Reviews

The Marvelous Wonderettes - Dream On

By Roger Bean. Ballina Players, Players Theatre. Directors: Paul and Sue Belsham. 24th August – 9th September, 2018.

Following on from their successful season last year, the Players are presenting the sequel which brings us another 10 years down the track in the lives of this High School quartet and into the 70’s.

Ballina has been fortunate in being able to present 3 of last year’s cast: Candace Baldwin, Helen Jarvis and Jo Fletcher (recreating their original characters) together with Mel Strawbridge and supported by a number of cameo appearances from some of the people in their lives.

Sunday in the Park With George

Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by James Lapine. WAAPA Third Year Music Theatre. Directed by Tyran Parke. Geoff Gibbs Theatre, WAAPA, Mt Lawley, WA. 25 Aug - 1 Sep, 2018

As WAAPA’s Third Year Music Theatre students near the end of their time at WAAPA, this musical about creative fulfilment and the plight of the artist is either a highly appropriate or a very daunting choice of subject matter. A highly polished, beautifully presented production, it showcases the talents of this cohort and their creative contemporaries beautifully.

The Harp in the South Parts 1 & 2

By Ruth Park. An adaptation for the stage by Kate Mulvany. Sydney Theatre Company. Roslyn Packer Theatre. Aug 16 – Oct 8.

This epic adaptation of Ruth Park’s famous trilogy of novels about love and life in the slums of Surry Hills is a triumph.  

Actor and writer Kate Mulvany spent three years forging generations of the Darcy family and their neighbours into five and half hours of compelling, heart-warming theatre (excluding intervals).

The storytelling is so fluid, the transitions from crowd scenes to vignettes across David Fleischer’s revolving stage so seamless, it looks like director Kip Williams has been working with Mulvany since she started. 

Dear Frankie

By Niamh Gleeson. Gromurph Productions. Directed by Frank Murphy. Kidogo Art House, Bathers Beach, Fremantle. 22-26 Aug, 2018

This production is the Australian premiere of Dear Frankie, an Irish bio-play based on the life of Frankie Byrne, a real-life public relations consultant and radio personality who presented the agony aunt programme “The Women’s Page” on Radio Eireann for over twenty years.

Dark Emu

Devised by Bangarra Dance Theatre. Based on the book by Bruce Pascoe. Directed by Stephen Page. Choreographed by Stephen Page, Daniel Riley, Yolanda Brown and the Dancers of the Bangarra Dance Theatre. QPAC Playhouse Theatre, 24 August – 1 September, 2018

Bangarra Dance Theatre’s latest production lives up to their reputation for creating compelling contemporary dance. The talented athletes making up the cast of 18 indigenous dancers should be applauded for their focus, passion and skill. These amazing artists under the guidance of Artistic Director Stephen Page are presenting enlightening history straight from Bruce Pascoe’s prizewinning book Dark Emu, Black Seeds: agriculture or accident? It’s wonderful to see such a unique work, telling the stories of Australia’s first people.

Hotel Bonegilla

By Tes Lyssiotis. Directed by Laurence Strangio. La Mama. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton VIC. 22 August – 2 September 2018

Here’s another revival of this often revived 1983 play by Tes Lyssiotis.  It still has much to say about Australia and Australians and immigrants and immigration, especially when given such a lively and engaging production as this.  The differences between the history – post WWII migration – and now is that back then Australia needed and invited white immigration, but now…  The similarities are the same - false expectations against Australian ineptitude, incomprehension and racism. 

Disgust

By Kat Moritz. La Mama. La Mama at Trades Hall, Meeting Room 1, Carlton VIC. 23 August – 2 September 2018

A couple (Michelle Robertson and Monty Burgess) lounge on a bare platform.  It is up to our imaginations to create the physical world of these people.  They may be married, they may not, but it seems – maybe – that they may have been together too long.  They’re recognisable people – people you might know – people who might be you.  They’re entering middle age, they’ve ‘let themselves go’ a little, and their lives have settled into a familiar if empty routine.  There’s a superficially relaxed, unhur

Mothermorphosis

By Liz Skitch. La Mama and debase productions. Trades Hall, Carlton. Aug 22 – Sep 2, 2018.

Mothermorphosisis a tale of a woman who wakes up one morning only to discover she has turned into a mother. It is a quirky and facetious metaphor of the Franz Kafka story (Metamorphosis).

This is a witty and clever new show written and performed by Liz Skitch from Debase Productions, and directed by Maude Davey.

Spring Awakening

Music: Duncan Sheik. Book & Lyrics: Steven Sater based on the play by Frank Wedekind (1891). Director: Tim Hill. Musical Director: Dominic Woodhead. Choreographer: Deanna Castellana. Underground Broadway, Metro Arts, Brisbane. 24 August – 2 September 2018

Since it premiered on Broadway in 2006 winning eight Tony awards,Spring Awakening has gone onto success after success on international stages. Perhaps not as well-known as its second-cousin Rent, (but in my opinion better and more coherent), this rock musical version of Frank Wedekind’s 1891 German play with its themes of adolescent sexuality, teen suicide, peer-pressure, abortion and homosexuality, still resonates with a contemporary immediacy.

Out of Sight Out of Murder

By Fred Carmichael. Tea Tree Players (SA). Tea Tree Players Theatre. August 22 - September 1, 2018.

When we read a book, we often speak of the author’s ability to ‘bring the characters to life’, to feel like they are ‘almost jumping off the pages’. In Out of Sight out of Murder, the latest offering by Tea Tree Players, this premise is very effectively given wings. This murder mystery is very familiar but at the same time, not quite like any other you will see.

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