Reviews

The Temperamentals

By Jon Marans. Directed by Chris Baldock. Mockingbird Theatre (Vic). Metanoia Theatre, Brunswick Mechanics Performing Arts Institute. 17th Jan – Feb 1st , 2014

There are flaws in Jon Marans play (which sometimes seems more like a social studies lecture than drama) and it needs a great cast to overcome them. Fortunately, the talented Chris Baldock has such a cast under his direction. Between them they could surely overcome anything.

Forklift

KAGE. Sydney Festival 2014. Carriageworks Bay 17. Jan 16 – 19, 2014. Arts Centre Melbourne Theatres Forcourt. Feb 12 – 16, 2014.

Having a forklift in the cast somehow makes you seek more strenuously the meaning of this dance work. Forklift is a key attraction in the About an Hour season of the Sydney Festival, staged by Melbourne’s dance/physical theatre troupe KAGE, and is well housed in the huge industrial Bay 17 of Carriageworks. It moves to outdoors of the Melbourne Arts Centre in February. 

A forklift centrestage conjures a workman’s world of common sense; a boy toy, it’s the stuff of childhood imaginings carved out in the dirt. So what’s the story here? 

Big Bad Wolf

By Matthew Gilbert Windmill Theatre Company / Melbourne Theatre Company. Director: Rosemary Myers. Designer: Jonathon Oxlade. Lighting designer: Chris Petridis. Sound designer: Harry Covill. Movement Consultant: Carol Wellman Kelly. Southbank Theatre, The Lawler. 10 to 25 January 2014

The set was recognisably the world of the wolf; dark forest, cute cottage and a small person, complete with red coat who might be eaten at any moment. But in this fairy tale, the wolf tends towards bowties and poetry and a challenging relationship with his mother. The play, developed for children, made and occasionally belaboured, the point that different doesn’t necessarily mean bad.  

Sweet Dreams: Songs by Annie Lennox & In Vogue: Songs by Madonna

Starring Michael Griffiths. Written & directed by Dean Bryant. fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne. January 15 – 26, 2014.

As each of his two cabarets draws to a close, Michael Griffiths asks the audience to help spread the word. But, he adds cheekily, keep your mouth shut if you didn’t like it.

There’s little reason to shut up. The shows, paying homage to Annie Lennox and Madonna, are tight, clever and wonderfully intimate pieces that could work alone or as a pair. They’re being presented as a double bill at Melbourne’s gay and lesbian festival, Midsumma.

Alice In Wonderland

Adapted and Directed by Glenn Elston. Australian Shakespeare Company. Rippon Lea (Vic) Until January 24th 2014

Oh yes I did! Oh no you didn’t! Oh yes they did! Alice in Wonderland brings holiday pantomime to life in the glorious surrounds of Rippon Lea House and Gardens. In spite of Melbourne’s historic heat wave the show did go on. Somehow entering the gorgeous gardens of Rippon Lea did make you feel slightly cooler but on day three of 40+ degrees the difference was minimal.

Short+Sweet Cabaret Week 2

New Theatre, Newtown (NSW). January 15 – 18, 2014.

Week 2 of Short+Sweet Cabaret gets off to a flyer with vivacious Sarah Knight’s delicious comic singing and storytelling in Nasal Citric Oxide Response to Humming, a sassy offbeat look at anger management, with passive aggressive behaviour being the ultimate solution. Anyone can relate to the everyday causes of her very human anger, as her comical cure takes the response to extreme theatrical heights.

Here and Now: The Songs of Noël Coward

The Butterfly Club. Performer: Robert Green. Accompanist: Alexander Sussman. Jan 15 – 19, 2014.

This was the first time I’d returned to The Butterfly Club, one of Melbourne’s most popular cabaret venues, since it moved into the city, and I can report it is just as pokey and alternative as ever. One wouldn’t want it any other way.

Robert Green is a Noël Coward tragic and this show has been carefully put together with a small selection of some of Coward’s best songs. “The Stately Homes of England” was a recurring theme and Mr Green appeared to have added some extra verses of his own with contemporary updates.

The Magic Flute

By Mozart. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 10 – March 26, 2014.

The Magic Flute is a reliable staple in Opera Australia's repertoire and its understandable why that is.

Mozart's creation never fades with its child-like wonder, beautifully written libretto and quirky take on love. This particular production which is performed in English has a decidedly pantomime feel, which strangely adds to the experience.

This overall production has a sort of space meets medieval feel which is particularly evident in the set and costumes.

Short+Sweet Cabaret

Week 1. New Theatre, Newtown (NSW). January 8 – 11, 2014.

Strictly speaking, I can’t call everything that was on display at week one of Short+Sweet Cabaret as Cabaret.

Wittenberg

By Dave Davalos. Brevity Theatre Company in association with Sydney Independent Theatre Company. Old Fitzroy Theatre. January 7 – 25, 2014

In case you're not familiar, Wittenberg is where Hamlet (yes "that" Hamlet) went to university. So from the outset much of this play is like many that fall into the Shakespearean referential category, an inside joke and if you don't know Hamlet well, many of said inside jokes will fly right past you.

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