Reviews

Seven Kilometres North-East

Version 1.0. Seymour Centre, Sydney. March 8 – 22, 2014

Past brutalities inevitably lurk within all historic sites beloved by tourists. Every castellated beauty across Europe hides some hideous story within its dungeons and some places, like Auschwitz and Port Arthur, are even more powerfully etched with human depravity.  How does the tourist travel through this reality behind the brochures?

STOP KISS

By Diana Son. Unlikely Productions, in association with the 2014 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. ATYP Studio 1, The Wharf. Mar 5 – 22, 2014.

STOP KISS is hands-down the best play in this year’s Mardi Gras Festival. Diana Son’s beautiful love story under the inspired direction of Anthony Skuse charms, excites and provokes. Amidst a homophobic act of violence, two women fall unexpectedly in love in what becomes one of the most honest, detailed and heartfelt explorations of same-sex attraction to hit the mainstream stage.

Whistle Down The Wind

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman. CPAC (Vic). Director: Lee Geraghty. Musical Director: Kent Ross. Choreographer: Robert Mulholland. Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2014.

I attended the last performance of a season of the Victorian premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Whistle Down The Wind and it was a powerful performance. It is quite a dark show for one involving a lot of children and one no company should attempt without two strong leads.

The Pineapple Club

Brisbane Comedy Festival. Brisbane Powerhouse. Fridays & Saturdays 25 February – 23 March 2014

Different from most of the acts featured in this festival, “The Pineapple Club” is a bastard product of Theatresports and Brisbane’s popular Impromafia company. The performance I saw featured four actors, Natalie Bochenski, Tristan Ham, Wade Robinson and Luke Rimmelzwaan;  MC, Dan Beeston; and Kris Anderson, an instrumentalist on keyboards and percussion. (The combination varies from show to show.)

Eurgh

Rhys Nicholson. Presented by Brisbane Powerhouse and Century Entertainment as part of the Brisbane Comedy Festival. 4-9 March, 2014

What I admire about so many stand-up comedians is their ability to dissect the smallest morsel of literally anything and bounce it around enough to extract substance, character, a touch of magic and, of course, humour. And this is pretty much what Rhys Nicholson did with his frank, up-front presentation of a selection of personal moments and memoirs. Quick witted, up-close and probing, there were references to induce more than a few nervous giggles, some very amusing quips and enough gaiety to tickle anyone's, and I mean anyone's, funny bone.

Impact

Created by Andy Davies. Performed by Nighthawke. Adelaide Fringe. March 6-8, 2014.

A worthy subject matter. A performer with stage presence. Descriptive prose that, in itself, is sure to sicken and galvanise in roughly equal measure. Why, then, does this solo presentation ultimately lack the particular quality that is spelled out in its title?

It is principally because this monologue, of an Australian soldier driven to serve in Afghanistan, is delivered in such a remorselessly consistent and understated tone, combined with the actor fixing himself firmly to the same spot on the stage for the entirety of the show's (relatively brief) duration.

Areté

A short play festival for emerging artists. Dionysus Theatre Company. McLelland College Performing Arts Centre. Until Saturday 8th March, 2014.

“Everyone has to start somewhere” is an old adage. On that basis, creative director Emma Sproule – who burst onto the scene in  2012 with an electrifying production of Exit The King – has created the first short play festival for the company, in the hope of it becoming an annual event.

XANADU

Davine Interventionz. Directed by David Gauci. Musical Direction by Emma Knights. Choreography by Shenayde Wilkinson-Sarti. Songs by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. Book by Douglas Carter Beane. Based on the Universal Pictures film screenplay by Richard Danus & Marc Rubel. Adelaide Fringe. Star Theatre One. March 5-8, 2014

"A place...where nobody dared to go..."? Apparently not; this season is officially sold out, and deservedly so. Director David Gauci's courage and vision in bringing as infamous a story/spectacle as Xanadu to the Adelaide amateur stage had paid off wonderfully. Audiences who come for non-stop fun will not be disappointed.

The tone of the stage adaptation is much more parodic and self-aware than the (apparently) sincere 1980 film, but the humour is smart enough to keep things from getting excessively silly or condescending.

Notoriously Yours

Written & Directed by Van Badham. Adelaide Fringe. Channel 9 Studios, North Adelaide. March 5-12, 2014

Combining narrative tropes beloved of Hitchcock with 21st century technological angst, Notoriously Yours tells the story of an ordinary suburbanite (Claire Glenn) who has a one night stand with a wanted hacker (Matt Crook), then finds herself arrested without charge, interrogated and blackmailed by ASIO into being part of an undercover operation. Sexual tension develops between the rookie spook and her handler, played by Brad Williams.

La Medea

Presented with Lo Stupro (The Rape). By Franca Rame & Dario Fo, adapted and directed by Laurence Strangio. Performed by Margherita Peluso. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton, March 5 – 9, 2014.

La Medea and Lo Stupro were both written in the 1970s by Franca Rame, an Italian political activist, artist and performer whose focus was gender politics and feminism. La Medea is her modern interpretation of the Euripidean drama, while Lo Stupro (The Rape) is an account of the real-life abduction and rape to which Rame was subjected in 1973.

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