Reviews

The Hamlet Apocalypse

By The Danger Ensemble. Presented by The Danger Ensemble and Theatre Works. November 7 – 18, 2018

Vibrant, energetic, engaging and exhilarating, The Hamlet Apocalypse resonates strongly with a youthful audience.  It is a visually stunning, adventurous, invigorating offering imbued with a generous spirit by Director/Designer Steven Mitchell Wright.  However it is not without significant problems.

Intriguingly it opens with the actors introducing themselves, their characters and presenting a crystalized thought in relation to their work on the play.

Towards Zero

By Agatha Christie and Gerald Verner. Centenary Theatre Group (CTG), Brisbane. 10 November to 1 December, 2018

The literary Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, has also been heralded as the most successful female playwright of all time – with nearly 30 stage plays to her name. The Mousetrap holds the record as the longest-running, continuously performed show in London’s West End, and CTG’s Kurt A Lerps directed the Community Theatre premiere of that play. Now he tackles Christie’s Towards Zero – apparently blocked to community production for some years – with ardour and aplomb.

Armistice

Creative Lead & Production Designer: Bill Haycock, Performance Director & Dramaturg: David Bell. Movement Director: Natalie Weir. The Australian Voices, Topology, William Barton, John Schumann. Music Director: Andrew McNaughton. QPAC Presentation. Playhouse, QPAC. 11 November 2018

Armistice marked the end of the Anzac Centenary period and there could not have been a more fitting tribute, a special theatrical event commemorating the centenary of Armistice and Australia’s involvement in war and peace over the past 100 years.

Using archival photos, official war artist paintings by McCubbin and Dobell, poetry by Kenneth Slessor and Les Murray, pop songs and specially commissioned music, the program was not only enlightening, but also very emotional.

The Boy From Oz

Music and Lyrics by Peter Allen. Book by Nick Enright. Ballina Players. Directors: Paul and Sue Belsham. Nov 9th – Dec 2nd, 2018

A popular choice for The Players final offering for 2018 is The Boy from Oz, last presented in 2009.

As Peter Allen, Brian Pamphilon carried the production with competence and pizzazz - accompanying himself on the white piano for many of the hit tunes. He held the audience from the start and they couldn’t get enough of this multi-faceted performer.

A Kick in the Baubles

By Gordon Steel. Javeenbah Theatre, Nerang, Gold Coast. Directed by Dawn China. Nov 9th – 24th, 2018

Based in Yorkshire, North England on Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day, Gordon Steele’s black comedy allows us to share the Christmas festivities with the Bauble family and their young neighbours.

An argumentative, dysfunctional family, the audience is privy to the petty quarrels that have consumed the Festive Season for many years, which becomes a bit tedious by the end of the show.  The script is witty but often predictable.

Honk!

Music by George Styles. Book and Lyrics by Anthony Drewe. Murray Music and Drama. Directed by Cat Rippon. Pinjarra Civic Centre, WA. 9-24 Nov, 2018

Murray Music and Drama’s musical story of the ugly duckling, is a sweet and fun production that is charming audiences of all ages. Featuring a large enthusiastic cast with children and adults, it is fairy tale fun for families.

Director Catrina Rippon’s costume concept gives us creative costuming that captures the essence of the animal characters, who burst with colour from the farmyard set. The show is sensitively lit by a design by Michael Rippon.

The Norman Conquests

Three Plays by Alan Ayckbourn. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Mark Kilmurry. 19 October 2018 – 12 January 2019

Play 1 of the Ayckbourn trilogy begins at 1 o’clock on a sunny Saturday afternoon and Play 3 finishes at nearly 10.30 on a cool evening. I am quite ready for Play 4. Written in the early 1970’s in a rush of creativity, these three plays — designed to be seen in any order — stand as the peak of the author’s achievements (and he’s written over 80 plays), a brilliant, Chekhovian comedy of family manners. See them and be amazed.

A Cheery Soul

By Patrick White. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Nov 5 – Dec 15, 2018

Jim Sharman directed landmark revivals of Patrick White’s plays in the 1970’s including an acclaimed Cheery Soul with Robyn Nevin as the insufferable do-gooder, Miss Docker. 

He celebrates that other, younger directors have picked up the mantle of restaging White’s plays for their generation, talents like Neil Armfield and later Benedict Andrews and Kip Williams (who Sharman mentored).

End of the Rainbow

By Peter Quilter. Directed by Brad Tudor. Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana WA. 9-24 November, 2018

Koorliny Arts Centre’s musical drama, End of the Rainbow, centres on Judy Garland’s comeback concerts in late 1968. A beautifully presented piece of drama, with a great singing performance, it is perhaps unsurprising that it is playing to sellout crowds.

Presented cabaret style in Koorliny’s smaller theatre, designer Jon Lambert transforms the compact stage into a London hotel suite, which in turn becomes a concert venue, revealing a hidden band. Director Brad Tudor’s costume design is an elegant and effective reflection of the era.

Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land

By Stan Lai & Performance Workshop. OzAsia Festival (SA). Dunstan Playhouse. Saturday 10 November, 2018

Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land is regarded as one of the ‘top 10 plays’ from China in the 20th Century. First produced in 1986 as a collaborative work between legendry Chinese director, Stan Lai, and ‘creative partners’ Li li-chun, Chin Shih-chieh and Ding Nai-chu, it has remained in numerous productions ever since, throughout China and Taiwan.

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