Reviews

Whiteley

Music: Elena Kats-Chernin. Libretto: Justin Fleming. Opera Australia. Conducting: Tahu Matheson. Direction: David Freeman. Video and Projection Designer: Sean Nieuwenhuis. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. July 18 – 30, 2019

When a new opera begins with the lead character calling for the "Hairy Balls Masturbation Club" to meet for a "gang wank" then you know it won't be boring. Even more so when such lyrics are delivered in full operatic voice with all the gravitas of a Wagner aria.

Whiteley wears its Australian spirit on its sleeve: the show's touches of larrikinism and refusal to paint (sorry) Brett Whiteley as a saint add to the impact of this work, especially when it gets more profound. The dashes of irreverence and humour emphasise the deeper messages.

School Of Rock – The Musical

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics: Glenn Slater. Book: Julian Fellowes based on the Paramount movie written by Mike White. GWB Entertainment, S&Co, in association with Kham Inc, by arrangement with The Really Useful Group (Ltd). Director: Laurence Connor. Musical Director: Mark Chamberlain. Choreography: JoAnn M Hunter. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. Opening Night: 13 July 2019

When all the kids start to play their instruments ‘live’ midway in the first act the moment is “electric” and from that point on the show, which is already in high-gear, soars into the stratosphere. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical is simply euphoric, joyously anarchic, wildly funny and absolutely irresistible, and the best new musical we’ve had from the Lord in years.

Kate’s Story

By Life on Hold Productions. Directed by Siobhan O’Gara. Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, WA. July 13-27, 2019.

Kate’s Story is part of an arts event called ‘The Other Side” centred on the problem of homelessness. Victoria Park Centre for the Arts plays host, not only to the play, but to a Perth-centric photography exhibition and a curated musical playlist looking at issues of homelessness, poor mental health, broken family relationships and disturbed childhoods.

Veronica’s Room

By Ira Levin. Directed by Georgina Kling. Melville Theatre, WA. July 5-20, 2019

Veronica’s Room is described as spine chilling thriller, and it is a well-crafted story designed to have the audience on the end of their seats.

A Room of One’s Own

Adapted for the stage from the text by Virginia Woolf and directed by Peta Hanrahan. Sentient Theatre presented by La Mama Theatre & fortyfivedownstairs. Fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne. 17 – 28 July 2019

Peta Hanrahan has made a theatrical adaptation for four actors of two lectures Virginia Woolf gave at the women’s colleges – Newnham and Girton – at Cambridge University in 1928 on ‘Women and Fiction’.  In 1929, those lectures became the famous book.  The premise is the famous line, ‘A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.’

A Doll’s House Part 2

By Lucas Hnath. Directed by Caroline Stacey. Presented by The Street. The Street Theatre, Acton, Canberra. June 14 – 23, 2019

“I’m not that same person who left through that door” – Nora

What if Nora came back? What would people say? And what could possibly draw her back to the house, scene of so much said and unsaid in A Doll’s House by Ibsen? This play brings back characters we thought we knew, and challenges what we imagined happened after Nora left.

Caroline Stacey’s direction has led to a fine production, with high values shown in the acting, staging, lighting and sound. All elements work together to create a jewel of a play.

Bitch, Antigone

By Steven Dawson. Out Cast Theatre. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. July 18 – 20, 2019.

The Out Cast Theatre is the first and longest running LGBQT+ friendly company in Australia. Their new show Bitch, Antigone is currently on at the Butterfly Club, ahead of the Edinburgh Fringe 2019.

A Night at the Theatre

A series of Five Comic One Act Plays by David Ives. STARC Productions. Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. 17-27 July, 2019.

I always think it is a really good thing when you have been to the theatre that when you leave you need to discuss it and you keep discussing what you have seen all the way home and then you think about it when you are lying in bed.

A Night at the Theatre is a series of comic one act plays by David Ives, the leading American writer of Absurdist theatre. Theatre of the Absurd usually does not get much of an airing, so it is both interesting and worthwhile that STARC Productions presents these short and technically difficult plays.

La Bohème

By Puccini. Opera Van Diemensland & Cordelia’s Potted Operas. Director: Stee Cordilia. Conductor: Alan Cook. Abbotsford Convent (Vic). July 7, 2019.

There are an amazing number of opera companies, amateur, semi-professional and professional, now operating in Victoria. Opera Van Diemensland started in NSW with the aim of bringing semi-professional opera to country centres, and has now moved to Victoria. This was the only Melbourne performance, and was well attended.

My Urrwai

Written by Ghenoa Gela. Directed by Rachael Maza. Produced by Performing Lines in association with Ilbijerri Theatre Company. Presented by QPAC. Studio 1. 17 – 22 July, 2019

Ghenoa Gela is funny, friendly and fierce in My Urrwai. The show intersperses storytelling with contemporary and traditional dance, comedy, poetry and song. It’s a powerfully moving exploration of the impacts of colonialism on first nations people.

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