Reviews

3 Weeks in Spring

Book and Lyrics by Ian Gerrard. Music by Russell Tredinnick. Endymion Productions. State Theatre, Sydney. August 13 – 17, 2019.

Walking into the Grand Dame that is the State Theatre is always a pleasure, but sadly this was the wrong venue to try out this brand new musical.

Instead of splashing out money renting this opulent picture palace, which was far from filled with just a few hundred patrons on opening night, the investment should have been directed on creative talent to develop the writing, choreography and stagecraft in a smaller venue.

Helping Hands

Presented by La Mama and A_tistic. La Mama Courthouse. 7 – 10 August 2019.

“Half the things we do for one another are help.”

This phrase was repeated in the play, in the program and by one of the directors in the Q&A session after the show.

Another poignant line from the show comes to mind.

“I don’t have the luxury of hiding the fact I need help.”

Helping Hands is an original work about how autistic and people with other neurodiversities experience help.

Girls’ Night Out

By Richard Strauss. State Opera of South Australia. The Town Hall, Adelaide. August 9, 2019.

When one thinks of Strauss, the composer Johann Strauss (the waltz king) naturally springs to mind. But, there is another equally brilliant Strauss, Richard Strauss (no relation).

Richard Georg Strauss (1864 -1949), was an outstanding German Romantic composer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His music is more objective than Johann and focusses on emotions. His orchestrations are opulent and tempered by harmonic acerbity.

Girl’s Night Outis an inspired collaboration celebrating Strauss’ music for the female voice.

The New World – Music Inspired by America

Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Alondra de la Parra. Percussion: Martin Grubinger. Concert Hall, QPAC. August 10, 2019

On his premiere performance in Australia, Austrian ‘wunderkind’ Martin Grubinger showed why he is regarded as possibly ‘best multi-percussionist’ in the world. Surrounded by a battery of 23 percussion instruments, and playing from memory, he demolished Avner Dorman’s Frozen in Time in a frenzy of breathtaking mastery. To say it was an adrenalin pumping, white-knuckle, edge-of-your-seat rush was an understatement.

Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense

By P.G. Wodehouse, adapted by David and Robert Goodale. Richmond Players. Richmond School of Arts. August 10 – 24, 2019.

Sir Pelham Grenville (P.G.) Wodehouse (1881-1975) created the character of dithering English gentlemen Bertie Wooster and his impeccable valet, Jeeves in 1915. They made their hilarious way from 1915 to 1974 in a series of books, then through two TV series – one with Ian Carmichael and Dennis Price in the 1970s, the other with Stephen Fry and Hugh Lawrie in the 1990s. This charming adaptation by the Goodale Brothers is based on the novel The Code of the Woosters, first published in 1938.

Love Noël: The Letters and Songs of Noël Coward

Devised by Barry Day. Directed by David Harrison. Presented by Footlights Theatrical Inc. (Qld). Ron Hurley Theatre. 9 – 11 August, 2019

Footlights Theatrical presents an evening of entertainment that harkens back to a bygone era of flappers, martinis, and quick witticisms. The show stitches together songs, biography and letters that tell the story of Noël Coward’s fabulous career. It’s a loving portrait of a multi-disciplined creative force that made a huge impact on the arts for decades.

Medea

By Kate Mulvany and Anne-Louise Sarks. Black Swan State Theatre Company. Directed by Sally Richardson. Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. August 8-25, 2019

Medea is a moving and captivating retelling of the classic Greek story. Switching the focus, this version is told from the perspective of Medea’s sons. Perhaps not forgotten in Euripides’ telling, they are however mute and anonymous. This version, a collaboration between Black Swan State Theatre and WA Youth Theatre, celebrates their humanity, innocence and fraternity, and lets us love them, perhaps increasing the tragedy of the original tale.

Grapes of Wrath

By John Steinbeck, adapted by Frank Galati. New Theatre, NSW. August 6 – September 7, 2019

The New Theatre’s production of the stage adaptation by Frank Galati of John Steinbeck’s epic novel The Grapes of Wrath is an engrossing and impressive show. A strong principal cast is well supported by a large, talented and versatile ensemble. From the start of the play, which opens with a projection of the song “We’re in the Money”, the tensions, troubles and frustrations of the characters slowly grow in the first act as we come to understand their bitter struggles.

‘night, Mother

By Marsha Norman. Iron Lung Theatre. Chapel off Chapel, Loft Theatre, Prahran. 7 – 17 August 2019

On a Saturday night, on the outskirts of a small town somewhere in the southern states of the U S of A, Jessie (Esther van Doornum) goes up to the attic, gets her Daddy’s gun and tells her Mama she intends to kill herself that very night. 

My Dearworthy Darling

By Alison Croggon. Directed and Designed by The Rabble. Beckett Theatre, Malthouse. 2 – 18 August 2019

The name The Rabble is synonymous with risk-taking and with a license to experiment in the quest to find ways of expressing ‘the feminine.’  They are Feminist Theatre Practitioners.  This Company’s work is, more often then not, acutely intense and challenging for audiences.  And this current offering, My Dearworthy Darling, is unlikely to be less polarizing than any of their previous works.  

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