Reviews

The Colour of Glass by Gabrielle Macdonald

La Mama, Carlton. Wednesday, 14 April 2010

I have been told that people change every seven years. We do not choose our new personality, our new path and our new goals, but unknowingly arrive at the other end a different person. “J” in Gabrielle Macdonald’s The Colour of Glass (the characters are unnamed in the programme) had a clear, definitive image of her new persona, but her life was cut violently short just as her dream was realized.

Candy Man.

Kermond Creative, Her Majesty’s Theatre (Adelaide) until Sunday 18 April, then Sydney (7 - 9 May) and Melbourne (16 - 27 June).

One local musical theatre performer planned to avoid Candy Man. He thought it wrong for a white man to play a black man. But Candy Man isn’t a dramatized version of Sammy Davis Jr’s life; it is – in Wayne Scott Kermond’s words – “a homage.” In 1986, Kermond had a role in Guys & Dolls. After the show, Davis came to the green room and said to Kermond: “We need young cats like you, to take over from old cats like me.”

Codgers by Don Reid

Steady Lads / Christine Dunstan Productions. Touring.

Set in Gerry’s Gym, this is the sometimes heartwarming, sometimes saddening but always poignant tale of five ex-military men and their weekly workout session. Starring Ronald Falk as Keith, Ron Haddrick as Jimmy, Edwin Hodgeman as Les, Russell Newman as Patrick and Shane Porteous as Rod, the five reminisce and cajole each other over an effortful work out consisting of lunges, marching, squats, coffee and Salada biscuits - usually retiring to the biscuits and coffee long before any workout has truly been undertaken! Each have their own troubles and fixed beliefs.

Calendar Girls by Tim Firth

John Frost. Lyric Theatre, Brisbane, then Theatre Royal, Sydney, and Comedy Theatre, Melbourne

Calendar Girls opened its eastern capitals tour in Brisbane after a blaze of titillating advertising. It lives up to its promise. This is a show full of heart and laughs. A real life event prompted a popular movie. Subsequently the principal screen writer, Tim Firth, adapted it for the stage. The action focuses on six of the original eleven Women's Institute members who posed for the calendar prototype.

The Walworth Farce by Enda Walsh

Druid Theatre, Ireland / STC. Sydney Theatre. April 14 – 24.

Druid Theatre Company Theatre can be fabulously deceptive! For a short time as I watched the Druid Theatre Company’s acclaimed The Walworth Farce, I wondered, “Am I watching accomplished actors, acting very badly?” Suddenly, briefly, a switch threw the action into reality, and it became clear that this was playful, absurd manipulation of classic farce form, adding a dark underlying Irish subtext.

Fox

Monkey Baa and Siren Theatre Co. Director Kate Gaul. From the book by Margaret Wild. Composer: Daryl Wallis

“Do you know what betrayal is? It’s when a friend does something that’s not very nice.” As I took my seat at the Seymour Centre, the mother sitting next to me said this to her two young sons. She was telling them about part of the story we were about to see, Fox by Monkey Baa theatre.

When He Was Famous (Life in the Fast Lane?) by Seth Robinson

Canberra Dramatics. Directer: Trevar Alan Chilver. Tuggeranong Arts Centre. April 8 - 17

When He Was Famous is a production running during National Youth Week. Canberra Dramatics is known for its support of young people interested in theatre, and this production has involved people principally aged between 15 and 25. It is a credit to their application, talent and diligence that this play has worked well. Patrick C. Moonie plays Robert J. Taylor, also known as Robbie, an actor of considerable reputation both in his acting and in his private life. He maintains the character’s charm despite the things that Robbie has done.

Blackbird by David Harrower

23rd Productions & La Boite Indie. Roundhouse Theatre (Qld). April 7 to 25.

If you like your theatre to be a cosy, entertaining evening, with coffee and a pleasant chat with friends after, this is not the play for you. On the other hand, if you like to be engaged and challenged, to have your moral preconceptions dissected and examined in the space of little more than an hour, then Blackbird is. You’ll leave the show aching to discuss personal and social morality aspects of child abuse, and a need to be reprogrammed convincingly on the issue.

The Hatpin by James Millar and Peter Rutherford

Amateur Premiere. Riverside Lyric Ensemble. Lennox Theatre, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. Until April 17.

Riverside Lyric Ensemble’s production of Australian musical The Hatpin is in the higher echelon of Sydney amateur musical theatre, in terms of both production values and performances. It is a clean, polished, no-frills production, with a cast balancing some of the best ‘old hands’ on the circuit with exciting, less familiar talents.

Ruby Moon by Matt Cameron

Pantseat Productions. The Playhouse, Newcastle. March 4 to 6

The anguish of the young wife in Ruby Moon is evident from the time her husband arrives home from work and tries to give her an affectionate kiss. She resists, pulls away, and says “How do we do this again?” The pair’s six-year-old daughter, the title character, disappeared several years ago while going to the other end of their cul-de-sac suburban street to visit her grandmother and they are still trying to come to terms with the loss.

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