Reviews

Gloria

By Elaine Acworth. Queensland Theatre Company. Bille Brown Studio. 19 July – 16 August 2014

Two premieres in successive nights – we are spoilt for excesses in Brisbane at present.

No spoiler alert needed to reveal Gloria is about a middle-aged woman struck down recently by a stroke and struggling through her diminished memory to make contact with a son she recalls abandoning for adoption before she took off to Europe to establish a reputation as a cabaret star.

Macbeth

By William Shakespeare. Sydney Theatre Company. Directed by Kip Williams. Sydney Theatre. July 25 - September 27, 2014.

Double, double toil and trouble – sayeth the famous witches, and likewise with this hotly anticipated production of the Scottish play the question kept recurring - was it worth the trouble of turning the Sydney Theatre inside out?

The audience was shoe horned into a temporary seating structure on the stage – staring at the 900 empty seats.  Some of those slightly above average height reported a little discomfort at the squeeze.

 

Playing Sinatra

By Bernard Kops. St Jude’s Players (SA). St Jude’s Hall, Brighton. July 24-August 2, 2014

With its fine production of Bernard Kops’ disturbing drama, Playing Sinatra, Adelaide’s St Jude’s Players have proven that amateur theatre groups can create spine-chilling psychological ‘atmosphere’ just as effectively as the professionals, even without the technical resources to which the latter companies have access.

Ugly Mugs

By Peta Brady. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre, Kings Cross. July 25 – August 23, 2014

Melbourne playwright and actor Peta Brady has also spent years working as an outreach worker amongst sex workers.  Her new play sharply captures that underbelly world with the same rough diamond bravado, wit and street poetry which Daniel Keene first brought to his disadvantaged characters two decades ago.  

Henry V

By William Shakespeare. Bell Shakespeare. Directed by Damien Ryan. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth WA 23-26 July, 2014, and touring.

Bell Shakespeare's Henry V is an astonishingly clever, amazingly tight production that highlights the importance of this less frequently performed Shakespeare play.

The season at Perth's Heath Ledger Theatre, in the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, is part of a thirty-two stop Australian tour that will wind-up at the Sydney Opera House in November.

 

Britney Spears: The Cabaret

Written and Directed by Dean Bryant. Musical Director Mathew Frank. Chapel Off Chapel – July 23 to August 10, 2014, then Hayes Theatre, Sydney from August 20 to September 7, and Parramatta Riverside Theatre on September 21.

In another world or era Christie Whelan Browne would be a Superstar with an entourage to keep the worshippers at bay. In fact, if Britney Spears had even half of Whelan Browne’s talent, she would rule the entertainment world. Browne’s seductive innocence over-rides Spears natural stupidity at every turn. She has a killer voice, looks sensational, and is one heck of an actress. Her portrayal of Britney is satirical but never cruel; her understanding of what was going on inside Britney as she spun out of control, gives depth and dimension to the character.

Pale Blue Dot

By Kathryn Marquet. La Boite Theatre Company (Qld). Roundhouse Theatre 19 July – 9 August 2014

This play is a significant bump in the burgeoning local play-writing family.

It’s not quite there yet but promises greatness: Kathryn Marquet creates five memorable characters to engage us. She has a nifty style for creating engaging drama tempered with comedy.

She takes her title from the Earth photograph taken in 1990 from Voyager 1 at the edge of our solar system. Whatever your opinions about aliens, this play will challenge them. They are peripheral to the personal crises of the five central characters, but the possibility of their existence drives this story.

Lovers

By Brian Friel. The Irish Theatre Players. Directed by Mary Murphy, Bobby Greaney and Liam McDonald. The Irish Club, Subiaco, WA. 22-27 July 2014

The Irish Theatre Players (ITP), are in a state of renewal. They have recently replaced their entire committee and are looking forward to a bright future after some turmoil.

Their first show under the new guard is Lovers, a Brian Friel pairing of two complementary plays, set in 1967, Winners and Losers. In this production, the plays are directed by two different directors, with overall artistic direction by Mary Murphy.

 

Status

Directed by Cameron Menzies. Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne. 23 – 27 July.

Status is a confronting and provocative piece of theatre that presents real life stories exploring the social stigma faced by people living with HIV. The script has been drawn from interviews with HIV positive men and women as well as their friends, family and carers including medical professionals.

The 60 minute piece is performed by four actors – Kath Gordon, Matt Hickey, Will Conyers and Brigid Gallacher – each of whom play a range of different roles, illuminating the stories of a wide variety of people whose lives have been altered by HIV diagnosis.

First World White Girls

Music & Lyrics: Judy Hainsworth. Script: Judy Hainsworth & Kaitlin Oliver Parker. Judith Wright Centre Production. Director: Cienda McNamara. Sound Design/Sound Operator: Richard Parker. Arranger: James Dobinson. Shopfront, Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane. 23-26 July 2014

Judy Hainsworth and Kaitlin Oliver Parker are two funny First World White Girls. During sixty minutes of original songs and patter they riff on the problems of the First World as seen through the eyes of two ‘entitled Princesses.’ In fact “Entitled” is the name of one of the songs and sums up succinctly the attitude of these shallow young women who vent if a cup of coffee is too hot, they’ve forgotten their computer password, or they have a car with no I-pod connectivity.

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