Reviews

Yada Yada Yada: A 90s Sitcom Special

By Lauren Edwards and Jude Perl. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. 5 to 9 July 2017

One of the most entertaining new shows of 2017, Yada Yada Yada – A 90s Sitcom Special is every bit as enjoyable as it sounds. Nostalgic for some, perhaps retro for others, this show has the best, or worst, of 90s television jam packed into one hour of hilarity.

Besides two of your favourite 90s silver screen queens, the show features theme songs, quotes and trivia. Edwards and Perl achieve no mean feat by singing in tune while keeping up their characters’ accents.

The Winter’s Tale

Ballet by Christopher Wheeldon based on Shakespeare’s play (1611) of the same name. Scenario: Christopher Wheeldon & Joby Talbot. Music: Joby Talbot. Royal Ballet, with Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Alondra de la Parra. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 5 – 9 July, 2017

Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale has already been claimed a “modern classic” and last night the Royal Ballet showed just how good his adaptation is. One of the last plays Shakespeare ever wrote, it deals with the destructive power of jealousy and the redemptive power of love.

Heart is a Wasteland

Written and produced by John Harvey. Malthouse Theatre, The Beckett. 29 June – 16 July 2017

John Harvey’s play Heart is a Wasteland is a testament to the healing power of falling in love.  It is a delightful romantic comedy grounded in a rich contemporary indigenous context.

Commencing with the best welcome to country ever, flying in from the West, it is a very finely tuned work throughout. This is a confirmation of the high degree of skill of all who have created and worked on it.   It is a co-production with Brown Cabs and made with the support of Footscray Community Arts Centre.

A Doll’s House

By Henrik Ibsen, adapted by by Elena Carapetis. State Theatre Company of SA. Dunstan Playhouse. June 30-July 22, 2017

Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play A Doll’s House was the most controversial play of the 19th Century. This was primarily due to the ending in which the main female character, Nora, decides to leave her comfortable bourgeois home, husband and children.

Merrily We Roll Along

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by George Furth. Directed by Sara Grenfell. Musical Director Cameron Thomas. Southbank Theatre – The Lawler. 29th June- 15th July, 2017

Let’s be honest, ANY Sondheim is better than no Sondheim at all. And, although the chronologically reversed narrative doesn’t truly work, so the emotional arc is hugely problematic, Merrily does contain one of Sondheim’s most beautiful ballads in “Not a Day Goes By.”

Rice

By Michele Lee. Queensland Theatre. Directed by Lee Lewis. Bille Brown Studio. June 24 - July 16, 2017, followed by seasons in New South Wales.

This is the part where we talk about something new. A renaissance of new contemporary Asian-Australian stories on stages across Brisbane this year.

The Secret Garden

Book & Lyrics by Marsha Norman. Music by Lucy Simon. Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Directed by Katherine Friend. Melville Theatre, Palmyra, WA. Jun 30 - Jul 15, 2017

Another Perth show for which it is difficult to get tickets is Melville’s The Secret Garden. This simply lovely show, does not disappoint.

The Rapture

Created, written and performed by Moira Finucane. Directed by Moira Finucane and Jackie Smith. fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, June 29-July 16 2017.

Moira Finucane is renowned for producing visually astonishing and confronting burlesque theatre and for radically pushing boundaries. Her work demands a more political perspective and her shows have created a cult-like following. In The Rapture, Finucane has maintained the risqué nature of this theatrical form as well as her unique style, and her devout fans are able to revel in her performance.

70, Girls, 70

Book and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Music by John Kander. Gold Coast Little Theatre. Director: Roger McKenzie. July 1st – 29th, 2017

“No good parts for older actors!” - a common complaint, but yes there are  - in 70, Girls, 70 at Gold Coast Little Theatre. This is a Kander & Ebb musical about seniors on a shop-lifting spree to finance a secure place to stay in NY. Because? Well, who would arrest old people? Who even notices old people?

In vaudeville style, Melba and Fritzi (Marlene Blight and Noni Buckland) delivered rousing intro and song'n'dance breaks covering frequent scene-changes to Director Roger McKenzie's simple but effective set.

1984

Adapted & Directed by Robert Icke & Duncan Macmillan. Based on the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. Sydney Theatre Company in association with State Theatre Company South Australia and by arrangement with GWB Entertainment and Ambassador Theatre Group presents the Headlong, Nottingham Playhouse and Almeida Theatre production. Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay. June 28 – July 22, 2017

This new, celebrated British adaptation of George Orwell’s prophetic novel is here impeccably recreated by an Australian cast.  The co-adaptors/directors Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan have forged an artful, compelling telling of Orwell’s authoritarian world of doublethink, where histories are erased and words stripped of meaning.

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