Reviews

School of Rock

By Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julian Fellowes and Glenn Slater. Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne. Opening Night: November 9, 2018.

Based on the 2003 film of the same name, School of Rock has been revamped by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julian Fellowes and Glenn Slater into a highly-enjoyable romp that appeals, literally, to all ages.

12 Angry Men

By Reginald Rose. Everyman Theatre. Directed by Jarrad West. Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 14-24 November 2018

Take a room full of testosterone. Pressurise it with heat, sweat, humidity, life and death decisions, a fan that doesn’t work and just the one face towel that pretty much all the men use to mop their brows. Throw in racism and rationality, and you have the makings of a tense 90 minutes. 12 Angry Men is the prototypical jury drama, written in 1954 by Reginald Rose and reworked dozens of times thereafter.

Mandy Patinkin In Concert: Diaries 2018

Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House. November 14, 2018

Broadway musical theatre legend Mandy Patinkin, also well known for his film and television work, has returned to Australia, this time presenting a far more personal, reflective concert than we’ve seen before.

1916, A Love Story

By John Beaton. Darlington Theatre Players. Directed by Neroli Sweetman. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. 11 Nov - 8 Dec, 2018

Darlington Theatre Players opened this locally written world premiere on Remembrance Day, a fitting choice for this show, which is set around the Conscription Referendum of 1916.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

By Wagner. Opera Australia. Director: Kasper Holten. Revival Director: Dan Dooner. Conductor: Pietari Inkinen. Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre. November 13 – 22, 2018

Wagner’s comic opera, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, made a triumphant return to the Arts Centre last night. The sweep of the music and the power of the production kept the audience enthralled at a very long night at the opera.

Orchestra Victoria was in fine form, and there was added interest when some brass and percussion took up positions in the boxes at the side. The chorus singing was thrilling.

Next Move 11

Chunky Move. Lauren Langlois & Joel Bray. Chunky Move Studios, Melbourne. Nov 9 – 17, 2018.

Next Move began ten years ago, creating opportunities for dance artists  to explore and develop their own  full scale productions.

This year we see two innovative experimental dance performances, Nether (Lauren Langlois) and Dharawungara (Joel Bray).

The Dance of Death

By August Strindberg. Belvoir St Theatre. November 10 – December 23, 2018

Constantly revived, August Strindberg’s portrait of a murderously unhappy marriage on their silver anniversary, has been a honey pot for star actors for decades.  

Star actor herself, Judy Davis here turns again to directing her husband, Colin Friels, matched with the celebrated Pamela Rabe.  Living in an old Swedish island fortress, Edgar is a retired captain of uncertain health and Alice a former, probably bad, actress plotting his end. 

The Hamlet Apocalypse

By The Danger Ensemble. Presented by The Danger Ensemble and Theatre Works. November 7 – 18, 2018

Vibrant, energetic, engaging and exhilarating, The Hamlet Apocalypse resonates strongly with a youthful audience.  It is a visually stunning, adventurous, invigorating offering imbued with a generous spirit by Director/Designer Steven Mitchell Wright.  However it is not without significant problems.

Intriguingly it opens with the actors introducing themselves, their characters and presenting a crystalized thought in relation to their work on the play.

Towards Zero

By Agatha Christie and Gerald Verner. Centenary Theatre Group (CTG), Brisbane. 10 November to 1 December, 2018

The literary Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, has also been heralded as the most successful female playwright of all time – with nearly 30 stage plays to her name. The Mousetrap holds the record as the longest-running, continuously performed show in London’s West End, and CTG’s Kurt A Lerps directed the Community Theatre premiere of that play. Now he tackles Christie’s Towards Zero – apparently blocked to community production for some years – with ardour and aplomb.

Armistice

Creative Lead & Production Designer: Bill Haycock, Performance Director & Dramaturg: David Bell. Movement Director: Natalie Weir. The Australian Voices, Topology, William Barton, John Schumann. Music Director: Andrew McNaughton. QPAC Presentation. Playhouse, QPAC. 11 November 2018

Armistice marked the end of the Anzac Centenary period and there could not have been a more fitting tribute, a special theatrical event commemorating the centenary of Armistice and Australia’s involvement in war and peace over the past 100 years.

Using archival photos, official war artist paintings by McCubbin and Dobell, poetry by Kenneth Slessor and Les Murray, pop songs and specially commissioned music, the program was not only enlightening, but also very emotional.

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