Reviews

Fantastic Mr Fox

Adaptation: Nick Skubij. Based on the book by Roald Dahl. Director: Ross Balbuziente. Choreography: Andrea Arena. Shake & Stir Theatre Company and QPAC. Playhouse, QPAC. 13-20 April 2019.

For the third time Shake & Stir have raided the library of Roald Dahl and come up with the most clever, imaginative, and eye-popping adaptation of his 1970 children’s book Fantastic Mr Fox. Written for a company of six who comically play multiple roles, the stars of the production are Jon Weber’s cartoon drawings, and Craig Wilkinson’s video projection of them, played out on Josh McIntosh’s triple ramp set.

Great Expatations

By John Green & Rakhesh Martyn. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tasma Terrace, 6 Parliament Place, Melbourne. 8-21 April, 2019.

Great Expatations is a show designed to share expat experiences and the sometimes-absurd nature of operating in a new culture. Both performers have very different intercultural experiences and are from very different racial and cultural backgrounds which provides a good breadth of material for this stand-up comedy routine.

Round and Round the Garden

By Alan Ayckbourn, from The Norman Conquests. Noarlunga Theatre Company (SA). April 12-14, 2019

An open curtain reveals the backyard of a Victorian country home. Director and set designer Bronwyn Calvett has captured the English charm perfectly with the garden, leaving enough space for the cast to move about.

Cosi

By Louis Nowra. Malanda Theatre Company (Qld). Directed by Jean Newman. 22 31 March 2019

Malanda Theatre Company's production of Cosi is about as professional a performance as you could get. Set in a 1970s Melbourne mental asylum, the play revolves around Lewis, a young inexperienced theatre director. Lewis is given the job of directing a motley band of inmates in Mozart's opera Cosi Fan Tutte. The comedy has crazy moments as well as some very serious ones. Issues like the Vietnam War and relationships play a big part in some of the character interactions.

The Club

By David Williamson. An isthisyours? and Insite Arts production presented by State Theatre Company SA and Kojo. Space Theatre. April 5 - 20, 2019

The all-female, three-actor version of Williamson’s forty-year old iconic play about men behaving badly gets treated to a full body reconstruction in this production. The words are the same but the satire becomes edgier and Tessa Leong’s direction and vision for the play brings a whole new physical comedy element to this play.

Dirty Diana

Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Storyville Cocktail Bar. March 27 – April 21, 2019.

The multi-talented Dirty Diana performs her new comedy show at this year’s Melbourne Comedy Festival, currently running until the 21 of April at the Storyville Cocktail Bar, in the CBD.

Dirty Diana pumps the crowd with ‘high fiver’ fever, bursts onto the stage heralding all the way from Springvale and reminds us that her story comes in three phases. Diana Nguyen weaves titular story-telling with a refreshing energetic flair that connects homegrown family dramas with perpetual boyfriend problems.

A-List Comedy Sampler

Melbourne International Comedy Festival / A-List Entertainment. Athenaeum Theatre. April 8, 2019.

Welcome to this year’s A–List Comedy Sampler hosted by the one and only, all time seriously funny guy Lawrence Mooney, reminding us that the Melbourne Comedy Festival is like a box of Whitman’s chocolates and please excuse any obvious reference to Forest Gump.

Mimma

By Ron Sieminginowski and Giles Watson. Directed by Adam Mitchell. The Regal Theatre, Subiaco, WA. April 9-21, 2019

It is a rare occasion that Perth sees a large scale World Premiere musical. Mimma, a musical of war and friendship, is a lavish professional production with beautiful production values, making its debut at The Regal Theatre.

Orphans

By Lyle Kessler. Directed by Aaron Evans. Brisbane Arts Theatre. April 7 – May 7, 2019.

The two orphans live, or rather exist, in a barren house in the poorer section of Philadelphia where the relationship of the brothers is challenging to not only them but also to the audience. The younger of them, Phillip, is sensitive and reclusive and never ventures out of the house. His mental state is doubtful. His life is dominated by the older brother, Treat, who buys him tins of tuna for meals, and is violently domineering while developing his skills as a picket pocket and thief.

West Side Story

Book by Arthur Laurents. Music by Leonard Bernstein. Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Opera Australia / GWB Entertainment / BB Group. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, April 6 – 28, 2019.

Leonard Bernstein's modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, complete with tragedy following the blossoming of forbidden love, is a compelling piece of theatre. Set in the Upper West Side of 1950s New York, the rival families are now two gangs - the Jets (first generation American-born from Polish immigrant parents) and the Sharks (Puerto Rican immigrants who are seen as invading interlopers) - although the boys clearly see their gangs as two very real families, with the unquestioning loyalty blood demands.  

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