Reviews

Hotel

Wild Rice – OzAsia Festival. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide. 28 to 30 Sept, 2017

Comedy, pathos, singing and dancing, with more than just a touch of history, all meld together seamlessly to make the masterpiece that is Hotel.

Set in the iconic hotel Raffles, Hotel traces the history of Singapore between 1915 and 2015 in 11 episodes or scenes.

At 5 hours, Hotel is played in 2 parts – Part 1 contains 6 scenes (1915 to 1965) and Part 2 contains 5 scenes (1975 to 2015).

Julie

By Holly Brindley. Presented by Foul Play. Noel Lothian Hall, Adelaide Botanic Gardens. September 29 to October 14, 2017.

Why and how do you re-imagine a classic of its period? Holly Brindley took on this challenge, commissioned by Foul Play, and has written the best new version of Miss Julie I have seen or read.  Julie comes alive, becoming relevant for audiences in this new production. Once again Strindberg’s creation has the power to engage and challenge an audience.

The 39 Steps

Based on novel by John Buchan, Adapted by Patrick Barlow. Directed by Kurt A. Lurps. Mousetrap Theatre Company, Redcliffe. September 29 – October 14, 2017.

The original novel, The 39 Steps, was full of murder, mystery and intrigue and those aspects were emphasised in Alfred Hitchcock’s film, but the play has germinated into a comedy/thriller, with the emphasis on the comedy. That was particularly so in this production – the audience did not stress out over the numerous murders but rather almost laughed themselves to death.

Death Match

Created by Katrina Cornwell (director), Morgan Rose (writer), Cody Baldwin (assistant director), and the cast: Stephen Amos, Rebecca Catalano, Elly D’Arcy, Aleeah Gabriel, Earl Marrows & Ursula Searle. Monash Centre for Theatre & Performance and Malthouse Theatre. Malthouse Theatre, The Tower, Melbourne. 29 September – 7 October 2017

Death Match is about competition and winning – winning at whatever the cost.  Here, sport is the metaphor – or the stand-in, so to speak – for any form of competition.  The callisthenic exercises we see on stage, however, are not a test of skill but of fitness, body type (i.e. luck), will-power and endurance.

Hay Fever

By Noël Coward. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 23 September – 28 October 2017.

Noël Coward’s Hay Fever is a play that has ‘no plot and… few if any witty lines’ – or so said the critics at the play’s first production in 1925.  And yet here it is, in yet another of its many revivals, often played by stellar casts, and including at least three versions for television. 

The Clean House

Written by Sarah Ruhl. Stirling Players (SA). Directed by Kevin Burrett. Stirling Community Theatre. 22 September – 7 October 2017.

The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl follows five people who are trying to manage their lives and remain sane in the process. There is Lane, Josephine Pugh, who is the highly organised and successful doctor who hates cleaning but who needs a really clean house. Her sister Virginia, Jenny Penny, finds a reason for living through cleaning. Mathilde, Andrea Freitas, is on a quest to devise the funniest joke in the world and although employed as a cleaner by Lane, hates cleaning.

La Voix Humaine

By Francis Poulenc. Blanke Knochen Opera. Director: Kate Millett. Musical Director: James Penn. Venue: Carlton Club. September 26 – 30, 2017

The Melbourne Fringe Festival is always looking for quirky shows in unusual venues. This BK Opera delivered.

Set on the fourth floor of the Carlton Club, this one acter for one character was played out in four different rooms with four different sopranos. The rooms and audience were very small, so only an amateur group could have attempted this.

Puntila/Matti

By Bertolt Brecht, adapted by Tobias Manderson-Galvin & Dr Tom Payne. A Doppelgangster Production by MKA Theatre in association with KXT bAKEHOUSE. Directed by Tobias Manderson-Galvin and Dr Tom Payne. Kings Cross Theatre, Sydney. 28 September – 14 October, 2017

Great: an ultra-modern, sexy, crazy version of Brecht’s Mr Puntilla and his Man Matti. But, no, this isn’t what I think/hope it’s going to be. In fact it’s often difficult to discern what’s going on at all.

La Cage Aux Folles

Music & Lyrics: Jerry Herman. Book: Harvey Fierstein. Nash Theatre Inc Director: Leo Bradley. Musical. Director: Mary Greathead. Choreography: Shai Lewis. Merthyr Road Uniting Church, New Farm. 22 Sep – 14 Oct 2017

This must be the most tawdry drag show in town but also the funniest thanks to Ross Waghorn’s turn as Zaza/Albin. A performer who has street cred in ‘Drag’ (he frequently works as his alter-ego Wanda DParke), he commands the stage and with his smart delivery and ad-libs he finds a few more laughs than are on the page in Harvey Fierstein’s bubbly script. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a ‘Drag Queen’ play the role and it was a revelation.

Ferrucio Furlanetto in Recital with Igor Tchetuev

Presented by Opera Australia at the City Recital Hall, Sydney. 27th September and 29th September 2017

Hailed as “the world’s finest bass”, Ferrucio Furlanetto made his opera debut at La Scala Milam in 1979 in Verdi’s Macbeth. Since then he has sung in opera houses all over the world, in roles from Don Giaovanni to Mephistopheles to Don Quixote. He is also widely acclaimed as a concert singer on the international stage.

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