Reviews

Australia Day

By Jonathan Biggins. Pymble Players. Directed by Jan McLachlan. May 3 – 27, 2017

The attention to detail in the set immediately impressed. On the walls of the scout hall (which was the location for meetings of the Coriole Shire Australia Day Committee) were the most authentic looking Girl Guide honour roles, knots and a faded dusty portrait of the Queen.

The Flood

Play written & directed by Tim Horgan. Anywhere Theatre Festival, Queen Alexander Home, Coorporoo. 11 – 21 May, 2017

The Flood is a black absurd comedy set in 2011 around the Brisbane flood. Four young housemates at an existential crossroad of their lives share an old Queenslander on the Brisbane River. Glenn a corporate lawyer and Karl a photographer who writes pretentious food and coffee reviews are interrupted in their efforts to get stoned by Sandra and Damo returning home from holiday. All hell breaks loose when Sandra sees the mess the house is in and that the guys have eaten all the food in the pantry.

Black is the New White 

By Nakkiah Lui. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Theatre. May 5 – Jun 17, 2017

Nakkiah Lui’s new play delights with the same deliciously naughty racial lampooning as her work on ABC TV’s Black Comedy.  Here race and cultural background clashes with class as we open in the upmarket holiday home of an affluent Aboriginal family, and what promises to be an awkward Christmas reunion.

A View From the Bridge

By Arthur Miller. Canberra Repertory. Director: Chris Baldock. Theatre 3, Acton. 4–20 May 2017

Though Arthur Miller wrote A View From the Bridge more than six decades ago, it retains still the emotional power that forced its producers to circumvent then U.S.

Die Fledermaus

Music by Johann Strauss II. Libretto by C. Haffner and Richard Genee. English translation and music arrangement by Ian Gledhill. Canberra Opera. Directed by Karyn Tisdell/Belconnen Theatre Centre. May 5 – 14, 2017

This merry production of the cheerful operatta Die Fledermaus is a welcome addition to Canberra Opera’s reputation. The operetta has moved from nineteenth-century Vienna to the 1950s in London, with the characters enjoying a reprieve from war-time rationing and availability of goods. The von Eisensensteins, Gabriel (played by Andrew Barrow) and Rosalinde (played by Keren Dalzell) live in a London apartment and their maid Adele (played by Madeline Anderson) shows how she is not awed by wealth, but sees it as an opportunity to make the most of life.

Areté: Gamma

Dionysus Theatre. Cube 37 – Frankston Arts Centre. Thurs 11th – Sat 13th May, 2017

Based on a different theme each year, Areté: Gamma is the third festival offering from the vivid company Dionysus Theatre, a company that always engenders thoughtful debate and discussion in their works.

Aretéis an innovative performance and visual arts festival, where all work presented responds to a specific theme.  The 2017 theme - ‘Science is a way of thinking, much more than it is a body of knowledge’ - Carl Sagan

Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci

By Mascagni and Leoncavallo. Opera Australia. Opera Australia. Director: Damiano Michieletto. Revival Director: Andy Morton. Conductor: Andrea Liceta. Arts Centre, Melbourne. May 10 – 20, 2017

Though this was a revival, I hadn’t seen it before, so it was a new experience. And what an experience it was! Though I didn’t agree with everything, it was certainly not dull.

The huge structure revolved to reveal different indoor and outdoor scenes. This was used very cleverly. Cavalleria Rusticana opened at the final scene with Mamma Lucia weeping over the body of her son, Turridu, while Turridu sang his serenade to Lola off stage. The stage revolved and the action proceeded.

The Last Five Years

By Jason Robert Brown. Presented by NUTS (National University Theatre Society). Directed by Maddie Mavro. ANU Drama Lab, Union Court ANU. 10 – 13 May 2017

Wry laughs and pathos abound in NUTS production of the cult tear-jerker The Last Five Years. This is a bare bones, tiny budget show, hinging on the sheer energy of Jamie (Colin Balog), the unworldliness of Cathy (Alessa Kron) and Erica Chen’s excellent piano rendition of the fabulous score.

The Diary of Anne Frank

By Francis Goodrich and Albert Hackett. WAAAPA Third Year Acting students. Directed by Peggy Shannon. The Roundhouse Theatre, WAAPA, Mt Lawley, WA. May 5-11, 2017

WAAAPA’s Third Year Acting students presented a very moving, beautifully told rendition of The Diary of Anne Frank, by Francis Goodrich and Albert Hackett, in a production that showcases not only beautifully developing acting skills, but the depth of talent of WAAPA Production and Design students. Under the guidance of visiting Canadian director Peggy Shannon, WAAPA produced a piece that moved much of the audience to tears.

Velvet

Organised Pandemonium. Directed by Craig Ilott. The Playhouse, Canberra. 3–14 May 2017. And touring Australasia

Its makers describe Velvet as a party ("with an exhilarating disco soundtrack"), and as a show bursting with disco, cabaret, dance, glamour, and circus.  The show opens, continues, and closes with soundtracks to which performers dance or sing or perform aerial acrobatics.  It's certainly an unusual mix, though in fact I saw no cabaret.

 

Having watched it, I'm still unclear what Velvet is.  The only evident connection between all the performances was the set they all appeared on.

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