Reviews

The Importance of Being Earnest

By Oscar Wilde. Directed by Brandon Martignago. Burley Theatre. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre (NSW) July 12 - Aug 3, 2013.

It's more than a bit embarrassing to admit it – having been a regular reviewer for Stage Whispers for several years now – but this is the first time I've seen a professional production of any Oscar Wilde play. I have seen films of his plays and bio-pics of his life and, like most people with a thinking brain, I love everything that Mr Wilde stood for, but the opportunity just never came up.

Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine

By Tim Spencer. La Boite Indie & Tamarama Rock Surfers. Roundhouse Theatre. 10 – 27 July, 2013

This play will haunt you.

Ostensibly this is a series of six interviews with a male sex worker. We aren’t told why or for what medium. (Of course, if we read the programme we would have known this piece played successfully at the Tamarama Rock Surfers Festival and went on to win a major award at the 2012 Melbourne Fringe Festival.)

On entry, each actor identifies himself and his part – first, Nick (Charles Purcell) the male prostitute, then Tim Spencer, as the writer/actor/interviewer.

One Man Lord of the Rings

By Charles Ross. The Playhouse, Canberra, 12 July 2013

To conceive of playing before a live audience multiple characters who must converse and journey together, rescue one another from danger, and engage in mortal physical and magical combat takes a special kind of imagination.  And it takes a special kind of actor to succeed in maintaining such mayhem for the length and breadth of the Lord of the Rings epic.  Fortunately for us, Charles Ross is one such.  Fortunately too, Ross managed to compress the epic tale's years into a single hour or so

The Bugalugs Bum Thief

Director: Noriko Nishimoto. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle WA. July 6-20, 2013.

 

"If you don't have a bum you can't sit down! "If you don't have a bum your pants will fall down! "How can you save a bumless town?"

 

 

 

The Bugalugs Bum Thief is a Spare Parts favourite that has returned to bring joy to old and new audiences.

Top Girls

By Caryl Churchill. New Theatre, Newtown (NSW). July 9 – August 3, 2013.

And they are! Alice Livingstone has assembled a ‘top’ cast of feisty females to take a New look at this once controversial – and, unfortunately, still very relevant – play by British playwright Caryl Churchill.

Oleanna

By David Mamet. Directed by Ange Arabatzis. Presented by Art of the State (Vic). Revolt Melbourne Artspace, Kensington. Until July 14, 2013.

Whichever way you look at it, Mr Mamet’s knee-jerk reaction (which premiered in 1992) to a famous 1991 sexual harassment case in the USA is a peculiar choice for an airing today. It’s dated, ideologically suspect, inflammatory schtick that, infuriatingly, has a bet each way on whose side you’ll take as the events unfold.

War Horse

Adapted by Nick Stafford from the novel by Michael Morpurgo. Direction: Drew Barr. National Theatre of Great Britain & Global Features Production. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. From 11 July 2013.

Magnificent theatre is the only way to describe the National Theatre of Great Britain’s production of War Horse. The story of illiterate farm-boy Albert and his horse Joey, who is sent off to the First World War as a cavalry horse, and Albert’s subsequent enlistment to find him, is powerfully evoked by a large ensemble cast and some brilliant life-size horse puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company. Within minutes of the play beginning you believe the puppets are real and forget they’re being manipulated by three people per horse.

Project Rameau

Australian Chamber Orchestra & Sydney Dance Company. The Playhouse, QPAC. 11 -13 July 2013

That choreographer and artistic director Rafael Bonachela decided to match his Sydney Dance Company with the Australian Chamber Orchestra as equal star attractions was divine inspiration.

Jean-Philippe Rameau composed a great deal of music for dance theatre and was widely popular throughout Europe towards the end of the Baroque era. Yet when Rameau died, his works were largely forgotten; even today orchestral concerts and classical music radio stations tend to overlook his music.

Squisher and Squasher and the Great Bug Hunt

Written and directed by Emma Davis. Old Mill Theatre, South Perth, WA. July 8-13, 2013.

Squisher and Squasher and the Great Bug Hunt is a school holiday show written and directed by Emma Davis and produced by Emma and Ben Davis.

A beautifully conceived show, it has audience participation every few minutes, simple likeable songs, a happy story and a healthy dose of education as we meet Princess Charlotte who has lost her golden butterfly hair-clip and her friends Squisher and Squasher who work with the audience to find a golden butterfly for her.

Gypsy

Music by Jule Styne. Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Arthur Laurents.. Directed by Gale Edwards. The Production Company. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. July 6th-14th, 2013

When words fail us, we go back to the alphabet for superlatives…and words truly do fail me in describing this astonishing production. So:-

A -Astonishing, I’ve already used. Awesome, yes indeed, plus arousing, artistic, awesome…how much time do you have?

B ..Beautifully staged and brilliantly realised on all levels. Brave and bonzer also come to mind.

C is Caroline :- charismatic, candescent, comedic, confronting, classy, consummate, cutting edge…..

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