Reviews

Evita

Lyrics by Tim Rice. Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Opera Australia and John Frost in association with David Ian Productions. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, from September 18 to November 5, 2018, then Arts Centre Melbourne from December 5

Just as Eva Peron was a deeply polarising political figure, so too is the latest production based on her life. On one hand some members of the audience rose to their feet at the end of the musical to salute the brilliant individual performances and spectacle. On the other hand, I spoke to a couple as they were walking out at interval, frustrated at the lack of pace in the first act.

Spamalot - Schools Edition

By Eric Idle and John Du Prez. Platinum Entertainment and Perth Youth Theatre. Directed by Trevor Patient. Stirling Theatre, Innaloo (WA). 20-22 September, 2018

Platinum Entertainment and Perth Youth Theatre present the Schools Edition of Spamalot, in a rollicking celebration of a show. Spamalot purists will not be disappointed as this version leaves the plot intact and the 13-17 year old cast perform with joy and vigour.

Outside Mullingar

By John Patrick Shanley. Centenary Theatre Group. Director: Rod Felsch. Community Centre, Chelmer, Brisbane. September 15 – October 6, 2018

Set in the recent past on two rural properties in county Westmeath, Ireland, John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar is basically a romcom of unrequited love between two middle-aged farmers, Anthony and Rosemary, and their quarrelsome parents. But being Irish of course,there’s a lot of talk of death (it opens just after a funeral) and with the constant off-stage sound of rain, rain and more rain, it’s a constantly bleak and gloomy atmosphere.

Communicating Doors

By Alan Ayckbourn. Castle Hill Players. Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill Showground. September 21 – October 13, 2018.

Staging a play that involves a hotel room in a 40-year time warp is obviously no problem for director, set and sound designer Bernard Teuben. With special lighting effects by Sean Churchward, he has transported Ayckbourn’s 1994 play into the 2038 suite of the Regal Hotel, London, complete with a frosted glass bathroom and a communicating door that, like a neon-lit Tardis, carries its passengers back to 2018 and 1998.

Umami Mermaids

Created and performed by Anna Straker. Directed by Elizabeth Millington. Presented by Brisbane Festival, QUT, and La Boite Theatre Company. Theatre Republic - La Boite Studio. 18 - 22 September, 2018

Umami Mermaids is an imaginatively artistic combination of puppetry and live action. It’s set in a dystopian future where man has greedily consumed natural resources. We’ve failed to act when the environment demanded respect and have caused our own extinction. Mutated mermaids are crawling from the apocalyptic ruins to take their vengeance against the worst kinds of humans. 

Transistor Sister

By Chloe Black. Melbourne Fringe. Pilgrim Bar Federation Wharf, Melbourne. September 20 – 28, 2018

Chloe Black hails from Hobart, Tasmania. This is her first Fringe Comedy show in Melbourne and she is excited to take that first step to celebrate her new transgender identity and wants the world to know she is proud, loud and happy to finally find solace with her new self.

Her stories jump from her mother’s uncomfortable unease with her gender transition, through to a personal learning curve with a new breast size. She loves her new role as mother as opposed to fathering her eight- year old son.

Betty Grumble: Love and Anger

Created and Performed by Emma Maye Gibson. Presented by Brisbane Festival and QUT. Theatre Republic - The Block, 18-29 September, 2018

This year’s Brisbane Festival is presenting some of the best feminist works you’ll ever see. One of those is the fantastic Betty Grumble: Love and Anger. Don’t let the ‘anger’ part put you off seeing this show. You’ll feel more love in the room than anything else as this talented performer guides you through her mix of bawdy humour and egalitarian intellectualism.

Koo Koo the Bird Girl

By Sarah Houbolt. Presented by Darebin Arts Speakeasy and Melbourne Fringe. Studio 2, Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre. 20 – 27 September, 2018.

Sarah Houbolt’s uncanny resemblance to Minnie Woolsley is truly haunting. Woolsley starred as her character Koo Koo in the 1932 film Freaks (Tod Browning), a pre-code horror film about carnival characters featuring disabled performers. The film was considered so shocking and controversial it was banned for 30 years. Houbolt’s affinity to the film and the character is completely indulged in this magical and eerie performance. 

How I Met My Dead Husband

By Lansy Feng. Melbourne Fringe. Gasworks Arts Park ARB Gallery. September 20 – 27, 2018

The Melbourne Fringe Festival is just another reason why Melbourne is one of the great Arts cities in the world. With its open access ethos, the Fringe allows artists to express themselves in spaces large and small and on topics which may not necessarily fit into the mainstream.   

Spartacus

The Australian Ballet, with Orchestra Victoria. Arts Centre Melbourne. 18th – 29th September, 2018

Choreographer Lucas Jervies has spent years working on this world premiere of Spartacus, the latest iteration of Aram Khachaturian’s epic work. For The Australian Ballet, this piece has been spruiked far and wide as the jewel in the crown of this year’s season.

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