Reviews

Aradia

By Milkbox Theatre. Directed by Michelle Endersbee. Fringe World. The Chaos Room, The Blue Room Theatre, James St, Perth. Jan 21-25, 2020

Aradia is a new piece of feminist theatre, centred around the story of Aradia - sent to earth to educate about Witchcraft. A series of vignettes, this is a story about the strength of women and of self-belief, both historically and in the here and now.

Milkbox Theatre was born from a need for female lead artistry. Its mission is to share stories from the perspective of and lead by people who identify as female. Aradia delves into the deep history and mythology of witches, telling their stories and how their history effects and can inspire women today.

Oakley and Olivia

Written and directed by Paris Ceglinski. Fringe World. The Studio, Subiaco Arts Centre, WA. Jan 17-20, 2020

Oakley and Olivia, nicely written and directed by Paris Ceglinski, was a brand new musical which was one of the handful of shows to open Fringe World 2020. What better way to open FringeWorld than this child centred, wild and vibrant statement of hope for the future?

Nanna-stasia

By Eleanor Stankiewicz. Directed by Marcel Blanch de Wilt. Fringe World. The Library, The Girls School, Wellington St, Perth. Jan 17- Feb 2, 2020

In Nanna-stasia you are invited into the kitchen of Eleanor Stankiewicz’s grandmother for a funny, warm story of love, family and the importance of listening to your older family members.

When Eleanor was 7, she saw the animated film Anastasia. Knowing very little about her nanna’s early years, in Lithuania during World War II, Eleanor’s mind made her Nanna - Lithuania’s Anastasia - and this was closer to the truth than you might imagine.

The Life of Us

Music and Lyrics by Ben Bennett. Book by Ashleigh Taylor and Ben Bennett. 100 Coffees Productions and Neil Gooding Productions. Hayes Theatre. Directed by Neil Gooding. Jan 16 – Feb 2020.

At its first tryout Oklahoma! was called Away We Go! and the first thought which crossed my mind about this musical was whether it too might benefit from a better name.  This new Australian musical is about the perils of managing long distance relationships, which the title doesn’t communicate.

The Top Secret Violin Case

By Sofia Chapman. Outside eye, Görkem Acaroglu. Presented by La Mama, 349 Drummond Street Carlton. 21-26 January, 2020.

This show is an extraordinary gleeful exploration of some dark political events that besieged Eastern European countries under communist regimes. This light-hearted approach does not belittle the issues but allows the audience to see how suspicion and paranoia pervaded all aspects of life in countries like Romania. In this show the formation of a Romanian folkloristic music ensemble becomes fraught with obstacles fuelled by political machinations and corrupt bureaucracies.

Eyes Wide Woke

By Katherine Atkins. Bitten By Productions. The Courthouse Hotel, North Melbourne. 21 January – 1 February 2020

Very ‘woke’ – or she imagines she is – opinionated and confrontational Valorie (Ashleigh Clarke) invites sex worker Jasmine (Emma Drysdale) to join her fiancée, nervous, timid Sara (Ashley Tardy), former lover and pants man Noah (Luke Jacka) and old school mate, very camp, very loud Angelo (Joshua White) for an intimate dinner.  This will demonstrate – if not prove - just how ‘woke’ Valorie is.  During dinner (delivered by Uber Eats), there will be a full and frank discussion of Jasmine’s profession, feelings and choices.&nbsp

Impromptunes - Tune Your Own Adventure

Fringe World. Teatro, The Woodside Pleasure Gardens, Russel Square, Northbridge WA. Jan 18-21, 2020

Impromptunes - Completely Improvised Musical is one of the most popular regular visitors to Fringe World. As a long term fan of that show, i decided to check out their show for kids - Impromptunes - Tune Your Own Adventure.

Unlike its older sibling, Tune Your Own Adventure’s last show was not a sell-out, but the response to this production from its young audience would indicate that it should be - with complete involvement from everyone in the audience with this high energy improvised show.

Waterloo

Written and directed by Bron Batten. Fringe World. The Studio, The Blue Room, James St, Perth. Jan 17-25, 2020

Bron Batten’s one woman show Waterloo explores what happens when a green voting, almost vegan theatre practitioner falls in love with a Tory voting, high ranked English soldier. How can Bron reconcile the relationship with her own beliefs and values?

The Circle

Written and Directed by Jack O’Brien. Presented by La Mama, 349 Drummond Street Carlton. 21-26 January, 2020.

The circle aims to capture the oeuvre of Lovecraftian horror and the text pays clear homage to the famous writer. The play is aptly named The Circle, which refers to the wider body of authors whose writing operated in the Lovecraft realm. O’Brien explores the ways in which their apocalyptic themes are transferred into the gaming world. This is shown as a sphere which easily absorbs the violence and doom suggested by the wholesale destruction that is anticipated by such dismal views of humanity. 

Crookie! A Mystery Musical

Directed by Alice Chaney, with musical direction by Lachlan Obst. Don Russell Performing Arts Centre. Jan 19-21, 2020

Crookie! A Mystery Musical is a vibrant, effervescent new musical with a young cast and the feel of a Disney Channel TV presentation - slightly heightened, always optimistic and suitable for all ages, 

Crookie! played for several performances at Thornlie’s Don Russell Performing Arts Centre (wonderful to have some good quality shows out in the suburbs) before continuing its run at Subiaco Arts Centre.

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