Reviews

The Taming of the Shrew

By William Shakespeare. Presented by Melbourne Shakespeare Company, directed by Jennifer Sarah Dean. St. Kilda Botanical Gardens. 7-22 December, 2019.

Melbourne Shakespeare Company consistently provides lively and enjoyable outdoor productions of Shakespeare plays. This show is an excellent example of the body of work they have produced. This performance is unique as it goes much further in its consideration of the themes housed within the text. The play is open to a variety of interpretations and has often generated debates about its subversive value, but it undoubtedly sheds light on the patriarchal mechanisms (even at the most fundamental level of intimacy) that operate to oppress women.

Krapp’s Last Tape

By Samuel Beckett. Red Line Productions. Old Fitz Theatre, Woolloomooloo. Nov 26 – Dec 14, 2019

Brian Thomson’s set and Veronique Bennett’s lighting at the Old Fitz embrace Krapp, providing him with the dim space and light he craves: “The new light above my head is a great improvement. With all this darkness around me I feel less alone.”  

Sixty shabby filing drawers tower like a wall over him. A ladder propped beside allows him access to the uppermost drawers. His battered desk is centred under “the new light”. Its globe dims each time he moves away. 

The Little Prince

By Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Directed by Michael Barlow. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Short St, Fremantle, WA. Jan 13 - Feb 1, 2020

It may seem a little strange to be reviewing a show that doesn’t open until January 13, but the media showing of The Little Prince comes after its very successful schools season, and the show will open to the public in mid-January. This beautiful revival from SPPT’s vaults is very moving, and a wonderful exploration of what is really important in life.

Handel’s Messiah

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. November 13 – 15, 2019

Handel’s Messiah, composed in 1741, is an oratorio based on scriptural texts compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible. It highlights three of the major events in the life of Christ. Hisbirth (the Christmas section), the Passion (the events leading to the crucifixion) and the Resurrection (the Easter section).

It is traditionally performed leading up to Christmas – and this year in many parts of England it will be the culmination of a year of performances of Handel’s works in celebration of the 250th anniversary of his death.

Possession Fear Never Sleeps

Concept by Ryan S. McNally. Halcyon Playhouse. Creative Consultants - Chantal Wilson and Pat McMahon. Roxy Lane Theatre, Maylands WA. Dec 6-14, 2019

Relatively new theatre company Halcyon Playhouse already has established itself as a company that specialises in the horror genre. This immersive horror experience is presented as part of their “ImmerSION” series and places the audience as flies on the wall of a group therapy session for sufferers of sleep paralysis.

A Very Naughty Christmas

Devised by Alex Woodward. Written by Alex Woodward, David Lawrence, Maureen Bowra and Matthew Semple. Directed by Dan Venz and Maureen Bowra. Produced by Alex Woodward and Woodward Productions. Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse. 4 - 15 December, 2019

If you’re tired of the kids getting all the best entertainment this festive season, A Very Naughty Christmas is just the present you’ve wanted. This sexy Santa sack full of cabaret style entertainment is cheeky adult amusement at its finest. It’s well cast, cleverly written and adeptly presented by the talented cast and crew.

Cirque Stratosphere

The Works Entertainment.  Canberra Theatre Centre 10–21 December 2019, and touring.

The latest production from Tim Painter and The Works Entertainment, Cirque Stratosphere, is, ladies and gentlemen, no mere sequence of world-class feats of hoop diving, extreme skating, pole dancing, hoop dancing, strongman and trapeze acrobatics, comedy, and all the other spectacles we’ve come to accept as normal.  It is certainly all of that; but, defying all expectations, it is a breakthrough experience in circus, and several intense aspects of the experience contributed to achieve that.  There was the unexpectedness of the thematic cons

Collaborative Comedy: The Cranston Cup

Colourful creativity! Terrific teamwork! Call it what you will. The Cranston Cup is the competitive culmination of weeks of impressive improvisation. Six teams strutting their stuff in sensational scenarios – simply scintillating!

This year’s Theatresports final was everything the eclectic audience expected - funny, clever, inventive, fast moving.

Summer Season 2019

The Australian Ballet School. Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne 6 and 7 December, 2019

Following Australian Government decisions that have many arts professionals concerned about the sector’s future, the young artists of The Australian Ballet School offer some hope. 100 performers delivered the annual Summer Season, a timely reminder of the local talent being brewed, and the importance of not letting it go cold.

Almost Face to Face

Written and Performed by Stephen House. Directed by Peter Green. Bakehouse Studio Theatre, Angas Street, Adelaide. 4-14 Dec, 2019.

Stephen House is a performer with the skills to sustain interest in a monologue over the course of an hour and to still leave his audience potentially wanting more.

In a style somewhere between that of a casual raconteur and an intense confessional poet, House takes us vividly into a world that will be largely unfamiliar to most; a world of compulsive sex and easy access to drugs, of sad reclusive lives looking for comfort in the arms of fellow misfits, of communal activities leading to a dance with death…

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