Reviews

By a Thread

Adelaide Fringe Festival. One Fell Swoop Circus. The Peacock – Gluttony. February 17th – March 16th, 2019

By a Thread is a glorious mix of circus and modern dance. With special attention being made to the theatrical element of the performance, it showcases itself as an individual piece of storytelling.

Circus is not always performed in the traditional sense. In this production the focus is not only on the skills of the troupe, but on the relationships between the performers and this is precisely why the show is so special.

Parsifal

By Richard Wagner. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Richard Mills. Director: Roger Hodgman. Palais Theatre, St Kilda. Feb 20 – 24, 2019

It was a feast of Wagner in February with Victorian Opera performing Parsifal following Melbourne Opera’s The Flying Dutchman. This opera requires a large orchestra, and the Australian Youth Orchestra did themselves proud and gained valuable experience under artistic director Richard Mills. They received a standing ovation.

The set was quite bare, with little to indicate the various scenes, but the direction was never static and maintained interest.

Nell Gwynn

By Jessica Swale. The Stirling Players. Stirling Community Theatre, SA. 22 February – 9 March 2019

Jessica Swale’s comedy about the life of Nell Gwynn, the first female ‘star’ of the English-speaking theatre, was first seen at The Globe Theatre, London. This production transferred to the West End where it was a big ‘hit’, winning the 2016 Olivier Award for ‘Best New Comedy’. Subsequently, it has been performed in many places throughout the world. Finally, thanks to Megan Dansie and The Stirling Players, there is an opportunity to see this absolutely delightful play in Adelaide.

Shrine

By Tim Winton. Directed by Kayti Murphy. Melville Theatre, WA. Feb 15 - March 2, 2019

A successful directorial debut for Kayti Murphy, as she steers this beloved Western Australian play to a successful production at Melville Theatre, with obvious passion and drive.

A rather dark story, director and cast manage to find moments of light, in a production that showcases some strong performances. The audience do find that they need to listen carefully, as voices can be a little soft or “filmic”, especially when competing with the air conditioning. A challenge, as it is often a very reflective show.

Ministers of Grace – The Unauthorised Shakespearean Parody of Ghostbusters

By Jordan Monsell. Adelaide Fringe 2019. Emma Knights Productions and REDuck Producktions. The Parks Theatres, to 17 February to 2 March 2019

Whom wilt that call? A Shakespearean question from a legendary 1980s movie is the starting point of REDuck’s parody; even before we’re settled in our seats, this group from Norwich are strumming the theme tune on a lute and engaging the audience before the lights dim.

It’s a humorous premise: what if Shakespeare wrote Ghostbusters? It’s not as funny, though, stretched over eighty minutes, scene by scene of the entire movie.

Le Aerial

Adelaide Fringe. Aerial Artists Australia. Apollo Theatre at Adelaide Convention Centre. February 22-24, 2019

‘Quite spectacular’ would be the summation of Le Aerial.

Suitable for young and old, this show is a beautiful piece of circus theatre. Young acrobats with rippling muscles and taut bodies fly gracefully and powerfully high in the air, performing death-defying feats.

Mr Burns, A Post-Electric Play

By Anne Washburn; score by Michael Friedman. Lightning Jar Theatre. fortyfivedownstairs, Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 15 February – 10 March 2019

Anne Washburn’s thesis in her play is that in a post-catastrophe future, what people will hang onto and comfort themselves with will be their memories of television shows – or movies, or operetta or maybe theatre.  Not books.  Not even, from the evidence of this play, people’s own stories, the memories of their own lives, transmuted into ‘stories’.  Maybe that’s an argument worth considering, but must it be considered at such inordinate length? 

The Caretaker

By Harold Pinter. Throwing Shade Theatre Company. Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. Feb 21 – 23, 2019

Harold Pinter’s plays are multi-faceted; his characters multi-dimensional. Getting inside them, even before putting them on the stage, requires insightful study of the script and the complexities and tensions it reveals between the characters. Director and cast need to work closely together in this process, melding ideas that arise with the director’s vision – and the original intention of the playwright.

Judge Jackie: Disorder in the Court.

Book & Lyrics by Christopher Dimond. Music by Michael Kooman. Based on a concept by Van Kaplan. David Gauci & Davine Productions. Adelaide Fringe Festival. Parks Theatre, Angle Park. 20 Feb – 2 Mar, 2019.

A phenomenally talented (and tireless) cast of five performers - backed by a flexible and powerful trio of musicians - go a long way toward making up for a less-than-impressive script, overcoming/transforming so-so material to make Judge Jackie into a largely pleasing musical theatre experience.

Tosca

Adelaide Fringe 2019. Mopoke Theatre Productions. Clayton Wesley Uniting Church, Beulah Park. 19, 21, 23 February 2019

Mopoke Theatre’s production of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca (1900), with Italian libretti by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, is an absolutely charming and engaging new production, continuing Mopoke’s particular theatre aesthetic of performing opera in the most unlikely but accessible places.

For the 1hr and 40 minute edited and adapted version of this great romantic and tragic opera, they are performing in the Clayton Wesley Uniting Church, and very effectively too.

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