Reviews

Macbeth

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Andrew Lewis. Roundhouse Theatre, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Mt Lawley WA. October 9- 15, 2015

Macbethis the last chance for the public to see WAAPA's Graduating Acting Class as an ensemble, before they move out into the real world. With the vast majority of this cohort already having secured work post-graduation, it seems that the infamous bad luck of Shakespeare's Scottish play is not going to haunt these young performers.

Benjamin Kindon is outstanding in the central role. Sweet-faced and likeable, his lustful ambition and cruelty seems even more disturbing and his performance is heartfelt and powerful.

Bronx Gothic

Written & performed by Okwui Okpokwasili. Arts House & Melbourne Festival in association with Performance Space 122, as part of PS122 GLOBAL. Arts House, North Melbourne. 8-12 October 2015.

Okwui Okpokwasili is a tall, slim, rangy woman.  Hers is the body of an athlete, perhaps from Somalia or the Sudan.  She stands turned away in the corner of the performance space.  (There is no stage, just a space, surrounded by translucent curtains.)  She is moving, but we can’t see her face.  She shakes, she quivers, she undulates, she trembles, she shivers.  Sometimes her bare feet stomp and her knees almost buckle.  Almost.  Her long beautiful arms reach out, making fleeting gestures that seems for mere moments to suggest so many things: an

The Rabbits

Composer Kate Miller-Heidke, librettist Lally Katz, adaptation (from the book by John Marsden and Shaun Tan) John Sheedy. Opera Australia and Barking Gecko co-production in association with West Australian Opera. Melbourne Festival. Arts Centre Playhouse 9 – 13 October 2015.

The Rabbits is marvellous.  It is a fabulous, imaginative combination of the visual and the aural into a spectacle that is wholly original, entertaining, funny, frightening and moving.  It runs for sixty-five minutes and you can’t take your eyes off the stage.  The brown marsupials inhabit the land.  Then the white rabbits invade – or ‘colonise’ – the land.  The rabbits bring their science and their diseases, their culture and their destructions.  A familiar story - and yet The Rabbits proves that via allegory and

Hairspray The Broadway Musical

Music: Marc Shaiman. Lyrics: Scott Wittman, Marc Shaiman. Book: Mark O’Donnell, Thomas Meehan. Regals Musical Society (NSW). Directed by Julian Batchelor. Musical Direction by Peter Sampson. Choreographer by Tracey Rasmussen. Rockdale Town Hall. October 9 – 17, 2015

If you apply too much Hairspray, your head feels like a rock. Likewise I felt that I might have been applying too many Hairspray the Musical performances to my diary, having already been lucky enough to see it on Broadway, Australia pro, pro-am and the movie. So, imagine my surprise to be thoroughly entertained by the Regals’ zippy production from go to woe … even though it was the fifth time round.

Tosca

By Puccini. Sydney Independent Opera. The Independent Theatre, North Sydney. October 8 – 11, 2015.

Anna-Louise Cole’s beautiful soprano voice brings vibrant anguish to this cunningly staged production of Puccini’s story about love, jealousy, gloating lust and violent retribution. The theatre resonates with the carefully controlled notes that ring of her obvious passion for her art and her wide training and experience. From her very first aria, where jealousy fights against love and devotion, to the desolate grief of the finale, Cole gives a thrilling performance.

Jurassica

By Dan Giovannoni. Red Stitch Actors Theatre, St Kilda East. 9 October – 7 November 2015

Rafael and Sara leave their dirt poor village in Italy for a better life in… Moorabbin.  Their son, Ichlis  [sic] loves his parents and loves his father’s stories, especially the one where Rafael, back in the village, met a dinosaur in a cave – who advised him to move to Australia.  (For non-Melburnians, Moorabbin is not the most salubrious of suburbs.) The move was, of course, ‘for the best’, but Rafael – now ‘Ralph’ - and Sara, in their different ways, burnish what they left behind with a nostalgic glow.  Ichlis

Big: The Musical

Music by David Shire. Lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr.. Book by John Weidman. Based upon the film written by Anne Spielberg & Gary Ross. Directed by David Gauci. The Shedley Theatre, Elizabeth (SA). October 9-24, 2015

Those theatregoers who prefer their musicals to be old-fashioned and shamelessly fun, but are weary at the prospect of seeing some overexposed classic revived again, would do well to check out The Northern Light Theatre Company’s staging of Big, an Adelaide premiere production.

Exposing Edith

Melbourne Fringe. The Melba Spiegeltent, Collingwood. Sep 29 – Oct 4, 2015

The term ’cabaret’ means room in French. In performance, cabaret loosely means singing, storytelling and/or performance art that need an audience (usually audience participation) to see it through.  Although cabaret is constantly changing and overlapping in form, there are few rules, but two are very clear; 1) it needs an audience/audience participation or the show will fail. 2) It should be transgressive: provoke and challenge our ideas of performance/art/politics/or the subject matter.

The Boy From Oz

Book by Nick Enright. Babirra Music Theatre (Vic). Director: Chris Bradke. Musical Director: Danny Forward. Choreographer: Louisa Mitchell. The Whitehorse Centre. October 9 – 17, 2015

Babirra’s production of The Boy From Oz was a triumph. Of course the show lives and dies on the ability of the inhabitant of the title role, and Jonathon Guthrie-Jones met every challenge. He was a bit too good-looking for this role, but we soon forgot that as he delved into the depths of this complex character.

A Different Way Home

Written by Jimmie Chinn. Directed by Zoe Warwick. Chapel off Chapel (Vic). October 6 – 11, 2015.

Life can be difficult, but there’s always family. Sometimes, though, life is difficult because of family. Writer Jimmie Chinn understood this, better than most. His double monologue two act play is a gentle indictment of communication breakdown in a family, with enough bite and humour to be both thought-provoking and laughter inducing, along with a fair dose of poignancy. It’s not a great play, and Jimmie Chinn is no Alan Bennett, but it’s a good piece and a tailor-made performance vehicle for the right talent.

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