Reviews

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

By Edward Albee. Butterfly Theatre. Holden Street Theatres. January 22-26, 2020

Butterfly Theatre is taking time out from the excellent ‘Beer’ Theatre the company usually presents in a pub venue. Yet the theme continues, because Edward Albee’s now classic Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which the company is currently staging at Holden Street Theatres, is steeped in what seems to be as many bevvies as any pub, let alone as much alcoholic brawling as one might find outside late night clubs.

Body Rights

By various authors. WA Youth Theatre Company. Fringe World. Directed by James Berlyn and Phoebe Sullivan. The Art Room and Cookery Room, The Girls School, Wellington St, Perth. Jan 17 - Feb 2, 2020

WA Youth Theatre Company presents four short new works about young people, power, their bodies and their rights. The collection showcases the work of 42 young performers as well as emerging creatives including directors, a composer, lighting designer and stage manager.

Outside the Girls School, the audience is divided onto two groups, who will see the evening’s performances in different orders. My group went to the Cookery Room first, so that is the order I will describe. Your experience may differ. 

Air Play

Acrobuffos. Sydney Festival. Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay. January 21 – 25, 2020

Air Play flies well across Sydney Festival’s long tradition of staging magical visual theatre, with lots of flying fabric, mime and clowning. James Thieree’s shows, for example, were standouts.

Here so-called acrobuffos, American husband and wife team, Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, begin like Wiggles, one yellow-costumed, one red, with wide-eyed naivete and the simple act of loosing a balloon into the audience. And the kids loved it.

Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr Fox

Adapted by Nick Skubij. Shake and Stir Theatre. Directed by Ross Balbuziente. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of WA. Jan 22-26, 2020

Shake and Stir Theatre’s Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr Fox starts with a rock star vibe and quickly morphs into one of the most visually impressive pieces of theatre I have ever seen.

Aradia

By Milkbox Theatre. Directed by Michelle Endersbee. Fringe World. The Chaos Room, The Blue Room Theatre, James St, Perth. Jan 21-25, 2020

Aradia is a new piece of feminist theatre, centred around the story of Aradia - sent to earth to educate about Witchcraft. A series of vignettes, this is a story about the strength of women and of self-belief, both historically and in the here and now.

Milkbox Theatre was born from a need for female lead artistry. Its mission is to share stories from the perspective of and lead by people who identify as female. Aradia delves into the deep history and mythology of witches, telling their stories and how their history effects and can inspire women today.

Oakley and Olivia

Written and directed by Paris Ceglinski. Fringe World. The Studio, Subiaco Arts Centre, WA. Jan 17-20, 2020

Oakley and Olivia, nicely written and directed by Paris Ceglinski, was a brand new musical which was one of the handful of shows to open Fringe World 2020. What better way to open FringeWorld than this child centred, wild and vibrant statement of hope for the future?

Nanna-stasia

By Eleanor Stankiewicz. Directed by Marcel Blanch de Wilt. Fringe World. The Library, The Girls School, Wellington St, Perth. Jan 17- Feb 2, 2020

In Nanna-stasia you are invited into the kitchen of Eleanor Stankiewicz’s grandmother for a funny, warm story of love, family and the importance of listening to your older family members.

When Eleanor was 7, she saw the animated film Anastasia. Knowing very little about her nanna’s early years, in Lithuania during World War II, Eleanor’s mind made her Nanna - Lithuania’s Anastasia - and this was closer to the truth than you might imagine.

The Life of Us

Music and Lyrics by Ben Bennett. Book by Ashleigh Taylor and Ben Bennett. 100 Coffees Productions and Neil Gooding Productions. Hayes Theatre. Directed by Neil Gooding. Jan 16 – Feb 2020.

At its first tryout Oklahoma! was called Away We Go! and the first thought which crossed my mind about this musical was whether it too might benefit from a better name.  This new Australian musical is about the perils of managing long distance relationships, which the title doesn’t communicate.

The Top Secret Violin Case

By Sofia Chapman. Outside eye, Görkem Acaroglu. Presented by La Mama, 349 Drummond Street Carlton. 21-26 January, 2020.

This show is an extraordinary gleeful exploration of some dark political events that besieged Eastern European countries under communist regimes. This light-hearted approach does not belittle the issues but allows the audience to see how suspicion and paranoia pervaded all aspects of life in countries like Romania. In this show the formation of a Romanian folkloristic music ensemble becomes fraught with obstacles fuelled by political machinations and corrupt bureaucracies.

Eyes Wide Woke

By Katherine Atkins. Bitten By Productions. The Courthouse Hotel, North Melbourne. 21 January – 1 February 2020

Very ‘woke’ – or she imagines she is – opinionated and confrontational Valorie (Ashleigh Clarke) invites sex worker Jasmine (Emma Drysdale) to join her fiancée, nervous, timid Sara (Ashley Tardy), former lover and pants man Noah (Luke Jacka) and old school mate, very camp, very loud Angelo (Joshua White) for an intimate dinner.  This will demonstrate – if not prove - just how ‘woke’ Valorie is.  During dinner (delivered by Uber Eats), there will be a full and frank discussion of Jasmine’s profession, feelings and choices.&nbsp

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