Reviews

Twelfth Night

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Dr Miles Gregory. Pop Up Globe, Crown Casino Perth, WA. Oct 9 - Nov 23, 2019

Pop Up Globe has arrived in Perth for a six week season. The brainchild of New Zealander Dr Miles Gregory, the season of four plays, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is played in a pop-up recreation of Shakespeare’s second Globe Theatre, which has sprung up in the grounds of Crown Perth.

Relative Merits

By Barry Lowe. Directed by Porter James. Les Solomon/Lambert House Enterprises. The Butterfly Club, Carson Lane, Melbourne. 7 – 12 October 2019

In his program note, director Porter James says he wants to ‘tell [this] story today to continue the education for the younger generation on how far the gay community has come, and how we evolved into the LGBTI community of now’.  This production is a revival – and I suspect something of a reworking?

The Nutcracker

Choreographer: Peter Wright. Composer: Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The Australian Ballet. Adelaide Festival Theatre. October 8-12, 2019.

The Australian Ballet’s production of Peter Wright’s The Nutcracker is a superbly detailed and stupendously performed delight. This is a delicious treat for the upcoming festive season; traditional, but still with plenty of unexpected surprises that pop up like shining coins hidden in a rich Christmas plum pudding.

The Mikado

By WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Sydney. Smith Auditorium Lyric Theatre, Shore School. October 4 – 13, 2019

Entering a performance by the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Sydney is unlike any other amateur company in Sydney. You settle into your seat in the very posh Shore School theatre and look into the pit. There are members of the orchestra as far as the eye can see. I lost count when I got past 30.

Under the baton of Rod Mounjed the melodies of Arthur Sullivan were polished and sparkling.  As for the words, well that is a different matter. Wordsmith Melvyn Morrow was commissioned to write some updates.

An Intimate Evening with Faith Prince

QPAC & Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. 4-5 October 2019

This week Faith Prince has been in Brisbane giving master classes to the Griffith University Musical Theatre students, and this show was a master class in how to construct a cabaret act. With an impressive resume which includes a Tony award for her role of Adelaide in the 1992 Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls, the eclectic collection of songs was mixed with some amusing anecdotes from her career.

Black is the New White

By Nakkiah Lui. Melbourne Theatre Company presents a Sydney Theatre Company Production. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 2 October – 6 November 2019

Christmas – that joyful time of family and togetherness we spend with people we didn’t choose and would rather not, when antipathies and resentments erupt and when hangovers of different kinds ensue.  Thus, the potential Christmas contrived by Nakkiah Lui in her play, which brings together two families, one indigenous – the Gibsons - one white – the Smiths - each with their own secrets, delusions and entrenched prejudices.

Wonders

Scott Silven. Melbourne International Arts Festival. Spiegeltent – at Arts Centre Melbourne. 5 – 20 October 2019.

Wonders is an exciting opportunity to witness a charming young mentalist, Scott Silven, in action.  It is great fun chance to ‘wonder’ about possibilities, to suspend disbelief and feel a bit vulnerable at the thought of your secret thoughts rising to the surface and being revealed to others.  Or indeed to expose yourself to one of those hairy opportunities where you might be chosen to be part of the show.

High Performance Packing Tape

By Branch Nebula. Melbourne International Arts Festival .Arts House - Meat Market. October 1 -6 2019

High Performance Packing Tape is proper festival fare.  It is ‘out there’, experimental and risky.  At first it feels dull and abstemious and elicits a sense of weary cynicism but slowly it builds, with a dogged sincerity, and, transporting the audience, it ends on a high evocative note.

I Feel Fine

Written and directed by Zachary Sheridan. The Blue Room Theatre, Perth, WA. Oct 1-19, 2019

I Feel Fine is a service at the Church of the Anthroposcene, a place to repair our relationship with the world. This production, by performance collective ‘public service announcement’, is an opportunity to repent for humanity's effect on the world, in this era when humans have become the most dominant force on the planet.

Austen Tayshus: Never Again

Produced by Bondi Theatre Company. Bondi Pavillion. October 5, 13 and 24, 2019

Like so many, I saw a number of Austen Tayshus shows in the 80’s in pubs and clubs where you would leave drenched in sweat and feeling like you had just done 9 rounds of cage wrestling with Andre the Giant and a Grizzly bear. The latest offering by Austen Tayshus at the Bondi Pavillion still leaves you battered and bruised but dying for more.

Austen Tayshus (aka Sandy Gutman) is a performer like no other. This is not a show comprised of mundane observational gags nor is it simply vulgar, crass humour. 

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