Dividing the Estate

By Horton Foote. Red Phoenix Theatre. Holden Street Theatres. August 22 – 31, 2019

Award-winning playwright the late Horton Foote is most notably remembered for his screenplay for To Kill a Mockingbird, however he is also responsible for many fine plays that explore the human condition. Writing from experience and taking inspiration from people he met through his youth, he has often been compared to Chekhov for his ability to capture the spirit of what it means to be human.

Co-founder of Red Phoenix Theatre and Director of this black comedy, Libby Drake has assembled a cast of 13 to bring it to life…or death, however you wish to look at it.

The Wolves

By Sarah DeLappe. Directed by Emily McLean. The Blue Room Theatre, Perth, WA. Aug 20 - Sep 7, 2019

Red Ryder Productions’ The Wolves is an exciting and vibrant show, with a cast of ten amazing women. One of the best shows at The Blue Room this year, this Pulitzer Prize finalist story of a teenage girls’ soccer team, is gorgeously acted as we follow the team through a series of pre-game warm-ups.

Sunday in the Park with George

Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by James Lapine. Watch This. Southbank Theatre, The Lawler. 21 -24 August 2019

Fans – or should I say devotees?

Jasper Jones

Adapted by Kate Mulvany, from Craig Silvey’s novel. State Theatre Company of SA. Dunstan Playhouse. 16 Aug- 7 September, 2019

Jasper Jones, Craig Silvey’s much loved Australian novel, has been captured for the stage beautifully by Kate Mulvany. In this production by the State Theatre Company of SA, director, Nescha Welk weaves a thought-provoking tapestry amid a standing forest of towering eucalypts.

West Side Story

Music: Leonard Bernstein. Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Book: Arthur Laurents. Opera Australia, GWB Entertainment and BB Group. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Opening Night: Tuesday August 22, 2019

William Shakespeare borrowed the family feud scenario from a sixteen-century story and called it Romeo and Juliet. Arthur Laurents raised the bar by re-setting it in mid-twentieth century New York. Leonard Bernstein shifted the bar even higher with a score that conjured the pulsing throb of discontent. And Stephen Sondheim conceived lyrics that picked up that throb and let the plot soar.

Reasons To Be Pretty

By Neil Labute. Director Hannah Kassulke. Brisbane Arts Theatre Playing August 18 – September 24.

This play, with a cast of only four, delves into human relationships on various levels of intensity. Added to this are the questions of what constitutes beauty and what is true love. Connections between the play’s two couples disintegrate over the answers to these questions, along with a lack of trust and knowing when to keep the mouth shut. Perhaps it is, in many ways, a mirror of how we all handle the often difficult decisions to be made between the ideals of relationships and the reality of the everyday world.

New Constellations

Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra. City Recital Hall. August 18, 2019

In the beautiful setting – and wonderful acoustics – of the City Recital Centre, the orchestra warmed a wintery afternoon with the music of Mendelssohn and Brahms. It was a pity that there were not more in the audience to share music composed in a time when romance and the emotions were so much more important in the arts and literature.

A Midnight Visit

Broad Encounters. At 222 Macauly Street, North Melbourne. 30 July - 13 October 2019

It’s a bit daunting and scary entering the A Midnight Visit space. But it is well worth taking the challenge of delving into the tortured life and macabre works of Edgar Allen Poe.  Brought to us from Perth and Sydney and presented by Broad Encounters, it’s a real treat to ‘suspend one’s disbelief’ and venture into the dark unknown.  

Managing Carmen

By David Williamson. Lane Cove Theatre Company. August 16 – 31, 2019

In his more recent works, David Williamson writes satirically in short grabs that move two-dimensional characters swiftly in an out of different settings. Even in professional theatre, making plays such as this work requires tight direction, snappy action, quick lighting changes and carefully rehearsed operation. Thus ‘managing’ Williamson is not something to take lightly. Whilst the dialogue might be amusing and the one-liners funny, a good satire depends on theatricality, timing and continuity.

Golden Shield

By Anchuli Felicia King. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 12 August – 14 September 2019

The play begins with a request from the Translator (Yuchen Wang): ‘Concentrate.’  Good advice since Golden Shield is a complex and demanding but also a very rewarding play.  Its ending is not ‘feel good’, but it is clear: something morally complex has been dramatised for us and it may be grim, but it is satisfying. 

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