Reviews

Medea

By Kate Mulvany and Anne-Louise Sarks. Black Swan State Theatre Company. Directed by Sally Richardson. Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. August 8-25, 2019

Medea is a moving and captivating retelling of the classic Greek story. Switching the focus, this version is told from the perspective of Medea’s sons. Perhaps not forgotten in Euripides’ telling, they are however mute and anonymous. This version, a collaboration between Black Swan State Theatre and WA Youth Theatre, celebrates their humanity, innocence and fraternity, and lets us love them, perhaps increasing the tragedy of the original tale.

Grapes of Wrath

By John Steinbeck, adapted by Frank Galati. New Theatre, NSW. August 6 – September 7, 2019

The New Theatre’s production of the stage adaptation by Frank Galati of John Steinbeck’s epic novel The Grapes of Wrath is an engrossing and impressive show. A strong principal cast is well supported by a large, talented and versatile ensemble. From the start of the play, which opens with a projection of the song “We’re in the Money”, the tensions, troubles and frustrations of the characters slowly grow in the first act as we come to understand their bitter struggles.

‘night, Mother

By Marsha Norman. Iron Lung Theatre. Chapel off Chapel, Loft Theatre, Prahran. 7 – 17 August 2019

On a Saturday night, on the outskirts of a small town somewhere in the southern states of the U S of A, Jessie (Esther van Doornum) goes up to the attic, gets her Daddy’s gun and tells her Mama she intends to kill herself that very night. 

My Dearworthy Darling

By Alison Croggon. Directed and Designed by The Rabble. Beckett Theatre, Malthouse. 2 – 18 August 2019

The name The Rabble is synonymous with risk-taking and with a license to experiment in the quest to find ways of expressing ‘the feminine.’  They are Feminist Theatre Practitioners.  This Company’s work is, more often then not, acutely intense and challenging for audiences.  And this current offering, My Dearworthy Darling, is unlikely to be less polarizing than any of their previous works.  

Agatha Rex

By Lindsay Price. Teens at Garrick (TAG). Directed by Gail Lusted. Garrick Theatre, Guildford, WA. Aug 9-17, 2019

Teens at Garrick (TAG) is a workshop-based program which meets one Saturday a month at Garrick Theatre. Each month they explore a different aspect of theatre, with recent workshops covering improvisation, voice, mime and sword-fighting. In addition, TAG performs one show annually on the Garrick stage, with the latest being Agatha Rex.

Things I Know To Be True

By Andrew Bovell. St Jude’s Players (SA). August 8th – 17th 2019.

It is so encouraging that St Jude’s Players have chosen to embrace and present high quality, contemporary Australian theatre. Geoff Britain is at the helm of Things I Know To Be True, and having directed the award winning Andrew Bovell play, When The Rain Stops Falling, also for the Players, he has embraced this production with skill and insight.

Les Misérables

Music: Claude-Michel Schönberg. Lyrics: Herbert Kretzmer. Original French Text: Alain Boublil & Jean Marc Natel. Additional Material: James Fenton. Griffith Musical Theatre 3rd Year Students. Director: Allister Smith. Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Peter Morris. Conservatorium Theatre, Southbank, Brisbane. 8-17 August 2019

Griffith Musical Theatre has joined forces with the Queensland Conservatorium to present the largest fully-staged production in the world of Les Misérables. With a cast of 80 and two symphony orchestras it is indeed a grand production and when the company lift their voices in glorious song in “At the End of the Day”, “Do You Hear the People Sing” and “One Day More”, the result is thrilling musical theatre and brings tears to the eyes.

Bonachela / Nankivell / Lane

Sydney Dance Company 50th Anniversary Triple Bill. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide. August 8 – 10, 2019

Without reservation, the dancers of Sydney Dance Company are stupendous.  They are infinitely watchable, superb technicians and consummate artists.  In this program celebrating the company’s fiftieth anniversary they perform three works by three Australian choreographers: Gabrielle Nankivell, Melanie Lane and SDC’s Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela, now in his tenth year at the helm.

Life of Galileo

By Bertolt Brecht, adapted by Tom Wright. Belvoir St Theatre NSW. August 3 – September 15, 2019

Tom Wright’s adaptation thrusts Brecht’s portrait of this towering if flawed hero of science into a modern world of besuited bureaucrats and miked-up security guards.  

The churchmen (except for Peter Carroll’s gloriously berobbed Pope) are largely replaced by today’s goons of fear-mongering politicians and spin doctors, dismissing “the facts of science” as dangerous ideology.  And yes, we think of climate change deniers; which thankfully Wright doesn’t overplay.   

L’Appartement

By Joanna Murray-Smith, Cremorne Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) from 3 to 31 August 2019

Acclaimed playwright, Joanna Murray-Smith has premiered her new play L’Appartement at QPAC’s compact Cremorne Theatre. The production also marks her debut as director. L’Appartement is a sharp, witty and highly entertaining play that takes present-day dilemmas in domestic politics and personal ethics and watches them explode when two succinctly sketched couples collide. Weary married couple Meg and Rooster escape the Brisbane burbs to rekindle some of their spark on a romantic mini-break in the universal city of love.

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