Reviews

Black Diggers

By Tom Wright. Queensland Theatre Company. Directed by Wesley Enoch. Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne. 22-26 April, 2015

The first sound that rang out at the official ANZAC Day dawn service in Canberra on April 25 (today) was a didgeridoo. Those who heard it said it was reminiscent of gun shots. It’s a powerful symbol of how far we have come as a nation in recognising Indigenous Australians, and specifically, the Indigenous men who served in WWI at Gallipoli, and other battlefields in France, Belgium and Palestine.

Madame: The Story of Joseph Farrugia

A Torque Show production, presented by Vitalstatistix in association with State Theatre Company SA. Burnside Ballroom. April 21-May 2, 2015

Torque Show’s Australian premiere of Madame: The Story of Joseph Farrugia is fast-paced, frank, funny, often poignant and ultimately liberating theatre. It is also unlike anything I’ve seen before.

The culmination of a long-term project for Torque Show in collaboration with Emma Webb of Vitalstatistix Theatre Company, together with State Theatre Company SA, Madame is created/directed by Ross Ganf, Ingrid Weisfelt and Vincent Crowley.

Samson

By Julia-Rose Lewis. A La Boîte and Belvoir production. Directed by Kristine Landin-Smith. Roundhouse Theatre, Brisbane. 17 April - 2 May, 2015

Samson is a story about three adolescents growing up in country Queensland. With the death of a friend and a new addition to the town, many of their beliefs and hopes are side tracked as they explore more questions about the meaning behind some of life's multi-layered tapestries.

Boys Will Be Boys

By Melissa Bubnic. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 2 Theatre. 16 April to 9 May 2015.

Confronting, visceral, brutal this play jolts the audience into the not-so-pleasant world of the uneven gender battleground of big business – in this case the trading floor … stocks, currency, percentages.  It pulls no punches, allows no compromises. It exposes every possible dirty trick that can be played by unscrupulous men in positions of power – and every demeaning sacrifice ambitious women might be forced to make as they try to win “in a boy’s world”.

You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

Book, Music and Lyrics by Clark Geisner, Based on the Comic Strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schultz. Hills Musical Company (SA). Stirling Community Theatre. April 24 – May 9, 2015

The Peanuts gang came to the attention of the public during the 1950s, through the popular comic strip by cartoonist Charles Shulz. The 1967 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner was based on those loveable characters; a few songs he had put together to accompany humorous and touching skits.

Le Noir: The Dark Side of Cirque

Executive Producer: Tim Lawson. Director/Choreographer: Neil Dorward. Resident Director Mathieu Laplante. Adelaide Festival Centre. April 22- May 2, 2015

Sexy and slick, the fabulous event that is Le Noir is circus for grownups.

Displaying superb skills, Le Noir’s extraordinarily talented lineup includes several performers who are veterans of Cirque Du Soleil. This is not another Circus Soleil though, but more a mix of circus and sultry burlesque. There is no attempt to disguise performers as other-worldly creatures as occurs in Circus Soleil. Instead, their human attributes are flaunted in their top notch skills and sensual costuming.

Summer Rain

Book and lyrics by Nick Enright, music by Terence Clarke. The Theatre On Chester (Epping, NSW). Director: Joy Sweeney. Musical Director: Mark Pigot. Choreographer: Janina Hamerlok. Apr 10 – May 2.

Every so often a community theatre company makes a choice in their repertoire that absolutely delights me. This is one.

It’s an all too rare joy to hear a musical theatre score with an authentic Aussie voice and vernacular, something that the late Nick Enright had an absolute flair for.

Theatre on Chester celebrates Summer Rain with Joy Sweeney’s splendidly crafted intimate production, balancing just the right mix of exuberance, sensitivity and sentimentality, helped by a set and lighting which utterly evoke dry outback heat.

Tigers Be Still

By Kim Rosenstock. Directed by Byron Bache/Boutique Theatre. Brunswick Metanoia Theatre (Vic). April 21st – May 2nd, 2015

We all live with tigers inside us – whether they be anger, greed, jealousy or, as in this play, depression – that will devour us if we don’t master them. Kim Rosenstock’s endearing, bittersweet play (with an obligatory “happy ending”) about a dysfunctional family of women all dealing with depression, is full of charm and laughs and “moments” (the entire play is made up of vignettes, some as short as 30 seconds) and works well on a superficial level.

ANZAC Bikkies

By Paul Sherman. Director: Lynne Wright. Arts Theatre, Brisbane, 21-25 April 2015

Audiences are currently suffering from overkill in the portrayal of the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC’s landing at Gallipoli, on film, television and in theatre.

The Arts Theatre’s contribution is a premiere production of ANZAC Bikkies, edited by director Lynne Wright from a script by Paul Sherman. Told as a series of vignettes it looks at the Gallipoli campaign through the eyes of soldiers, nurses and officers, and covers the embarkation of innocent youths going off to fight, the folly of the landing and the ineptitude of the British military.

I Call My Brothers

By Jonas Hassen Khemiri. Translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles. Melbourne Theatre Company Education. Southbank Theatre, The Lawler, 16 April to 1 May 2015, then Regional Tour, 4 May to 18 May 2015.

I Call My Brothers is an intelligent, probing and poetic work that explores some of the rippling shock waves resulting from an inner city bombing.  It is superbly presented with all aspects woven together to create complex tapestry. Layer on layer of story un-folds through the unreliable perceptions, of the main protagonist Amor (Osamah Sami), gradually informing the audience. It feels like a rich rewarding journey of chasing, sometimes fleeting, meaning and is full of revelation.

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