Reviews

Look Back in Anger

By John Osborne. The Adelaide Repertory Theatre. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide August 29 – September 7, 2019

“That voice that cries out doesn't have to be a weakling's does it?” Jimmy’s anguished appeal to his wife Alison in John Osborne’s famous play Look Back in Anger.

Look Back in Anger follows a young husband and wife, Alisonand Jimmy Porter, as they attempt to steer their way through class conflict and deal with a crumbling marriage in 1950s England.

It is arevealing look at class, sex, politics, and the conventions of 1950s England, all from the point of view of angry youth.

Caroline, or Change

Book and Lyrics by Tony KushnerMusic by Jeanine Tesori. Hayes Theatre. Directed by Mitchell Butel. Music Direction by Lucy Bermingham. Aug 23 – Sep 21, 2019

The intriguing title heralded an intriguing musical. The Caroline refers to Caroline Thibodeaux, a maid in a Jewish home in Louisiana in 1963. The change, on one level, refers to the coins which she finds in the pockets of her employers. Caroline – a struggling single mother – is encouraged to keep the nickels and dimes she finds to help her own children.

Romeo and Juliet

Ballet by Sir Kenneth MacMillan based on the play by William Shakespeare. Music: Sergei Prokofiev. Queensland Balletl. Staged by Julie Lincoln. Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Alondra de la Parra. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. 28 August – 7 September 2019

Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers has never been more eloquently portrayed than in Queensland Ballet’s revival production of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s classic which broke box-office records when the company first danced it in Australia in 2014. The production is a remount of the 1992 Birmingham Royal Ballet production with set and costumes by Paul Andrews, lighting by John B. Read and swordfights by Gary Harris.

Fly

By Barry Conyngham, Lyric Opera of Melbourne. Forty-Five Downstairs. Director: Lara Kerestes. Conductor: Pat Miller. August 25 – September 1, 2019.

Fly is an Australian opera composed by Barry Conyngham which debuted in 1984 with the late, lamented Victorian State Opera. The subject is Lawrence Hargrave, an Australian engineer, explorer, astronomer, inventor and aeronautical pioneer.

I found this opera quite approachable. The music enhanced the drama and flowed lyrically. The venue was just a square brick box with very lively acoustics. Unfortunately, words were sometimes lost when performers were not facing the audience. However, generally diction was very good.

Consistency is Key: A Story of Redemption

By Morgan Dooley-axup. The Butterfly Club. August 26 – 31, 2019

Consistency is Key: A Story of Redemption is a newly devised cabaret show by third generation calisthenics girl Morgan Dooley-axup. After years in competition, winning only a succession of second bests, she’s decided to shed light on living the impossible dream, and her family of “calie loosers”.

Chicago

Music and Lyrics by Fred Ebb and John Kander. Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Foss. John Frost, Suzanne Jones in association with Barry and Fran Weissler. Capitol Theatre, Sydney. Opening Night – August 27, 2019.

This cast tore up the stage in a sizzling display of music, dance and cynicism. They were every bit up to the challenge of doing justice to the pared down version of Chicago, which was revived on Broadway in 1996 and is still going 23 years later.

Chicago feels like an almost perfect model box of a musical. It has one great tune after another and at its heart is a jaw dropping good story.

How I met My Dead Husband

By Lansy Feng. Wit incorporated. Bluestone Church Arts Space, Footscray - 22 August – 7 September 2019 The Bowery Theatre, St Albans - 13 September 2019,

Four lifetimes and three cultures collide in this hilarious yet heart-felt cabaret comedy. Writer and performer Lansy Feng has drawn on her own life experiences as a Taiwanese-born Aussie married to a Frenchman, to create the story of Chuen-Jiau. She’s on the hunt for her true love, but has to wait until her fourth life to finally be with him. Even then, they don’t live happily ever after.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

By Dale Wesserman. Players Theatre, Ballina. Director: Mike Sheehan. 23rd August to 1st September, 2019

Mental Health had been a “taboo” topic of conversation up until 1975 when the film version of this play starring Jack Nicholson came to our attention. Since then the community has become increasingly aware of the circumstances surrounding this medical condition and fortunately the treatment has improved tremendously.

Mike Sheehan’s production gives the audience a “real” understanding of how things were and his entire cast treat the play with dignity while portraying those affected by this situation.

Sweet Charity

By Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields and Neil Simon. WAAPA 3rd Year Musical Theatre Students. Directed by Shaun Rennie. Geoff Gibbs Theatre, WAAPA, Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, WA. Aug 24-31, 2019

Sweet Charity is the public’s final glimpse of this year’s WAAPA Musical Theatre Graduates, in a full production, and this tight, well performed production is a testament to the talent of this group, as well as to the skills of the Production and Design Students, who contribute greatly to the look and feel of this production.

An Ideal Husband

By Oscar Wilde. WAAPA 3rd Year Acting Students. Directed by Priscilla Jackman. The Roundhouse Theatre, WAAPA, Edith Cowan 3rd Year Acting Students University, Mt Lawley WA. Aug 23-29, 2019

An Ideal Husband is presented by WAAPA 3rd Year Acting Students, in their last full scale performance as a cohort, and is designed, built and crewed by WAAPA Production and Design Students.

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