Reviews

Cavalleria Rusticana and Gianni Schicchi

By Pietro Mascagni and Giacomo Puccini. Canberra Opera. Directed by Kate Millet. Belconnen Theatre. 22 Aug – 1 Sept 2019

For this year’s performance, Canberra Opera presents an interesting pairing of two one-act operas, Puccini’s comedy Gianni Schicchi and the beautiful tragedy, Cavalleria Rusticana. Both have been made accessible by using an English translation.

Ruby Moon

By Matt Cameron. Directed by Susan O’Toole-Gridland. Moreton Bay Theatre, North Lakes. Aug 30 – Sept 8, 2019.

Basically, before the start of the play, little Ruby Moon had gone down the quiet cul-de-sac to visit her grandmother and she has not been seen since. What we, the audience, see is the devastating effects this has, on not only her parents but all the residents in this protected street. The story line is not logical, the characters are all uniquely different and the reasoning – if there is any – is challenging to the audience. Thus Ruby Moonhas all the necessary ingredients for an absorbing, challenging night at the theatre.

The Other Place

By Christopher Bryant. Theatre Works. August 28 – September 8, 2019

Betty Burstall founded the La Mama Theatre in Carlton back in 1967; eight years later Buzz Goodbody founded The Other Place theatre in Stratford–upon-Avon.

The Other Place is a study of two women who rise to the challenge of developing theatre outside of the male dominated mainstream. Christopher Bryant has written a poignant historical and postmodern account of a polemical era and Jessica Dick’s direction brings his vision to life, offering the audience a unique meta-theatrical experience.

The Addams Family

Book: Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Music and Lyrics: Andrew Lippa. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport. Directors: Jay Ahrens and Susan Austin. 31st August – 28th September, 2019.

Charles Addams’ dysfunctional cartoon family have come to life on the Gold Coast in a ghoulish production of The Addams Family.

This bizarre family consists of the eternally romantic Gomez, Daniel O’Connell; Morticia, Cat Deller; Uncle Fester, George Pulley; Grandmama, Kara Holdom; Wednesday, Chloe Smith; Pugsley, Tahlia Gibson and Lurch, Lawrie Sayer. 

Titus Andronicus

By William Shakespeare. Bell Shakespeare. Playhouse, Sydney Opera House. August 27 – September 27, 2019

Bell Shakespeare waited 30 years to stage Shakespeare’s early Roman tragedy. It’s a horrifically violent carnival of revenge, his reportedly blood-thirsty attempt to outmatch Marlowe, and please the Elizabethans in the pit – who loved it.  Myself, I could have waited another 30 years.

Avalanche: A Love Story

By Julia Leigh. Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney. Sydney Theatre Company, Barbican Theatre, Fertility Fest. Director: Anne-Louise Sarks. 29 August - 14 September 2019

‘It’s up to you’ — the consistent refrain from specialist doctors and nurses when asked if your (very expensive) IVF treatment should be continued. An 8th round of treatment for a 45-year-old woman over the edge of middle age? ‘Well, it’s up to you.’ And the woman in Julia Leigh’s play must make her way home passing the Bentleys in the hospital parking lot. 

That’s Show Business

Queensland Pops Orchestra. Conductor: Patrick Pickett. Guest Artist: Rob Mills. Griffith University Performing Arts Young Artists. Queensland Pops. Concert Hall, QPAC. 31 August 2019

Every year Queensland Pops dedicate one of their concerts to show tunes and this year’s walk down Broadway and around London’s West End was one of their best. With over 80 Young Artists from the Griffith Musical Theatre course down the side of the Concert Hall and on stage, and guest artist Rob Mills, the opening selection of songs from Jesus Christ Superstar was electric.

Lush

Cadenza Chamber Players. Conductor: Lucas D. Lynch. Guest Artists and Choir. Lynch & Paterson Production. Princess Theatre, Wolloongabba, Brisbane. 31 August 2019

The historic Princess Theatre was host to The Best of Musical Theatre on Saturday, a collection of songs, mainly male and female diva anthems, from six of the most popular musicals from the past three decades – The Phantom of the Opera, Anastasia, Les Misérables, Sweeney Todd, Jekyll & Hyde, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The interesting thing about the selection was the inclusion of story-songs not normally programmed in a concert.

The Lehman Trilogy

By Stefano Massini adapted by Ben Power. National Theatre Live and Neal Street Productions. Cinema Nova & other venues. 31 August, 1, 3, 4, 7 & 8 September, 2019

The Lehman Trilogy truly is an epic: in three parts, over three hours, it depicts 163 years of one aspect of American history.  It is an object lesson in the establishment of American capitalism, and it begins when penniless, Jewish immigrant Henry Lehman gets off the boat in 1840s America.  It proceeds all the way to the infamous collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.  This vast sweep, peopled by generations of Lehmans, their wives and children, their associates, clients and competitors are all represented, played by, brought to life and – most original of all -

Look Back in Anger

By John Osborne. The Adelaide Repertory Theatre. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide August 29 – September 7, 2019

“That voice that cries out doesn't have to be a weakling's does it?” Jimmy’s anguished appeal to his wife Alison in John Osborne’s famous play Look Back in Anger.

Look Back in Anger follows a young husband and wife, Alisonand Jimmy Porter, as they attempt to steer their way through class conflict and deal with a crumbling marriage in 1950s England.

It is arevealing look at class, sex, politics, and the conventions of 1950s England, all from the point of view of angry youth.

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