Reviews

Eurydice

By Sarah Ruhl. Red Line Productions and Mad March Hare Theatre Co. Old Fitz Theatre. November 15 – December 15, 2018

American playwright Sarah Ruhl re-tells the famous tale of Orpheus descending to the underworld to retrieve his dead bride by keeping our focus firmly on Eurydice.

Her play has a gentle poetic humour as the romantic musician pines on earth for his love  while below Eurydice, reconciled in death with her father, seems happy without her boy, now searching her past and dead future.

Yellow Yellow Sometimes Blue

By Noëlle Janaczewska. Q Theatre. Allan Mullins Studio, Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre. Nov 15 – 24, 2018

Noëlle Janaczewska is an Australian playwright, poet and essayist who specialises in writing about people and events that “have been overlooked or marginalised in official records”. In this play she has taken as her inspiration the history of Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest and through it “traces the roots of Sydney’s early Modernist thinking and offers a fresh take on Emu Plains in the 1950s”.

The Wild Party

Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe and music and lyrics by LaChiusa. Based on the narrative poem by Joseph Moncure March. Little Triangle. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre. Nov 15 – 24, 2018

Infamous jazz age showbiz parties, descending into booze and drug fueled orgies, drive this musical and the 1928 narrative poem which inspired it.

Moral Panic

By Rachel Perks. Dramaturg Emma Valente. Directed by Bridget Balodis. Darebin Arts Speakeasy. Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre. 14 – 24 November 2018.

Waiting at the tram stop after a performance of Moral Panic, I overheard a young woman say excitedly to a friend, ‘Did you see that?  It just got to me on so many levels!’  I agree.  Moral Panic may not make ‘sense’ in terms of the logic the playwright and director Bridget Balodis wish to eschew, but the play does ‘get to you on so many levels’.  There are passages where I struggled to get the literal meaning of what was happening on stage, but something – a line, an image, a suggested emotion – keeps gett

Oklahoma!

Music: Richard Rodgers. Book & Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein 2nd. Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs. Beenleigh Theatre Group (Qld). November 16 – December 1, 2018

Oklahoma! takes place outside Claremore in the Oklahoma Territory in 1906. It tells the tale of a farm girl, Laurey (Samantha Paterson), and her courtship by two rivals, the wholesome, clean-cut Curly (Connor Hawkins) and the sinister, frightening farmhand Jud Fry (Lachlan Clark). As is the case in the Rodgers and Hammerstein book musical mode, there is a secondary plot, in this case, impetuous cowboy Will Parker (Josh Cathcart) and flirtatious (“I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say No”) Ado Annie (Terri Woodfine).

Seussical Jr.

Music by Stephen Flaherty. Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Book by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. Based on the works of Dr Seuss. Directed by Shirley Budinger and Paula-Mary Camilleri. Mousetrap Theatre, Redcliffe, Qld. November 16 – 25, 2018.

As the name of the musical implies, Seussical Jr is designed for young performers up to the age of 16 and is based on many Dr Seuss stories such as “Horton Hears a Who”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Horton Hatches the Egg”. Thus Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat and all the favourite Dr Seuss characters come to life onstage in this musical extravaganza with the young performers. Even for those who have not read all the books, the characters are intriguing to follow with the singing, costumes and movement.

Man of La Mancha

By Dale Wasserman. Music by Mitch Leigh. Lyrics by Joe Darion. St Jude’s Players (SA). St Jude’s Hall. November 15-24, 2018

St Jude’s Players regularly pack their venue with loyal and enthusiastic patrons and such was the case on the recent opening night of an unusual production for St Jude’s, not its regular fare of drama or comedy, but instead, a musical… in this case, Man of La Mancha.

Company

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by George Furth. Directed by Julie Baz. The Depot Theatre, Limelight on Oxford, Sydney. November 14 - December 1, 2018

Little Triangle’s production of the Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along was a pleasant surprise at Sydney’s Depot Theatre earlier this year. With a young cast, the company staged a wonderful show, demonstrating care and affection for the difficult musical gem. 

The Gods of Strangers

By Elena Carapetis. State Theatre Company of South Australia. Dunstan Playhouse. Nov 14 – Dec 2, 2018.

It is always an exciting time when a new Australian play and playwright arrive on the scene and Elena Carapetis’ The Gods of Strangers has much to recommend it.  In State Theatre Company of South Australia’s world premiere production of this play Carapetis tells the stories she grew up with, setting them in the difficult and to new immigrants, strange, country around Port Pirie.

Carapetis fills her play with believable and engaging characters who carry us along in a torrent of English, Greek and Italian (subtitles are provided).

And Then There Were None

By Agatha Christie. Adelaide Repertory Theatre. Arts Theatre Angas St, Adelaide. November 15-24, 2018

Reputedly the most difficult novel Agatha Christie ever had to write, And Then There Were None - originally Ten Little Ni**ers and later, Ten Little Indians,was renamed for obvious reasons. The play is Christie’s own adaptation of the story for the stage. The novel, which clearly had a very grim ending, was changed to make the finale more appealing for theatre-goers.

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