Reviews

Prima Facie

By Suzie Miller. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre, Kings Cross. May 17 – June 22, 2019

Barrister and prolific playwright Suzie Miller has written a full courtroom battle delivered by just one woman.  Sheridan Harbridge is Tessa, from a working class background but striding success in a privileged world as a criminal defence barrister.  She knows this game.  

She even knows how to play the naïve female interrogator, to induce a confident plaintiff to let run – perhaps a woman alleging sexual  assault – till she trips herself up in confused memories and brings doubt to her charge. 

Puffs

By Matt Cox. TEG Live, in association with Tilted Windmills Theatricals, John Arthur Pinckard and David Carpenter. Pop-Up Theatre, The Showring, Moore Park, Sydney. Director: Kristin McCarthy Parker. 17 May – 30 June 2018

There are two types of people who might go to Matt Cox’s Puffs at the terrific tent-theatre that has ‘popped-up’ in Sydney’s Moore Park: fans of the books and films about the school life of Harry Potter, and everyone else. I put myself in the latter category. I’ve missed the books, viewed one of the movies in the cinema (the first) and managed to escape their myriad, commercial-ridden repeats on television. So, not ideal then.

Cyprus Avenue

By David Ireland. Empress Theatre in association with Redline Productions. Directed by Anna Houston. Old Fitz Theatre, Sydney. May 15 - June 8, 2019

Few Australians would have a solid understanding of Northern Ireland and the full impact of fanaticism there. Over the past 20 years, extremism has been narrowly framed by the media and politicians - usually Islamic extremism or, more recently, that of the far right. But we all fear people who are different - and this shocking and brutal play is a warning of how ugly that fear can become.

Lazarus

By David Bowie & Enda Walsh. Music & lyrics by David Bowie. Directed by Michael Kantor. The Production Company and EY, in association with Mene Mene Theatre. Playhouse, Arts Centre, Melbourne. 18 May – 9 June, 2019.

Lazarus is music theatre of an original and full blast overwhelming kind.  There are eighteen David Bowie songs, across his varied range of genres, satire, a Japanese sequence – in Japanese – a vicious killer, jazz balletdance numbers, a rocket ship, dazzling video projections and visceral sound design.  As a story, Lazarus continues the fate of Thomas Jerome Newton, the trapped alien David Bowie played in Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 movie, The Man Who Fell to Earth.  But it is also Bowie’s own dreamscape metaphorical autobi

Moon Over Buffalo

By Ken Ludwig. Tea Tree Players Theatre. Directed by Jo Allenby. 22 May – 1 June, 2019

In Buffalo, New York, George and Charlotte Hay are fading stars of the 1950s, just surviving with repertory theatre productions of "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Private Lives". Their finances and marriage are on the rocks and their only daughter is about to get married to someone who isn’t in show business.

This 1995 American farce was originally a Broadway showcase for the stage return of Carol Burnett, but its roots are in British comedy: slapstick, confusion, characters having secret dalliances and constantly avoiding each other on stage.

Dropout

True North. DreamBIG Children's Festival. Tandanya, Adelaide. May 22 - 27, 2019

‘There must be another way’ - this is the message that Dropout, presented by True North, leaves its audience to ponder.

In the current environment of dropping out due to dissatisfaction with conventional schooling, this showposes some questions that are pertinent to students, teachers, parents and society in general, usingmultimedia and a cast of around 40 students from the ages of 7 years up, all under the impassioned direction of Alirio Zavarce.

The Cunning Little Vixen

By Leos Janacek. State Opera of South Australia. Ridley Centre, Adelaide Showground. 18-25 May, 2019

The State Opera of South Australia’s production of Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen is an absolute delight and a triumph in more ways than one. For a start, this production is staged in the Ridley Centre in the Adelaide Showground. This is a bold move, a new initiative by State Opera’s new Artistic Director, Stuart Maunder to mount productions in other venues than the more formal Festival Centre. In this case, it is a complete success.

English Baroque with Circa

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, (featuring Jane Sheldon & Lauren Stephenson). Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). Brisbane 21 May 2019

The Brisbane performance of English Baroque marks the end of a three-week tour of Australia that has been earning dazzling reviews. The 90-minute program showcases a sublime selection of tunes chosen by Brandenburg Artistic Director Paul Dyer and Circa Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz, showcasing pieces from star 16th- and 17th-century composers, including Purcell, Handel, Dowland and Corelli, plus a handful of traditional tunes such as Scarborough Fair.

A Hymn to the Hateful

By Finegan Kruckemeyer. Running with Scissors. DreamBIG Festival. Adelaide High School Hall, 20 - 24 May 2019

“It is easier to hate than to help,” says a teenage girl, eagerly explaining the lack of satisfaction in doing good over being bad; one of the fourteen performing this new play by Finegan Kruckemeyer.

Calamity Jane

By Paul Francis Webster and Sammy Fain. Murray Music and Drama. Directed by Tammy Peckover. Pinjarra Civic Centre, WA. May 10-24, 2019.

Murray Music and Drama’s production opens with a tribute and dedication to Doris Day, star of the movie Calamity Jane, who passed away May 13, 2019. I can’t help feeling that she would be touched by the dedication, and would have enjoyed this warm production.

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