Reviews

The Encounter

Complicite / Sydney Festival. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 18 – 28, 2017.

With just one man on a stage cluttered with mics and speakers, The Encounter is a compelling innovation of sound and storytelling which makes excellent Festival programming.

This is compelling theatre produced by the famed British company Complicite and directed Simon McBurney.   

With each in the audience wired up with headphones, The Encounter’s only real production value is sound – and a few cross lights from Paul Anderson.

Macdeth

Devised by Fiona Roake, Christain Bagin, John Forman, Vanessa Chapple and Aurora Kurth. Arts Centre Melbourne / Company 13. Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne. 19 – 21 January 2017

With heaps of age appropriate fart jokes, Macdeth, is an excellent, often very funny, physical theatre romp in a Theatre in Education style.   It is a Drama/English teacher’s ‘God send’ - a wonderful show to introduce young people to Shakespeare’s revered play Macbeth. 

Sunday’s Roast

Written & directed by Tim P Driver, developed with Jennifer Monk. A Driving Monks Production, 2017 MIDSUMMA Festival. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton (VIC). 18 – 29 January 2017.

Just as 57-year-old Felicity (Ruth Katerelos) discovers she’s pregnant - how embarrassing – at her age - her grown-up children start arriving for Sunday lunch.  It’s an idea with potential.  Unfortunately the play does little with it.  There’s the elder daughter, bossy-boots Emily (Jennifer Monk) and her mild, obliging husband Andrew (James Rosier).  Mike (Pat Moonie) is the middle child; he’s with his fiancée Melanie (Lee McClenaghan) who’s largely oblivious to Mike’s misery  – and the wedding is imminent.&nbsp

Liza’s Back! (is broken)

By Trevor Ashley and Phil Scott. Music Arrangements by Max Lambert. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. 17 – 22 January 2017.

Look out Liza Minnelli, there’s a new girl back in town. The multi-faceted performer and sometime drag queen Trevor Ashley has let loose on Brisbane audiences with Liza’s Back! (is broken) after seasons around Australia and London’s West End.This show is a sequel of sorts to his smash hit 2010 production of Liza! (on a E) which headlined at the Brisbane Cabaret Festival.

Twelfth Night

By William Shakespeare. Directed and re-imagined by Glenn Elston. Australian Shakespeare Company. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. December 20, 2016 to March 4, 2017.

Purists, theatre snobs and general wowsers won’t like Elston’s version of Shakespeare’s delicious comedy, but who cares? Once again Shakespeare in the Park offers us a marvellous open air treat, and it doesn’t matter whether you bring a picnic of smoked salmon and Champagne, or Vegemite sandwiches and Fanta….that’s how wide the general appeal is for this terrific production.

A Night at the Musicals

Le Gateau Chocolat and Jonny Woo. Fairfax Studio. Arts Centre Melbourne. 17 -22 January 2017

This show is what you get when you mix technical excellence, irreverent devotion to the musical genre, humour and an ability to have an audience do just what you want with a gesture or look.

Champions

Form Dance Projects / Sydney Festival. Carriageworks. January 17 – 22, 2017

From Form Dance Projects in Parramatta comes this highly produced new work for Sydney Festival defying the idea that sport and arty stuff like contemporary dance can never mix.

After consulting the coaches and female athletes of the Western Sydney Wanderers,  choreographer Martin del Amo and his team of eleven all-female dancers stage Champions as though in a footy stadium.

The Music of Queen – A Rock & Symphonic Spectacular

Asia Theatricals, Good Egg Creative and Andrew Wyke. Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House - January 18 and 19, 2017, and Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne - 21 January, 2017.

A lavish symphony orchestra, a pulsating rock band and four top musical theatre performers combine to celebrate the hits of one of the greatest rock bands in The Music of Queen – A Rock & Symphonic Spectacular.

Autobahn

By Neil LaBute. Butterfly Theatre. The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton (S.A.). January 18 – 22, 2017

After previous successful seasons presenting “Beer theatre”, Butterfly are returning in 2017 with Autobahn, four one act plays written by American Playwright Neil LaBute, all set within the confines of an automobile. The common link with these four plays is the fact they are all set in a car and are about relationships, but I found the stories lacked any kind of journey or ending and I was left a little unsatisfied.

SIRO-A

Techno Circus. Concourse Theatre Chatswood. January 11 – 29, 2017

Back in 2002 a group of friends in a Japanese High School had the bright idea to combine the best of Japanese game culture in a performing arts troupe.  Fifteen years later SIRO-A has an international following and the group is appearing in Australia for the first time.

It’s best described as a high energy dance video projection act. Techno music performed live is co-ordinated with flashy coloured lights, video mapping and cheesy dance moves. SIRO is (I am told) the Japanese word for white. It is the blank canvass for the production, which resembles a kaleidoscope.

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