Reviews

The Philadelphia Story

By Phillip Barry. Theatre on Chester, Epping (NSW). Director / Designer: Joy Sweeney. July 27 – August 18, 2012.

Gershwin jazz piano arrangements drift across the room from the gramophone. A smart-looking young man lounges nonchalantly reading the paper in a stylish period living room, filled with furniture and paraphernalia stylishly matched in predominantly black, white and grey tones. Effective use of coloured cyclorama lighting complements the setting attractively, in a stylishly attractive production from start to finish.

There’s a clever, engaging illusion; a twist which I won’t spoil, to Director Joy Sweeney’s prelude to the play’s main action.

Blood Wedding

By Federico Garcia Lora, adapted by Raimondo Cortese. Director: Marion Potts. Set and Costume Design: The Sisters Hayes. Lighting Design: Paul Jackson. Composition: Tim Rogers. Assistant Director: Claudia Escobar. Performed by Silvia Colloca, Nicole Da Silva, Irene Del Pilar Gomez, Ivan Donato, Mariola Fuentes, Ruth Sancho Huerga, Matias Steven, Greg Ulfan and David Valencia. Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse (Vic). 21 July to 19 August, 2012.

Malthouse’s production of Lorca’s Blood Wedding sees language as no barrier to understanding a narrative of overwhelming desire and crushing grief, and potentially, injects heat and passion into the bleak, cold and wet Melbourne mid-winter.

Mademoiselle

By Michael Dalley (World Premiere). High Performance Company (Vic). Forty-Five Downstairs, Melbourne. Devised and Performed by Paul McCarthy and Michael Dalley. Music: John Thorn and Michael Dalley. Design: Joel West. August 1-19, 2012.

Mademoiselle is a whirlwind of political incorrectness. Michael Dalley’s witty hour-long script had the packed audience in Flinders Lane laughing and gasping in its assault on the “lower middle-class”.

The Pride

By Alexi Kaye Campbell. Red Stitch Actors Theatre (Vic). Director: by Gary Abrahams. July 24 – August 18, 2012

If you really want to see strong, powerful acting, then Red Stitch Actors Theatre will not disappoint. The Pride is a gripping tale of two gay men, and a woman, who are living in very different eras: the 1950s and the present day. Playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell first shows us two men who are drawn to each other but cannot be together because of society’s rules. Then the play takes an imaginative, and startling, turn into the 00s, where homosexuality is a lot more accepted, even celebrated. But that freedom comes at a price, too.

 

Punk Rock

By Simon Stephens. ATYP Under the Wharf. Studio 1 (NSW). 25 July- 11 August, 2012.

If judged by the promotional material on ATYP’s website, Punk Rock is very nearly made out to be an angsty teenage drama. However, the title seems to have been more of a philosophical basis for the writer, Simon Stephens. This production is simply outstanding.

The 39 Steps

By Patrick Barlow, adapted from the book by John Buchan and the Hitchcock film. Castle Hill Players (NSW). Pavilion Theatre. July 27 – August 18, 2012.

Since its resounding success in London and New York, this play has become the new ‘pop’ comedy for community theatre. It has much appeal. To begin with, for the audience, the story is well known through book, the film and television make-overs – and the dashing but beleaguered Richard Hannay was, after all, the very first of the British super spies.  But for theatre practitioners, the play has even more altruistic appeal.

Prescription Murder

By William Link & Richard Levinson. Nash Theatre (Brisbane). July 14 – Aug 4, 2012.

There is something homely and familiar about this production. The play originated in 1960 as a radio play, Enough Rope, which morphed a year later into the present stage play. It introduced shambling, dishevelled policeman Lieutenant Columbo. This character’s popularity led to a two-hour television movie, forerunner of the TV series Columbo.

Jekyll & Hyde

By Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn. Gosford Musical Society (NSW). Laycock Street Theatre, Gosford. Director: Rob Hickey. July 27 – August 11, 2012

There’s some mystique around this 1990 musical. Though popular among aficionados because of several memorable songs and a seeming affinity with period blockbusters Les Miz and Phantom, Jekyll & Hyde has never had a professional production in Australia. So community theatre must lead the way — but only companies that, like the excellent Gosford Musical Society, have the resources and available talents to match the show’s considerable demands.

A Hoax

by Rick Viede. La Boite/Griffin Theatre co-production. SBW Stables Theatre. July 27 - September 1, 2012.

A Hoax is an impressive second play from Rick Viede, premiering in this La Boite/Griffin Theatre co-production. Viede’s targets are those artful peddlers of misery hoaxes, those writers of false memoirs of victimhood which are lapped up by our celebrity culture in love with glib tales of confession and redemption. Centre stage is Currah, an indigenous girl who was repeatedly raped in a cellar by her father.

Triangle

By Glyn Roberts. Presented by MKA (Winter Season). (Vic). Director: Tanya Dickson. Dramaturg: Jane E. Thompson. Set Designer: Eugyeene The. Costume Designer: Chloe Greaves. Lighting Designer: Rob Sowinski. Sound Designer: Russell Goldsmith. Co-Sound Designer: Chris Wenn. Voice Coach - Leslie Cartwright. Movement Consultant: Janine Watson. July 25 to August 4, 2012

Like an old haunting fairytale, Triangle seduces with the familiar, then commences a journey traversing the realms of passion, violence and the supernatural in a perfectly unexpected yet strangely anticipated manner.   

It is set in and around a supermarket like Tuesday, another terrific work presented by MKA in June.  However, unlike its predecessor, Triangle veers into fanciful, lyrical subliminal territory.

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