Angry Young Women In Low Rise Jeans With High Class Issues by Matt Morillo.

Mixed Company. Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse. July 15 – 25.

Director Simone de Haas assembled a fine young cast for the Queensland premiere of this American play, which she successfully adapted to an Australian setting. Once renowned for producing every Ray Cooney farce known to man, this Mixed Company has moved with the times and is presenting contemporary works for Brisbane audiences – and reaping rewards.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Old Mill Theatre, South Perth (WA). Directeor: Danielle Ashton. June 24 - July 4.

The first production of A Streetcar Named Desire to play in Perth in some years was memorable for its strong production values, some outstanding performances and its excellent multi-level set. On entering Old Mill’s auditorium, one could not help feeling in awe of Hwyel Williams and Danielle Ashton’s impressive set, which captured the poverty of Stanley and Stella’s flat, evoked the neighbourhood and the era, and made incredible use of space. The entrance of the ensemble, well dressed by Merri Ford, further transported us to post-war New Orleans.

Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend

Stirling Theatre, Innaloo (WA). July 10-25. Director: Ailsa Travers.

As a teenager during the eighties I grew up with the Adrian Mole books and I was skeptical as to whether a concept so tied to that era would resonate today. Director Ailsa Travers is renowned for ‘period pieces’ but captured this recent historical piece very nicely. Costumes were flamboyant and accurate and the settings, on Kevan Hooke’s clever multiple set, were as I remember the time.

The American Plan by Richard Greenberg

Melville Theatre Company Perth (WA) June/July. Director: Geoffrey Leeder

This play set in the Catskills in 1959 comments on the ethnic, intellectual and sexual mores underlying American society at that time and, to a lesser extent, the effect of changes in the following decade. Lili was played by a delightful Amy Welsh. She gave a first rate performance as the young mentally fragile daughter desperate to escape the influence of the mother at a Catskill resort.

Pack of Lies by Hugh Whitemore.

Sherbrooke Theatre Company. Director: Tony Bird.

Would you know if your closest friends were Russian spies? The Jackson family never suspected their neighbours, the Krogers, in Hugh Whitemore’s play, based on a true story. The play was set in the Jackson household, with the lounge room to audience left and the kitchen audience right. Glenn Baker captured the loving father and husband Bob Jackson, who agreed that his home could be used for surveillance against his wife’s wishes.

Newcastle Reviews - August 2009

The Shrewd Maid, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Fame, Proof, Puzzling Pirates and Stage 3 Project

Ken Longworth has been out and about in Newcastle.

Image: The Shrewd Maid - Dermod Kavanagh and Samantha Cobcroft

Monty Python’s Spamalot

Cardinia Performing Arts Company (Vic). Director: Lee Geraghty. Musical Director: Kim Thomsen. Choreographer: Robert Mulholland

Two Stage Whispers reviewers, Peter Kemp and Graham Ford, attended the Victorian Amateur Premiere of Monty Python’s Spamalot

God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton

Melbourne Theatre Company. Directed by Peter Evans; Set and Costume Design by Dale Ferguson; Lighting Design by Matt Scott; Composer/Sound Design by Kelly Ryall; Fight Choreography by Felicity Steel. With Pamela Rabe, Geoff Morrell, Hugo Weaving and Natasha Herbert. Playhouse, The Arts Centre, Melbourne until 3 October.

It's not difficult to appreciate why Ms Reza's God of Carnage (and Mr Hampton's translation of it) is one of the most celebrated and decorated plays of the decade. It is pin-point accurate satire of the highest order … a flawlessly structured, intricate and glittering dissection of relationships, manners, careers, ambitions and societal aspirations: and the Melbourne Theatre Company's production of it is stunning.

Duets by Peter Quilter

Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall Street, Kirribilli (NSW) until October 3

Barry Creyton and Noelene Brown have returned to the Ensemble Theatre to perform another double act, again directed by Ensemble Artistic Director, Sandra Bates. This time, however, the play has not been penned by Creyton, (Creyton’s Double Act goes back to 1987), but by renowned British playwright Peter Quilter (Glorious, End Of The Rainbow). The play is aptly called Duets and features a set of four encounters.

The Colours

Written and Performed by Peter Houghton. Melbourne Theatre Company. Director Anne Browning; Set and Costume Designer Shaun Gurton; Lighting Designer Richard Vabre; Composer David Chesworth. Lawler Studio, Melbourne until 12 September.

It is a brave man who will write and perform a one-man show about War. In fact, preparing to attend this performance, I must confess to wondering what more could (or perhaps needs to) be said about this too often recycled, reinterpreted and common-sense defying human endeavour. I have very fond memories of Alan Seymour's influential Australian War drama The One Day of the Year (banned by the Adelaide Festival in 1960) and English playwright Peter Nichols' musical farce Privates on Parade (produced by the Melbourne Theatre Company in 1980). And the list goes on.

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