Reviews

The Real Thing

By Tom Stoppard. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. September 9 – October 26, 2019.

The Real Thing was a big hit in 1982.  Britain’s Tom Stoppard was applauded for embracing the theme of heart-felt love and fidelity, and breaking from his earlier, drier plays crackling with nihilistic philosophising.

As Stoppard liked to re-quote, “I’m a man of no convictions – at least I think I am.”

Black is the New White

By Nakkiah Lui. Black Swan State Theatre Company. Directed by Nakkiah Lui. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of WA. Sep 11- 22, 2019

Black is the New White is the funniest production presented by Black Swan State Theatre Company in many years. This Sydney Theatre Company production deals with some important issues including race, class, colonialism and inter-racial marriage, but is at its heart, a romantic comedy that keeps its audience chuckling throughout.

Railed: Sizzling and Sweaty Circus

Created, presented and performed by Head First Acrobats. Directed by Debra Batton & John Walton. Wonderland Spiegeltent - Federation Square (The Paddock) Batman Avenue, Melbourne. 14-25 September, 2019.

Head First Acrobats are a collection of highly talented circus performers who create spirited acts with unusual and sometimes incongruous themes. Railed is a circus act with a mix of the conventions of male performance for a hen’s night with American Western culture. This results in a fun-filled, somewhat erotically charged, but wholesome show.

XXX Neon Sign

Rumpus Theatre. Presented by Dan Thorpe. 100 Sixth Street, Bowden SA. September 12-21st, 2019

Rumpus describe themselves as presenting ‘fresh local theatre’.  Created/facilitated by Rebecca Mayo, Nescha Jelk and Yasmin Gurreeboo, they proudly share that everything about Rumpus - its concept, modelling, philosophy and brand is created by and with the community of Adelaide’s professional independent theatre companies and theatre makers, via community meetings, votes and online discussions. Rumpus also renounces any bias based on gender, race, sexuality and personal predilections. XXX Neon Sign is the first play of their 5-play 2019 season.

The Nightwatchman

By Daniel Keene. Melville Theatre Company. Directed by Siobhan O’Gara. Melville Theatre, WA. Sep 13-28, 2019

The Nightwatchman is by Australian playwright  Daniel Keene, but is set in Bourgogne, France in the late 1990s. Originally commissioned by La Compagnie des Docks, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, Melville Theatre Company’s production is the third time this play has been performed in Australia.

Anna Bella Eema

By Lisa D’Amour. The Motley Bauhaus at 8.15. (102 Scotchmer Street, Fitzroy North). 10 -15 September 2019

As invitations to Fringe show are bountiful and reviewers are spoilt for choice, it is difficult to know what to pick to see.  Motley Bauhaus caught my eye.  Confident that Jason Cavanagh would program unique interesting shows I said yes to seeing Anna Bella Eema. And, I am very glad I did, it is a delightful joy filled gem – like an extremely old glowing piece of polished Amber filled with tiny natural treasures. But it has such a short season in a quirky little theatre space.

Anna Bella Eemais by American playwright Lisa D’Amour.

The God of Isaac

By James Sherman. Shalom Institute. Directed by Moira Blumenthal. Eternity Playhouse Darlinghurst. Sept 5 – 22, 2019.

Oy Vey – any more Jewish and they would be serving chicken soup with matzah balls as you entered the theatre. Like a generous Bar Mitzvah spread, there are mountains of food to feast upon. The dishes on offer included a mother’s guilt, corny jokes, angst, marrying out of the faith and Nazis.

A straw poll of Jews at the opening night performance found nine out of ten thoroughly enjoyed the production, one said it gave him indigestion – whilst the non-Jew I spoke to was underwhelmed.

Buffy Kills Edward

Created by Laura Wiley. Emma Knights Productions. Directed by Megan Doherty. Gasworks Art Park, 21 Graham St, Melbourne. 12-14 September, 2019.

Can someone (your friendly reviewer, for instance) who, before seeing this show, barely comprehended (and to be honest, barely comprehends after it) that the casts of Buffy and Twilight exist in different realities/universes, still get heaps of hearty laughs from a musical spoof of these phenomena that have largely passed him by? In other words, does Buffy Kills Edward have the potential to deliver a good time in the theatre for a novice newcomer as well as a die-hard fan? Absolutely, it can.

Sex and The Musical

Created by Laura Wiley. Emma Knights Productions. Directed by Steph Gonelli. Gasworks Art Park, 21 Graham St, Melbourne. 12-14 September, 2019.

Before seeing this show, can someone who could name the central quartet of actors from Sex and the City but not necessarily identify their character names with confidence, still enjoy an unofficial, satirical musical prequel to the television series? In other words, can Sex and the Musical potentially ‘cross over’ to novice new-comers in addition to entertaining die-hard fans? Absolutely, it can.

Summer of the Aliens

By Louis Nowra. Essendon Theatre Company, 9 Bradshaw Street Essendon. September 5 –14, 2019

Essendon Theatre Company have every reason to be very proud of this lovely smooth, seamless, clear, and even handed production of Louis Nowra’s coming of age play, Summer of the Aliens.  This production is a must if you haven’t seen this significant slice of Australian Theatre History.

Nowra has written some very probing and moving works such as Inside the Island, The Golden Age and Cosi.  As a playwright he was particularly prolific in the 1980’s and 90’s.

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