The Ghost Train

By Arnold Ridley. Harbour Theatre. Directed by Ann Speicher. Camelot Theatre, Mosman Park, WA. Dec 6-14, 2019

The Ghost Train, said to be “one of the scariest plays of all time”, is brought to life with lots of chills by Harbour Theatre.

The story of a collection of travellers, stranded at an isolated station overnight in some very spooky circumstances, is given credibility with some of the best technical teamwork of the year, with lighting and sound design by Rob Tagliaferri and Vanessa Gudgeon helping to create some frightening effects.

The Return Of Grazie Fibonacci

The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. Dec 2 – 7, 2019

 A mild mannered Mark Gambino greets his audience in a laid-back, unassuming  confident style. Lights down, the show begins. He introduces himself as Grazie Fibonacci and sings an Italian version of “Luna Mezzo Mare” in this encore season of his show The Return of Gracie Fibonacci.

The Split

By Sarah Hamilton. House of Sand and Old 505 Theatre. Dec 3 – 14, 2019

A heterosexual, millennial couple are adrift on a boat playing out their last days together before their inevitable split.  

An easy, even touching familiarity, some aimless chat, binds them together, but irritabilities flare and we see they rarely touch each other.  Tom glumly strums guitar, Jules draws and gazes at the horizon; there’s sunbaking, card-games and silly aping of musical favourites.

The Wiz

Music & Lyrics: Charlie Smalls. Book: William F. Brown. Based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. QPAC & ACPA. Director/Choreographer: Simon Lind. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. 5-7 December 2019

Stages around the country have been awash with musicals in green costumes about the land of Oz for years (Wicked/The Wizard of Oz) but this black version, except for a live Christmas outing on NBC in 2015, has rarely been seen despite a good score by Charlie Smalls. Bravely, ACPA (Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts) have now redressed the situation mounting an ambitious but enjoyable student production.

The Father

By Florian Zeller. Translated by Christopher Hampton, Townsville Little Theatre. Pimpac Theatre, Townsville. 4- 7 Dec 2019.

IT IS A very brave move for an amateur company to tackle an intense play of this nature, but thanks to an excellent play and a strong central performance, by and large this production was reasonably successful.

Gianni Schicchi

Music: Puccini. Libretto: Forzano. Gold Coast Opera. Director: Doug Gehike. Cultural Centre, Helensvale G.C. November 29th & 30th, 2019.

The conniving relatives (pictured) of the dying Gianni Schicchi are like many families who have crossed our paths; pleasant on the surface but self-centred underneath and it was on show for all to see.

Doug Gehike’s direction of this popular Puccini one act comic opera was a joyous experience. The vitriolic family members were individually and collectively out for everything they could lay their hands on.

Puss In Boots

By Ben Crocker. Directed by Douglas Sutherland Bruce. Garrick Theatre, Guildford, WA. Nov 28 - Dec 14, 2019

Pantomime season is well and truly upon us, and while there are a few pantos yet to open, Garrick Theatre’s Puss in Boots will be hard to beat for quality this season. This is a huge production, despite the tiny stage, and features a baker's dozen of ‘principal roles’ with quite a few featured appearances.

Lots of songs in this pantomime, which are well performed under the musical direction of Lyn Brown, who leads a 4 piece band. Siobhan Vincent does well to choreograph over twenty dancers, of very varied skill, in a restricted space.

Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There

By Lewis Carrol adapted by Rosemary Nursey-Bray. Murdoch Theatre Company. Directed by Jordan D’Arcy. Studio 411, Murdoch University, WA. Nov 28-30, 2019

Murdoch Theatre Company’s production of Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There was a sweet journey across a chess board with some fabulous characters with appeal to both adults and children.

In the first square we met Alice, played with conviction by Natalia Myslinkska, who anchors this adventure rather nicely. We get our first glimpse at Matthew Moynihan’s chessboard inspired set and Sabrina Wyatt’s effective lighting design.

The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of A Christmas Carol

By Alan McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jnr. Stirling Players. Directed by Carole Wilson. Stirling Theatre, Innaloo, WA. Nov 22 - Dec 7, 2019

The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society (FAHETGDS) series, is a collection of ten plays, all featuring the ladies of a drama club as they struggle to put on a classic play. In Stirling Player’s latest production, in an appropriate choice for the season. The ladies tackle A Christmas Carol.

Krapp’s Last Tape

By Samuel Beckett. Red Line Productions. Old Fitz Theatre, Woolloomooloo. Nov 26 – Dec 14, 2019

Brian Thomson’s set and Veronique Bennett’s lighting at the Old Fitz embrace Krapp, providing him with the dim space and light he craves: “The new light above my head is a great improvement. With all this darkness around me I feel less alone.”  

Sixty shabby filing drawers tower like a wall over him. A ladder propped beside allows him access to the uppermost drawers. His battered desk is centred under “the new light”. Its globe dims each time he moves away. 

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