Reviews

Of Mice and Men

By John Steinbeck, adapted from his own novel. Sport for Jove Theatre Company. Directed by Iain Sinclair. The Playhouse, Canberra. 6–8 August 2015

Steinbeck's novella portrays a smart but uneducated man, George, as somebody patiently ready to assist his childlike family friend Lennie to survive a life that would otherwise cut him down with cruelty in the harsh Depression era.  Together, they perform unskilled work at one ranch and another, leaving once the work is done or Lennie's failure to control his own strength gets them into  trouble too serious for George to talk their way out of.

The Marriage of Figaro

By Mozart. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. August 6 – 29, 2015

As the overture suggests, The Marriage of Figaro is fast and fun, all the events of the frantic day ahead evident in “bubbling rhythms and cascades of instrumental laughter ... that capture the spirit and pace of the work” (Peter Bassett). That pace and Mozart’s passion and sense of fun are the essence of this most entertaining production directed by Sir David McVicar.

Seventeen

By Matthew Whittet. Upstairs Theatre, Belvoir. Directed by Anne-Louise Sarks. August 1 - September 13, 2015

A great idea, beautifully acted and staged, this production left the audience captivated. The idea was to cast stage legends, aged over seventy, as seventeen year olds on the night of their last day of school.

They drink to excess, jump freely onto play equipment in a park, make a mess with their junk food in no time at all, play truth or dare and confront their demons.

Set today of course they take selfies and dance awkwardly to a Taylor Swift song, that the company got the rights to after a social media campaign.

Yours The Face

By Fleur Kilpatrick. Director & Designer: Sarah Walker. FLIGHT: Festival of New Writing. Theatre Works, St Kilda. July 31 – August 9, 2015

This surprising piece has been written by Fleur Kilpatrick for one actor to play all characters.  Actually Kilpatrick’s play displays the perception and insight that leads one to think both main characters could be played by either a female or male actor. 

In this production Roderick Cairns is a very commanding tour de force.  He is quite mesmerizing and extraordinarily convincing in both the two contrasting roles, as well as the subsidiary roles.  Androgyny can be so seductive!

Kindness

By Bridget Mackey. Directors: Kate Shearman and Alice Darling. FLIGHT: Festival of New Writing. Theatre Works, St Kilda. July 31 – August 9, 2015

Kindness is a kind of absurdist, pretty ridiculous and at times hilarious look at the down side of the effects of the modern working environment.

In this slick production, on a smart and stylish set by Yvette Turnbull, that feels like an office foyer, four individuals come and go and interact or barely interact through talking to/at each other.    Throughout they all seem to exposing hang-ups, quirks and fixations in a bland environment where everything even their wacky ticks of behavior become monotonous. 

Gaslight

By Patrick Hamilton. Directed by Barb Barnett. Canberra REP. Theatre 3, Acton, Canberra ACT. July 30 – August 15, 2015

Gaslight is a Victorian thriller, with a mystery to be unwrapped. Some may remember the vintage film of the same name, which starred Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. The play was written in 1938 and it was last produced by Canberra REP in 1946.

Legally Blonde

Music and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Neil Benjamin Book by Heather Hach based on a novel by Amanda Brown and the MGM movie. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director: Morgan Garrity. 31st July – 22 August, 2015

Director Morgan Garrity and Musical Director Julie Whiting have put together a fabulous rendition of Legally Blonde the Musical at Spotlight Theatrical Company.  So many of the performers stood out with their original characterization, including standout performances from Heidi Enchelmaier (as Elle Woods), Jamie Watt, Josh Lovell, Jessica Papst and Jacquelyn Pointing to name a few. 

Forbidden Broadway

By Gerard Alessandrini. Blackwood Players. July 31 – August 15, 2015.

Forbidden Broadway is the brainchild of playwright and lyricist Gerard Alessandrini. A musical parodying musicals sounds like a lot of fun, but in order for a production like this to be successful, it is important that the characters, celebrities and musicals they are emulating be convincing and given that the humour derived from a parody is the lyrics, those words must be understood. Director Martin Barbary has brought together a host of Blackwood regulars with varying degrees of talent.

Slammed

By Stefanie Brooke Harper. Crossstown Artists. Director: John Peek. Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse, 23 July – 1 August, 2015

Ripped straight from the headlines, Slammed is a docu-drama about high-school bullying. The play follows a group of students as they battle their way through Year 10 and the effects of bullying, both internet and physical, which have tragic consequences.

We have often been told to write what we know and Stephanie Brooke Harper, a former high-school teacher, has certainly done that. Across a series of short, sharp, scenes with occasional soliloquies, Harper sketches in the brutal and confronting world that faces high-school students today.

Blonde Poison

By Gail Louw. Old Fitzroy Theatre, Cathedral Street, Woolloomooloo. 28 July - 15 August 2015

A beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jewish woman gets the opportunity mid-WWII to save herself and her beloved parents from extermination. The catch? Send fellow Jews to the concentration camps in her place. She was called Blonde Poison because Stella Goldschlag had the kiss of death. She stalked the streets of Germany to rat on her own friends, colleagues and neighbours.

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