Reviews

The Factory Girls

By Frank McGuinness. Irish Theatre Players. Directed by Ryan Taafe. The Irish Club, Subiaco, WA. Nov 11-25, 2017

The Irish Theatre Players presented this ensemble play by Frank McGuinness in the lovely community atmosphere of the Irish Club and some of the warmest front of house anywhere.

Set in County Donegal, the play tells of women at a shirt factory, whose jobs are under threat. The distinctive Donegal accents were well implemented by both Irish and Australian cast members - although tuning into the dialogue was a little difficult over noisy air conditioning and noise from the bar.

Scenes from a Marriage

By Joanna Murray-Smith. Queensland Theatre. Director: Paige Rattray. Playhouse, QPAC. 11 Nov – 3 Dec 2017

Ingmar Bergman’s television mini-series Scenes from a Marriage was said to have been the cause of almost doubling the Scandanavian divorce rates after it was shown in 1973. Over 40 years later his vivid dissection of an emotionally barren and corrosive marriage still packs a powerful punch.

Burlesque by Force

Nexus Arts. Lion Arts Centre. November 15 – 18, 2017

Burlesque by Force is a piece of ‘confessional theatre’. It is a deeply personal work, created by Brodie John and Marissa Bennett, dealing with John’s battle with acceptance after being raped in his first homosexual experience.

Asylum

By Ruth Fingret. Brave New Word Theatre. Comber Street Studios Paddington. November 15 – 25, 2017

Tucked inside a narrow gallery, the audience is pinned to the stark white wall as the drama unfolds so close you can reach and touch it.

When one of the characters stomped on a can it rebounded into a spectator's leg.

The narrow confines was a brilliant setting for intersecting interrogations. You felt on edge waiting for some heads to be cracked.

Craig ( David Woodland) is an immigration officer questioning Hajir (Eli Saad) about his application for asylum in Australia.

The Merry Widow

By Franz Lehar. Opera Australia. Director/Choreographer: Graeme Murphy. Conductor: Vanessa Scammell. Arts Centre Melbourne. November 15 – 25, 2017

When asked to direct a season of The Merry Widow some years ago, I studied various unsatisfactory translations before opting for The Merry Widow of Bluegum Creek, set in the Australian embassy in Paris. It was very funny.

Opera Australia opted for a new translation prepared for Western Australian Opera by Justin Fleming, and it was also very funny. The Pontevedrians all had Australian accents and much of the humour had an Aussie feel, without any mention of kangaroos. It went down well with the opening night audience.

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare. Villanova Players. Directed by Roslyn Johnson. Yeronga State High School, Annerley. November 3-19, 2017

When you go out for Italian but the fusion of a spicy Tex-Mex grabs your senses and pulls you in for a scandalous night of frivolity and belly laughs, you know you’ve just seen Much Ado About Nothing by the Villanova Players.

Roslyn Johnson would have loved to meet Shakespeare. She’s in love with him (that much is clear from her program notes), and as a director, she could have shown him how she accommodated his indomitable characters of Dogberry, Benedick, Beautrice, and Don John without letting their egos run away with the show, well almost.

 

Bogga

A new play by Rob Pensalfini. Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble. Directed by Rebecca Murphy. Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio, University of Queensland. November 8-18, 2017.

You’re in the grip of a compelling piece of Queensland theatre from the moment the bars start rattling under your feet, behind the curtain at your shoulder, and somewhere else - distant but determined.

Bogga, a new piece of theatre from Rob Pensalfini and historian Chris Dawson, is both drama and documentary.

It works because it doesn’t judge. It takes a series of indepth oral histories from prisoners and officers and with a cast of five turns their recollections into the story of Boggo Road Gaol in Dutton Park.

The Secret Garden

Book & Lyrics by Marsha Norman. Music by Lucy Simon. Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Eastwood Uniting Church Musical Society. Director Katherine Sharpham, Musical Director Rebecca Hansen. 27th October -11th November 2017.

Eastwood Uniting Church Musical Society’s production of the musical adaptation of the famous novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett was a truly magical interpretation of the fantasy tale for all ages.

Anything Goes

Music and lyrics by Cole Porter. New Book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman. Beenleigh Theatre Group. November 10 – 25, 2017

Cole Porter’s Anything Goes is a classic musical comedy of the “they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore” variety. In an era of celebrity worship drawn from every walk of life, this old-fashioned musical feels as contemporary as the day it was written. Under Director Michael Skelton’s eye, three love stories play out to their final, delightful moments.

The Tap Pack

Directed by Nigel Turner- Carroll. The Arts Centre Gold Coast. November 11, 2017, and touring.

I’d like to say Tap is back - but the truth is it never went away.

However, The Tap Pack is back after their triumphs overseas, and it’s been worth the wait.

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