Reviews

Chronic

By Milton [sic]. Directed by David Sweeney. La Mama Explorations. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton, VIC. 22 – 24 November 2017

With Chronic, playwright Milton – no other name supplied - combines such elements or ideas as alien creatures, consumerism, sexuality, September 11 (an inside job?), a mad scientist in a wheelchair, Stanley Kubrick, the movie 2001 – A Space Odyssey, the (faked) moon landing, filial loyalty and a warning that ‘They are coming’ (this list may be incomplete) all in a swirling, farcical mishmash of a show. 

Bread Crumbs

Devised & performed by Ruby Johnston & Benjamin Nichol. Poppy Seed Theatre Festival. Meat Market Stables, North Melbourne. 21 November - 2 December 2017

Ruby Johnston and Benjamin Nichol burst onto the stage as Gretel and Hansel, dressed in picture book garb.  Within seconds they shift the familiar fairy tale into different territory and a different time.  The language is contemporary – and it’s not that of ‘innocent’ children.  They’re not lost in a forest, exactly, but they’re lost.  Or are they?  They are traversing some outer-urban landscape – a mall is mentioned, some waste ground… 

Lost: 5

By Daniel Keene. Illumi-Nation Theatre. Director: Michelle McNamara. Composer/Sound Designer: Mbyro (Matt Brown). 22 November to 3 December, 2017

More excellence from this years eclectic and cleverly situated Poppy Seed Festival.  This time the venue is south of the Yarra at St Martins Theatre.

The Irene Mitchell studio, with its natural brick wall, is the perfect venue to infer the atmosphere of a street for five probing monologues relating to homelessness by Daniel Keene.  Keene is a Melbourne playwright, deeply engaged with social issues and whose work was most prolifically staged in Melbourne in the mid 1990s. 

The Caretaker

By Harold Pinter. Throwing Shade Theatre Co.The Playhouse, Actors Pulse, Redfern. 22 November-2 December 2017

Throwing Shade Theatre’s production of The Caretaker, directed by Courtney Powell, is true to Pinter’s portrayal of three damaged and deluded souls that come together, each cast member bringing their own persona to the script, and life to Pinter's lively dialogue.

Never a dull moment, and fast paced, the characterisation was excellent.

The Jungle Book

Based on the stories by Rudyard Kipling. Darlington Theatre Players. Directed by Shelly and Luke Miller. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. Nov 17 - Dec 9, 2017

Shelly and Luke Miler’s directorial debut, for Darlington Theatre Players, is a lavish production with a cast of 33. Not an easy task for a first community theatre show.

The look of this show is amazing. Owen Davis’ set is a stand-out, featuring an impressive, climbable tree with peepholes for people and puppets, as well as lovely portable set pieces - including a village of huts, Monkey City and Pride Rock, all with fabulous attention to detail. Marjorie De Caux’s costumes, both human and animal, are Indian influences and lovely to look at.

Carmen In Concert

Music: Georges Bizet. Libretto: Henri Meilhac & Ludovic Halevy, Vesselina Kasarova, Thiago Arancam, Adrian Timpau. Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Conductor: Alondra de la Parra. Queensland Opera Chorus, Voices of Biralee, Queensland Ballet Guest Dancers. Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Concert Hall, QPAC. 25 Nov 2017.

Carmen, the world’s most popular opera, was a good choice for the Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s final 2017 Gala. Performed as a concert, it was a bells-and-whistles grand affair with a Children’s Chorus, the Opera Q Chorus, guest dancers from the Queensland Ballet, students from Lisa Gasteen National Opera School, and three acclaimed international artists making their Australian debuts in principal roles - indeed, a surfeit of riches.

Vivid White

By Eddie Perfect. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 18 November – 23 December 2017

Eddie Perfect’s musical is an adventurous romp, a satire on the obsession with ‘owning your own home’ in the overheated property market.  In the show’s dystopian future, there are ‘owners’ areas’ complete with armed guards to keep the renter riff-raff out.  But the show is also a satire about satire.  Just what is satire?  Is it necessary?  Empowering?  And can it save the world?

desert, 6.29 pm

By Morgan Rose. Dramaturg Tom Healy. Developed through Red Stitch’s INK new playwriting program. Red Stitch, Actors’ Theatre, East St Kilda, Melbourne. 14 November – 14 December 2017

A bloke in a work shirt, outside in his garden, belts out a song into the ‘microphone’ of his garden hose.  Inside, a tired woman comes home from work and lapses into a detailed-but-romantic private sexual fantasy… until her prickly, depressed daughter walks in.  They’re all expecting the son for the weekend…  Like old times.  He’s moved out (escaped?), but he will turn out to live in his own world too. 

 

Brideshead Revisited

By Evelyn Waugh. Adapted to the stage by Roger Parsley. Directed by Rob Croser. Independent Theatre. Goodwood Theatre, Adelaide. 17-25 November, 2017.

Displaying the resourcefulness and intelligence that are hallmarks of Independent Theatre’s literature adaptations, Brideshead is revisited upon us in the form of a stage version that seems certain to satisfy fans of the source material, though it may strike newcomers and/or agnostics as a period piece that does not quite break out of its time or place to become as relevant for modern viewers as it would like to be.

Night Slows Down

By Phillip James Rouse. Produced by Don’t Look Away Theatre Co and bAKEHOUSE Theatre Co. Director: Phillip James Rouse. Kings Cross Theatre, Sydney. 17 November – 9 December 2017

Here’s a play about the drowning of a capital city via Global Warming hurricanes, the mass shooting of workers and the end of civilisation as we know it. It runs for 75 minutes and has but three characters, one of which is in custody (‘arrested and detained pending further investigation’) for most of the action. This is a first play from excellent director Phillip James Rouse so let’s forgive him his Orwellian excesses. It’s pretty good.

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