Reviews

The Drover’s Wife

By Leah Purcell. Belvoir in association with Oombarra Productions. Belvoir Street Theatre. September 17 – October 16, 2016.

Leah Purcell here ambitiously reworks Henry Lawson’s famous 1893 short story about the drover’s wife left alone in the Alpine country to fend for her children.  The biggest action in Lawson’s yarn was the snake in the woodpile; Purcell paints a far broader canvas.

The Young King

By Oscar Wilde, adapted for the stage by Nicki Bloom. Slingsby. Lennox Theatre, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. 29 September – 1 October, 2016.

Holding cards designating them as subjects from the extremities of the kingdom, the young audience enters through a series of dimly lit passages where they are offered chocolate and make paper crowns. One representative from each ‘region’ is given a gift to present when they meet the Young Prince. Bemused, they wait, the only sound their curious whispering and the constant ticking of a clock.

Pedal.Peddle & Castles

Double bill presented as part of the Boardwalk Republic by House of Sand. Created and performed by Eliza Sanders. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Gasworks, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park. 27 & 30 September (Pedal) 27 September -1 October 2016 (Castles).

These shows work well as a double bill as the nature of the highly innovative and ground-breaking work of Eliza Sanders is unusual and heavily stylised, and this can require some acclimatising. Sanders merges a variety of art forms including dance, cabaret, theatre and visual and performance art. All of these forms are fully explored and their boundaries are often pushed to their limits. The abstract qualities of the show can present a challenge when trying to engage with the themes that are occurring, but the performance is always visually striking and aesthetically arresting.

Buried at Sea

Written & performed by Mark Salvestro. A Second Breakfast production. Melbourne Fringe. Directed by Phoebe Anne Taylor. Accompanied by Daniele Buatti. Belleville, Globe Alley, Melbourne CBD. 26 September – 1 October 2016.

Mark Salvestro tells an ostensibly true story about his Great Great Uncle George Bradford - and about himself.  Is it really true?  It doesn’t really matter: ‘true’ – merely true - can be a trap.  The question is, what does the playwright make of his ‘true’ story? 

Super Amazing Giant Girl

Devised by Anna Lumb. Performed by Anna Lumb and Gabi Barton. Melbourne Fringe Festival. La Mama Courthouse. 27 September – 1 October 2016.

Unlike her predecessor, the 50 Foot Woman from the 1958 schlock movie Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Anna Lumb is about as wholesome as you can get.  She’s bright-eyed, fresh-faced, athletic and she has a great big grin.  Nor was her Super Amazing Giant Girl transformed by aliens: she just somehow… grew to giant size and had to leave her country town – after, it’s true, demolishing some of it - and came to the city.  But a Giant Girl doesn’t fit in in the city either… 

Switzerland

By Joanna Murray-Smith. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. September 17 – October 29, 2016

Set in the home/retreat of the best-selling author of The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith - in Switzerland, this two hander opens with Highsmith attending to the not unexpected, nor particularly welcome, intrusion of a young visitor from her publisher’s office in New York.  To begin with she is an unyielding host to a vulnerable guest but tables turn and turn again.

Elixir

Head First Acrobats. Seymour Centre. Sydney Fringe. September 20 – 24, 2016

Humour, intrigue, incredible talent, skill, physical theatre and dance feature in Head First Acrobats’ mesmerising production of Elixir at the SeymourCentre, part of the Sydney Fringe festival 2016.

Head First Acrobats is comprised of three graduates from NICA, Australia’s circus school, Callan Harris, Thomas Gorham and Rowan Thomas. Together they create a show that exhibits physical theatre, dance, circus skills and comedy.

Twelfth Night

The Company Theatre Mumbai. OzAsia Festival. Ukiyo Tent, Elder Park (SA). September 23 and 24, 2016

Twelfth Night is Shakespeare’s final ‘Elizabethan comedy’ and has remained popular with audiences world-wide since it was first performed in London in1602. It is a tale about the appetite of desire for possessions, food and drink as well as love. In it, Shakespeare placed various comic devices he had previously used as early as The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Comedy of Errors, namely mistaken identity and a young woman disguising herself as a man.

Breadcrumbs

Performed by Tim Quabba. Melbourne Fringe. Belleville, Globe Alley. Lighting and Sound by Zach Navarre. 26 September -1 October, 2016

Tim Quabba delivers an improvised stream of consciousness performance within the conceit of a dream. He takes cues from sound and lighting changes and the subtleties of audience reactions and creates characters and small narratives from them. We were presented with The Father, Alberto the dog, Fidel the eagle, a young couple contemplating love messages in the sky and the obsession of the age – data.

Black is the Colour

By Daniel Keene. Deafferent Theatre. Director – Jessica Moody. Arts House – North Melbourne Town Hall – 24 September – 1 October 2016

This is an awesome first production by Deafferent Theatre.  It is a wonderful opportunity for Deaf and hearing friends to come together to experience dialogue and interaction in Auslan performed by two expressly engaging and consummate performers.  Their work is crisp and vibrant and clearly supported with captions. 

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