Reviews

Aladdin the Pantomime

DAPAK and Kelete Studios. Directed by Kelly Mattravers. Phoenix Theatre, Memorial Hall, Spearwood, WA. Feb 8-9, 2020

Aladdin the Pantomime, presented by DAPAK and Kelete Studios, features a cast of 16 performers who live with disabilities including Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome. A joyous celebration of performing, it is a pleasure to watch.

The Beep Test

Music and lyrics by Conor Neylon, book and lyrics by Jackson Peele. Fringe World. Directed by Jackson Peele, musical direction by Conor Neylon. The Gallery at Paper Mountain, William St, Northbridge. Feb 4-8, 2020

Capacity audiences have been joining 7C and their Physical Education teacher as they complete the Beep Test, in this relatively new musical by Conor Neylon and Jackson Peale.

A huge challenge for the performers, who spend much of the show extremely active and working up very realistic sweat, this short musical is a funny and sweet little surprise package, with endearing characters and a clever storyline. A lovely little twist in the tail takes this show to another level.

mi:wi

By Karul Projects. Playhouse Studio 1, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). 5 to 8 February, 2020

Witnessing First Nations contemporary dance is always exciting. This month, QPAC debuts a double bill – mi:wi and CO_EX_EN – works by fresh Queensland company, Karul Projects, whose co-artistic directors, Thomas E.S. Kelly and Taree Sansbury, also perform in the pieces. The group is all about enlightening and enriching contemporary culture and identity by bringing past First Nations stories into the present. In indigenous language, ‘mi:wi’ means ‘inner spirit’ or ‘stomach’.

New Balance

By Christopher Bryant & Emma Palackic. Performed by Christopher Bryant. Directed by Emma Palackic. Theatre Works and Before Shot Productions. Midsumma Festival. Theatre Works, St Kilda. 4 – 8 February 2020

Here is an hour-long monologue performed with such directness and honesty that it compels attention.  Christopher Bryant, simply dressed as if he’s at the gym or about to go on a run, confides in the audience with an account, from various sources, of growing up gay.  Sometimes tentative, sometimes challenging, it’s part autobiography, part anecdotes from other sources; the show questions whether there is (to quote the program note) a ‘universality in the particulars of our [queer] experiences.’

A Streetcar Named Desire

By Tennessee Williams. Directed by Hannah Kassulke. Brisbane Arts Theatre. January 31 – February 29, 2020.

First produced on Broadway in 1947, this play – Williams’ most famous – dramatises the life of Blanche Dubois, a Southern belle, who leaves her 'aristocratic' background in poverty to seek refuge with her sister Stella and brother-in-law Stanley in a dilapidated apartment in the French quarter of New Orleans. Thus develops the conflict between sisters, with very differing views on life, and husband Stanley Kowalski, a basic crude “common” man.

Any Number Can Die

By Fred Carmichael, directed by Theresa Dolman. Tea Tree Players Theatre, Surrey Downs, SA. 5 – 15 February 2020

Imbued with the spirits of a hundred whodunnits, this comedy-mystery presented by Tea Tree Players is a pastiche of intrigue and intricacy, delivered by a twelve-strong cast and well-packaged by director Theresa (Lilly) Dolman.

An estranged family and other hangers-on gather in an old mansion on a stormy island off the American coast to hear the reading of a will (at midnight, obviously). There is mystery aplenty and the plot is held together by a duo of first-case private investigators Ernestine Wintergreen (Lesley Main) and Hannibal Hix (Rick Mills).

Sense and Spontaneity the Musical

Fringe World. Directed by Amanda Ash. The Library, Girls School, Wellington St, Perth. Feb 3-16, 2020

Sense and Spontaneity has proved very popular over the last few years at Fringe World. This year, in the very appropriate venue of The Library, at the Girls School, the Jane Austen improvising queens are shaking it up, by making this “a musical”. 

By A Thread

By One Fell Swoop Circus. Fringe World. Directed by Charice Rust and Johnathon Morgan. The Main Hall, The Girls School, Wellington St, Perth. 21 Jan - 9 Feb, 2020

By A Thread is the most beautiful aerial and acrobatic show I have ever seen. Possibly the slickest, most tightly rehearsed show in FringeWorld, this beautifully gentle show explores the relationship between trust and risk.

Sink

By Tobias Graham. Gavin Roach and Beyond the Yard. Fringe World. Directed by Terence Smith The Main Space, the Blue Room, James St Perth. Feb 4-8, 2020

Sink, presented by Gavin Roach and Beyond the Yard, is a set in the bathroom at a series of costume parties, in the same share house, attended by the same group of people.

The Feather in the Web

By Nick Coyle. Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre. Red Stitch, East St Kilda. 5 February – 1 March 2020

At first, The Feather in the Web seems as if it might be a series of comedy sketches: two prattling suburban ladies get cream cake right in the moosh.  Funny, yes, but… But that’s deliberately misleading – as is much that follows.  Playwright Nick Coyle sets up a narrative that keeps us wrong-footed.  It’s consistently funny and surprising and satiric, but it becomes increasingly disturbing, and it ends in an unexpected but convincing place.  

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