Reviews

She’ll Be Right: A Tradie Cabaret

Written and directed by Todd Peydo. Fringe World. Chemistry at the Girls School, Wellington St, Perth Jan 20-26, 2020

Russell “Rusty” Bell at first seems to be your typical Aussie tradie, with his high vis vest, esky of Emu Export and language that would make Grandma blush, but audiences who have joined Rusty, to watch him renovate the old Girls School, have found that within this rough exterior beats the heart of a Broadway Star.

Family Values

By David Williamson. Griffin Theatre Company. Director: Lee Lewis. SBW Stables Theatre. January 17 – March 7, 2020.

A new David Williamson play doesn’t seem an obvious first choice for Lee Lewis’ final production as Griffin’s applauded artistic director.  But look again and you’ll see it’s one of Willliamson’s best, most compelling, heartfelt plays in years. 

Family Values centres on Roger (Andrew McFarlane), a retired justice, who with his wife, Sue  (an ever truthful Belinda Giblin), optimistically welcomes home their three feuding children for his 70th birthday. 

Don Giovanni

By Mozart. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 24 – February 27, 2019

Don Juan first drew lascivious breath in a cautionary moral tale penned by a Spanish monk. Four hundred years on, through the hands of a dozen great artists, he’s evolved into a complex, even heroic God-defying libertine.

David McVicar’s revived Don Giovanni returns him to the shadows as a soulless sexual predator, a joyless sociopath. He’s played by Luca Micheletti, strong of voice, but with none of that amused, cavalier disregard of old; a Don Juan true to our feminist times perhaps, with his female victims shown clearly as just that.

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Jack Wilkinson presented by GJ Productions. Fairfield Amphitheatre, Fairfield Park, Heidelberg Road, Fairfield. 24 January – 1 February, 2020.

This is an enjoyable production of Shakespeare’s comedy and many of the witty elements are beautifully captured. The two leading characters in this production, Benedick (James Martin) and Beatrice (Grace Maddern), are in good hands and the reluctant romance that occurs between them provides much of the amusement in this play.

A Thousand Cranes

By Kathryn Schultz-Miller. The Gemini Collective. Fringe World. Directed by Sarah Williams. The Japanese Gardens, Perth Zoo, South Perth WA. Jan 24-26, 2020

A Thousand Cranes is a bitter-sweet theatrical event that sits beautifully at home in Perth Zoo’s Japanese Garden. A smooth fusion of conventional theatre with dance, acrobatics, music and aerial artistry, this gently-told true story is told with love and enchants its audience.

The Intervention

By Valentin Lang. French Santa. Fringe World. Directed by Elle Harris. The Moon Cafe, William St, Northbridge, WA. Jan 21-26, 2020

Independent theatre company French Santa has two productions in this year’s Fringe World Festival, with the first playing in the intimate theatrical space in The Moon Cafe. The quaint, eclectic decor, and messy, but lived in feel, is perfect for this new work set in a share house.

Housemates Ryder and Maya, decide that their third roomie Steve needs “an Intervention”. They want him to stop selling drugs from the house, and his alcohol consumption is excessive, but is it Steve who really requires the intervention.

Bed Bug Zoo

Written and directed by Suzannah Churchman. Townshend Theatre Subiaco, WA. Jan 22- Feb 1

Sweet, visually fascinating and whimsical, Bed Bug Zoo is a little charmer of a show with lovely messages of friendship and facing your fears. Gorgeous puppets and some lovely storytelling in this new work.

Mia, a school girl with some anxieties, needs to stay overnight at Mrs Mortien’s boarding house, as an “emergency case”. While she is not afraid of monsters under the bed, she finds herself face to face with some fascinating escaped crypto-entomology.

The Visitors

By Jane Harrison. Moogahlin Performing Arts. Sydney Festival. Carriageworks, Bay 20. Jan 22 – 26, 2020

Jane Harrison’s intriguing new play imagines seven Aboriginal men watching and arguing over the arrival of Arthur Phillip and his ships at Botany Bay in 1788.

They’ve arrived from across country and lead warriors on the ready to give resistance. But first, passing the message stick, they hold a formal council of elders. Another plan eventually wins support: they really pity these ugly looking visitors and, expecting that they pine to return their own country, will welcome them, briefly, to theirs.  

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

By Edward Albee. Butterfly Theatre. Holden Street Theatres. January 22-26, 2020

Butterfly Theatre is taking time out from the excellent ‘Beer’ Theatre the company usually presents in a pub venue. Yet the theme continues, because Edward Albee’s now classic Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which the company is currently staging at Holden Street Theatres, is steeped in what seems to be as many bevvies as any pub, let alone as much alcoholic brawling as one might find outside late night clubs.

Body Rights

By various authors. WA Youth Theatre Company. Fringe World. Directed by James Berlyn and Phoebe Sullivan. The Art Room and Cookery Room, The Girls School, Wellington St, Perth. Jan 17 - Feb 2, 2020

WA Youth Theatre Company presents four short new works about young people, power, their bodies and their rights. The collection showcases the work of 42 young performers as well as emerging creatives including directors, a composer, lighting designer and stage manager.

Outside the Girls School, the audience is divided onto two groups, who will see the evening’s performances in different orders. My group went to the Cookery Room first, so that is the order I will describe. Your experience may differ. 

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