Reviews

Waiting For Godot

By Samuel Beckett. Sydney Theatre Company. Sydney Theatre. Nov 12 – Dec 21, 2013

Inherently Samuel Beckett’s classic piece comes with a lot of baggage loaded with mixed messages and high expectations in an absurdist style and context. Or to use a famous Churchill quote, “It’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”. Regardless in theatrical terms it’s a tall order to pull off.

In a Forest, Dark and Deep

By Neil LaBute. Winterfall at The Theatre Husk. Director: Denis Moore. November 2 – 23, 2013

She drinks red wine, he drinks Heineken. She’s smart, he’s “stupid”. She’s a college dean, he’s a carpenter. She has few morals, he won’t shut up about them.

They’re Betty and Bobby, sister and brother in this play for two actors imported from the US and playing an encore season at Northcote’s Winterfall Theatre in Melbourne.

Love Rides the Rails.

By Moreland Cary. Blackwood Players. Blackwood Memorial Hall. November 15-30, 2013.

Passion; greed; goodness; villainy- the basic elements of melodrama are all present in Blackwood Players’ entertaining production of Moreland Cary’s Love Rides the Rails.

Director Erik Strauts has changed the play’s setting somewhat in that the railroad at the heart of the story is the Blackwood, Belair and Bridgewater Railroad.

Boston Marriage

By David Mamet, Burnside Players / Butterfly Theatre. Director: Geoff Brittain. Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton. November 13,14,19,20, 2013.

Butterfly Theatre and Burnside Players’ collaboration in producing David Mamet’s Boston Marriage is supported wonderfully by a spiky, caustic script that spits and crackles with fiery language.

><R&J

(greater than, less than Romeo ampersand Juliet) La Boite Indie & The Breadbeard Collective with the support of QPAC. Roundhouse Theatre. 14-30 November 2013

I read this title as More or Less Romeo and Juliet, exactly what it turned out to be!

Take ten young actors, 5F 5M, ask them to explore Shakespeare’s famous play as more than just a three-day love affair between a thirteen year-old girl and a seventeen year-old boy, which results in multiple deaths.

Just how strong is Shakespeare ‘s understanding of human nature and cultural roots? Does it carry over four hundred years? As the final back projection said: ‘Romeo and Juliet both end up dead’.

Noises Off

By Michael Frayn. Directed by Jason Cavanagh. 5pound theatre. The Owl and the Pussycat, Richmond. November 12 – 16, 2013

Well Noises Off is widely considered the funniest play ever written and, although I am not a big fan of it personally, I have to concede that last night’s performance was certainly the funniest I have seen. 5pounds repertory company found every one of the playwright’s intended laughs, and created a whole lot more that he could never have foreseen.

Mindgame

By Anthony Horowitz. Director Blake Barnard. Set and costume designer Stacey Townsend. Stage Manager Eliza Wood. Lighting designer Robin Thomas. Sound designer Tom Backhaus. Composer Lyndon Chester. Presented by Baker’s Dozen Theatre Company at Gasworks Art Park until November 16, 2013. (Vic).

What an unfashionable conceit this young, independent theatre company has dared to display! Who do they think they are? In Mr Horowitz’s psychological thriller – a gripping, beautifully-structured three-hander – we have a perfect example of something that has been noticeably absent on Melbourne’s stages for years: a well-made play, brimming with ideas. In two acts. With an interval. God forbid I should have the chance for a glass of wine, a bag of chips, and a think about what I have seen and what I am yet to see in the middle of it all.

Orphans

By Denis Kelly. Bluefruit Theatre. The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. November 7-23, 2013

Fledgling professional company Bluefruit Theatre has set a high bar with only its second production. Its interpretation of Denis Kelly’s psychological thriller Orphans is superb.

In researching the personality profiles behind the story, the director and cast met with some of Adelaide’s leading psychiatrists and psychologists. This meticulous attention to detail has delivered devastatingly true-to-life characters, portrayed by sublime acting.

Rehearsal for Murder

Adapted by D. D. Brooke from a teleplay by Richard Levinson & William Link. New Farm Nash Theatre. 2 – 23 November 2013

This is the time of year for thrillers and murder mysteries. This one comes burdened by its origin: short sharp scenes in mosaic format swing between the past and present and keep us engaged but confused.

Gaslight

By Patrick Hamilton. Centenary Theatre Group (Qld). 2 - 23 November 2013

This Gaslight goes from dim to brilliant.

Our early Sunday evening performance had a HOUSE FULL sign out. The place was buzzing.

I heard about Gaslight decades ago but this was my first viewing. The Manningham couple were already on stage under faux-gaslight, she sewing, he reading a paper. Sue Watson’s totally professional design impressed from furniture down to bric-a-brac; I suspect equal credit should go to those involved with its construction and decoration. Likewise for the costumes: no expense was spared on details.

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