Reviews

Torch Song Trilogy

By Harvey Fierstein. Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Eternity Playhouse, Dalringhurst (NSW). July 29 – August 26, 2018

This is a stunning production where writing, direction, design and acting come exquisitely together. It takes Harvey Fierstein’s beautifully written script and his very delicately drawn characters through the maelstrom of discrimination and the fight for acceptance. Conceived in the late 1970s, when homophobia and vilification reigned, Fierstein’s trilogy was way ahead of its time, an inspiration to others to “imagine the possibilities that could lead to positive changes”.

Soloists and Spontaneity

Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Alondra de la Parra. Piano: Sergio Tiempo. Concert Hall, QPAC. 4 Aug 2018

The overriding theme of this Maestro, series with works by Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok and Sergei Rachmaninov, was that they were all works that premiered in America.

Side by Side by Sondheim

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (and music by Leonard Bernstein, Mary Rodgers, Richard Rodgers and Jule Styne). Playlovers. Directed by Gillian Binks. Limelight Theatre, Wanneroo, WA. July 26 - Aug 4, 2018

Currently homeless, Playlovers presented this musical entertainment at Wanneroo’s Limelight Theatre. This show is often performed quite formally, as director Gillian Binks describes, “in a long black dress by a piano”, and working in a borrowed venue, this would be the simpler approach. This production has a different feel, set in a bar, and feeling more like a conventional musical than a revue.

The Mastersingers of Nuremberg Act 3

By Wagner. State Opera of South Australia Adelaide Festival Centre. August 4, 2018.

Sometimes what is promised on the box is what you get, and this twenty-year celebration of the first production in Adelaide was packed with masterful singers.

The semi-staged production of the third act of Wagner’s only comic opera delighted the full house with the quality of the music, played superbly by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra under the assured baton of Nicholas Braithwaite, returning to Adelaide for this special performance. The music they created soared and melded beautifully with the singers.

Bring It On The Musical

Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Pelican Productions (SA). Norwood Concert Hall. August 2-5, 2018

Less than a year on from winning the Adelaide Theatre Guide Award for ‘Best Show, Youth Theatre’ with Bring it On the Musical, Pelican Productions has brought this slick show back. If audience numbers and enthusiasm are any indication, it has been a winning move.

You’ve Got Hate Mail

By Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore. Brisbane Arts Theatre. Directed by Braydon Mengel. August 3 – 11, 2018

This hilarious comedy of errors looks at the world of on-line hook-ups and breakups in this age of online communication. Disaster occurs when a juicy e-mail is sent to the wrong address. The play is told entirely through laptop computers, along with the occasional phone call to add to the mayhem. This proved to be very amusing to the audience as they learnt about the modern world of courtship and sexual relationships (with the extreme language associated with this).

The Goat or Who is Sylvia?

By Edward Albee. University of Adelaide Theatre Guild Inc. Little Theatre, The Cloisters, University of Adelaide. Aug 4 – 18, 2018

I have always been fond of goat curry but after seeing The University of Adelaide Theatre Guild’s The Goat or Who is Sylvia? I may never touch it again!

The Goat or Who is Sylvia? is one of Edward Albee’s later plays as opposed to the well-known Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which was written near the beginning of his career. Both centre on relationships and secrets, but The Goat delves even deeper into the psyche to places where the average person would never go.

Sneakyville

By Christopher Bryant. A Before Shot Production. Fortyfive downstairs, Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 1 – 12 August 2018

Sneakyville is at once a visceral experience and an intellectual and emotional challenge.  It is brilliantly and inventively realised by bold and risk-taking direction, a stark, stripped back aesthetic and a cast capable of astonishing transformations.  It is a play about Charles Manson – and it’s not.  Remember him?  It tells (but does not dramatize) in documentary detail of the murders carried out by members of the ‘Manson Family’, at Manson’s direction, in 1969 Los Angeles.  The frenzied murders of not just Sharon Tate and h

Cosi Fan Tutte

By Mozart. Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. Canberra Opera. Directed by Elisha Holley. Belconnen Community Theatre. July 27 – August 6, 2018

“I suffer horrible twitches, oh you bitches, this is totally your fault!” Canberra Opera’s Cosi Fan Tutte is unabashedly daggy fun. Director Elisha Holley has moved the setting to Braddon, an inner suburb of Canberra and inserted Australian vernacular through the libretto, which is an old technique which can be either funny or excruciating. Here it works well. The boys are Duntroon cadets, the girls are spoilt Canberra Prius-driving brats and Despina is pure Charnwood (for non-Canberrans, think Western Sydney).

The Memory of Water

By Shelagh Stephenson. St. Jude’s Players (SA). St. Jude’s Hall, 2nd-11th August 2018

This Olivier Award winning play by English writer and actress Shelagh Stephenson is set in a remote northern coastal village, presumably Yorkshire, in the family home of three sisters, Teresa, Mary and Catherine.  The death of their mother, Vi, has forcibly brought the siblings back to the place in which they grew up as they prepare for her funeral and the sale of the house. It’s a well-worn theme that has also been explored by Australian playwrights, such as Louis Nowra in Radiance and Hannie Rayson in Hotel Sorrento.

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