Reviews

The 39 Steps

Adapted by Patrick Barlow. Townsville Little Theatre. PIMPAC, Townsville. 24 - 27 July, 2019.

ANY resemblance to John Buchan’s 1915 novel, the Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 spy drama - or any of the subsequent film versions - is purely coincidental. Simply put, it turns the entire thriller genre on its head.

Last Words

Written, devised and performed by Joseph Sherman. Directed and devised by John Bolton. La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street Carlton. 24 July – 4 August, 2019.

Joseph Sherman shares a deeply personal experience and transforms his fascinating and tragic family history into an engaging theatre piece. The story of his parents’ escape from the Soviet era of Jewish persecution and making their way to Australia is brilliantly brought to life with the aid of vibrant and very telling family photos.

This Wide Night

By Chloë Moss. Green Light Theatre. The Burrow, Fitzroy. 17 – 28 July 2019

Marie’s been out of gaol a while, got herself a job – or says she has – and a one room flat.  And then bloody Lorraine shows up.  Marie sort of knew she would once she was out, and sort of knew that once Lorraine was back with her, it’d be bloody hard to get rid of her…

Henry IV - Part One

By William Shakespeare. New Farm Nash Theatre. Directed by Jason Nash. July 12 – August 3, 2019

Of all Shakespeare’s many plays, the historical ones of the English Kings are probably least known and understood by the modern audience – they are never taught in schools. Thus, this was a very welcome chance to see one such play. Set in the early fifteenth century when the king of England often came to the throne by means other than hereditary, conflict is an underlying feature but not necessarily the centrepiece of the action.

Shakespeare in Love

Adapted from the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard by Lee Hall. Melbourne Theatre Company. Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse. 15 July – 14 August 2019

The story of a young Shakespeare with writer’s block; he falls in love and comes up with Romeo and Juliet.  If you saw – and probably loved – the much awarded 1999 movie, the plot is about the same – and this sumptuous, no-expense-spared production moves about as fast.  It’s anything for a gag as the aim here is fun – with many jokes, especially theatrical in-jokes, plain old jokes and slapstick – satire and a touch of romance.

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare. Bell Shakespeare. Directed by James Evans. Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne. July 17 – 27, 2019 and touring.

Perfectly timed and tuned to lift us out of our relentless grey Melbourne winter doldrums – Bell Shakespeare’s - Much Ado About Nothing is a must see production.  Sadly the Arts Centre season is a very short stop off in the early stages of a National Tour.  So if you want to see it in Melbourne you will need to be quick.

The Great Symphony

Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Simone Young. Viola: Nils Monkemeyer. QSO. Concert Hall, QPAC. 20 July 2019.

Cheers and prolonged applause greeted Simone Young’s return to the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in an eclectic but complementary program of classical music that featured Schubert’s Great Symphony, Bartok’s Viola Concerto and the Australian premiere of Brett Dean’s Notturno inquieto. Young, dynamic on the podium, always manages to bring out the best of the QSO who respond to her with performances of warmth and weight and skilled musicianship.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

By Dale Wasserman. Adapted from the novel by Ken Kesey. Directed by Alex Lanham. Brisbane Arts Theatre. June 22 – July 20, 2019.

Do you remember the movie of many years ago? Well, this brings it alive before our eyes with a good cast in an absorbing production. It is told through the eyes of Chief Bromden, part Indian, who has been in this mental institution for ten years while pretending to be both deaf and unable to speak. The title comes from the last line of a nursery rhyme he was told as a child. The patients are submitted to depraved, humiliating control by Nurse Ratchet who does not hesitate to use shock treatment or a lobotomy, not to cure but to completely dominate and terrorise the patients of the ward.

The Real Inspector Hound

By Tom Stoppard. Theatre on Chester, Epping NSW. July 19 – August 10, 2019

Written in the early 1960s, The Real Inspector Hound satirises the theatre critics of the time – of which he was one – and the melodramatics of Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries. Mercifully, the verbose critics of the post war newspapers that Stoppard lampooned are long gone, and though some critical jargon and cliché still survives, I’ll try hard to avoid it.

Maps and Journeys: Navigating by the Sky

Southern Cross Soloists & QPAC in association with Queensland Music Festival. QPAC Concert Hall. 21 July, 2019

It’s easy to hear why the Southern Cross Soloists are considered one of Australia’s leading chamber orchestras. Maps and Journeys represents yet another show in which the group both enlightens and entertains with great technique and passion.

This performance took the crowd on a journey through a program of music and oratory themed around the rich wayfinding traditions of our first nations people, compared with the European navigational techniques. Both cultures find common ground in the use of stars and constellations in finding our ways to our destinations.

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