By William Shakespeare. Director: Megan Dansie. University of Adelaide Theatre Guild, Adelaide. Little Theatre, Adelaide. 3rd –17 August, 2013.

The University of Adelaide Theatre Guild’s brilliant and unconventional take on Shakespeare’s Richard III is riveting in its intensity, with the contemporary setting conveying a strong sense of alternate reality.

Blood Brothers

Book, Music & Lyrics: Willy Russell. Harvest Rain. Director: Tim O’Connor. Musical Director: Maitlohn Drew. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. 1 - 17 August 2013

Amanda Muggleton is the reason to see Blood Brothers. As Liverpool mother Mrs Johnstone she’s the glue that holds this whole production together. She grabs the role by its throat and wrings every ounce of pathos out of it.

Willy Russell’s play with music, loosely based on Alexandre Dumas’s The Corsican Brothers, ran 24 years in London’s West End and still packs an emotional punch. Harvest Rain’s pro/am production is the first time the show has been seen in Queensland.


By Peter Shaffer. Director: Chris Baldock. Mockingbird Theatre Company. Brunswick Mechanic’s Insitute - Performing Arts Centre. August 3 – 17, 2013.

When Peter Shaffer’s play about a boy who mutilates horses first opened in 1973 it was considered confronting, shocking, and disturbing. It still is, but the word exhilarating must be added, because of this production. This is theatre at its finest; an astonishing collaboration of text, performance and direction. To be prosaic, it’s bloody marvellous.

The Complete Works Of Shakespeare (Abridged)

By Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield. State Theatre Company of South Australia. Aug 1 – 3, 2013, and touring.

The Q, Queanbeyan Arts Centre. 24-27 August and touring Australia

Taming of the Shrew

By William Shakespeare. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. Directed by: Julie Waddington. 26 July – 10 August 2013

Many adaptations of Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare have focussed on the romantic comedy aspect of this centuries-old play. The most recent version by Hobart Repertory Theatre Society, under the direction of Julie Waddington, has a slightly different take, focussing on gender politics with a twist. Baptista has two daughters: the elder, Kate the shrew, must be married off before sweet, agreeable Bianca can be wed.

Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare. Impulse Theatre. King Street Theatre, South Newtown (NSW). July 31 – August 24, 2013.

Looking at my program- an image of two lovers on the beach against a backdrop of the Australian flag - I was excited to see this classic tale portrayed in the context of Sydney’s Cronulla riots. The result was a mixture, with some aspects resonating perfectly with this adaptation, while other parts operated outside the whole Cronulla thing. Those aspects of the production that reflected the racial tension evidenced in the riot were done so well that I was disappointed not to see more.

Miss Ophelia

By Ramses Graus, with Mirthe Klieverik, from Michael Ende’s book ‘Ophelia’s Shadow Theatre’. Translated into English from the original Dutch by David Colmer. Het Filiaal (Netherlands). Director: Ramses Graus. Set Designer: Joris van Oosterwijk. Musical Director & Sound. Designer Gábor Tarján
. Artistic Director & Direction Coach Monique Corvers. Fairfax Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. 31 July – 4 August

If I told you a finger-puppet show about a quiet old lady, presented on a set made of cardboard shoeboxes and everyday items, was a hit with primary school children, I doubt you’d believe me. But here we have Miss Ophelia, an exquisite gift from The Netherlands, based on the book by Michael Ende (The Never Ending Story).

Ebenezer Scrooge

Musical adaptation by Liz Connor of Charles Dickens’ Novella A Christmas Carol. Huon Valley Theatre Group (Tas.). Huonville Town Hall. Director: Liz Connor. July 18 – August 3, 2013

Think of Christmas (even if it is celebrated in July) Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol. There have been many adaptations, in theatrical works and film versions, that have shaped how people celebrate Christmas. The Huon Valley Theatre production of Ebenezer Scrooge presents a new, reworked, slightly different slant on the traditional Christmas Carol story, showing more of the character of that archetypical grump, Scrooge.

The Lady of the House of Love

Adapted by Daniel Evans from a short story by Angela Carter, with music by Jake Diefenbach. Presented by Queensland Music Festival, Brisbane City Council & Metro Arts. Sue Benner Theatre. 26 July – 3 Aug 2013

This is top-drawer art house entertainment.

Its target audience is fans of Vampire-Fantasy, and there were many in the intimate 90-seat theatre – perfect venue for a show like this, no artificial sound system needed.

Sandro Colarelli gives a virtuoso performance, playing the narrator; ‘the Lady’ of the title (a pre-World War I Countess); and her governess who cares for her as well as inveigling men to ‘the Lady’s’ decaying castle for her pleasure.

La Traviata

By Verdi. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. July 30 – August 31, 2013

This one has all those clichés of opera – the fallen woman forced into moral redemption and a lingering consumptive death. It also has the most beautiful melodies and few moments of opera tedium.

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