Reviews

Adding Machine: A Musical

Music: Joshua Schmidt. Lyrics: Joshua Schmidt and Jason Loewith. Underground Productions, Qld Uni Drama Society. Co-Directors: Samuel Boyd and John Vizcay-Wilson. Schonell Theatre, Qld University. September 4 – 13, 2014.

Adding Machine: A Musicalis another avant-garde production from Underground Productions and, in keeping with previous offerings, is far from main stream theatre.

The co-directors of this piece describe it as deeply complex and I have to agree with them.

The cast of 13 worked as a solid unit on a revolving set using rear projection in lieu of conventional scenery.

In an ensemble piece such as this, there were no weak performances.

THREE MASTERPIECES

BACH PATITA – Choreography by Twyla Tharp. Music by Johann Sebastian Bach. Solo Violin: Charles Yang. SEVEN SONATAS – Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky. Music by Domenico Scarlatti. Piano: Barbara Bilach. FANCY FREE – Choreography by Jerome Robbins. Music by Leonard Bernstein With the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Conductor: Charles Barker. American Ballet Theatre. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. 5-7 September 2014

The second program by American Ballet Theatre in their exclusive Brisbane season proved to be just as stimulating and rewarding as their first. Three Masterpieces was a mixed bill of one-act ballets that showcased the brilliant talents of the company.

 

Eurydice

By Sarah Ruhl. Directed by Luke Kerridge. Red Stitch Actors Theatre, St Kilda (Vic). Sept 3rd – Oct 4th, 2014.

Director Luke Kerridge’s enchanting vision, plus some beautiful acting (as we expect) can’t quite dispel the enigma of Ruhl’s play about love and loss. It is both exquisitely naïve and yet indulgently pretentious; seemingly simplistic and yet deeply touching. The beautiful prose borders on the poetic and touches the soul, yet leaves the mind with little to ponder.

I Want To Know What Love Is

By Daniel Evans. Queensland Theatre Company and The Good Room in association with Brisbane Festival. 4 - 13 September 2014

This delightfully engaging show is difficult to define.

Director/writer Daniel Evans (recently announced winner of the 2014-15 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award) describes it as a performance Ode to love, celebrating the responses of 812 people of diverse ages and backgrounds who responded to a recent website The Good Room set up called wewantyourlove.com.

Year of the Abbott

Sydney Fringe. Chippendale Hotel. September 6, 7 & 17, 2014.

An hour of irreverent impersonations and recollections of the first year of the Abbott government kicked off last night in the cellar of the Chippendale Hotel, just one day short of the actual anniversary of Tony Abbott’s first 365 days in office.

John Timothy, Hugh Govers and Shane Addison with Nathan Lentern and Brent Thorpe take a satirical swipe at the present PM, a past PM, a PUP, and the media in a series of interviews, a quiz and some “guest appearances”.

The Last Confession

By Roger Crane. Directed by Jonathan Church. Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. From 3 September, 2014, then Theatre Royal, Sydney from September 24.

It’s rare that we get a chance to see 20 actors of “A Certain Age” display their talents in one play. This, in itself, is worthy of praise, for in truth Crane’s debut play is a somewhat stodgy affair, frequently ponderous and plodding and covering the same ground repeatedly; but the performances, in some strange paradox, lift it to exalted heights.

The Furze Family Variety Hour

Written and directed by Bridget Boyle. Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts and Debase. 2 – 7 September 2014

The Furze Family show arrives on tour, this time with only two members left, Ginger (Helen Cassidy) and brother Red (Leon Cain). Ginger and Red were reared on the principle “The Show Must Go On”.

The Chosen

By Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok, adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok. Moira Blumenthal Productions and Encounters@Shalom. Shalom College, University of NSW. August 27 – September 14, 2014.

Razor sharp minds debate the intricacies of Talmudic scriptures weaving spiritual numerology into the mix. Ultra-orthodox Jews compete with observant Jews on the baseball field.  Zionists wrestle with non-Zionists.

How could such a play have resonance outside the Jewish community you may ask?  And yet the Catholic couple I spoke to after this production said they were hooked almost immediately.

Red Rabbit, White Rabbit

By Nassim Soleimanpour. Perth Theatre Company Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA. 2 - 12 Sep 2014

Red Rabbit, White Rabbit is a fascinating show written by Iranian theatre maker Nassim Soleimanpour. Featuring a different actor each evening, the performer is handed the script on stage at the beginning of the performance.

Opening night featured Sam Longley. A respected actor and renowned improviser, he was comfortable with the audience and delivered an excellent performance. His delivery was lovely, he does a brilliant cold read, and it was clear that he was as surprised as the audience with the plot twists.

Rabbit Hole

By David Lindsay-Abaire. Villanova Players. Director: Andrew Heron. The Theatre, Morningside TAFE, Brisbane, 29 August – 13 September, 2014

Rabbit Hole is a very good and well-written contemporary play on a subject we have seen frequently dramatised on TV - how a family deals with the accidental death of a child. In fact the subject is common fodder for the nightly news programs and tabloid journalism. But playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s take on it is non-exploitative, taking us inside the characters’ grief and how each of them cope with it in different ways.

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