By Phillip Kavanagh. State Theatre Company of South Australia. Director: Nescha Jelk. Space Theatre, Adelaide. May 27-31, 2014.

She is narcissistic, self-obsessed, manipulative. In an effort to gather around her the admiration and attention of 'friends', she may well be alienating - or worse - the only true allies currently in her life.

She is Jesikah, and she stands at the centre of the new State Theatre production that bears her name, a show that has been specially commissioned for the 2014 Education Program - aimed at secondary students - incorporating a school-targeted tour of outer-metro and regional areas in South Australia.


By Jez Butterworth. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Theatre, Sydney. Director: Iain Sinclair. 17 May – 5 July 2014

Londoner Jez Butterworth was 24 when his play Mojo exploded onto the Royal Court Theatre stage in 1995. It won all that year’s Best Play awards and instigated a stream of high-powered gangster dramas for UK theatre and, especially, cinema. It’s well worth collecting in this vivid STC production, directed at a cracking pace by Iain Sinclair on a brilliant setting by Pip Runciman, quite the best I’ve seen at The Wharf.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

By Mark Haddon, adapted from the novel by Simon Stephens, presented by National Theatre Live via Sharmill Films. Encore screenings from 24 May, 2014.

As my colleague Coral Drouyn has already reviewed this production (and very enthusiastically too), I’ll raise another issue - and perhaps demur from Ms Drouyn’s approbation.

Madama Butterfly

By Puccini. Co-Opera. Director: Teresa Bremner. Conductor: Brian Chatterton. Athenaeum Club, Melbourne. May 23 – 26, 2014.

Co-Opera is a SA-based professional touring opera company which has been going for over twenty years. I attended the first of two performances at the Athenaeum Club in Melbourne, not to be confused with the Athenaeum Theatre, which was well attended.

The tour is mainly to country venues, requiring simplicity of production, and the single set had multiple levels with Japanese screens at the back. Props were mimed and a rag doll was used for the child. This all worked well. Though they usually perform in English, this was in Italian with sur-titles.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Conceived by Rebecca Feldman; music and lyrics by William Finn; book by Rachel Sheinking with additional material by Jay Reiss. Exclaim! Theatre Company. Director: Bryce Halliday. Choreographer: Monique Salle. Musical Director: Aaron Robuck. The Australian Hall, Sydney. May 23 – June 1, 2014.

Theatre-goers of my generation packed the intimate Richbrooke Theatre in Elizabeth Street in the 1970s for the original Sydney production of Godspell.

Slightly older audiences laughed themselves silly there at Phillip Theatre revues.

Now musical theatre students of AIM (Australian Institute of Music) use the heritage restored, flat-floored auditorium under its original name, the Australian Hall, as a classroom.*

It’s Dark Outside

Creators: Arielle Gray, Chris Issacs and Tim Watts. Perth Theatre Company. Lennox Theatre, Riverside, Parramatta. May 26 – 29, 2014

Though this performance deals with one of the most confusing, heart-breaking and, unfortunately, increasingly prevalent problems of our time – dementia – it is gentle and incredibly sensitive.

Thief of Time.

By Sir Terry Pratchett. Unseen Theatre Company. Adapted and directed by Pamela Munt. Co-directed by David Dyte. Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. 23 May-7 June, 2014.

Attempting to create a complex, fantastical, alternative world, where what we would regard as magical and/or supernatural is not only common-place but necessary, on a fairly small stage, with relatively modest technical resources, would seem to be quite the challenge. No less of a battle is that of condensing/distilling a complex novel into a digestible stage presentation of reasonable length. In addition, one must aim to provide viewers who have little or no prior knowledge of the source material in question with as satisfying an experience as that of the more die-hard fans.

Fiddler On The Roof

Book by Joseph Stein. Music by Jerry Bock. Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Directed by Carole Dhu. Music direction by Merle Brown. Murray Music and Drama Club. Pinjarra Town Hall, Pinjarra, WA. 9 - 24 May 2014.

Is there such a thing as a Magnum Opus for an actor? If there is, then Paul Treasure 's performance in Murray Music and Drama Club's Fiddler On The Roof may qualify.

Paul Treasure as Tevye was outstanding. There was a lovely sense that this was foremost a dramatic role, and Tevye was beautifully acted, with the Independent Theatre Association President bringing a fascinating truth to this confused, conflicted, flawed but loveable father. Paul Treasure also has the vocal depth to shine in this role, singing superbly.

The Talented Mr Ripley

From the novel by Patricia Highsmith, adapted by Phyllis Nagy. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society, Director: Danni Ashton. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. 16 – 31 May 2014

Hobart Repertory Theatre Society achieved an excellent resultof The Talented Mr Ripley, Phyllis Nagy’s adaptation of acclaimed novel by Patricia Highsmith, showing the story of a nasty but believable character in this complex psycho-drama.

Footloose The Musical

Based on the original screenplay by Dean Pritchard; Adaptation by Dean Pritchard and Walter Bobbie; Music by Tom Snow and Lyrics Dean Pritchard. Javeenbah Theatre Co. Nerang, Gold Coast. Directed by Amy-Louise Anderson and Jocelyn Moore-Carter. May 23rd to June 7th, 2014

With a sell-out production on their hands, Javeenbah’s Footloose is fast paced, full of life and a sure-fire hit, led by “Pocket Rocket” Jackson Brash as Ren, Lauren Steiner as the rebellious Ariel, Jy Etherington as the awkward Farm Boy Willard, Nathan Skaines as the bigoted Rev Shaw Moore and a supporting cast of well rehearsed adults and youngsters.

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