Reviews

Djuki Mala

The Studio, Sydney Opera House. June 13 – 18, 2017

On their 10th anniversary, the Chooky Dancers from NE Arnhem Land, now renamed Djuki Mala, are back after a run of national and overseas touring. They started off with that infectiously funny spoof of Zorba, created apparently as a sincere indigenous thank you to a Greek woman up in their country of Elcho Island – it then went viral to millions on YouTube.  

Poetic License

Written and assembled by the cast with additional text by Komninos Zervos, Ebony MonCrief & Mahmoud Samoun; director & dramaturg Irine Vela. Outer Urban Projects. Fortyfivedownstairs. 20-24 June 2017.

Irine Vela, Artistic Director of Outer Urban Projects, works with young rappers, singers and beat boxers in the outer suburbs of northern Melbourne.  She remembered a play from Greek antiquity, The Frogs by Aristophanes.  It gave her an idea.  In The Frogs, Dionysus, as Ms Vela puts it in her program note, is ‘frustrated with the diminishing community spirit, culture and literature of Athens and decides to undertake a journey to the Underworld to find [poet and dramatist] Euripides… to bring him back life with the hope that his words can inspire

Opening Gala

Melbourne Cabaret Festival 2017. Chapel off Chapel. 20 June to 2 July, 2017

Back for its eighth year, the Melbourne Cabaret Festival opened with a glamourous gala evening on Tuesday June 20. Emceed by artistic director Dolly Diamond, and featuring seven performances from the festival, including Dolly herself, it was a tantalising taste of what this year’s festival has to offer.

Present Laughter

By Noël Coward. WAAPA Third Year Acting Students. Directed by Vivian Munn. The Roundhouse Theatre, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Mt Lawley, WA. 16-22 June, 2017

WAAPA’s Third Year Acting Students present Noël Coward's Present Laughter, in a gorgeous looking, charming production, that is clever and engaging.

Kelly Fragon has designed an attractive pre-war set that is lavish and luxurious, with beautiful attention to detail. Costuming (a team led by Katy Rasaiah and J. Orman) perfectly sets the era, and we are transported to 1939 to a world that is somehow devoid of rising war concerns and tensions - a world that probably never existed - escapist and elite.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

By Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield. Candlelight Productions/Mirth Hall. Metanoia Theatre at The Mechanics Institute, Brunswick (Vic). June 8 – 18, 2017.

This production claims to perform all of Shakespeare's 37 plays (well, technically) in an evening by only three actors.  Bouncing into the spotlight, David Todman, Shane Henry and Trelawny Kean (playing themselves in superb ensemble) threw themselves into the challenge like a trio of superbly-talented kids in a playground.  

42nd Street

Music by Harry Warren. Lyrics by Al Dubin. Book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble. Directed by Jason Langley. The Regal Theatre, Subiaco, WA. June 17-24, 2017

The Western Australian Academy of Performing Art’s annual ‘big’ musical at The Regal Theatre is many people’s only contact with WAAPA students before they graduate. This very impressive, very tight production of 42nd Street showcases WAAPA talents beautifully, and is a wonderful public relations exercise as well as being a top-notch production.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

By Tom Stoppard. National Theatre Live from The Old Vic, London. Nova Cinemas, Carlton VIC & other venues nationally. 24 June – 2 July 2017

Do we ever quite know who Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are?  Or like King Claudius and Queen Gertrude in Hamlet, are we ever quite sure which is which?  Why them?

The Haunting

Adapted from Charles Dickens works by Hugh Janes. Prince Moo Productions. Directed by Jennifer Sarah Dean. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. June 14 – July 1, 2017.

The Athenaeum is the perfect Theatre for this brilliantly staged work.   All production values are in place to facilitate suspension of disbelief and immersion in the creepy ‘old world fear’ of a ghostly apparition.   The marvelous picture book set by John Kerr with lots of quirks and illusions is really the fourth character of this stunningly eerie production.

Heathers The Musical

By Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy, based on the film written by Daniel Waters. Miranda Musical Society. Sutherland Memorial School of Arts. June 16 – 25, 2017.

Heathers is a little bit like Grease or Disney’s High School Musical franchise, but way nastier, blacker and dirtier.

As reported in an earlier Stage Whispers interview, the content of the show has polarized Miranda’s regular audience, but a packed, mostly younger opening night house enthusiastically lapped every moment up.

Cyrano De Bergerac

By Damien Ryan, after Edmond Rostand. Sport for Jove. York Theatre, Seymour Centre. June 15 to 24, 2017.

Sport for Jove’s acclaimed outdoor production of Cyrano in 2013 here returns, now indoors and well spread across the thrust stage of Sydney’s York Theatre, Seymour Centre, before touring beyond.  The cast is mostly the same but director Damien Ryan now also fills the shoes of Yalin Ozucelik in the lead.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.