Reviews

ENRON

By Lucy Prebble. New Theatre (Newtoown, NSW). June 4 – 29, 2013.

It could be said that this is an ambitious production: a weighty and complicated topic; more than fifty roles; in a fairly long and complex play. Yet from the start it is obvious that director Louise Fischer knew just what was needed for this play by the much-lauded British playwright, Lucy Prebble.

Private Lives

By Noël Coward. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Director: Patricia Kempa. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. 31 May – 15 June, 2013

Private Lives, written by Noël Coward and first performed by him in 1930, when he was at the height of his popularity, is a popular play for community theatre groups. Presented anew by Hobart Repertory Theatre Society, and directed with precision by Patricia Kempa, this old play can still draw a crowd.

Arafat In Therapy

By Jeremie Bracka. Director: Pip Mushin. Chapel off Chapel - June 4 – 9, 2013. Parade Theatre Sydney - July 10 - 14 (no show on 12th).

Jeremie Bracka is quite simply one of the best comic actors we have, and one of the most intelligent and astute writers. That combination allows him to overcome poor and pedestrian direction, fluctuating sound levels, blackouts and stage waits for no apparent reason and truly bad music (intentional or otherwise?) that is probably meant to be funny but isn’t. And the show ringing up 15 minutes late with a noisy audience who all seemed to know each other and played with their iPhones throughout, didn’t help either.

AT LAST – The Etta James Story

By John Livings. A Room 8 production. Playhouse Theatre, Brisbane. 5 – 9 June 2013

Biographical musicals are becoming popular. Etta James fans packed the Playhouse for last night’s opening, filled with anticipation. They were well rewarded!

Icons

Celebrating the Biggest Icons in Music History, featuring Greg Gould and his band 'The Chase'. Iconic Productions. Laycock Street Theatre, Gosford. May 24, 2013

Born and bred on the Central Coast of NSW, Greg Gould has spent virtually half of his 25 years on stage. At 16 he made the Top 40 of Australian Idol and for the past couple of years he's been touring the world on board cruise ships as the headline act – ideal training conditions for the rigours of an ambitious touring show such as this.

The title implies that it might be just another in the relentless line of tribute/impersonation shows – but it's really Gould's personal love letter to his favourite superstars and songwriters.

Don Juan

By Moliere, Tasmanianised by Robert Jarman. Blue Cow Theatre. Theatre Royal Backspace, Hobart. Director: Robert Jarman. 29 May – 8 June, 2013.

Although he is a fictional lothario, Don Juan is touted as being theoriginal lady-killer, a name lent to any man who is a womaniser. The Don Juan legend or persona has inspired many writers, including Moliere.

2 Short Russians

Vodka, Fucking and Television by Maksym Kurochkin and The Bear by Anton Chekhov. 5pound theatre. Director/Designer: Jason Cavanagh. The Owl and Pussycat, Richmond. May 28 – June 28, 2013.

The Bear is a beautifully crafted piece of writing and a lovely introduction to Chekhov as a writer of comedies. This staging is just delightful with all three actors excelling. What it may lack in precision is made up for with energy commitment and a very real grasp, and expression, of instinctive truth.

Annie

By Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin and Thomas Meehan. Babirra Music Theatre (Vic). Director: Alan Burrows. Musical Director: Danny Forward. Choreographer: Susan Lewis. May 31 to June 9, 2013.

Babirra Music Theatre continued on their practice of producing top class shows at the Whitehorse Centre on Saturday night. Everything about it had class.

Dominating the production was the Daddy Warbucks of Zac Brown. I’ve often heard Warbuck’s songs badly sung as they are almost unsingable, but he coped with ease. He also showed pathos and timing that drew the audience in. I’ve never seen the role played better.

Angels in America

By Tony Kushner. Belvoir (NSW). May 28 – July 28, 2013

Tony Kushner’s vast seven-hour, two-part epic about personal guilt and public despair in Reagan’s America shows not a spot of dust in this Belvoir restaging.

Anne of Green Gables

Adapted from L.M. Montgomery’s novel by Joseph Robinette. Villanova Players. The Theatre’ Seven Hills TAFE, Brisbane, 31 May - 21 June, 2012

How would you feel if you ordered something from the mainland and what was delivered to your island home was something quite different? That’s the predicament established from the outset here: the ageing Cuthberts ordered a boy from the orphanage to help on their farm but Anne was sent to them. 

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