Reviews

Next To Normal

Music by Tom Kitt. Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey. Directed by David Harrison. Brisbane Arts Theatre. February 23 – March 23, 2019.

Am I normal? Or next to normal? This challenging musical play posed these questions in such a way that the audience came to understand more of the mental illnesses we all can face. It centres on the Goodman family, with mother Diana suffering from worsening bipolar and depression and the devastating effect this condition has on her family. Her drug treatment has not worked and then she tries the rather dubious shock therapy recommended – but to what effect. The other family members display the effects that such an illness can have on the loved ones nearest to the sufferer.

By Heart

By Tiago Rodrigues. Adelaide Festival. Teatro Nacional D. Maria II. The Odeon Theatre 5 – 10 March, 2019

By Heart is a tender, delicious, funny, intimate and pleasing performance, written and performed by Tiago Rodrigues. He tells us stories that connect and resonate with the audience in the same way a piece of music enfolds an audience in its sound and the experience of seeing something beautiful spellbinds all who witness it.

This is a simple story at heart. It is a love story about the love of a Grandson for his Grandmother and her love of literature. It is also a performance about connections that are strange and wonderful, challenging and awe-inspiring.

Two Jews Walk into a Theatre……

Adelaide Festival. Odeon Theatre. March 6-10th, 2019

Devised and performed by Australians Brian Lipson and Gideon Obarzanek and directed and choreographed by awarded Adelaide choreographer, Lucy Guerin, Two Jews Walk into a Theatre … challenges the very nature of theatre and of our strongly held beliefs and preconceptions.

Romeo & Juliet

By William Shakespeare. Presented by The Australian Shakespeare Company. Rippon Lea House and Gardens, 192 Hotham St, Elsternwick. 4 - 21 March, 2019.

This is an ambitious project which shows great vision in terms of how Shakespeare should be approached in outdoor locations. The production uses the historic home as an exceptional backdrop and makes good use of some staging and lighting techniques to capture the mood of the play and to highlight the magnificence of the location. The balcony scene was particularly impressive and allowed unusual aspects of the text to be drawn out. This made the scene larger than the life while retaining its intimacy.

Judas

World Premiere. Adelaide Fringe. STARC Productions in association with Smokescreen. Mainstage at Bakehouse. March 5-16, 2019

It is no coincidence that this production of Judas is supporting Amnesty International Australia. The play’s message is as old as the biblical times that inspired it; that of individuals whose rights and very being are destroyed in times of war and political unrest. Holding up a mirror to our world and times, we see the biblical parable, the story of Christ, paralleled with our modern world and times.

Wellness

By Ella Arendelle. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. March 4 – 9, 2019.

Wellness is part of the One Act Play Festival currently on at the Butterfly Club.

Ella Arendelle along with her fellow cast members offer a series of comical vignettes that explore body image. The stories appear improvised and centre on fragments of daily life where polite people are confronted by situations that cause them to behave in ways, so as to not appear offensive.   

A Man of Good Hope

2019 Adelaide Festival. Young Vic and Isango Ensemble. Royalty Theatre, Adelaide. 5-11 March, 2019.

Another wonderful night at the theatre at the 2019 Adelaide Festival with the musical adaptation of Jonny Steinberg’s biographical A Man of Good Hope. This modern African musical sometimes felt like an opera, mainly due to the sheer majestic power, range and depth of the beautiful and glorious singers and performers from the Isnago Ensemble, South Africa.

Scotland!

Adelaide Fringe. The Latebloomers. The Gallery, National Wine Centre. March 4-17, 2019

Having Scottish ancestry and a deep love of that wild country, I arrived at The National Wine Centre not knowing exactly what to expect. What did happen was just over an hour of guffawing, tears rolling down my face!

Baba Yaga

Windmill Theatre Company and Imaginate production presented in association with the Adelaide Festival. Queen’s Theatre. February 26th – March 6th, 2019.

An old Russian folktale is the inspiration for the creative, vibrant and wickedly funny new show from Windmill Theatre Company, Baba Yaga. Known for its high standards in creating contemporary theatre for children and young adults, the company’s latest offering is nothing short of sublime.

Three wonderfully talented women, Christine Johnston, Shona Reppe and director Rosemary Myers, have joined forces to create a tale of self-discovery. They have started with an old folktale and given it a modern twist.

Twelfth Night

By William Shakespeare. Presented by Melbourne Shakespeare Company. Central Park Malvern, 148 Burke Rd, Malvern East. 2-17 March, 2019.

This is a comedy based on numerous misunderstandings, misapprehensions and mockery. The Melbourne Shakespeare Company takes all of these elements and creates a dynamic and often hysterical interpretation of Shakespeare’s masterful play with words, disguise and deception. After surviving a shipwreck, Viola (Meg McKibbin) disguises herself as Cesario and enters the courtly world of Duke Orsino (Sami Obama). This triggers a series events that ultimately lead to most of the characters finding true love, but not before creating some mayhem.

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