Reviews

Gert and Bess

By Barry Dickins. Theatre iNQ, South Townsville. World Premiere. Nov 9 – 19, 2017

As the audience streams in to the theatre, two old women are sitting on the stage in a typically 1950s kitchen – featuring a wooden table, a Kooka stove and an ancient Kelvinator refrigerator. What follows is a spirallingly surreal conversation which covers their lives, their ideals, death, children, their increasing loss of mind and memory and one of the funniest and most tragic shows you will ever see.

Nineteen

Written & Directed by Shane Pike. Wax Lyrical Productions. Brisbane Powerhouse. 9-12 Nov 2017.

Shane Pike’s Nineteen is the second in a trilogy of plays exploring masculinity in young Australian men. This world premiere performance was brutally honest and frequently confronting.

Constructed from real-life stories gathered over several years, the play specifically focuses on four young men who are all living together in a share house. They swore on oath at 11 to be best friends forever but at 17 cracks are starting to show in the friendship.

Three Sisters

By Anton Chekhov, adapted by Andrew Upton. Sydney Theatre Company. Director: Kip Williams The Drama Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company. 6 November – 16 December 2017

There is much that is familiar about Andrew Upton’s reworking of Three Sisters at The Drama Theatre, and much that is profoundly strange. There are the sisters alright — Olga Prozorov, at 28 the eldest, a provincial school teacher; Masha, short tempered, disappointed in marriage; Irina, youngest and desperate to return to Moscow and taste true freedom. But the time is Now, or thereabouts, not the 19th century. Duels can no longer be picked and fought. The town’s garrison doesn’t march out of town to a jaunty band.

Spring Awakening

Music by Duncan Sheik. Book & Lyrics by Steven Sater. Based upon the play by Frank Wedekind. Directed by Hayley Horton. Stirling Community Theatre, Stirling. November 10-25, 2017

Looking back over their incredible 45-year history of putting on shows in South Australia (which is detailed in an exhaustive list at the back of the program for their latest production), one thing that the Hills Musical Company deserves to be praised for is their willingness to take risks in choosing material.

Chicago

Music by John Kander. Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse. Fab Nobs Theatre Inc. 33 Industrial Place, Bayswater (Vic). Oct 27 – Nov 18, 2017.

Welcome to the 1920’s era of booze, jazz, murder, greed, corruption… (well, you know the rest! Jazz hands!).  

For their final season of the year, Fab Nobs present Chicago, a musical that requires all performers to be triple threats in order to maintain the fervent musical numbers and stylized flair of the script.

She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange

By Amelia Roper. Kings Cross Theatre. October 20 – November 11, 2017

Amelia Roper’s play is aptly set on the intimate KXT stage. Here the audience can watch the characters closely, read their facial expressions, feel the tension of silent insinuations and react to them … more often than not in wry smiles and embarrassed laughter. Yet this is not just a funny play. I wish I had been able to see it earlier in the run to let people know how well it has been written, directed and performed.  =

The Testament Of Mary

By Colm Toibin. Director Anne-Louise Sarks. Lighting and Co-Set Design Paul Jackson. Composition and Sound Design Steve Toulmin. Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse Theatre. 3-26 November, 2017

The Testament Of Mary is a cheerless, emotionally demanding monologue centred on the world’s most iconic woman, Mary the mother of Jesus Christ. Mary has always been a loaded figure, contrived to propagate The Church’s impossible model of The Ideal Woman. Here Coln Toibin reimages Mary, brilliantly rendered by Pamela Rabe, throwing all prior assumptions under the proverbial bus.

 

The Wizard of Oz

Music: Harold Arlen. Lyrics: E.Y. Harburg. Additional Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber. Additional Lyrics: Tim Rice. Adaptation: Andrew Lloyd Webber & Jeremy Sams. John Frost, Suzanne Jones Production in association with The Production Company. Director: Jeremy Sams. Choreographer: Arlene Philips. Musical Supervisor: Guy Simpson. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. Opening Night: 9 Nov 2017.

If you love The Wizard of Oz movie then you’re going to love this stage adaptation, which is quite the best I’ve ever seen. Heavy on special effects, awash with colour, it’s a vividly spectacular version of L. Frank Baum’s beloved novel. Book adaptors Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sams have gone back to basics, pulled the screenplay apart, and plugged the holes to make the story work as a stage musical. And Lloyd Webber, working with Tim Rice for the first time since Evita, has written some effective new songs to fill those gaps.

Guys and Dolls

Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. Book by Jo Swerling & Abe Burrows. Queanbeyan Players Inc. Director: Jude Colquhoun. Musical Director: Jenna Hinton. Vocal Director: Emma White. The Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. Nov 3 – 12, 2017

This is a snappy, fun show with direction that has led to wholehearted participation from everyone involved. From the principal roles to each member of the chorus, each performer has their own part to act and sing and is dedicated to it.

The gamblers start the show with Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Ben Wilson), Benny Southwest (Tristan Foon) and Rusty Charlie (Joe Moores) setting the scene on Broadway with fine harmonies and good characterisation.

Alexithymia

By Tom Middleditch. Citizen theatre &A_tistic, Poppy Seed Festival. Meat Market, Stables, North Melbourne. 8 – 19 November, 2017.

The opening of the third Poppy Seed Festival was dynamic and exhilarating.

This year the first production is Alexithymia. This is a beautifully polished piece of Theatre that is presented in the round in the neat small Theatre/multi purpose space The Stables at the far west end of the Meat Market in North Melbourne.

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