Reviews

Gender Spanner

Directed by Jessica McKerlie. Fringe World. Rigby’s Bar, Perth WA. 22-25 Jan, 2017

Jessica McKerlie’s one person show Gender Spanner is billed with the tag lines “Are you a man? Are you a woman? Are you sure?”

Honk JR

By George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Young Australian Broadway Chorus. The Lawler at Southbank Theatre Melbourne. January 18-28, 2017

Presented by the Young Australian Broadway Chorus, the musical theatre program of Stage School Australia, this is a lively show with great ensemble numbers and some strong solos, suitable for the whole family.

This feel-good musical is based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Ugly Duckling. We follow the self-discovery journey of Ugly, David Duketis, born into a family of farmyard ducks. He is clearly different, but as the story progresses, he and all the other animals learn that is something to celebrate.

Fairybread

Book by Ben Thomas and Jackson Used, music by Jackson Griggs and lyrics by Cal Silberstein. Fringe World / sandpaperplane. Bento Box, Noodle Palace, Northbridge, WA. Jan 20-22, 2017

At first Fairybread appears to be about a group of friends having a 'last supper' before they part ways for a while. Gradually it is revealed that not all is what it seems in this complex and clever new musical by sandpaperplane.

With a book by company founders Ben Thomas and Jackson Used, music by Jackson Griggs and lyrics by Cal Silberstein, this show explores keeping in touch when one doesn’t know what to say.

The Lonely Playground

WAYTCo. Directed by Scott Corbett. Fringe World The Engine Room, The Flaming Locomotive, State Theatre Centre of WA, Northbridge WA. Jan 20 – 28, 2017

WAYTCo, The WA Youth Theatre Company, presented The Lonely Playground, a devised theatre piece for FringeWorld.

Perhaps slightly a misnomer, The Lonely Playground is set on a bus – an exploration of loneliness, relationships and interactions in the playground/journey of life. I imagine that the play developed in a different direction from what was originally intended – a peril of devised theatre that needs to be titled months in advance.

RISSCHT! The Little Match Girl

The Open Lid Ensemble / Fringe World. The Engine Room, The Flaming Locomotive, State Theatre Centre of WA, Northbridge WA. Jan 20 – 28, 2017

A retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale, RISSCHT! The Little Match Girl, by The Open Lid Ensemble is a sensitive, gentle piece set in a modern city.

Told mostly through dance and movement, there is very little dialogue. Lovely imagery in both the stage pictures and the simple cityscape set created by the ensemble. A simple but beautiful looking production, it is nicely costumed by Anne-Marie Piccoli. Music is integral and emotive, well created by Michael Biagioni and Isaura Malika.

Born Yesterday

By Garson Kanin. Melbourne Theatre Company. Directed by Dean Bryant. Southbank Theatre – The Sumner. 14 January – 25 February 2017

Usually, nowadays, when a classic play is revived by a main-stage theatre company, one anticipates a complete and radical reworking or a rather facile museum piece.   Of this, the first production of the year from MTC - Born Yesterday, a play from 1946, neither can be said.  With the wackiest and most invigorating curtain call, this captivating production feels very modern, relevant, thought provoking, and easy to relate to.

Dr. Felicity Rickshaw’s Celebrity Sex Party

By Tyler Jacob Jones and Robert Woods. Directed by Tyler Jacob Jones. Fringe World. The Engine Room, The Flaming Locomotive, State Theatre Centre of WA, Northbridge WA. Jan 20 – Feb 1, 2017

Multi award winning Dr. Felicity Rickshaw’s Celebrity Sex Party returns for a second season at FringeWorld 2017.  This bizarre but loveable musical about a lonely and awkward office worker who harbours a secret life as a celebrated writer of erotic, celebrity fan-fiction, is attracting sell-out crowds and is once again a hot-ticket production.

I Am My Own Wife

By Doug Wright. Oriel Entertainment Group. Midsumma Festival. 45downstairs, Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 17 January to 5 February 2017.

Alone for ninety minutes on an almost bare stage, dressed in the black frock, black apron, black head scarf, heavy black shoes and a string of pearls specified in the text, Ben Gerrard is Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (born Lothar Berfelde) in this intriguing, moving, funny and mysterious play.  Behind him, a near ceiling height translucent screen made up of blow-ups of Charlotte’s Stasi file: the East German Security Police’s surveillance of her, and of her betrayals of others... 

Impromptunes – The Bachela-la-la

The Bok Choy Ball Room – Noodle Palace, Fringe World, Perth. Jan 20-28, 2017

This new creation from the Impromptunes team is a wonderful celebration of The Bachelor and will be appreciated by both fans and critics of the show.

As will be expected from Impromptunes - The Bachela-la-la is also a musical and characters will burst into song with glorious frequency.  Musical accompaniment was provided by the incomparable Tim How, and delivered with great style.

All of the characters, and many plot points are drawn from the audience, as we count down towards the Bachelor choosing his one true love. (Sort of).

The Testament of Mary

By Colm Tóibín. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Theatre. 13 January – 25 February, 2017.

We all love a back-story, the real one behind the myth, and surely no character is more encoded, more encrusted with ritual, than the one about the Mother of God!  Famed Irish writer Colm Tóibín has Mary literally stepping down from her plinth, discarding her sacred props and stripping down to a T-shirt.

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