Reviews

Spamalot

Book and Lyrics By Eric Idle. Music by John Du Prez. Bankstown Theatre Company. Directed by Simon Fry. Musical Direction by Ian Buchanan. Choreography by Lauren Butler. Bankstown Arts Centre. November 10 – 19, 2017

What can one say about Spamalot, except that it is totally ridiculous, as one would expect from a Monty Python idea. This musical, “lovingly ripped off” from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail, does great justice to the craziness of the genre, and this production by Bankstown Theatre Company lovingly embraces the whole idea.

The Carnival of Lost Souls

Presented by Platonic Music. The Space: Dunstan Playhouse (SA). Friday 10 November To Saturday 11 November, 2017.

The Carnival of Lost Souls is a macabre yet rather engaging piece of ‘circus theatre’ in the spirit, if not scale of Cirque du Soliel. The setting for the rather loose narrative that involves desire, betrayal and revenge, is an old gothic 19th Century Music Hall.

Season's Greetings

By Alan Ayckbourn. Galleon Theatre Group. Domain Theatre Marion. November 1-11, 2017

The lead-up to Christmas is a time of mixed feelings. Depending on one’s circumstances, a blend of delight and dread can be the prevailing mood.

Gert and Bess

By Barry Dickins. Theatre iNQ, South Townsville. World Premiere. Nov 9 – 19, 2017

As the audience streams in to the theatre, two old women are sitting on the stage in a typically 1950s kitchen – featuring a wooden table, a Kooka stove and an ancient Kelvinator refrigerator. What follows is a spirallingly surreal conversation which covers their lives, their ideals, death, children, their increasing loss of mind and memory and one of the funniest and most tragic shows you will ever see.

Nineteen

Written & Directed by Shane Pike. Wax Lyrical Productions. Brisbane Powerhouse. 9-12 Nov 2017.

Shane Pike’s Nineteen is the second in a trilogy of plays exploring masculinity in young Australian men. This world premiere performance was brutally honest and frequently confronting.

Constructed from real-life stories gathered over several years, the play specifically focuses on four young men who are all living together in a share house. They swore on oath at 11 to be best friends forever but at 17 cracks are starting to show in the friendship.

Three Sisters

By Anton Chekhov, adapted by Andrew Upton. Sydney Theatre Company. Director: Kip Williams The Drama Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company. 6 November – 16 December 2017

There is much that is familiar about Andrew Upton’s reworking of Three Sisters at The Drama Theatre, and much that is profoundly strange. There are the sisters alright — Olga Prozorov, at 28 the eldest, a provincial school teacher; Masha, short tempered, disappointed in marriage; Irina, youngest and desperate to return to Moscow and taste true freedom. But the time is Now, or thereabouts, not the 19th century. Duels can no longer be picked and fought. The town’s garrison doesn’t march out of town to a jaunty band.

Spring Awakening

Music by Duncan Sheik. Book & Lyrics by Steven Sater. Based upon the play by Frank Wedekind. Directed by Hayley Horton. Stirling Community Theatre, Stirling. November 10-25, 2017

Looking back over their incredible 45-year history of putting on shows in South Australia (which is detailed in an exhaustive list at the back of the program for their latest production), one thing that the Hills Musical Company deserves to be praised for is their willingness to take risks in choosing material.

Chicago

Music by John Kander. Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse. Fab Nobs Theatre Inc. 33 Industrial Place, Bayswater (Vic). Oct 27 – Nov 18, 2017.

Welcome to the 1920’s era of booze, jazz, murder, greed, corruption… (well, you know the rest! Jazz hands!).  

For their final season of the year, Fab Nobs present Chicago, a musical that requires all performers to be triple threats in order to maintain the fervent musical numbers and stylized flair of the script.

She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange

By Amelia Roper. Kings Cross Theatre. October 20 – November 11, 2017

Amelia Roper’s play is aptly set on the intimate KXT stage. Here the audience can watch the characters closely, read their facial expressions, feel the tension of silent insinuations and react to them … more often than not in wry smiles and embarrassed laughter. Yet this is not just a funny play. I wish I had been able to see it earlier in the run to let people know how well it has been written, directed and performed.  =

The Testament Of Mary

By Colm Toibin. Director Anne-Louise Sarks. Lighting and Co-Set Design Paul Jackson. Composition and Sound Design Steve Toulmin. Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse Theatre. 3-26 November, 2017

The Testament Of Mary is a cheerless, emotionally demanding monologue centred on the world’s most iconic woman, Mary the mother of Jesus Christ. Mary has always been a loaded figure, contrived to propagate The Church’s impossible model of The Ideal Woman. Here Coln Toibin reimages Mary, brilliantly rendered by Pamela Rabe, throwing all prior assumptions under the proverbial bus.

 

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