Reviews

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.

Hotel

Wild Rice – OzAsia Festival. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide. 28 to 30 Sept, 2017

Comedy, pathos, singing and dancing, with more than just a touch of history, all meld together seamlessly to make the masterpiece that is Hotel.

Set in the iconic hotel Raffles, Hotel traces the history of Singapore between 1915 and 2015 in 11 episodes or scenes.

At 5 hours, Hotel is played in 2 parts – Part 1 contains 6 scenes (1915 to 1965) and Part 2 contains 5 scenes (1975 to 2015).

Julie

By Holly Brindley. Presented by Foul Play. Noel Lothian Hall, Adelaide Botanic Gardens. September 29 to October 14, 2017.

Why and how do you re-imagine a classic of its period? Holly Brindley took on this challenge, commissioned by Foul Play, and has written the best new version of Miss Julie I have seen or read.  Julie comes alive, becoming relevant for audiences in this new production. Once again Strindberg’s creation has the power to engage and challenge an audience.

The 39 Steps

Based on novel by John Buchan, Adapted by Patrick Barlow. Directed by Kurt A. Lurps. Mousetrap Theatre Company, Redcliffe. September 29 – October 14, 2017.

The original novel, The 39 Steps, was full of murder, mystery and intrigue and those aspects were emphasised in Alfred Hitchcock’s film, but the play has germinated into a comedy/thriller, with the emphasis on the comedy. That was particularly so in this production – the audience did not stress out over the numerous murders but rather almost laughed themselves to death.

Death Match

Created by Katrina Cornwell (director), Morgan Rose (writer), Cody Baldwin (assistant director), and the cast: Stephen Amos, Rebecca Catalano, Elly D’Arcy, Aleeah Gabriel, Earl Marrows & Ursula Searle. Monash Centre for Theatre & Performance and Malthouse Theatre. Malthouse Theatre, The Tower, Melbourne. 29 September – 7 October 2017

Death Match is about competition and winning – winning at whatever the cost.  Here, sport is the metaphor – or the stand-in, so to speak – for any form of competition.  The callisthenic exercises we see on stage, however, are not a test of skill but of fitness, body type (i.e. luck), will-power and endurance.

Hay Fever

By Noël Coward. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 23 September – 28 October 2017.

Noël Coward’s Hay Fever is a play that has ‘no plot and… few if any witty lines’ – or so said the critics at the play’s first production in 1925.  And yet here it is, in yet another of its many revivals, often played by stellar casts, and including at least three versions for television. 

The Clean House

Written by Sarah Ruhl. Stirling Players (SA). Directed by Kevin Burrett. Stirling Community Theatre. 22 September – 7 October 2017.

The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl follows five people who are trying to manage their lives and remain sane in the process. There is Lane, Josephine Pugh, who is the highly organised and successful doctor who hates cleaning but who needs a really clean house. Her sister Virginia, Jenny Penny, finds a reason for living through cleaning. Mathilde, Andrea Freitas, is on a quest to devise the funniest joke in the world and although employed as a cleaner by Lane, hates cleaning.

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