Reviews

How I met My Dead Husband

By Lansy Feng. Wit incorporated. Bluestone Church Arts Space, Footscray - 22 August – 7 September 2019 The Bowery Theatre, St Albans - 13 September 2019,

Four lifetimes and three cultures collide in this hilarious yet heart-felt cabaret comedy. Writer and performer Lansy Feng has drawn on her own life experiences as a Taiwanese-born Aussie married to a Frenchman, to create the story of Chuen-Jiau. She’s on the hunt for her true love, but has to wait until her fourth life to finally be with him. Even then, they don’t live happily ever after.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

By Dale Wesserman. Players Theatre, Ballina. Director: Mike Sheehan. 23rd August to 1st September, 2019

Mental Health had been a “taboo” topic of conversation up until 1975 when the film version of this play starring Jack Nicholson came to our attention. Since then the community has become increasingly aware of the circumstances surrounding this medical condition and fortunately the treatment has improved tremendously.

Mike Sheehan’s production gives the audience a “real” understanding of how things were and his entire cast treat the play with dignity while portraying those affected by this situation.

Sweet Charity

By Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields and Neil Simon. WAAPA 3rd Year Musical Theatre Students. Directed by Shaun Rennie. Geoff Gibbs Theatre, WAAPA, Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, WA. Aug 24-31, 2019

Sweet Charity is the public’s final glimpse of this year’s WAAPA Musical Theatre Graduates, in a full production, and this tight, well performed production is a testament to the talent of this group, as well as to the skills of the Production and Design Students, who contribute greatly to the look and feel of this production.

An Ideal Husband

By Oscar Wilde. WAAPA 3rd Year Acting Students. Directed by Priscilla Jackman. The Roundhouse Theatre, WAAPA, Edith Cowan 3rd Year Acting Students University, Mt Lawley WA. Aug 23-29, 2019

An Ideal Husband is presented by WAAPA 3rd Year Acting Students, in their last full scale performance as a cohort, and is designed, built and crewed by WAAPA Production and Design Students.

Ulster American

By David Ireland. Red Stitch Actors Theatre, East St Kilda. 25 August – 19 September 2019

Ulster American is not so much a comedy of witty one-liners but a comedy of cringing embarrassment and wince making ego clashes.  You can’t quite believe what each of the characters has just said and you can’t look away because you know things can only get worse. 

Australian Realness

By Zoey Dawson. Malthouse Theatre, The Merlyn. 16 August – 8 September 2019

It’s great to see Zoe Dawson’s unique and unconventional sensibility being supported as a voice on one of our main stages.  However don’t expect an easy comfortable work.  It’s confronting.  Australian Realness is funny, but also funny shocking.  And for this reviewer, who generally thrives on ambiguity, it’s a little too ambiguous.

Shakespeare in Love

Adapted from the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard by Lee Hall. Melbourne Theatre Company. Directed by Simon Phillips. Canberra Theatre. 22–31 August 2019.

The young Will Shakespeare is in trouble.  The Queen has commissioned a comedy.  But Will is so bogged down in his script for Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter that it is veering dangerously close to tragical farce. Will owes money, and his rivals are using his recent works without permission and with no more than a promise of payment.

 

Picnic At Hanging Rock

By Laura Annawyn Shamus. Adapted from the novella by Joan Lindsay. Villanova Players. Director: Jacqueline Kerr. Ron Hurley Theatre, Seven Hills. 24 August – 8 September 2019

Joan Lindsay’s story of three late-Victorian school girls and their teacher who vanish on an outing to Hanging Rock on Valentine’s Day 1900 has had a renaissance of late with a TV series and a couple of stage adaptations. Mixing mysticism with realism the story has fascinated ever since Lindsay wrote it in 1967 and Peter Weir filmed it in 1973. Despite the story being purely fiction, both Lindsay and Weir encouraged the public to believe that the disappearances actually happened.

Metamorphosis

Adapted by Steven Berkoff from the Franz Kafka novella. The Street Theatre, Canberra. Directed by Adam Broinowski. 17 – 31 August 2019

Gregor Samsa feels trapped and desperately unhappy in his job as a salesman. Needing to support his parents and sister, he can see no logical escape. Then by some miracle he finds an illogical one—by transforming into a giant insect.

Meticulously stylised, combining elements of puppetry, clowning, cartoon and physical theatre, The Street’s production of Metamorphosis is both gorgeous to look at and thought provoking. This version strips back some of Berkoff’s 1970s styling to hark back to the magic realism and eastern European flavour of Kafka’s novella.

Ladies In Lavender

Adapted for the stage by Shaun McKenna. From a Screenplay by Charles Dance. Based on a short story by William J. Locke. Direction: Gary O’Neil. St Luke’s Theatre Society, Tarragindi, Brisbane. 23-31 August 2019

Cups of tea, gardening, and listening to the radio, dominate the world of aging-spinsters Janet and Ursula Widdington, in pre World War 2, Cornwall in 1937. That is until the a young man is washed up on the beach below their house, close to death. Nursing him back to health reveals he is a talented Polish violinist seeking fame in America. The sisters find themselves becoming progressively possessive of their stranger, especially Ursula whose unfulfilled feelings eventually surface with poignant results.

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