose motives remain an enigma. Saint or schemer — we are never quite sure. Her real life brother shines as Chè. Paul Spencer's performance is excellent and he brings a continuing energy to the show.

Equus

By Peter Shaffer. Directed by Lars Jensen. Melville Theatre, Melville WA. May 8-23 2015

Director Lars Jensen brought Equus to the Melville Theatre, a challenging, well-known but rarely performed play, that remains somewhat controversial, over forty years after its first rehearsal.

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