Reviews

The Grenade

By Tony McNamara. Sydney Theatre Company / MTC Production. Director: Peter Evans. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Nov 4 – Dec 12.

Lots of very unlikely things seem to happen to Busby McTavish.

The character  played by Garry McDonald finds a grenade in his living room, without any explanation as to how it got there, then even though there are children in the house decides to keep it in his lounge room.

His wife Sally, a former nun, is co-writing a trashy novel with a retired special commando – called Randy Savage – who has 12 positions of the karma sutra tattooed onto his muscled torso.

True West by Sam Shepard.

Director: Philip Seymour Hoffman. Set Designer: Richard Roberts. Costume designer: Alice Babidge. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Sydney. Nov 2-Dec 18, 2010.

Violence begins at home, as does the STC’s production of Sam Shepard’s True West. This modern fable of conflict between brothers updates the Cain and Abel tale and sets it in the kitsch kitchen of a bungalow in the sprawling suburbs of Los Angeles in 1980. Brenan Cowell plays Austin (Abel), a budding screenwriter, who has left his family behind in Oregon to stay at his mother’s house whilst she is away in Alaska. His older brother Lee (Cain), played to the hilt by Wayne Blair, drops by and visits havoc upon the lives of others.

My Name is Rachel Corrie

Edited by Katherine Viner and Alan Rickman from the writings of Rachel Corrie. fortyfivedownstairs (Vic) Nov 3 to 14.

My Name is Rachel Corrieis a play based on the diaries and e-mails of Rachel Corrie, a young woman with a passion for the Palestinian cause in the Gaza Strip, that led to her violent death whilst protesting. To create the play Katherine Viner and Alan Rickman edited Rachel’s writing, which in places contains sharp enigmatic poetic imagery and sensitive insights.  It was first produced at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2005.   

We Unfold. Sydney Dance Company

Artistic Director / Choreographer – Rafael Bonachela. Composer – Ezio Bosso. Video Art – Daniel Askill. Costume – Jordan Askill. The Arts Centre, Melbourne (November 9 - 13)

West Side Story

Music: Leonard Bernstein. Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Book: Arthur Laurents. BB Promotion/Ambassador Theatre Group/Bartner Group/Norman Tulchin/Lunchbox Theatrical Prods/David Atkins Enterprises. Director: Joey McKneely. Musical Director: Vanessa Scammell. Choreography: Jerome Robbins, reproduced by Joey McKneely. Opened: Lyrics Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane, 7 November 2010; Festival Theatre, Adelaide, December 30, 2010

West Side Story is the modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, set in New York City in the 1950’s. It is based around young protagonist Tony of the ethnically American gang the ‘Jets’ and Maria, sister to Bernardo, the leader of the ethically Puerto Rican gang known as the ‘Sharks’, and the forbidden love they share amidst a turf war fought between the two rival groups.

CABARET

Music: John Kander. Lyrics: Fred Ebb. Queensland Musical Theatre. Director: Deian Ping. Musical Director: Ben Murray. Choreographer: Roxanne Harding. Twelfth Night Theatre, Brisbane, 3 – 13 November, 2010

Queensland Musical Theatre’s production of Kander and Ebb’s classic musical Cabaret, set in Berlin at the dawn of the Nazi era in the thirties, is enjoyable theatre on many levels.

The Heartstring Hotel

In the newly opened Runcible Spoon (Vic). Directed by Jason Cavanagh.

The Runcible Spoon is a ‘hip’ addition to the stylish Owl and the Pussycat Gallery at 34 Swan Street Richmond – opposite the Richmond Station. Opening night was a busy, lively cosmopolitan, fashionable fringe arts affair.

The small, slightly claustrophobic, theatre space is the front upstairs room of a two story Victorian terrace with, on this occasion, little more than a, bay window size stage.

It’s My Party (and I’ll die if I want to)

By Elizabeth Coleman. Sherbrooke Theatre Company. Director: Bob Bramble

Ron Patterson calls his family together in Elizabeth Coleman’s It’s My Party (and I’ll die if I want to) to tell them he has been told by his doctor that he has only a couple of hours to live.

Measure for Measure

By William Shakespeare. Tropical Arts, Cairns. Director: Avril Duck. Oct 29 – Nov 6.

The Tropical Arts production of Measure for Measure opened last Friday with an energetic performance of Shakespeare’s comedy. Director Avril Duck gave the production an un-Elizabethan look by opting for Japanese costuming and stylized manga (Japanese comic book) movements. The result was an interesting production, acted on a simple set under effective lighting.

Anything Goes

By Cole Porter (and others). Gosford Musical Society . Director: Emmakate De Henau. Musical Director: Bryan Jiggins. Choreographer: Kate Pareaux. October 29 - November 14.

Though the programs and posters (and, presumably, the contract) say this is Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, in fact the marvellous Mr. Porter is responsible for only a minor percentage of the show’s content — say, 30%. His famous melodies and consistently brilliant lyrics continue to delight; it’s the other 70% that is the challenge.

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