Reviews

Melba

By Dawn Farnham. Fringe World (WA). Directed by Susie Conte. The Queen Room, Lady Beaufort, Beaufort St, Mt Lawley. Jan 27-Feb 10, 2019

Dame Nellie Melba became infamous for her many farewell tours. This production by Tempest Theatre for Lady Beaufort, as part of Fringe World, is set in an Australian dressing room, before one of Melba’s farewell performances.

A Midnight Visit

Fringe World (WA). The Old Girls School, East Perth. 22 Jan - 3 Mar 2019

A Midnight Visit is a site-specific interactive theatre piece, beautifully immersed into the Old Girls School. A unique theatrical experience, it combines the life of Edgar Allen Poe with a haunted girls school, in a choose your own adventure piece of theatre.

As you wander through three levels of the building, you will discover various elements of the story, meet a variety of characters - all beautifully acted, and visit a variety of locales, as you “journey to the edge of madness”.

Flawed____like a b_

Written by BJ McNeill. Devised by Claudia Subiela Ferre, BJ McNeill, Sven Ironside & Gabriella Schmidt. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton. 23 – 27 January, 2019.

This biographical piece is based on the experiences of growing up in Australia and identifying as gay. Much like the content that is discussed in this play the imagery of Flawed is daring and frequently confronting. The performance involves a combination of dance, stylised movement and a monologue delivered predominantly by McNeill.

The Violent Years (1956)

Adapted and directed by Rachel Kelly. Fringe World (WA). The Blue Room, Perth Cultural Centre. Jan 18-26, 2019

The Violent Years (1956) is a campy, all female musical based on an Ed Woods Film, playing at The Blue Room. Gorgeously sung, it is an 'in your face’, aggressive piece, that never takes itself seriously.

Paula is a wealthy, capable A student who is ignored by her parents. In retaliation she forms a girl gang who rob gas stations, rape men and trash their school as they sing 50s rockabilly to riot girl rock.

Sweet Charity

Music: Cy Coleman. Lyrics: Dorothy Fields. Book: Neil Simon based on Federico’s Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria. Understudy Productions. Co-Directors: Kris Stewart and Maureen Bowra. Music Director: Shanon Whitelock. Choreography: Dan Venz. Brisbane Powerhouse. January 24 – February 10, 2019

What a blast this was! A classic 60s Broadway musical, a score of showstoppers, and at its centre the most electrifying performance we’re likely to see this year.

Man With The Iron Neck

By Ursula Yovich. Legs on the Wall / Sydney Festival. Sydney Opera House Drama Theatre. Jan 23 – 26, 2019

For most of us, suicides are inexplicable, that utter hopelessness incomprehensible. This moving part physical theatre work from Legs on the Wall and writer/performer Ursula Yovich begins by first listing half a dozen recent teenage Aboriginal suicides.  

Then we meet Mum Rosa (Yovich) living with her boisterous twins, and their best mate Ash, in a country town, but haunted by a Dad who hung himself from the tall gum still there onstage.  

Antony & Cleopatra

By William Shakespeare. National Theatre Live, from the Olivier Theatre, Southbank, London. Cinema Nova, Carlton VIC, and at participating cinemas nationally from 2 February to 6 February 2019

In this contemporary set production of one of Shakespeare’s late and most complex, layered and contradictory plays, Ralph Fiennes plays Antony as an already fading playboy.  The erstwhile war hero, in his mind responsible for young Caesar’s power, teeters on the brink of over the hill, trading on his past glories, drinks too much, getting a little porky, silver threads in beard and hair – and sexually obsessed with Sophie Okonedo’s quicksilver Cleopatra.  She is skittish, imperious, girlish, peremptory, sensual, cold, impulsive, calculating, uninhi

Soft Butch Show Queen

By Mark J Wilson. The Butterfly Club. Jan 22 – 26, 2019

Midsumma is always full of queer surprises and unusual treats and Mark J Wilson’s new solo show Soft Butch Show Queen ticks those boxes.  He is a mixed bag of all sorts, courageously up front, farcical, comical, political, drag queen and more.

He staggers about on stage with a starving artist story, selling his soul to pay the bills. He glazes over his job at Krispy Kreme more than twice, thrice between skits and costume changes.

MissCast

FringeWorld. Directed by Nicole Stinton. De Parel Spiegeltent, The Pleasure Gardens, Russell Square, Northbridge, WA. 18-26 January 2019

The actor’s dilemma is that there are always roles in which you will never be cast - you are the wrong gender, too old, too short, too blonde or just wrong. In this short and sweet production, which has already (deservedly) picked up a FringeWorld award, local performer Dixie Johnstone, and Melbourne’s Vincent Hooper, join forces to perform roles in which they would never be cast.

Beware of Pity

Based on the novel by Stefan Zweig. Schaübuhne Berlin and Complicité. Directed by Simon McBurney. Sydney Festival. Roslyn Packer Theatre. Jan 23 – 27, 2019.

The most interesting part of this evening in the theatre was the question and answer session afterwards with the German cast and crew, who gave an insight into an extraordinary different way of creating theatre.

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