Reviews

Food

By Steve Rodgers. Force Majeure and Belvoir. Lennox Theatre, Riverside, Parramatta. July 1 – 5, 2014 and touring.

Steve Rodgers has had twenty years of experience working on other writers’ scripts – on stage, film and television – so it is no wonder that he has picked up on some of the clues that make for good writing. Food is just that. There is an insightful economy of words that allows the actors to use all of their skills to show how the characters are feeling. Pauses and looks and gestures work with the words to realise the characters fully and allow the audience to relate with them emotionally and intellectually.

Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography

By Declan Greene. Directed by Lee Lewis. State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. 1-12 July, 2014

This Perth Theatre Company co-production with Griffin Theatre Company plays on a stark set downstairs at the State Theatre Centre.

A man and a woman (never named) meet online through a dating website. Both have secrets, both lie to maintain an image and both have addictions. They are very different, yet very alike. Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography is about dating later in life, about creating a facade and ultimately about absolute raw honesty.

 

Romeo and Juliet

Ballet by Sir Kenneth MacMillan based on the play by Shakespeare. Music: Sergei Prokofiev. Music Director and Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia. Staged by Julie Lincoln. Queensland Ballet @ Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. 27 June – 5 July 2014

Since taking the helm of Queensland Ballet, Artistic Director Li Cunxin has taken the company from strength to strength, and this production proves how far they have come during his brief tenure.

Every Second

By Vanessa Bates. Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Eternity Playhouse. July 1 – 27, 2014

Every Second at Darlinghurst Theatre Company's gorgeous Eternity Playhouse tackles the delicate subject of infertility. Two couples desperate for a child cannot conceive and resultantly bond over their joint struggle. What was once an issue rarely discussed in the public forum now has many writers tackling the subject - Lifeforce the Musical last year and My Private Parts the year before spring to mind.

HalfWorld

A play by Matriark Art Theatre and writer Robert den Engelsman. Matriark Art Theatre. 107 Projects, Redfern Street, Redfern, Sydney. Director: Scott Parker. 27 June – 12 July 2014

Here’s a school holiday entertainment for the children of ‘arty’ families. Inside a carpet-strewn tent apparently made from blankets and sheets, Matriark Art Theatre’s talented collective of performers and artists explore dreams and myths.

Artistically, the 60-minute show under director Scott Parker is quite brilliant. But this is no conventional kids’ adventure, no panto: the 6-and-over target audience must connect the disparate events and images as they may.

The Secret Garden

Music by Lucy Simon, Book & Lyrics by Marsha Norman (based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel). Beenleigh Theatre Group. Crete Street Theatre (Q) 27 June – 12 July 2014

The Secret Garden is a challenge for any production company and their audience. I applaud BTG for tackling it, at the same time updating their technology in lighting, set and effects areas.

Rent

Book Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Larson. Directed by Paul Watson. Centrestage Productions. Geelong Performing Arts Centre – Drama Theatre (Vic) June 27th - July 12th, 2014

The considerable talents and professional expertise of Paul Watson as Director and Designer of this impressive production are inherent to its success. Rent is a marvellous musical, loosely based on La Boheme, but it is quite difficult to stage successfully; though not for Watson, who has now completed his third, very different (but equally successful), version of the show.

Ruthless! The Musical

Book and Lyrics by Joel Paley. Music by Marvin Laird. Seymour Centre & The Theatre Division. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre (NSW). June 19 – July 12, 2014.

How many divas can you fit onto the intimate stage of The Reginald at Sydney’s Seymour Centre?

Given the pure force of the theatrical energy they radiate, Ruthless! The Musical joyously pushes the boundaries with four divas of note, a diva-on-the-rise and a pocket diva thrown in for good measure.

Showtune

Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. Directed and choreographed by Jordan Kelly. Canberra Repertory. Theatre 3, Acton, A.C.T. 20 June – 5 July 2014

Staging an off-Broadway musical revue rather than the mid-year musical variety shows of recent years marks a fresh experiment by Canberra Rep and first-time director Jordan Kelly. This year, with no musical-variety show appearing in its programme, Rep has produced Showtune, an off-Broadway revue of the songs of consistent Broadway hit-maker Jerry Herman, a collocation of songs from eight of Herman’s shows.

Richard III

By William Shakespeare. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Mark Kilmurry. 24 June – 19 July, 2014

Shakespeare has been banned but there’s a secret society dedicated to performing Richard III in a locked warehouse guarded by CCTV cameras. That’s the premise of Mark Kilmurry’s claustrophobic Ensemble production, mounted to celebrate the Bard’s 450th birthday. The multitalented Kilmurry, co-Artistic Director of the theatre, also plays the bloodthirsty super-villain and, I assume, designed the setting (nobody gets the credit in the program).

 

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