Reviews

Mary Stuart

By Friedrich Schiller, adapted by Kate Mulvany. Sydney Theatre Company. Roslyn Packer Theatre. Feb 5 – Mar 2, 2019

History lovers think we know this story backwards and what drove these two feuding queens.  

Friedrich Schiller’s classic play from 1800 has Mary Queen of Scots and her cousin Elizabeth I actually meeting each other and scratching at their veneers.  Kate Mulvany’s remarkable translation, with its modern, feminist and often comic eye, goes a lot further. 

The queens repeatedly complain they are pawns and victims in a man’s world, where there’s little room left for one of them, let alone two.

The Lady in the Van

By Alan Bennett. Melbourne Theatre Company. Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse. 2 February – 6 March 2019

The longevity of this play (first performed in 1999) is more than likely due to the situation it dramatises.  It depicts a kind of middle-class suburban nightmare: a homeless person, irrational, shit-smeared and endlessly importunate – plus bulky vehicle – camped in a nice, well-meaning person’s front garden and that person – that is, us – is somehow powerless to do anything about it. 

The Moors

By Jen Silverman. Siren Theatre Company and Seymour Centre. Director: Kate Gaul. The Seymour Centre, Sydney. 6 February – 1 March 2019

The poster outside the Seymour Centre says I’m about to see ‘a hyper-theatrical and kinky homage to the Brontes’. Jen Silverman’s American take on such a strong part of the English literary cannon should be interesting. How, I wondered, would the Bronte sisters and their bleak, wind-swept moors emerge in this ‘hyper-theatrical’, ‘kinky’ version?

10 Things I Hate About Taming of the Shrew

By Gillian English. Fringe World. Belgian Beer Cafe, King St, Perth. Feb 6-17, 2019

10 Things I Hate About Taming of the Shrew is an hilarious examination of Shakespeare’s play, by a ridiculously qualified, angry Canadian feminist, whom you will absolutely adore. Essentially an hour of brilliant stand-up, this is an argument that it would be almost impossible to refute.

Step, by very funny step, LAMDA graduate Gillian English explains to us why this play should burn, as she shows us all of the things there are to hate about this play, including its misogyny, bad parenting and the stupidity of teen love.

The Baden Street Singers - Whose Note Is It Anyway?

Fringe World. Directed by Lionel Pearson. The Edith Spiegeltent, Yagan Square, Perth. Feb 9-17, 2019

The Baden Street Singers are a champion chorus with national awards to their credit. In this Whose Note Is It Anyway? they showcase not only their amazing vocal talent, but delight their audience with theatresports style musical improvisation, in a fun and interactive show.

Jesus Christ Superstar

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by Tim Rice. Packemin Productions. Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. February 8 – 23, 2019

There was a tempest of biblical proportions on the evening of the opening night. We drove past countless broken tree branches, flooded roads and downed electrical wiring to arrive at a soggy Riverside Theatre.

And so - when it rained on stage – the thought crossed my mind that it might not be a theatrical effect, but the real heavens opening. If only the storm outside was as gentle and refreshing.

Peggy Lee and Judy Garland

By Jesse Gordon and Ali Bodycoat. Fringe World. The Ellington Jazz Club, Beaufort St, Perth, WA. Feb 6-10, 2019

Playing to a capacity crowd at Ellington Jazz Club, Peggy and Judy is a glorious tribute to the iconic talents Peggy Lee and Judy Garland. Presented by the award winning and supremely talented Jessie Gordon and Ali Bodycoat, it us a delightful hour of top-notch vocal performances.

Dressed in gorgeous, co-ordinating and “dangerous” dresses, and evoking the look and spirit of Peggy and Judy, the pair work beautifully together and have a wonderful rapport, both with each other and with the audience. The duets in the show are excellent.

Go Back For Murder

By Agatha Christie. Therry Dramatic Society. Arts Theatre, Adelaide. February 7 – 16, 2019

Therry are well regarded as providers of varied, quality theatre designed to entertain both a loyal membership audience and the general public. Agatha Christie murder mysteries are renowned as crowd pleasers and it was Therry that successfully won the Australian rights for The Mousetrap, also directed by veteran Director, Norm Caddick, in 2011. It must be noted, however, that all Agatha Christies are not created equal.

Q

Written and Directed by Aleksandr Corke. La Mama – The Courthouse 6 – 10 February 2019

Q is a strong contemplative black comedy about making the most of life.   It makes its point with crystal clarity through looking at the immediate journey of those who have just died.   Excellent ‘post grad’ theatre, it is beautifully produced and well rehearsed – a smooth production.  The acting is even and credible.  All performers have a solid grasp of their characters and work as a team.  A significant amount of the dialogue is complex however performers don’t seem to be daunted or tripped up by this. 

Dance Hall

By Finucane and Smith. Presented by ETCETERA and Canberra Theatre Centre. The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre. 7 – 9 February 2019

Blending top class circus feats, performance art, glam burlesque, song, dance, humour, full frontal nudity and a truck load of sequins, Finucane and Smith’s Dance Hall is an exhilarating, gender-bending, surreal, messy, wild, acrobatic extravaganza.

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