Reviews

Atlantis

By Lally Katz. Belvoir Theatre, Sydney. Directed by Rosemary Myers. 28 October - 26 November 2017

We all meet a lot of characters in life. If you’re a writer, why not create a play about them?

Atlantis is a new work by American-born, Australian-based Lally Katz. It is semi-autobiographical, inspired by people she’s met in life. “Hi everyone, I’m Lally Katz,” says an actor (the brilliant Amber McMahon) as she steps outside the first scene of the play. She tells us “almost everything” here is true and every character based on a real person.

What Rhymes with Cars and Girls

By Aidan Fennessy. Melbourne Theatre Company. Directed by Clare Watson. Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm. October 25 - November 4, 2017.

Tucked under an old brown couch, the board game seems innocuous.

It’s never touched during the show but it is played, for two lovestruck misfits are building their own Mousetrap one piece at a time.

Triggers have been set. The cage will fall. Whether the pair can live within the confines of the expectations of others remains to be seen. Time and a very forgiving support band are the only things working in their favour.

A New Brain

Normanhurst Uniting Church Musical Society. Review Saturday 28th October 2017. Director Tamer Morris, Musical Director Matthew Herne, Choreographer Rebecca Savage. Oct 21 – Nov 5, 2017

A New Brain, the musical based on the semi biographical account of William Finn’s own near death experience, was an interesting and insightful evening at the theatre. The relatively unknown and rarely performed show was new and fresh to see, With this community group’s gamble having paid off.

The Truth

By Terry Pratchett, adapted for the stage by Stephen Briggs. Unseen Theatre Company. The Bakehouse Theatre. October 27-November 11, 2017

The Truth is the 25th novel in the Discworld series by esteemed English author Terry Pratchett, and adapted for the stage by Stephen Briggs. Director Pamela Munt has assembled a large cast to bring its absurd mix of characters to life in Unseen Theatre Company’s production.

Peter Pan

Choreographer: Trey McIntyre. Based on J.M.Barrie’s play (1904). Composers: Edward Elgar & Neil DePonte. Queensland Ballet / Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Nigel Gaynor. Playhouse, QPAC. 25 Oct – 5 Nov 2017.

Audiences never seem to tire of going to ‘Neverland’and Queensland Ballet’s restaging of Trey McIntyre’s version of Peter Pan still enchants. Since the production last flew into Brisbane two years ago McIntyre has edited and tightened his vision, and although story-wise it’s a bit muddy in the second act, the work is still a spirited telling of J.M. Barrie’s beloved Edwardian tale of the boy who never grew up.

Puberty Blues

Adapted by Zoe Muller; based on the novel by Kathy Lette & Gabrielle Carey. Directed by Zoe Muller & Jean Collins. Deadset Theatre Company; supported by Verandus Theatrical. Holden Street Theatres, Hindmarsh. 25-28 October, 2017.

For anyone who makes it to adulthood, the process of ‘growing up’ is a universal one, even if that of ‘learning to surf’ is not.

The young women behind this new stage adaptation of an iconic Australian story have been shrewd in concentrating their focus on situations from the text that can be most easily (and effectively) dramatized on a stage. Rather than the generally confrontational tactics of the recent television series, this script gets its points across with discretion and tact.

The Merchant of Venice

By William Shakespeare. Bell Shakespeare. Playhouse, Sydney Opera House. October 24 – November 26, 2017

This is clear and agile storytelling from director Anne-Louise Sarks and Bell Shakespeare, even if this Merchant of Venice is oddly branded as a comedy. 

It’s hard of course to know what it is, with the Jewish caricature and cruel fate of Shylock mixed up with a romantic romp, fairy tale games and courtroom drama.

Tchekov at the House of Special Purpose

By R Johns (with reference to Tchekov’s Three Sisters). Directed by Alex Menglet. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton, VIC. 25 October – 5 November 2017

Rosemary Johns’ play about the final days of the Romanovs is no docu-drama.  As in the historical accounts, all the named characters are real people, and the Romanov family is confined to a single room in ‘the house of special purpose’, the Inpatiev House, the windows covered in newspaper.  As in history, the family is exposed to constant surveillance, inspections and insults from the Bolshevik guards. 

Salomé

Written and directed by Yaël Farber. National Theatre Live. Cinema Nova, 380 Lygon Street Carlton, and cinemas nationally from 4 November 2017. 

This play radically reinterprets the biblical story of Salomé which has normally been treated as a tale of a woman’s perverse sexuality and vindictive nature. Farber’s vision of Salomé (Isabella Nefar) is more flattering and carves out a space for her as an important political figure. 

Brigadoon

Music: Frederick Loewe. Book & Lyrics: Alan Jay Lerner. The Production Company. Director: Jason Langley. Musical Director: Michael Tyack. Choreographer: Cameron Mitchell. Venue: State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. October 28 – November 5, 2017

Having performed in a couple of productions, I was looking forward to The Production Company’s take on this old war-horse. It was very well done.

It started with leading lady Fiona running onto stage from the back of the auditorium, and singing, with the chorus, the opening number, which is usually just sung by the chorus. This made the words much easier to follow, which helped set the scene.

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