Reviews

Freud’s Last Session

By Mark St Germain. Director: Adam Cook. Strange Duck Productions. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. 26 Nov – 7 Dec 2014

When one of the world’s most infamous atheists meets a Christianity convert the scene is set for a powerful meeting of the minds. When the atheist is the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud and the Christian convert is Oxford Professor C.J. Lewis then the notches on the intellectual debate rise dramatically.

Jumpers for Goalposts

By Tom Wells. Directed by Tom Healey. Red Stitch Theatre Company, St Kilda. November 19 – December 20, 2014

Jumpers for Goalposts is a beautifully written, thought-provoking play – the title refers to the predilection of English folk to improvise a game of soccer using whatever facilities are to hand. ‘Barely Athletic’ are an amateur soccer team consisting of three gay men and one token straight, none of whom appear to be any great shakes as players. This doesn’t stop their lesbian coach Viv from being determined that they’re going to win a trophy which she can proudly display on the wall of her pub.

Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Hugh Wheeler. New Theatre (NSW). Director: Giles Gartrell-Mills. Musical Director: Liam Kemp. Choreographer: Trent Kidd. November 18 – December 20, 2014.

Adapted from a blood and thunder melodrama, Sweeney Todd tells the tale of a barber, a former convict who returns to London from Australia bent on revenge for his unjust transportation, and proceeds slit the throats his customers, who are subsequently baked into pies by his accomplice Mrs Lovett.

Othello

By William Shakespeare. State Theatre Company of SA. Directed by Nescha Jelk. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide. November 14-30, 2014

This Othello successfully drags Shakespeare kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

The main action unfolds against a background of desert warfare, Victoria Lamb’s set and costume design chillingly evocative of battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The prevailing atmosphere of bleak desolation is enhanced by the nuanced mood-lighting of Geoff Cobham and the pounding force of Jason Sweeney’s techno-infused score.

Over The River and Through The Woods

By Joe DiPietro. Directed by Dexter Bourke. 1812 Theatre, Upper Ferntree Gully (Vic). 20th November -13th December, 2014.

In his programme notes, Director Dexter Bourke says, “Theatre is much more than a reflection of life, for me it is life itself, allowing ourselves to be more of ourselves than we would normally be.” It is with this understanding that he gives us a wonderful, funny and poignant production with a stellar cast who have a combined total of more than 350 years (by my calculations) of life experience, which they share lovingly with the audience.

Blithe Spirit

By Noël Coward. Canberra Repertory. Directed by Kate Blackhurst. Theatre 3, Canberra, 21 November – 6 December 2014.

The inaugural season, in 1941 London, of Noël Coward’s tale (set in 1941) of the catastrophic results of a seance was so successful in raising war-weary spirits—so to speak—that it ran for years.  Surely Canberra Rep’s present production would have been equally successful, hitting, as it did, all the right notes.  Deadpan lines are delivered to devastating humorous effect.

Still Point Turning

FORM Dance Projects. Lennox Theatre, Riverside Theatres Parramatta. November 27 – 29, 2014.

Choreographer and performer Linda Luke’s “dance poem” was initially inspired by TS Eliot’s poem Burnt Norton, that describes the changes brought about by the cyclical effects of time and the seasons in the garden of a house in the Cotswolds. It takes its title from the line “At the still point of the turning world”.

Kiss Me, Kate

Music and lyrics by Cole Porter. Book: Samuel and Bella Spewack. Darlington Theatre Players. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount WA. 21 November - 13 December, 2014

Darlington Theatre Players have chosen Kiss Me, Kate as the ultimate production in their year of Shakespeare inspired productions. a lovely bright, choice to close the season, it is directed by Neroli Burton, musically directed by (her son-in-law) Justin Freind and choreographed by Jessica Russell.

James Joyce’s The Dead

Music: Shaun Daley. Lyrics: Richard Nelson & Shaun Davey. Book: Richard Nelson based on James Joyce’s The Dead. Villanova Players. Director: Rod Thompson. Musical Director: Mary Greathead. Choreography: Lynette Wockner. The Theatre, TAFE, Morningside. Brisbane, 21 Nov – 6 Dec 2014

The musical version of James Joyce’s acclaimed short-story The Dead from the Dubliners is not your typical piece of musical theatre. More a play with songs, the work recalls an earlier time when families gathered around the piano and sang favourite tunes. There was no traditional orchestra as such with members of the cast playing various musical instruments on stage; piano, fiddle, flute, concertina and a bodhran (an Irish Frame Drum).

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress

By Alan Ball. Javeenbah Theatre Company, Gold Coast. Director: Dawn China. November 21st – December 6th, 2014

Alan Ball, the creator of TV shows and films like Six Feet Under, True Blood and American Beauty has penned this very witty dark comedy, set at the home wedding reception of Tracey and Scott: She is despised by all the Bridesmaids – the Five Women Wearing the Same Dressand he has had a fling (of sorts) with each of the Bridesmaids.

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