Reviews

The Sapphires

Written and Directed by Tony Briggs. Presented by Christine Harris and HIT Productions. The Q - Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, Crawford Street, Queanbeyan.13 – 18 February 2019 and touring

The Sapphires needs no introduction, thanks to the marvellous movie of the same name directed by Wayne Blair. This play is where it all began. Written by Tony Briggs and based loosely on the story of a group of four Indigenous soul singers who toured Vietnam to entertain troups during the war, one of whom was his mother, the story differs significantly from the movie, and this production is rawer than earlier versions. It is wonderful to see the breadth of First Nations talent on show here.

Ron and Isobel

By Anna Lall. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton VIC. 13 – 17 February 2019

On the way to the tram stop after the opening night of Ron and Isobel, we were stopped at traffic lights and joined by a couple of fellow audience members.  They were still smiling, and the woman said to us, ‘Wasn’t it good?’  They were La Mama first timers; they’d picked this show as a bit of an experiment, they’d had a great time and they’d be going back to La Mama for more.  And why not?  Although we did say – tentatively - that Ron and Isobel is not exactly your usual La Mama show… 

Marjorie Prime

Written by Jordan Harrison. Directed by Paul Marshall. Presented by Sunnybank Theatre Group (Qld). Sunnybank Theatre. 15 February – 2 March, 2019

Jordan Harrison poses many big questions in this tale of a near future in which lifelike human replicas of our loved ones can be purchased to provide company and solace to the bereaved. This thought-provoking and captivating play is perfect for modern society. We’re already living with Siri and Alexa, which will likely be seen historically as the early stages of AI robot companionship.

Life and Beth

By Alan Ayckbourn. Tea Tree Players (SA). February 13 –23, 2019.

Any play that boasts a maudlin alcoholic sister-in-law, a frisky vicar, a brow-beaten woman seeking liberation, an over bearing son with a seemingly mute chef girlfriend, and a suffocatingly controlling and overbearing ghost is bound to catch your attention. The Tea Tree Players’ current production of Life and Beth does that for all of the right reasons.

Bloody Murder

By Ed Sala. Castle Hill Players. Pavilion Theatre. Feb 8 – Mar 2, 2019

In Bloody Murder playwright Ed Sala sends up every drawing room murder mystery on stage or screen, every possible character stereotype, and every possible murderer’s modus operandi. Think Midsomer without the Barnabys, Death in Paradise without the palm trees and sunsets, Christie without Miss Marple

Barbara and The Camp Dogs

By Ursula Yovich and Alana Valentine. Songs by – Alana Valentine, Ursula Yovich and Adam Ventoura. Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse. 7 February to 3 March 2019

Disarming in its unpretentious frankness, Barbara and The Camp Dogs will make you laugh and have you cry.  It is bold, brassy, engagingly moving theatre with great songs.  It is just tremendous.

Having sold out in Sydney it is surely set to sell out in Melbourne.

DAD

By Isaac Powell, Jarryd Prain and Marshall Stay. Fringe World (WA). The Studio, The Blue Room, Perth Cultural Centre, WA. Feb 5-9, 2019

One of the most talked about shows at FringeWorld, this brilliant self-devised piece featured three grown men in onesies, a stageful of pillows and some of the most thoughtful theatre we will see this year, let alone at Fringe. DAD was a celebratory and extremely funny piece of theatre that also managed to hit hard and be incredibly moving.

A Prelude in Tea

The Spooky Men‘s Chorale. Independent Theatre, North Sydney. Sunday 10th February 3.30pm

What is A Prelude in Tea? It’s a series of Sunday afternoon concerts featuring afternoon tea and a music performed by some of Australia’s best and most exciting small ensembles, presented in the stately Independent theatre with its impressive acoustics. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend many of the 2018 concerts, but not once last year did I see the patrons crowding the foyer or spilling out onto the footpath and into the side lane as they did yesterday.

The Odd Couple

By Neil Simon. Tugun Theatre Co, Gold Coast. Director: Tracey Kriz. February 7th – 23rd, 2019

Neil Simon’s ever popular comedy The Odd Couple makes a welcome appearance for Tugun’s first offering of the season. This timeless script comes to life in the hands of the multi-talented Tracey Kriz and her all- star cast of well-known Gold Coast performers: Oscar, Dave Fraser; Felix, Chris Hawkins; Speed, Ian Lake; Murray, Rory Impellizzeri; Roy, Grant Ebbling and Vinnie, Graeme Stuckings. As the upstairs neighbours - the Pigeon sisters Gwen, Gai Byrne and Cecily, Pamela Payne, give a (much needed) breath of fresh air to the guys’ weekly poker games.

The Ides of March

By Kieran Bullock. Fringe World. Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den, Brisbane Hotel, North Perth, WA. Feb 8-13, 2019

This bizarre little time travel comedy sees William Shakespeare travel to Ancient Rome to witness the assassination of Julius Caesar. A madcap 39 Steps style performance sees 4 actors play dozens of characters, in an hour long show that never takes itself very seriously.

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