Reviews

Evie May

Book and Lyrics by Hugo Chiarella. Music and Lyrics by Naomi Livingston. Hayes Theatre, Sydney. Directed by Kate Champion. October 12 - November 18, 2018

When the lights go up on this new Australian musical, there’s a sense of maturity - Sydney’s Hayes Theatre is now producing premieres of variety and accomplishment rarely seen in this country before. Evie May, a fictional story based around the long-gone Tivoli vaudeville circuit, is a complex work that starts slow and is not always successful. But when it hits its stride, this show nails it. Some of the music and writing is superb - and it’s given the best start possible with a brilliant production.

Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam

Adapted by Steve Rodgers from the novella by Peter Goldsworthy. National Theatre of Parramatta. Riverside Theatres Parramatta. October 18- 27, 2018

Playwright Steve Rodgers, who adapted this story by Peter Goldsworthy for the stage, says this play “is about love and grief”. Director Darren Yap describes it as a “deeply moving story … full of pain and full of love, where family is everything.” It is all of this – and more – and, as such, it is a play that requires tenderness and understanding, sensitivity and compassion.

Andrew O'Keefe "Shouts" Johnny O'Keefe

Palms at Crown Melbourne. 19 & 20 October 2018.

The life and music of the legendary Johnny O’Keefe (JOK) are energetically revived with candour and humour by his nephew Andrew O’Keefe. This show highlights the monumental importance of Johnny O’Keefe as Australia’s first true rock ‘n’ roll star.

Matt & Ben

By Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers. Oily Rag Theatre. Back to Back Cabaret Festival, Star Theatres. October 20th and 26th, 2018

Arriving at the theatre knowing only that I was to see two female actors in a play about how Matt Damon and Ben Affleck came to write Good Will Hunting, I was totally unprepared for what ensued.

Re-member Me

By Dickie Beau. Melbourne International Arts Festival. Arts Centre Melbourne. October 17 – 21, 2018.

 

To be or not to be? That is the question.

Re-member Me is a fabulous new show by Dickie Beau. It’s a complex techno love affair with a handful of famed actors in their sometimes notorious and always memorable performances as the Prince of Denmark.

Rusalka

Cirque Nocturne. Back to Back Cabaret Festival. Star Theatres, Hilton. October 19 & 27, 2018

Rusalka is an interesting exploration of mermaids throughout the world, their history and impact on modern day folklore. The different incarnations of mermaids are interspersed with circus acts using the theme, glitter and scales of mermaids.

The actual story of Rusalka is the last of the stories. It is the tale of a young woman who had died in or near a river and would return as an undead. She was not invariably evil, and could die in peace if her death was avenged.

Otello

By Rossini. Melbourne Opera. Athenaeum Theatre. October 17 – 27, 2018

Rossini's retelling of Otello centres firmly around Desdemona, who acts as the moral heart of the opera. In this version she is secretly married to Otello, and has been wronged by her father, who gave her love note and lock of her hair to Rodrigo, supposing him to be the object of her affections. He promises her to Rodrigo; and both men are encouraged in this by Iago, who is himself a rejected suitor.  

How the Other Half Loves

By Alan Ayckbourn. Galleon Theatre Group. Domain Theatre, Marion Cultural Centre (SA). October 18-27, 2018

Ayckbourn is a self-professed social commentator of his time. His plays reflect that he is a keen observer of people. Two of his favourite themes, marriage and social class, form the framework of How the Other Half Loves. Written in 1969, this play, in fact, is known to have secured his success as a playwright. Ayckbourn himself commented, "I like to deal in the basics – marriage; it's so tragic and comic, you know - the things people can do to each other. Or the way the rich and the poor do things.”

A Ghost in My Suitcase

By Vanessa Bates, adapted from the novel by Gabrielle Wang. Barking Gecko Theatre. Melbourne International Arts Festival. Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse. 3 – 21 October 2018

Celeste (Alice Keohavong), a French-Chinese Australian girl, travels to China to scatter the ashes of her mother at the mother’s birthplace.  In China, Celeste stays with her grandmother, Por Por (Amanda Ma) and Por Por’s adopted daughter Ting Ting (Yilin Kong), a girl Celeste’s age and grumpy at this intruder.  But Por Por is a ghost hunter, a kind of exorcist, and Celeste will overcome her Aussie scepticism and her fears and discover that she is a ghost hunter too.

One Infinity

Melbourne International Arts Festival. Malthouse Theatre. October 12 – 20, 2018

One Infinity is a truly visceral experience!

A project that began in Bejing roughly three years ago has finally come to fruition - a music connection sparked between Genevieve Bailey, who is an Australian recorder virtuoso, and Wang Peng, a master of the gugin (ancient Chinese string musical instrument).

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