Reviews

The Illiad – Out Loud

Adapted by William Zappa. Sydney Festival. Belvoir Street Theatre. January 23 – 27, 2019

Celebrated Greek Australian actor William Zappa has been fashioning this nine hour marathon storytelling event for years.

He’s ploughed through multiple translations of Homer’s ancient epic poem about the Trojan War, the oldest surviving work of Western  literature, and delivers it in three three-hour parts with just four actors.

Grace

By Zachary Sheridan. Fringe World. Directed by Phoebe Sullivan. The Blue Room Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre, WA. 22-26 January, 2019

Graceis a new work from the team who presented last year’s award winning production, The Cockburn Incident. More absurdist than its older sister, but just as quirky, Grace deals with some very heavy issues including hoarding, mental health and the destruction of the environment, but remains funny despite its poignancy.

Wozzeck

By Alban Berg. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 25 to February 15, 2019

William Kentridge, South Africa’s renowned master of ink and charcoal animations, delivers us a visual and musical feast in his direction and astonishingly kinetic design of Alban Berg’s 1925 opera.  Not that poor Wozzeck himself gets many crumbs. 

Based on Buchner’s fragmentary play a century earlier – arguably the first major tragedy with a common man as its hero – the impoverished Wozzeck is bullied, exploited and taunted; and finally driven mad by the world’s cruelty, murders his unfaithful wife.

Melba

By Dawn Farnham. Fringe World (WA). Directed by Susie Conte. The Queen Room, Lady Beaufort, Beaufort St, Mt Lawley. Jan 27-Feb 10, 2019

Dame Nellie Melba became infamous for her many farewell tours. This production by Tempest Theatre for Lady Beaufort, as part of Fringe World, is set in an Australian dressing room, before one of Melba’s farewell performances.

A Midnight Visit

Fringe World (WA). The Old Girls School, East Perth. 22 Jan - 3 Mar 2019

A Midnight Visit is a site-specific interactive theatre piece, beautifully immersed into the Old Girls School. A unique theatrical experience, it combines the life of Edgar Allen Poe with a haunted girls school, in a choose your own adventure piece of theatre.

As you wander through three levels of the building, you will discover various elements of the story, meet a variety of characters - all beautifully acted, and visit a variety of locales, as you “journey to the edge of madness”.

Flawed____like a b_

Written by BJ McNeill. Devised by Claudia Subiela Ferre, BJ McNeill, Sven Ironside & Gabriella Schmidt. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton. 23 – 27 January, 2019.

This biographical piece is based on the experiences of growing up in Australia and identifying as gay. Much like the content that is discussed in this play the imagery of Flawed is daring and frequently confronting. The performance involves a combination of dance, stylised movement and a monologue delivered predominantly by McNeill.

The Violent Years (1956)

Adapted and directed by Rachel Kelly. Fringe World (WA). The Blue Room, Perth Cultural Centre. Jan 18-26, 2019

The Violent Years (1956) is a campy, all female musical based on an Ed Woods Film, playing at The Blue Room. Gorgeously sung, it is an 'in your face’, aggressive piece, that never takes itself seriously.

Paula is a wealthy, capable A student who is ignored by her parents. In retaliation she forms a girl gang who rob gas stations, rape men and trash their school as they sing 50s rockabilly to riot girl rock.

Sweet Charity

Music: Cy Coleman. Lyrics: Dorothy Fields. Book: Neil Simon based on Federico’s Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria. Understudy Productions. Co-Directors: Kris Stewart and Maureen Bowra. Music Director: Shanon Whitelock. Choreography: Dan Venz. Brisbane Powerhouse. January 24 – February 10, 2019

What a blast this was! A classic 60s Broadway musical, a score of showstoppers, and at its centre the most electrifying performance we’re likely to see this year.

Man With The Iron Neck

By Ursula Yovich. Legs on the Wall / Sydney Festival. Sydney Opera House Drama Theatre. Jan 23 – 26, 2019

For most of us, suicides are inexplicable, that utter hopelessness incomprehensible. This moving part physical theatre work from Legs on the Wall and writer/performer Ursula Yovich begins by first listing half a dozen recent teenage Aboriginal suicides.  

Then we meet Mum Rosa (Yovich) living with her boisterous twins, and their best mate Ash, in a country town, but haunted by a Dad who hung himself from the tall gum still there onstage.  

Antony & Cleopatra

By William Shakespeare. National Theatre Live, from the Olivier Theatre, Southbank, London. Cinema Nova, Carlton VIC, and at participating cinemas nationally from 2 February to 6 February 2019

In this contemporary set production of one of Shakespeare’s late and most complex, layered and contradictory plays, Ralph Fiennes plays Antony as an already fading playboy.  The erstwhile war hero, in his mind responsible for young Caesar’s power, teeters on the brink of over the hill, trading on his past glories, drinks too much, getting a little porky, silver threads in beard and hair – and sexually obsessed with Sophie Okonedo’s quicksilver Cleopatra.  She is skittish, imperious, girlish, peremptory, sensual, cold, impulsive, calculating, uninhi

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