Reviews

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

By Jeffrey Archer. 1812 Theatre (Vic). 25th May to 17th June, 2017.

In Jeffrey Archer’s play Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Sir David Metcalf finds himself accused of the willful murder of his terminally ill wife. After an overwrought courtroom scene, we see Sir Metcalf locked in an extensive legal struggle with his adversary, Anthony Blair-Booth QC. The audience is lead to believe that this is the end for Sir Metcalfe, as his former housekeeper claims to have witnessed the fatal act, and testifies against him.

Rumors

By Neil Simon. WWLT. Directed by Shea Wicks. The Peninsula Theatre Woy Woy. May 26-June 11, 2017

''I was going through some difficult times,'' Neil Simon says. ''This marriage I was in was breaking up. My daughter's husband was killed in an automobile accident. It seemed like rough going. And I said I wanted to work, because work is always a cathartic process for me, and I thought it would be really good just to get into a comedy.''

Doubt: A Parable

By John Patrick Shanley. Apocalypse Theatre Company, in association with Red Line Productions. Directed and produced by Dino Dimitriadis. Old Fitz Theatre. May 10 – June 3, 2017.

A fascinating, compelling production by Apocalypse Theatre Company - 90 minutes of dramatic explosions of inner turmoils and emotions by an excellent cast.

Shrine

By Tim Winton. Kin Collective. Fortyfivedownstairs. 24 May – 18 June 2017

Tim Winton’s Shrine is a play about grief.  How grief is experienced differently by different people; how grief can mask guilt or be poisoned by it; how grief can be driven by anger and blame; and how grief can be simply an aching emptiness. 

2071

By Duncan Macmillan and Chris Rapley. The Seymour Centre, Sydney, in association with the Australian Theatre for Young People. Director: Tim Jones. 27 May – 10 June 2017

We were expecting a good ‘talking to’, a resume of the facts of climate change, and how the year 2071 was going to be The Big One. Only 54 years to go! Lawks, we huddled together in the Everest Theatre and prepared for the worst.

Instead, here was the excellent John Gaden in the role of Professor Chris Rapley delivering a 72-minute lecture on the subject, carefully tiptoeing through a maze of detail. Ever alert to the dangers of overstating his case, the Professor couched his words carefully. 

Slap Talk

By Action Hero. Arts House, North Melbourne. 11 am to 5 pm, Sunday 28 May (only) 2017

Two performers (Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse) are six hours on stage.  They speak at each other – and often past each other – but not to each other.  They speak into cameras and they read from auto-cues (so they don’t have to remember six hours of text).  We can see them, on stools or advancing toward or retreating from their cameras, stage right and stage left.  We can see their faces in Close-Up or Extra-Close-Up on monitors down stage.  Their ‘dialogue’ begins as a heightened version of two boxers, pre-fight, attempting

Bugsy Malone

By Paul Williams and Alan Parker. Hills Musical Theatre Company (NSW). May 26 – June 3, 2017

The Hills Musical Theatre Company have produced a fun piece of theatre, performed by a strong cast of 44 teens under the direction of Jan Mahoney and her team.

Set in New York and Chicago from the early 1920's un 1931, the musical centres around our narrator Bugsy Malone, a boxing promoter with no money, and two mob gangs headed by Dandy Dan and Fat Sam.

One and the Other

Devised by Batton & Broadway.  Performed by Debra Batton and Sue Broadway. La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond St, Carlton. 24 May – 4 June, 2017.

The work of Batton & Broadway is informed by numerous years of experience in cabaret, circus, dance and physical theatre. This production has an extremely subversive edge with a bittersweet flavour. The performers share thoughts and experiences related to their long careers as entertainers, which have clearly had both high and low moments.

Matilda the Musical

Book by Dennis Kelly. Music and Lyrics by Tim Minchin. Based on the book by Roald Dahl. Presented by The Royal Shakespeare Company and Louise Withers, Michael Coppel and Michael Watt, with Chokey Productions, Just for Laughs Theatricals, Glass Half Full Productions, Paula Marie Black, Greenleaf Productions and Michael Lynch. Adelaide Festival Centre. May 21-July 16, 2017

Matilda the Musical is marvellous…a magical, mad and unexpectedly moving experience that tugs at the funny bones and heartstrings of adults and children alike.

Matilda is an entrancing story of childhood resilience and rebellion and is currently in Adelaide in the final stages of its Australian tour.

Disney’s Mulan Jnr

Music and Lyrics by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel, Stephen Schwartz, Jeanine Tesori and Alexa Junge. Book Adapted (and additional lyrics) by Patricia Cotter. Stirling Players (WA). Directed by Fran Gordon. Stirling Theatre, Innaloo, WA. May 26 - June 10, 2017

Stirling Players’ Disney’s Mulan Jnr is a delightful and fun production. A visual treat than oozes charm, it features a very likeable team of 10 to 14 year-olds

Tiana Aitken is a wonderful find in the title role, delivering a very centred performance in her theatrical debut. Ella Simpson is dynamite as little, dragon side-kick Mushu, stealing scenes and singing beautifully. Sebastian Cruse is charming as commanding officer and love-interest-of-sorts Captain Shang, sporting a very new tenor voice.

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