Reviews

Minky Opens a Gallery

Written and directed by Joanna Weinberg. Sydney Fringe. Chippen Street Theatre - 45 Chippen St, Chippendale. September 4 – 7, 2019

The ingredients in this one hour play include a large dose of celebrity, several ounces of social media, a healthy portion of satire directed at the art world and a good sprinkle of comedy. Freshly baked and out of the oven for the first time the results are delicious.

The play opens with a succession of paparazzi photos of Minky Westin (Jodine Holli Wolman), looking glamorous, awkwardly leaving various cars or parties and finally arriving on stage worse for wear from a big night out.

The Last Wife

By Kate Hennig. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). August 30 – September 29, 2019.

This contemporary telling of Henry VIII’s sixth, surviving wife, Katherine Parr, requires a vertigo-inducing suspension of belief.

Loosely based on historical fact, Kate Hennig’s family of royal characters – with young Edward, Elizabeth and Mary all waiting to rule after the old king – squabble and banter around Parr in an idiom and modern dress more akin to American TV.  

A Night’s Game

Alleyne Dance. FORM Dance Projects. Riverside Theatres Parramatta. September 5 – 7, 2019.

FORM Dance Projects presents the premiere Australian performance of Alleyne Dance Team’s A Night’s Game at Riverside Theatres. Beginning touring in the UK, Kristina and Sadé Alleyene have taken this dynamic piece of dance theatre to over nine countries. Acclaimed for their eclectic use of styles to create works inspired by true life events, this performance explores dark images that reflect “the turmoil and strife of human emotion when faced with the prospect of incarceration”.

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare. Directed by James Evans for Bell Shakespeare. Home Of The Arts, Gold Coast. Sept 4th and 5th, 2017, as part of an extended National Tour.

First let me reiterate how bloody lucky we are to have a National Shakespeare company even if they don’t always get it right. It’s also laudable that their mission is to make Shakespeare more accessible and relevant to a contemporary audience - mostly by putting the plays in contemporary clothes and settings. And here’s the rub (as Bill might have said): pretty much all the comedies by William S are based on star-crossed lovers, mistaken identities, people hiding behind bushes to overhear secrets, lies and conspiracy.

Puffs or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years At A Certain School Of Magic And Magic

A TEG Live production in association with Tilted Windmills Theatricals, John Arthur Pinckard and David Carpenter. Written by Matt Cox. Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker. Brisbane Powerhouse Theatre, New Farm. August 23-September 29, 2019.

It’s the least known house in modern literature’s most well-known school, but by the end of this show, you’ll be cheering for the underdogs of the Hogwart’s school of magic - the losers, the socially inept, the...well, the Puffs.

“We’re the Puffs, we’re just here to die I suppose.”

Balit Liwurruk: Strong Girl

Created by the cast with Dramaturge Kamara Bell-Wykes and Director Nadja Kostich. Worawa Aboriginal College & St Martins Youth Arts Centre. 4 – 6 September 2019

Worawa is an institution that offers academic, sports and boarding facilities for indigenous girls in years 7 to 12 – some from the most remote areas of Australia.  For many, English is their second language.

My Brilliant Divorce

By Geraldine Aron. HIT Productions. Director: Denny Lawrence. The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 4 – 7 September, 2019 and touring

Divorce is awful under any circumstances but hits middle-aged women particularly hard. It doesn’t just mean losing a life-long partner. It also involves losing friends, income, routines, all those habitualised comforts and certainties. It’s far harder for a middle-aged woman to get a job or to find a new partner. This is the territory explored by HIT Production’s My Brilliant Divorce, a one-act, one-person play driven by the enormous talent of Mandi Lodge.

Sylvia

The Australian Ballet, with Orchestra Victoria. Arts Centre Melbourne. 31 August – 10 September 2019

The Australian Ballet premiered their latest co-production with the Houston Ballet, Sylvia. Choreographed by Australian Ballet alumnus Stanton Welch and featuring music by Leo Delibes, Sylvia is possibly the most convoluted narrative ballet ever performed. The story is so complex that there is even a cheat sheet handed to you before you enter the theatre, to enable the audience to understand the multiple threads, locations and love interests.

Kinky Boots

Music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, book by Harvey Fierstein. Stray Cats. Directed by Karen Francis. Mandurah Performing Arts Centre. August 29 - Sep 1, 2019

The WA Premiere of Kinky Boots played to capacity houses. Not the luckiest of shows, opening night was cancelled due to a power outage, with a further show added on the final day, but this huge production was worth the wait, with audiences loving this big, bold and bright presentation.

Cavalleria Rusticana and Gianni Schicchi

By Pietro Mascagni and Giacomo Puccini. Canberra Opera. Directed by Kate Millet. Belconnen Theatre. 22 Aug – 1 Sept 2019

For this year’s performance, Canberra Opera presents an interesting pairing of two one-act operas, Puccini’s comedy Gianni Schicchi and the beautiful tragedy, Cavalleria Rusticana. Both have been made accessible by using an English translation.

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