Reviews

Barbara and The Camp Dogs

By Ursula Yovich and Alana Valentine. Songs by Alana Valentine, Ursula Yovich and Adm Ventoura. Director Leticia Caceres. A Belvoir Production. Queensland Theatre, Billie Brown Theatre Brisbane . May 1 – 24, 2019.

What an interesting, intriguing and absorbing play this really is. We follow the path of discovery - really re-discovery – of indigenous singer Barbara, who is singing with her band The Camp Dogs at some lowly gig  as she seeks out close family in Darwin and then Katherine. She is joined by sister Rene, also a singer, on the long motor bike trip. This was not only about the physical distance travelled but the even longer emotional one as they go back into the past of their family life and their people’s history.

Theatresports All Stars: Battle of the Champions

Enmore Theatre. May 6, 2019

Competition across the ages was buzz-word for this impro extravaganza. Theatresports veterans from the heady days of the 1980s teamed up with, or were pitted against, some of the bright young things that are making their mark on the twenty-first century impro circuit … and other stages. Together they battled for the ‘Championship’ title in a series of impro games that stretched the imagination – and the discerning eyes of the judges, led by another veteran David Poltorak.

A View from the Bridge

By Arthur Miller. Directed by Chris McLean, Heidelberg Theatre Company. 36 Turnham Ave, Rosanna. May 3 – 18, 2019.

Eddie Carbone (Mark Tregonning) is a down to earth wharfie working hard on the New York docks to provide for his family.  He is dedicated to his wife Beatrice (Catherine Christensen) and her niece Catherine (Ruby Duncan), whom he has raised as his own daughter. The idea of aiding relatives from their home country is portrayed as a genuinely altruistic act which is indicative of the kindness and compassion that the family shows towards each other and their community.

Don Giovanni

By Mozart. Co-Opera. Thomas Edmonds Opera Studio (SA). May 4-16, 2019 and touring.

Co-Opera is well known for supporting new talent and taking opera to regional and remote places. The company’s production of Don Giovanni is no exception, travelling from Adelaide to places such as Dubbo, Penola and Roxby Downs.

Tales of An Urban Indian

By Darrell Dennis. The Talk is Free Theatre (Canada). Yirramboi – Tomorrow Festival (Melbourne), May 3 – 5, 2019 and Anywhere Festival (Brisbane), May 10 – 19, 2019.

Tales of An Urban Indian is part of the Yirramboi – Tomorrow Festival running from May 2-12 around Melbourne, celebrating two thousand generations of continuous culture and practice. The Talk is Free Theatre production from Canada is celebrating milestone shows and in Australia for the first time, begin their tour in Melbourne for the biennial First People’s Festival.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

By Tennessee Williams. Sydney Theatre Company. Roslyn Packer Theatre. April 29 – June 8, 2019.

Tennessee Williams prescribed fastidious detail for the Mississippi mansion at the dark heart of his play about a privileged family living in lies and hidden contempt.

Kip Williams with designer David Fleischer sweeps it away for the empty stage he so often prefers, except for an island of mixed period, mirrored furniture. It outlines the sexless bedroom of the favoured son, Brick, a sports star turned drunk, and his frustrated wife, Maggie.

When the Rain Stops Falling

By Andrew Bovell. WAAPA’s Third Year Acting Students. Directed by Peggy Shannon. The Roundhouse Theatre, WAAPA, Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, WA. May 3-9, 2019

Andrew Bovell’s intricate and poignant family drama is presented by WAAPA’s Third Year Acting Students, and designed, built and crewed by WAAPA Production and Design students. A wonderful showcase of talent and an excellent telling of this sad and disturbing, but ultimately uplifting play.

Told in non-linear form, we travel through four generations of one family, and learn how a terrible event during the 1960s can continue to effect future generations. Beautiful handling of sensitive material in an expertly crafted presentation.

Cosi

By Louis Nowra. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 30 April – 8 June 2019

As the program tells us, Louis Nowra’s 1992 Cosi is ‘performed around the world… and is produced by between 20 and 30 amateur companies every year in Australia’.  Seeing it again after many years, we can see why.  Despite being – probably – politically incorrect (laughing at the disabled?) – the play is, first, very funny.  Mr Nowra makes us care about his mental patients without any pussy-footing sentimentality.  Second, it has heart: a group of misfits with disabilities overcome those disabilities and come together to

Bonachela / Nankivell / Lane

Sydney Dance Company. Directed by Rafael Bonachel. Canberra Theatre. 2–4 May 2019.

Bonachela / Nankivell / Lane, performed by Sydney Dance Company, comprises three works, each by a different choreographer: Neon Aether, by Gabrielle Nankivell; Cinco, by Rafael Bonachela; and WOOF, by Melanie Lane, the three being set to music composed respectively by Luke Smiles, Alberto Ginastera, and “Clark” and danced by members of Sydney Dance Company.

 

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Music and Lyrics by William Finn. Book by Rachel Sheinkin. Conceived by Rebecca Feldman. Roleystone Theatre. Directed by Stephen Carr. Armadale District Town Hall, Armadale, WA. 3-11 May, 2019

Roleystone Theatre, currently homeless while their iconic home theatre undergoes restoration and re-building, have created a 2019 season designed to attract audiences, while they perform “away from home”. Unfortunately - despite the fact that this is a production of superb quality - the audiences are yet to find them.

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