A Different Way Home

Written by Jimmie Chinn. Directed by Zoe Warwick. Chapel off Chapel (Vic). October 6 – 11, 2015.

Life can be difficult, but there’s always family. Sometimes, though, life is difficult because of family. Writer Jimmie Chinn understood this, better than most. His double monologue two act play is a gentle indictment of communication breakdown in a family, with enough bite and humour to be both thought-provoking and laughter inducing, along with a fair dose of poignancy. It’s not a great play, and Jimmie Chinn is no Alan Bennett, but it’s a good piece and a tailor-made performance vehicle for the right talent.

Altar Boyz

By Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker. Geneva Music Studio. Directed by Joshua Brant. Guildford Grammar School, Guildford, WA. Oct 8-10, 2015

Altar Boyz was presented at Guilford Grammar School by Geneva Music Studio, with a cast that included a Guildford Grammar Old Boy and a present student.

This concert-style musical about a Catholic boy band, centres on the final concert of an extended tour as five small town boys try to save souls, using song.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham (who is Jewish), sing their way through the concert as we learn their history and relationships in a well-presented, high energy production with a rock concert vibe.

Jeremiah’s Tuesday

Written and directed by Stefan Mrowinski and performed by Steven Kennedy. The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne. 8, 10 & 11 October, 2015.

This is a piece of drama that was first written in Polish in 1990, however, its ability to be redrafted with more contemporary events and themes shows how its fundamental concerns are issues that will never be outdated. The wavering moral compass that guides the musings of the characters ranges from delusions of grandeur to touching and disturbing insight into the flawed and often rapacious character of humanity.

Benjamin and Me

Written and directed by Mark Storen. Whiskey and Boots. The Blue Room Theatre, Perth. October 6-11, 2015

Benjamin and Me is presented by Whiskey and Boots as part of the Awesome International Festival for bright young things. Essentially really good storytelling, this low tech (apart from some cool lighting and smoke effects), theatre production is very simple theatre with a reliance on a good story and a dynamic actor.

Writer/Director/Performer Mark Storen tells a wonderfully complex story about a boy and his dog, that combines science fiction with steam-punk, boys’ own adventure and a touch of international espionage.

NaGL – Not A Good Look

By Lech Mackiewicz. Metanoia Theatre at the Mechanics Institute Brunswick, 270 Sydney Road, 8-17 October, 2015.

NaGL references many of the iconic elements of absurdist theatre; the zany language, the representation of mundane domestic existences, and the futile and repetitive nature of daily routines that reinforce a sense of a lifeless existence. This play goes further with its criticism of, and cynicism towards, a multicultural Australia – a reality that is more difficult to live than to conjure up culturally.

A Flower of the Lips (Un Fior di Labbra)

By Valentino Musico. Produced by Valentino Musico & EMU Productions. King Street Theatre. Newtown (NSW). Oct 6 – 24, 2015

A Flower of the Lips (Un Fior di Labbra) may be a new play by Sydneysider Valentino Musico, but it’s also a love letter. It’s a biographical story about his great-grandfather, Bruno Aloi and is a love letter to this legendary man as well as Musico’s relatives, Calabria and Italy as a whole. This stark and bold play, which has its Australian premiere at the King Street Theatre raises many questions about divided loyalties and offers no easy answers.

The Agreement

By Clare Mendes. Melbourne Writers’ Theatre, Page to Stage & The Deluxe Bus Company. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton (VIC). 7 – 18 October, 2015

The ‘agreement’ of the title is the almost always unspoken understanding of the hierarchy that underlies a friendship.  As in ‘You’re the pretty one, but I’m the smart one’, or it’s Master and Apprentice, Teacher and Pupil, Mentor and Mentee.  Forget an association of equals!  ‘Unspoken’ because to spell it out would be just too stark or cruel.  But not all parties to these arrangements are necessarily aware of them… This turns out to be the state of play between Mathilda (Emma Cox) – the ‘smart one


By Bill Naughton. Matt Byrne Media. Holden Street Theatres (SA). October 7-24, 2015

I would like to say that sexist, arrogant and egotistical men such as ‘Alfie’ are a dying breed; however I think many still lurk beneath the surface of a thankfully progressive society. Set in the 1960s, man about town Alfie Elkins portrayed by Marc Clement is charismatic and carries with him a hedonistic outlook on life.

This is undoubtedly Bill Naughton’s most famous work. When you think of his leading man, Michael Caine springs to mind or for the younger folk perhaps Jude Law. Both movies fared well, with Caine’s portrayal most remembered.

The Grumpiest Boy in the World

Victorian Opera. Director: Cameron Menzies. Conductor: Simon Bruckard. Malthouse Theatre. October 2 – 4, 2015.

Victorian Opera does some amazing work. They appear to have many streams, all running concurrently. This opera involved their Youth Opera performers. It was also a world premiere.

All the performers were between fifteen and twenty-five and full of the exuberance of youth. They were also well drilled. The venue worked well, as younger members of the audience could observe the orchestra in the open pit as well as the action on stage.

Swan Lake

National Russian Ballet. The Concourse Theatre Chatswood, October 2, 2015 and touring nationally

There is often a sense of anticipation about a production from an international ballet company, and, while it may not be fair to our own Australian ballet, productions from overseas attract, it seems, a wider audience. So much so, that many of the houses for the Russian Ballet Tour are booked out, as was the opening night of Swan Lake.

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