Reviews

Make Me a Houri

By Emina Ashman. Directed by Stephanie Ghajar. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton VIC. 25 July – 4 August 2019

Make Me a Houri dramatises powerful conflicting emotions, profound ambivalence and contradiction – and does so in beautifully written language that is vivid, sharp and poetic. 

Biloxi Blues

By Neil Simon. Castle Hill Players. Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill. July 26 – Aug 17, 2019.

When he died last year, Neil Simon left a legacy of 49 plays, many of which he adapted for the screen. Funny, heart-warming, just a little flawed, his characters and their stories were a perceptive insight into Twentieth Century America – and won him more Tony and Oscar nominations than any other writer. His plays have been called “painful comedies” because of Simon’s ability to find something funny in serious situations.

Zoom

Patch Theatre Company. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. 27 Jul – 10 Aug, 2019.

Sometimes a reviewer is fortunate enough to feel as though they may have witnessed some kind of unprecedented breakthrough in theatrical imagination through technology. Zoom is indeed one of those occasions, and the brains behind this show can truly be said to have conjured up something that felt like magic.

Die Fledermaus

Music by Johann Strauss II, German libretto by Karl Haffner and Richard Genee, English libretto freely adapted by Robert Ray. Directed by Robert Ray; Musical Director Alan Cook. Gilbert and Sulliivan Opera Victoria orchestra and chorus, Melbourne. Opening Night – July 26, 2019.

Die Fledermaus is such a well-known property that GSOV were able to draw on the Gilbert and Sullivan tradition of tweaking a production, and set the operetta in turn-of-the-century Vienna, which allowed for attractive Art Nouveau sets and costuming.

Robert Ray's freely-adapted libretto is fresh, funny and often charming, avoiding the usual clunkiness of English settings of foreign-language works.

Catch Me If You Can

Book by Terrance McNally. Music by Marc Shaiman. Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman. LPD and Hayes Theatre. July 19 - August 18, 2019.

At the heart of this musical is a cracking story about a precocious teenager who was an Olympic Gold medal standard thief. Frank Abagnale Jnr was world class when it came to forging cheques, impersonating a pilot, pretending to be a paediatrician, escaping from custody and passing a bar exam (which he did by studying not cheating), all before he had left his early twenties.

Trivial Pursuits

By Frank Vickery. KADS. Directed by Anita Bound. KADS Town Square Theatre, Kalamunda, WA. July 19 - Aug 3, 2019

KADS have been suffering some financial pressure of late, after a third party ticket provider has absconded with the proceeds of one of their productions. It is somewhat ironic that this play, Trivial Pursuits, features an amateur operatic company in severe financial peril. The show was chosen well before KADS current woes, but I am sure that the cast could empathise with their characters’ situation.

Come From Away

Book, music and lyrics by David Hein and Irene Sankoff. Produced in Australia by Junkyard Dog Productions and Rodney Rigby. Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. Opening Night – July 20, 2019.

This extraordinary new musical is based on the real-life experience of the inhabitants of the tiny Newfoundland town of Gander.  Home to a once-massively-busy airport used for refuelling planes crossing the Atlantic, the townsfolk of Gander's "ordinary" day in the number "Welcome to the Rock!" (where we meet the mayor, the local policeman, the head of the local school and various other town stalwarts engaged in their daily morning ritual) in the first scene is thrown into chaos with the impending arrival of plane after plane diverted there after an "acciden

Pomona

By Alistair McDowall. Directed by Gary Abrahams. Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre, East St Kilda. 6 July – 11 August 2019

Pomona goes deep into a nether world that may or may not be real (and you’re never quite sure) but it is nightmarish enough.  A world of pain from which there seems to be no escape.  A world which young, naïve Ollie (Mona Mina Leon) tentatively enters, searching for her missing twin sister.  Slimy, reptilian Zeppo (a rigorously maintained persona by Dion Mills) warns her not to get ‘involved’.  He owns most the property around there, but he asks no questions, applies no standards; he will not get involved.  The concept of getting

A View from the Bridge

By Arthur Miller. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Iain Sinclair. 18 July – 24 August 2019

Imagine all the trappings of theatrical reality gone: the desk, the sofa, the pictures on the walls – everything. Here is a production of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge stripped to the very bone, with a setting that consists of a black wall, one chair, a light switch and a wooden floor. There’s no complex lighting or sound plot, and the cast have one costume apiece. Believe me, it works a treat. 

The Young King

Written by Oscar Wilde, adapted for the stage By Nicki Bloom. Directed by Andy Packer. Produced by Slingsby Theatre Company. Presented by QPAC. Cremorne Theatre, 23 – 27 July, 2019

Immersive theatre, it’s so hot right now. The Young King brings Oscar Wilde’s delightfully anti-establishment fairy tale to life for the audience in an imaginative and unique way.

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