Bangarra: 30 years of sixty five thousand

Bangarra Dance Theatre. Artistic Director Stephen Page. Musical compositions by David Page and Stephen Francis. Choreographed by Frances Rings, Jiri Kylian, Stephen Page, and Elma Kris. Presented by Bangarra Dance Theatre. QPAC Playhouse Theatre, 23 - 31 Aug 2019

Bangarra Dance Theatre’s 30th anniversary opening night performance at QPAC was a welcome homecoming for Artistic Director, Stephen Page and many of his dancers, who are also Queensland-born. The title of the piece sets its theme clearly in celebrating our rich indigenous history. Each piece in this three-act performance showcases the versatility of Bangarra’s ensemble of 17 dancers in interpreting very different choreography styles.

Princess Ida

By Gilbert and Sullivan. South Australian Light Opera Society, Tower Arts Centre, 23rd August – 1st September 2019

Princess Ida was the eighth collaboration between those giants of the operetta Arthur Seymour Sullivan and William Scwhenck Gilbert.  It is an adaptation of a musical farce that Gilbert had written in 1870 which in turn was based on the poem The Princess by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. 

Belfast Girls

By Jaki McCarrick. Echo Theatre. Directed by Jordan Best. The Q: Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, Crawford Street, Queanbeyan. 24 – 31 August 2019

Ireland has trauma etched into its landscape. You can barely move without stumbling over the site of an ancient massacre or plaque commemorating heroes of the Troubles. A sense of injustice seeps through the ruins and stones like a heavy mist. That oppressive tone and a resulting spark of rebellion permeates Echo Theatre’s production of Belfast Girls, as five women discover and bridle against the class politics that have given rise to their personal tragedies and drive them into extraordinary choices.

A Deal

By Zhu Yi. USU & Flying House Assembly. Chippen Street Theatre, Chippendale. Aug 22 – 31, 2019.

A Deal is an eye-opening topical provocation, full of laughs and insights into the virtues or otherwise of life in the US and Communist China.

By émigré Chinese writer, Zhu Yi, her play has been performed in her adopted New York and twice in China, but a third production seems impossible unless she adds an assertion that China’s is the best system.  Artists there are suddenly more tightly controlled.

Rookery Nook

By Ben Travers. Tea Tree Players. Tea Tree Players Theatre. 21-31 August, 2019

Ben Travers’ Rookery Nook is one of the great ‘Aldwych’ farces, and has remained a ‘hit’ with audiences ever since it was first produced in London in 1926. This tradition most certainly continues in this delightful new production by the Tea Tree Players.

Dividing the Estate

By Horton Foote. Red Phoenix Theatre. Holden Street Theatres. August 22 – 31, 2019

Award-winning playwright the late Horton Foote is most notably remembered for his screenplay for To Kill a Mockingbird, however he is also responsible for many fine plays that explore the human condition. Writing from experience and taking inspiration from people he met through his youth, he has often been compared to Chekhov for his ability to capture the spirit of what it means to be human.

Co-founder of Red Phoenix Theatre and Director of this black comedy, Libby Drake has assembled a cast of 13 to bring it to life…or death, however you wish to look at it.

The Wolves

By Sarah DeLappe. Directed by Emily McLean. The Blue Room Theatre, Perth, WA. Aug 20 - Sep 7, 2019

Red Ryder Productions’ The Wolves is an exciting and vibrant show, with a cast of ten amazing women. One of the best shows at The Blue Room this year, this Pulitzer Prize finalist story of a teenage girls’ soccer team, is gorgeously acted as we follow the team through a series of pre-game warm-ups.

Sunday in the Park with George

Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by James Lapine. Watch This. Southbank Theatre, The Lawler. 21 -24 August 2019

Fans – or should I say devotees?

Jasper Jones

Adapted by Kate Mulvany, from Craig Silvey’s novel. State Theatre Company of SA. Dunstan Playhouse. 16 Aug- 7 September, 2019

Jasper Jones, Craig Silvey’s much loved Australian novel, has been captured for the stage beautifully by Kate Mulvany. In this production by the State Theatre Company of SA, director, Nescha Welk weaves a thought-provoking tapestry amid a standing forest of towering eucalypts.

West Side Story

Music: Leonard Bernstein. Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Book: Arthur Laurents. Opera Australia, GWB Entertainment and BB Group. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Opening Night: Tuesday August 22, 2019

William Shakespeare borrowed the family feud scenario from a sixteen-century story and called it Romeo and Juliet. Arthur Laurents raised the bar by re-setting it in mid-twentieth century New York. Leonard Bernstein shifted the bar even higher with a score that conjured the pulsing throb of discontent. And Stephen Sondheim conceived lyrics that picked up that throb and let the plot soar.

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