Reviews

4Seasons

Devised by Expressions Dance Company and City Contemporary Dance Company (Hong Kong). Choreographed by Natalie Weir, Dominic Wong and Kristina Chan. Rehearsal Directors Bruce Wong, Sally Wicks and Lizzie Vilmanis. Presented by Expressions Dance Company, City Contemporary Dance Company (Hong Kong) and Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Playhouse Theatre QPAC, 14 – 22 June, 2018

A truly magical cross cultural collaboration of contemporary dance was presented on the Playhouse Theatre stage this month. The show was the result of months of teamwork between the highly regarded Expressions Dance Company from Australia and City Contemporary Dance Company from China. Three amazing choreographers created work with the dancers from both companies on the theme of ‘four seasons’.

Gloria

By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 16 June – 21 July 2018

Gloria begins as an ‘office comedy’, but it goes so much darker and deeper.  It is rich in contemporary issues and themes, integrated so skilfully and so entertainingly that things never get preachy and it is only by the play’s end that its full, sobering import registers.

Winter Soulstice

2018 Adelaide Cabaret Festival Closing Gala. Artistic Director – Ali McGregor. Festival Theatre. 23rd June 2018

In her swan song as Artistic Director, Ali McGregor did a fine job in assembling a cast of incredibly talented performers to wrap up the Adelaide Cabaret Festival for 2018 with a closing gala, Winter Soulstice.

Having scouted the cabaret world for artists, McGregor made special mention of the fact that there were more South Australians in this year’s line-up than any other year.

Verve

The Australian Ballet. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. June 21 – 30, 2018

I’m never sure how much I will enjoy an evening of modern dance, even or perhaps especially when it comes from The Australian Ballet.  However, some of my favourite moments of contemporary dance have come from these programs.  Verve brings together three works that seem at once well matched and disparate.

The Kingfisher

By William Douglas-Home. St Luke’s Theatre Society. Direction: Gary O’Neil. St Luke’s Church Hall, Tarragindi, Qld. 22-30 June 2018

St Luke’s Theatre pulled a rabbit out of the hat with their production of William Douglas-Home’s The Kingfisher. Thanks to a fine cast and good direction this gentle comedy, although dated, satisfied its target audience. A prolific playwright, Douglas-Home’s name was a fixture on West End billboards of the sixties and his upper-class drawing-room comedies became a staple of the community theatre circuit.

The Events

By David Greig. Black Swan State Theatre Company. Directed by Clare Watson. Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. 21 June - 8 July, 2018

Claire is an Anglican priest who leads a Community choir. The Events shows us what happens to Claire after a terrible experience, as she attempts to understand what happened and come to terms with the experience.

Catherine McClements plays Claire with depth and passion, an interesting character who has many layers and is the show’s compelling force.

Hiro - The Man Who Sailed His House

By Humphrey Bower and Samantha Chester. Directed by Samantha Chester. The Studio, The Blue Room Theatre, Perth, WA. 19 June - 7 July, 2018

In 2011, Hiromitsu Shinkawa survived a Tsunami by riding on the roof of his house for three days, before being rescued, many miles out to sea. This essentially solo story, presented as HIRO - The Man Who Sailed His House is a truly collaborative work, involving the talents of many creatives who have combined to tell this sad, but beautiful story. 

Dead Air

By Tom Reed. Bitten By Productions. Directed by John Steven Erasmus and Ashley Tardy. Lighting Designer: Megz Evans. Bluestone Arts Space – 8A Hyde Street Footscray. 14 – 23 June 2018

Appealing to a smart young and vibrant audience, Dead Air, presented at the Bluestone Arts Space by Bitten By Productions, has all the hallmarks of an engrossing story that has been put together with clever care and precision by some inspired, up and coming theatre makers.  It was certainly worth catching.  (Apologies for not being able to get this response online sooner due to extenuating personal circumstances.)

Nosferatutu…or Bleeding at the Ballet

By Tommy Bradson. A Critical Stages and Virginia Hyam Production. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Banquet Room. 22-23 June 2018.

Kevin is having a bad day…a very bad day.  Having been in love with the ballet his whole life, Kevin got himself a ticket to see the one-man Swan Lake.  But Kevin’s night doesn’t pan out quite the way he envisaged when, rather than simply enjoying the show, Kevin is compelled to ‘enjoy’ its star (Brandyn Kaczmarczyk)…with his teeth. You see Kevin is 437 years old, as old as ballet itself, and all his life he has dreamt of being a dancer.

The Merry Widow

Music: Franz Lehar. Libretto: Victor Leon & Leo Stein. English Translation: Justin Fleming. Opera Q. Director/Choreographer: Graeme Murphy. Queensland Symphony Orchestra conductor: Vanessa Scammell. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 22-30 June 2018

The Merry Widow was written in 1905 during the heyday of operetta and is one of the few titles from that age that are still produced in modern times. The reason is simple – Lehar’s ravishing score. It’s a classic of the genre and it’s the musical element that most excites in the new Graeme Murphy production which was commissioned by The Opera Conference.

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