Reviews

kiss them all soundly

By Jason Cavanagh. 5pound theatre. The Owl and the Pussycat, Richmond. September 11-22, 2012.

Set on a tiny stage meant to appear as though it was built by children from cardboard and bed sheets, kiss them all soundly is an interesting and well-acted piece of original theatre. Writer/director Jason Cavanagh takes three famous nursery rhymes – Mary had a little lamb, Georgie Porgie and Simple Simon – and works with the idea that each of these sweet rhymes hides a dark truth. He looks at what would happen if each of these characters were real people hiding a painful secret from themselves and others.

Breaker Morant

By Kenneth G. Ross (new version). Centenary Theatre Group (Qld). 14-29 September 2012

I’ll reveal my bias first: I am a pacifist, largely because of war stories like this one.

This century-old miscarriage of justice, in judiciously skewed courts martial, led to sacrifice of two colonials, in order to save face for their jelly-spined British superiors.

While Ross honoured CTG by granting them first rights to his revised version, the cast of 19 males is a challenge. With judicious doubling, director Rod Felsh managed an acceptable production with 16 players.

Water

Created by Filter and David Farr. Sydney Theatre. September 12 – 22, 2012.

Water is one of the most enchanting productions to grace the Sydney Theatre stage. It's beautiful, challenging, and captivating.

RED

By John Logan. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). September 12 – October 6, 2012.

“… And the pretension! Jesus Christ, the pretension! I can’t imagine any other painter in the history of art ever tried to be so SIGNIFICANT.’  KEN

Who am I to write about a writer who has such a command of words? Who has won so many awards for this work – Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Circle, Drama League! Who is able say so much, so economically, so deeply, through two characters who have been created so carefully, so deftly!  

S

Circa, Australia. Brisbane Festival and QPAC presentation. The Playhouse, 8-15 September 2012

Strong, lithe bodies are aesthetically beautiful. Push them beyond the normal limits of their capabilities, then that beauty becomes spectacular fascination.

S is a combination of ballet, gymnastics, tumbling, contortion, and mystique.

The ensemble of five females and three males never leave the stage empty, even when new equipment is needed; that need inspires yet another startling moment in this tightly choreographed eighty minutes. The abstruse musical score entrances and establishes the mood changes of the show.

The Sea Project

By Elise Hearst. Arthur and Griffin Independent (NSW). SBW Stables Theatre. September 5 – 29, 2012.

What if you found yourself washed ashore in a foreign country, rescued by a stranger, with no recollection of your past and an unsettling feeling about your future? That is the premise of the latest offering from Griffin Independent and Arthur.

Although Elise Hearst's script sounds like a play about the politics of asylum seekers, it really isn't as such. It's more about the inspiration of renewal and the possibility of reinvention. It's bold and interesting writing that often leaves the audience on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next.

Widow Bird

By Emma Gibson. The Street Theatre. Childers Street, Action Canberra. World Premiere. 8 – 16 September, 2012.

In this fantasy, a young woman discovers her tears heal people, even from death. She leaves her village to offer her services to the kingdom, but finds herself enslaved and forced to resurrect soldiers in an endless war. This ambitious play explores themes of self-sacrifice, emotions versus rationality, the roles of the sexes, and social power. Gibson combines elements borrowed from Greek tragedy, medieval morality tale and folk stories to make an interesting and creative piece in the tradition of magical realism.

 

I Want to Sleep with Tom Stoppard

By Toby Schmitz. Tamarama Rock Surfers. Bondi Pavilion (NSW). 29 August - 22 September, 2012.

It began with a delicious irony. The characters ridicule the proliferation of middle class dramas set in a kitchen.... all said in a scene set in a kitchen. It set the tone for a wicked comedy.

Luke (Tom Stokes) has invited his older actress girlfriend Sarah (Caroline Brazier) to a dinner party from hell at his parent’s place. 

Jackie (Wendy Strehlow) and Tom (Andrew McFarlane), like upper class middle characters in a David Williamson play, are into yoga and collecting battleships.

Rowan Atkinson Tribute Show

Writers: Rowan Atkinson, Richard Curtis and Ben Elton. Bordello Theatre, Kings Cross Hotel. 5 September, 2012 (then Wednesday nights until November 28).

Producing a tribute show to one of the greatest comics of our time is a mixed challenge.  On one hand, you have the advantage of availing yourself of the genius writing of Richard Curtis, Ben Elton and Atkinson himself and also the audience goodwill therein.  On the other, you have the daunting task of being compared to Atkinson’s physical brilliance, pratfalls and comic timing.

Happy Ending

By Melissa Reeves. Melbourne Theatre Company (Vic). Lawler Studio, Southbank Theatre. Director: Susie Dee. Set and Costume Designer: Andrew Bailey. Mandarin Coach: Melodie Yingxiu Shen. 5 – 22 September, 2012.

Forty-something Louise (Nell Feeney) is happily married (more-or-less), but has developed an infatuation with her young Chinese masseur, Lu (Gareth Yuen). After months of massages, sometimes two a day, Louise confides in her coffee companion Lilliana (Roz Hammond) that she wants to consummate her desire, and sets about getting closer to Lu.

Award-winning playwright Melissa Reeves has crafted a well-balanced and entertaining script, interweaving English and Mandarin dialogue, and highlighting cultural sensitivities and etiquette in both cultures.

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