Reviews

A Room with a View

By E.M. Forster adapted by Roger Parsley and Andy Graham. Genesian Theatre Company, Sydney. Director: Mark G. Nagle. Feb 2 – Mar 9, 2019

Photos of the cast interwoven with lovely shots of Italy play on a screen in the foyer of the theatre. Reproductions of Renaissance paintings adorn the walls. Others, stylishly framed in gold, surround the proscenium arch and reach around to encompass the stained-glass windows which are a feature of 1868 building that is the Genesian.

It’s so good to see a director and his creatives thinking beyond the stage and the script. Congratulations Mark! Your vision sets the scene as elegantly as E.M. Forster described it in 1908.

Sweet Phoebe

By Michael Gow. Red Stitch. East St Kilda, VIC. 3 February – 3 March 2019

Here’s a story about how a simple friendly gesture – like agreeing to dog-sit for a week – can disrupt two yuppies’ lives, change them, and reveal worlds they never knew existed. 

Dorian Gray Naked

Libretto by Melvyn Morrow. Music by Dion Condack. Limelight on Oxford, Darlinghurst. January 30 - February 16, 2019

The title of this one-man musical gave the audience a high expectation of seeing a fair bit of the birthday suit of Blake Appelquist. The posters plastered all over Oxford Street,  in the lead up to Mardis Gras, were hardly subtle.

Indeed, the moment of greatest dramatic tension was when the genetically blessed star looked poised to expose all. Sitting in the very cosy middle floor of the Limelight theatre, in close proximity to the star, the Director/Writer Melvyn Morrow left a little to the imagination.

Comedy of Errors

By William Shakespeare. The Raw Shakespeare Project. Various venues (SA). January 11-February 9, 2019.

The Raw Shakespeare Project are a fine ensemble of established and emerging actors who share a passion for bringing The Bard’s works to life, often in unusual or outdoor settings. Their latest offering, The Comedy of Errors opened on the 11th of January at the McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Visitor’s Centre, went on to Beach Road Wines, Marion RSL Club and will finish up at Fox Creek Wines.

The Flying Dutchman

By Richard Wagner. Melbourne Opera. Director: Suzanne Chaundy. Musical Director: Anthony Negus. Regent Theatre. Feb 3 – 7, 2019

Melbourne Opera’s first opera for 2019 was Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, and it was an unqualified triumph!

The orchestra, under the firm control of Anthony Negus, who conducted Tristan and Isolde last year, was superb, and still allowed the singers to be heard.

Madagascar – A Musical Adventure Jr.

Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture. Book by Kevin Del Aguilla. Original Music and Lyrics by George Noriega and Joel Someillan. Directed by Madeleine Johns. Roar Academy/ Redcliffe Musical Theatre. Redcliffe Entertainment Centre. February 1 – 3, 2019.

This musical version of the animated DreamWorks motion picture follows the story line from New York Central Park zoo on an expected journey to King Julien’s Madgascar where he and his lemurs rule supreme. Alex, the lion, is the star performer at the zoo but needs a change. His friends – Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo, Melman the giraffe, a couple of lionesses and Mason the monkey -  escape with him on this adventure. The penguins travel too but they are a troubling influence.

The Maids

By Jean Genet. Directed by Sam Russo & Adam Ibrahim. Brunswick Mechanics Institute, 270 Sydney Road, Brunswick VIC. 31 January – 9 February 2019

Jean Genet’s 1947 play is about oppression and the sado-masochistic fantasies it gives rise to.  Here it gets another layer in casting the eponymous maids themselves as male.  It’s not the first time the play has been performed like this, but one suspects Genet would approve. 

Love Cycle: Love Chapter 2

Created by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar. L-E-V Dance Company. Sydney Opera House. Jan 31 – Feb 3, 2019

After twenty-two years dancing and choreographing with Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, Sharon Eyal and her collaborator and partner, Gai Behar, formed L-E-V Dance Company in 2013, (lev is the Hebrew word for ‘heart’). Their work, with musician Ori Lichtik, has been performed at over 200 venues around the world, including a Christian Dior fashion show at a race course outside Paris in 2018, where eight dancers interacted with the models as they showcased the collection.

Become the One

By Adam Fawcett. Lab Kelpie & Gasworks Arts Park. Midsumma Festival. 31 January – 9 February 2018

Top AFL star Tom (Chris Asimos) interviews – or auditions – a cleaner for his high-rise luxury apartment.  In fact, the young cleaner, Noah (Henry Strand), is used to high profile clients – and he’s auditioning Tom.  If Tom’s an arsehole, Noah’s gone.  Tom’s not an arsehole – not exactly - but his sexual attraction to young Noah is palpable - if unadmitted – and we wonder a little that seen-it-all Noah doesn’t see it straight off. 

Orpheus

By Evan Lawson. Choreography by Ashley Dougan and costume design by Jane Noonan. Presented by Forest Collective. Midsumma Festival. Sacred Heart Oratory Abbotsford Convent. 31 January — 3 February, 2019.

The reworking and reinterpretation of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice has resulted in many variations. The tragic story draws them into the sphere of the underworld of Hades and places them at the hands of the ruthless Calaïs who becomes besotted with the young couple. In this version Lawson explores the more neglected elements of the myth that suggest the presence of same-sex desire between the two male figures. This gives a different emphasis to how Eurydice is trapped in a love triangle that sees her suffer in unspeakable ways.

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