Reviews

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The Australian Ballet, with Orchestra Victoria. The Arts Centre Melbourne. 8 – 22 June 2019

Tonight was the 50th performance of Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Opening in Oxford in 1862, this balletic adaptation of the famous novel sticks closely to its original text. Alice, played by Principal Artist Ako Kondo and her sisters (Jill Ogai and Karen Nanasca) are being entertained by Lewis Carrol himself (Adam Bull). One by one the guests arrive for a party most played by Principal Artists.  It’s beautiful to be sure and promising of some wonderful dance to come.

Pride and Prejudice

By Helen Jerome. Based on the novel by Jane Austin. Redcliffe Theatre, Queensland. Directed by Madeleine Johns. June 7 – June 16, 2019

Let’s go back into the past and follow the family relationships as every possible trick is used to find husbands for the three Bennet girls – Jane, Elizabeth and Lydia – as daughters could not inherit any of the estate. Success for a young lady was to be married and here their mother is obsessed with the task. The novel was written during the Regency Era in 1813 and this gives the modern audience the opportunity to witness a view life of a time so very different from our own.

Cloudstreet

Adapted by Nick Enright and Justin Monjo from the novel by Tim Winton. Malthouse Theatre. May 6 – June 16, 2019

This feat of theatre is epic and audiences are ‘loving it’.   It is exquisitely staged, clever and entrancing.

Tim Winton’s story is about two young families, the Pickles and the Lambs, who share a ramshackle house, as their children grow and lives change in the decades after WWII.  Some aspects of each family develop and some disintegrate.  It is a much-loved work and a favorite Australian novel of many.

Ms Lisa Fischer with Grand Baton

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse. 7-8 June, 2019

One of the highlights of this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival is the legendary Ms Lisa Fischer performing with the band Grand Baton. Both are individually well known, having successfully collaborated with other major artists such as the Rolling Stones and Louis Vega. When performing together, however, they are known for creating musical magic, their individual artistry complementing each other and working harmoniously as one.

Taxithi – An Australian Odyssey

By Helen Yotis Patterson. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Space Theatre, 7th and 8th June, 2019.

Taxithi is an enthralling homage to the wave of Greek migrants who arrived in Australia in the 1950’s and 60’s, in particular to those strong women who sailed here with heavy hearts and spent a lifetime yearning for their homeland, their loved ones and their Hellenic identity.

Helen Yotis Patterson has skilfully written a heartfelt piece of verbatim theatre and fused it with moving pieces of Greek folk music, or rebetika, which was popularised during the period that the Greek migrants become an indelible part of our Australian society. 

Megan Mullally and her band Nancy and Beth

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide, 9 June 2019; Elizabeth Murdoch Recital Hall, June 1 & 13; Sydney Opera House, June 16; QPAC, June 19.

Nancy and Beth is the creation of Megan Mullally (from Will & Grace) and Stephanie Hunt (Friday Night Lights), a singing and dancing duo reviving and restyling songs old and new. Their harmonies are sublime, their choreographed dancing is beat-perfect – and together, it’s hilarious.

All My Sons

By Arthur Miller. National Theatre Live. The Old Vic and Headlong. Cinema Nova. 15 – 19 June 2019. And at other participating venues.

In this intimate, beautifully acted production, Arthur Miller tells his story of 1947 America through a mid-Western family, the Kellers, and their neighbours.  Set two years after the end of WWII, it tells of individualism versus community, of the ruthless ethos of ‘winning and ‘success’ at any cost, of idealism versus hard-headed pragmatism, of the big lie in plain sight and of the rationale of the of ‘family’.  You might go to see this because it’s a venerable if ‘old’ play, or because it stars Sally Field, Bill Pullman and Jenna C

The House is Live

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The Thebarton Theatre. Friday 7 June, 2019

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2019 kicked off with a ‘gala’ event entitled The House is Live, directed by Craig Ilott. The highlights of this ‘gala’ were truly magnificent but not all was well.

Shadowlands

By William Nicholson. Directed by Helen Ekundayo. Presented by Villanova Players. The Ron Hurley Theatre. 8 - 23 June, 2019

This philosophical work covers a short span in the life of author and theologian C.S. Lewis. Set in 1950s Oxford, we see the conservative and chaste Christian man Lewis’ unlikely romance with an American Jewish divorcee and fellow writer, Joy Davidman. They have a keen, intellectual bond, but set-in-his-ways bachelor Lewis is too inexperienced with the fairer sex to take the relationship past friendship.

Drive

By Rebecca Meston. Theatre Works, St Kilda (VIC). 6 – 15 June 2019

Based on the true story, so the program tells us, of ex-astronaut Lisa Nowak who drove fourteen hours non-stop from Houston, Texas, to Orlando, Florida, to confront – or kill? – her ex-husband’s lover.  In the car’s back seat, she carried equipment for disguise, kidnap and murder.

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