Reviews

Breast Wishes

Concept, Anne Looby, book and lyrics, Bruce Brown. Spotlight Basement Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director: Tony Alcock. Sept 16 – Oct 2, 2016

When I review a show, I do so, on the merits of the performance I witness and am not influenced by comments from those connected to the production.

Breast Wishes shares the trials and tribulations of the female mammary glands and of those whose lives are affected in one-way or another. Breasts conjure up a variety of thoughts (the haves and have-nots) in different people and this show explores all of those “points”.

Footloose

By Dean Pitchford and Tom Snow. Holroyd Musical and Dramatic Society. Red Gum Theatre, Wentworthville. September 16 – 24, 2016.

HM&DS’s performance of the musical Footloose by Dean Pitchford and Tom Snow was a very entertaining night of theatre. Based on the 1984 movie of the same name, the musical includes all the catchy tunes from the film like “Lets Here it for the Boy” and “Footloose”, while other new songs written for the musical like “Mama Says” and “Heaven Help Me” are also great fun additions to the already brilliant score.

Oklahoma!

Music: Richard Rodgers. Book & Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein 2nd. Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs. SQUIDS Theatrical Inc. Director: Nathaniel Currie.Musical Director: Julie Whiting. Choreographer: Jessica Limmer. Redcliffe Cultural Centre, Redcliffe, Qld. September 9 – 17, 2016

With bales of hay on each side of the proscenium arch and dances of the hoedown and square dance variety, SQUIDS effectively brought the bucolic charm of Oklahoma!’s turn-of-the-century story to life. We all knew Rodgers and Hammerstein’s score as a classic of the Broadway musical theatre, but in this production it was Hammerstein’s book adaptation which deserved the laurels.

Soula’s Kitchen

Created and performed by Georgina Baveas. Designed by Meropi Tourogiannis. G&M Theatre. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Sept 16 – 24, 2016.

In this comedic one-woman show Soula’s Kitchen you will transform as a guest at a traditional Greek dinner. Soula’s dining room is the stage and the room abounds with Greek memorabilia and ornaments, from the old family photos and religious prints on the wall, the dolls in Greek dance costumes, food cooking on the stove (of course), down to the small details like the doilies in the glass cabinets and Greek music in the background.

Our House

Music and lyrics by Madness and a book by playwright Tim Firth. Genesian Theatre. September 3 – October 8, 2016

Every now and again theatre companies such as the Genesian, that usually produce dramas, decide to indulge in a musical. Not necessarily one that is well known nor one that requires a large cast, a multi-piece band or a big stage – but a musical, nevertheless. Our House is that sort of musical. It can be staged with a small cast (fourteen in this production), has relatively uncomplicated music (which could easily be have been recorded to disc rather than using a live band); and the action can be adapted to a smaller stage.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. September 12 – October 22, 2016

I remember once seeing a Brazilian production of the Dream so dark that it ended with the noble lovers casually slaughtering the mechanicals after they’d staged their tedious little play.  That Dream had nothing of the pastoral redemption and fairyland sweetness usual to Shakespeare’s play – and nor does this Kip Williams STC version.

A Steady Rain

By Keith Huff. Lost in Translation. Holden Street Theatres, Adelaide. 15-17 September, 2016.

Storytelling on stage can take many forms. Sometimes we get ‘the full picture’, in chronological order, from all characters involved. Sometimes we get the individual perspective of a narrator - possibly an unreliable one. In the case of A Steady Rain, we have Nick Fagan (as Denny) and Rohan Watts (as Joey) comprising the entirety of the cast, sometimes interacting directly with each other, more often speaking in monologue to the audience, painting a vivid portrait of the seediness and moral corruption that police work can entail.

Young Pretender

By E V Crowe. New Theatre / Sydney Fringe. September 13 – 17, 2016

Bonny Prince Charlie still sustains the status of Scotland’s most romantic hero, and his bid to regain the British monarchy for Scotland and the Stuarts remains the stuff of legend. This unusual play, written in modern ‘speak’ by playwright EV Crowe, shows him returning to Scotland in secret to convince the Scottish clansmen to follow him to the Battle of Culloden and the second Jacobite Uprising.

The Element of Consequence

Presented by After Dark Theatre, created and performed by TEOC. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Gasworks, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park. 13-17 September, 2016

This contemporary circus performance makes an explicit crossover with performance art and dance. The circus acts are infused with stylised movement and gesture and generate an unusual relationship with some very ordinary, everyday objects. These objects are recontextualised and played with in order to accentuate the dynamics of the acrobatic feats.

The Measure of a Man

By Gavin Roach. New Theatre / Sydney Fringe Festival. September 13 – 18, 2016.

Gavin Roach first measured his penis at the age of 12 and found it wanting.  And it hasn’t grown much longer when years later he starts trying to use it with other men.  

This gay tale of his teenage innocence, sexual exploration and growing body shame is the meat of Roach’s self-devised work for the Sydney Fringe, the second in his Anxiety Trilogy. The first, apparently much-applauded, was I Can’t Say the F- word.

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