Reviews

The Dark Inn

Niwa Gekidan Penino. OzAsia Festival. Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide. 3-4th October, 2017

Kuro Tanino, playwright, director, set designer and founding member of theatre collective Niwa Gekidan Penino, has brought his latest work to the Adelaide stage as part of the OzAsia Festival. Made for a Japanese audience, The Dark Inn is written in Toyama dialect. For those not familiar with the language, it is translated in English subtitles via large screens on either side of the performing space.

Calendar Girls

By Tim Firth. Pymble Players. Directed by Julia Griffith. 4th – 28th October 2017

Julia Griffith and her cast of eleven have taken on the many challenges of this play with confident enthusiasm. Apart from the difficult task of manipulating the “nude" scenes for the calendar shots, there are many scenes, many props and many costume changes. At Pymble, this involves some cooperative space sharing in wings that are not easily accommodating – while still sustaining characterisation and the continuity of the play. And they manage to clear these hurdles very well.

THE END

Keiichiro Shibuya & Hatsune Miku. OzAsia Festival. Dunstan Playhouse – 4 October, 2017

THE END by Japanese theatre artists Keiichiro Shibuya and Hatsune Miku is the ‘world’s first virtual pop opera’, and is simply amazing. This is new cutting edge theatre that is in a genre all its own – Vocaloid Opera – combining imagery and computer music without any human performers.

Six Degrees in Melbourne

Six short plays written and performed by Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. Directed by Elizabeth Walley and Alec Gilbert. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton, VIC. 3 – 15 October 2017

A portmanteau (as such things used to be called) of six short plays – each a two-hander, featuring in each a secret plus a tramline or a tram ride or a tram journey (‘I came by tram’) or a tram stop.  Like, say, Tropfest, the secret and the tram connection were the restrictions placed on the Melbourne Writers’ Theatre members.  The restrictions aside, the plays, it must be said, are of varying quality as is the acting of the casts – but it should also be said that the texts of some pieces would be challenging for any actor. 

Diamonds Are For Trevor

Writers: Phil Scott & Trevor Ashley. Brisbane Festival. Musical Director: John Foreman OAM. Concert Hall, QPAC. Friday 29 September 2017.

Nobody does it like Dame Shirley Bassey, but I have to admit that cabaret artist Trevor Ashley comes very close indeed. His latest foray into the world of “diva drag” pays tribute to the songs, frocks, sequins and big hair of the girl from Tiger Bay in Wales (UK).

Timon of Athens

By William Shakespeare. Symposium Productions. The Grandstand, Victoria Park/Pakapakanthi, Adelaide. 28 September-2 October, 2017.

The stories, characters, and themes put forth in the writings of William Shakespeare have endured long after the man’s death – and will surely continue to endure long after the death of anyone reading this – because they dramatize human frailties and human foibles that transcend the time in which his plays were first written and performed. On the other hand, Shakespeare’s language can prove daunting to modern audiences, so communication must be priority one for any company choosing to cast their lot with the Bard.

The Pirates of Penzance

By William S Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan. Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Sydney. Director, Victoria Watson. Musical Director, Rod Mounjed, Choreographer Sarah Pearce. Smith Auditorium, Shore School, North Sydney. September 29 – October 8, 2017

I must confess to being a G & S tragic, seeing most of the operas on many occasions.

I wanted to see this Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Sydney production for a number of reasons.

I had never seen a production by this group, which has been around for many years, not always with the same name. I also wanted to check out the Smith Auditorium, part of the Shore School in North Sydney.

Monty Python’s Spamalot

Book and Lyrics by Eric Idle, music by John Du Prez & Eric Idle. PRIMA (Qld). Directed by Miranda Selwood. Prima 29 Sept – 8th 0ct, 2017

This is a musical “ripped” off from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which was very popular for its innate absurdity. I was intrigued to see how the fight would be done where one combatant is left with no arms or legs but still wishing to fight on. Now that was all part of this musical adaptation with a large cast of diverse characters of the period King Arthur and his knights of the round table.

St Kilda Stories

Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. Studio 2, The National Theatre, St Kilda. September 26 – 30, 2017

Melbourne Writers’ Theatre is presenting three public performances: one in Studio 2 at The National Theatre in St Kilda and two at The Carlton Courthouse - Six Degrees in Melbourne from Tuesday the 3rd of October and The Melbourne Monologues from Tuesday the 17th of October.

I was lucky enough to catch the St Kilda Stories, presented at The National Theatre, and this bodes very well for the company’s next two offerings.

Stage Directions

Written & Directed by Aaron Evans. Ipswich Little Theatre. Incinerator Theatre, Ipswich. 20 Sep – 7 Oct 2017

The egocentricities of actors are picked apart in Aaron Evans’ new play Stage Directions, which is set during the rehearsal period of a professional Melbourne theatre company’s latest production.

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