Reviews

Manus

By Leila Hekmatria and Keivan Sarreshteh. Adelaide Festival 2019. Verbatim Theatre Group (Iran). AC Arts Main Theatre. 7-10 March, 2019

Manus by the Verbatim Theatre Group from Iran is a harrowing but extremely important work of ‘political theatre’.

Manus relates the stories of 8 Iranian refugees, detailing their journey from Iran to respective Australian detention centres in Nauru, Manus Island, and Papua New Guinea. It is told in Persian with subtitles projected on the back of the stage, as well on a beam in the ceiling for those sitting at the back of the auditorium.

M: Kaddish for the Children

By Deborah Leiser-Moore. Footscray Community Arts Centre. 28 February – 9 March, 2019

M: Kaddish for the Children is a truly unique personalized response to the story of Medea, presented as part of ‘Woman, Art & Politics 2019’, Footscray Community Arts Centre.  

Ancient Greek Euripides’s play Medea, first produced in 431 BC, was based on the myth of Jason and Medea.  Daughter of a barbarian king, Medea defies her family to marry Jason.  A soothsayer and sorceress, she helps him gain the magic Golden Fleece. 

Next To Normal

Music by Tom Kitt. Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey. Directed by David Harrison. Brisbane Arts Theatre. February 23 – March 23, 2019.

Am I normal? Or next to normal? This challenging musical play posed these questions in such a way that the audience came to understand more of the mental illnesses we all can face. It centres on the Goodman family, with mother Diana suffering from worsening bipolar and depression and the devastating effect this condition has on her family. Her drug treatment has not worked and then she tries the rather dubious shock therapy recommended – but to what effect. The other family members display the effects that such an illness can have on the loved ones nearest to the sufferer.

By Heart

By Tiago Rodrigues. Adelaide Festival. Teatro Nacional D. Maria II. The Odeon Theatre 5 – 10 March, 2019

By Heart is a tender, delicious, funny, intimate and pleasing performance, written and performed by Tiago Rodrigues. He tells us stories that connect and resonate with the audience in the same way a piece of music enfolds an audience in its sound and the experience of seeing something beautiful spellbinds all who witness it.

This is a simple story at heart. It is a love story about the love of a Grandson for his Grandmother and her love of literature. It is also a performance about connections that are strange and wonderful, challenging and awe-inspiring.

Two Jews Walk into a Theatre……

Adelaide Festival. Odeon Theatre. March 6-10th, 2019

Devised and performed by Australians Brian Lipson and Gideon Obarzanek and directed and choreographed by awarded Adelaide choreographer, Lucy Guerin, Two Jews Walk into a Theatre … challenges the very nature of theatre and of our strongly held beliefs and preconceptions.

Romeo & Juliet

By William Shakespeare. Presented by The Australian Shakespeare Company. Rippon Lea House and Gardens, 192 Hotham St, Elsternwick. 4 - 21 March, 2019.

This is an ambitious project which shows great vision in terms of how Shakespeare should be approached in outdoor locations. The production uses the historic home as an exceptional backdrop and makes good use of some staging and lighting techniques to capture the mood of the play and to highlight the magnificence of the location. The balcony scene was particularly impressive and allowed unusual aspects of the text to be drawn out. This made the scene larger than the life while retaining its intimacy.

Judas

World Premiere. Adelaide Fringe. STARC Productions in association with Smokescreen. Mainstage at Bakehouse. March 5-16, 2019

It is no coincidence that this production of Judas is supporting Amnesty International Australia. The play’s message is as old as the biblical times that inspired it; that of individuals whose rights and very being are destroyed in times of war and political unrest. Holding up a mirror to our world and times, we see the biblical parable, the story of Christ, paralleled with our modern world and times.

Wellness

By Ella Arendelle. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. March 4 – 9, 2019.

Wellness is part of the One Act Play Festival currently on at the Butterfly Club.

Ella Arendelle along with her fellow cast members offer a series of comical vignettes that explore body image. The stories appear improvised and centre on fragments of daily life where polite people are confronted by situations that cause them to behave in ways, so as to not appear offensive.   

A Man of Good Hope

2019 Adelaide Festival. Young Vic and Isango Ensemble. Royalty Theatre, Adelaide. 5-11 March, 2019.

Another wonderful night at the theatre at the 2019 Adelaide Festival with the musical adaptation of Jonny Steinberg’s biographical A Man of Good Hope. This modern African musical sometimes felt like an opera, mainly due to the sheer majestic power, range and depth of the beautiful and glorious singers and performers from the Isnago Ensemble, South Africa.

Scotland!

Adelaide Fringe. The Latebloomers. The Gallery, National Wine Centre. March 4-17, 2019

Having Scottish ancestry and a deep love of that wild country, I arrived at The National Wine Centre not knowing exactly what to expect. What did happen was just over an hour of guffawing, tears rolling down my face!

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