Reviews

Rockabye by Joanna Murray-Smith

Melbourne Theatre Company. Directed by Simon Phillips; Set Design by Brian Thomson; Costume Design by Esther Marie Hayes; Lighting Design by Philip Lethlean; Composer/Sound Design by Peter Farnan. With Kate Atkinson, Betty Bobbitt, Daniel Frederikson, Pacharo Mzembe, Zahra Newman, Richard Piper and Nicki Wendt. Sumner Theatre, Melbourne until 20 September.

Theatre, like sex – or in the case of Joanna Murray-Smith's Rockabye, the lack of it – can be a profoundly disenchanting and one-way affair.

Nine by Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston

Shire Music Theatre (Sydney)

Shire Music performs up to four musicals a year – and is not afraid to dive into a repertoire of more eclectic works. This deserves commendation. Their production of Nine, based on the life of Italian film Director Federico Fellini, was well timed. The musical by Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston won a Tony in 1992 but has faded from the amateur circuit in recent years. All that will change soon when Nine is released as a feature movie (by the Director of Chicago) starring Daniel Day Lewis and Nicole Kidman.

Slava's Snowshow

Presented by Ross Mollison and David J Foster. Directed by Viktor Kramer; Designed by Viktor Plotnikov and Slava Polunin; with Jef Johnson, Derek Scott, Nikolai Terentiev, Yury Musatov, Gigi Vega Morales and Aeilta Vest; Sound by Roma Dubinnikov; Lighting by Sofia Kostyleva; Stage Technicians: Francesco Bifano, Dmitry Sereda and Vitaly Galich. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. Until August 30, then touring

Sometimes in the theatre, albeit all too rarely, magic can happen. Sometimes, when each and every theatrical element combines, the result is a perfect, fleeting moment of pure theatrical ecstasy. We recognise it instinctively – compelled to make sense of such welcome, but unusual, wonder. But never in my theatre-going experience, has magic happened as purely and simply (or as often) as it does within every riveting moment of Slava's Snowshow.

And The Cow Jumped Over The Moon by Mark Kilmurry

Ensemble Theatre, Sydney

Mark Kilmurry has gone for an out of the ordinary approach to creating new work with his latest play, And The Cow Jumped Over The Moon.

With this play Kilmurry has used the British auteur Mike Leigh approach to theatre making. This involves the writer/director working closely with the actors on developing the script whilst still maintaining his authorial stamp on the work.

The Boy Friend by Sandy Wilson

State Theatre, The Arts Centre, Melbourne (Vic). Director: Gary Young. Musical Director: David Piper. Choreographer: Andrew Hallsworth.

I had not seen a live performance of The Boy Friend and looked forward to this production. This was a bit different as it was set as a play within a play, the centre stage being the performing area with the dressing rooms on either side. Although you could see the actors moving in and out of dressing rooms while the main action was on stage, I didn’t find this distracting.

Saturn’s Return by Tommy Murphy

Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1. Until Aug 30.

After being a successful part of last year’s Wharf 2Loud program, the Sydney Theatre Company has promoted Tommy Murphy’s Saturn’s Return to its mainstage 2009 season, and is now playing a season at Wharf 1.

Aida by Giuseppe Verdi and Antonio Ghislanzoni

Opera Australia. Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House.

Opera companies across Australia have pooled resources to stage a new production of Aida with fresh choreography from Graeme Murphy. It premiered in Perth last year and Sydney was its second outing.

Barrie Kosky’s Poppea

Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House.

Sydney audiences currently have the opportunity to see Barrie Kosky’s Vienna’s Schauspielhaus production of Poppea which is playing a three week season at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House.

Cross by Stephanie Briarwood

Mudlark Theatre. Peacock Theatre, Hobart (Tas). Director: Carrie McLean.

Cross is an intriguing piece of theatre. Ostensibly, it is about two sisters, photographer Regina (Jane Johnson) and her kooky younger sister Erica (Emma Hardy), a puppeteer, on an epic trek. “Hot white lines and scorching rivalry: two sisters on the road-trip of a lifetime.” The journey they undertake across the vast Australian countryside, so Regina, a talented photographer can take pictures of an array of roadside shrines for an art exhibition is the “tool” for the exploration.

Life’s a Circus.

Presented by Magnormos Prompt! Musicals Program, Artistic Director/Producer: Aaron Joyner. Composer/Lyricist/Musical Director: Anthony Costanzo, Book by Peter Fitzpatrick, With Chelsea Plumley, Glen Hogstrom, Cameron MacDonald, Shannon McGurgan, Annabel Carberry, Vaughan Curtis, Stephen Williams. Directed by Kris Stewart, Choreography by Kate Priddle, Set Design by Christina Logan-Bell, Lighting Design by Lucy Birkinshaw, Sound Design by Lo Ricco Sound Studios. Theatre Works, St Kilda. Until August 15.

The alluring, hypnotic and contradictory world of ‘Circus’ has been excavated many times throughout the Music Theatre canon: Barnum, Carnival! … and the great grand-daddy of them all, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel – spring to mind. Cinema, too, has mined the artform’s layers of emotional, death-defying performance excess to (mostly) memorable effect.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.