Reviews

Requiem

A co-production of Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Adelaide Festival. Stage Director, Costume and Lighting Designer Romeo Castellucci. Musical Collaborator: Rachaël Pichon. Adelaide Symphony Orchestra – conducted by Rory Macdonald. Adelaide Festival Chorus. Australian Dance Theatre. 28 February & 1,3,4 March 2020

A requiem is a service or commemoration for the dead. Mozart’s unfinished Requiem was written only weeks before he died and is the inspiration for Castellucci and Pichon’s beautiful and moving interpretation of this funeral mass.

This production is a living, breathing work of art. It combines in equal proportions the best of theatre, visual art and music, through the combination of the singers, musicians, dancers, actors and the technical skill of the lighting, set makers, costume designers and crew.

Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

Adapted by Mike Carter. Darlington Theatre Players. Directed by Rachel Vonk, musical direction by Michelle Ezzy. Marloo Theatre, Marloo Rd, Greenmount, WA. Feb 28 - Mar 14, 2020

Darlington Theatre Players’ production of Alice in Wonderland is a colourful and fun production, loyal to the original story, featuring an energetic multi-age cast. A musical of sorts, with pantomime elements, this large cast production is clearly aimed at a family audience.

Dance Nation

By Clare Barron. Adelaide Festival 2020. Scott Theatre. 21st Feb – 7th March, 2020

Dance Nation is girl power at its finest. American playwright Clare Barron’s script will leave you gasping as she explores the hopes, dreams and torments of six teenage girls and one boy.

In a deliberate move Barron breaks stereotypes with the casting of adults in child roles. It is refreshing to see an aging cast recapturing their youth. It becomes abundantly clear that this playwright is tired of apologising for being a woman and her un-filtered prose puts the nice girl cliché to rest.

Hades Fading (Hades Memudar)

By Mainteater. Written and directed by Sandra Fiona Long. Composed by Ria Soemardjo. Presented by La Mama, in association with Kath Papas Productions. La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street, Carlton. 27 February - 1 March, 2020.

This is a delightful marriage between Indonesian culture and Greek mythology. The pairing of these two diverse and contrasting traditions seems incongruous, however, the blending of these two cultures could not appear to be more natural. This is a very unusual interpretation of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, yet the staging combined with the lighting, projections, music and costuming conjure up Hades in a precise and alluring manner. The long, flowing, white costumes, decorated with traditional Indonesian headdresses generates an ethereal quality to the personas.

A Simple Space

Adelaide Fringe Festival 2020. The Octagon at Gluttony Adelaide Feb 22 to March 15 2020

A Simple Space pares circus right back to the basics - no flashy costumes, makeup, trapezes or clowns, just men and women in sports wear, t-shirts and a bare stage. The best bit is that they do it brilliantly!

Gravity & Other Myths is an internationally renowned circus company that has toured in over 30 countries. Adelaide based, they formed in 2009 and focus on circus skills and ensemble playing.

The Great Australian Play

By Kim Ho. Directed by Saro Lusty-Cavallari. Theatre Works and Montague Basement. Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda. 19 – 29 February, 2020.

In an ambitious quest to write a great Australian play, Kim Ho draws out a range of uncomfortable imagery that haunts our national consciousness and also addresses some of his own personal anxieties around his craft. This play is replete with examples of his artistry and the sophisticated command he has over his very skilful writing. His imagination seems to know no bounds and his inventiveness is beguiling. His talent often exudes from the text evoking a dense and highly refined sense of cultural history. The project is simultaneously incredibly impressive and incredibly overwhelming.

Bond – An unauthorised parody

By Gavin Robertson. Adelaide Fringe. Bakehouse Theatre. February 24 - March 7, 2020

Bond- An unauthorised parody, at the Bakehouse Theatre, is written and performed by the extremely talented Gavin Robertson and directed by Nicholas Collett. This show would be one of my ‘picks of the Fringe’. It is not just for the Bond lovers but for all lovers of sharp, clever, witty theatre and mime.  This is a wonderfully enjoyable hour and has the audience riveted to every word and action.

Casablanca - Radio Drama

Directed by Gary Klinger. New Farm Nash Theatre. February 21 – March 7.

Based on the well-known movie, this radio drama was first performed in 1944 to raise money for the war effort. It was more than just cast members sitting on stage and moving forward to read their various roles but a visual presentation to be seen as well. Thus the audience became fully involved while some may have compared this to the original movie. Nash Theatre tends to start their programme each year with a radio play and this year they have chosen well.

Keeping Up Appearances

By Roy Clarke. Hobart Repertory Theatre Company. Shauna-Lee Ward (Director). Rogan Brown (Set, Lighting and Sound Design). Annie Harvey (Costumes and Wigs). The Playhouse Hobart. 28 February – 21 March, 2020

Roy Clarke wrote the original Keeping Up Appearances television series as well as the stage adaptation. For this reason, Hobart Repertory’s production faithfully revisits all the characters and situations one has come to expect from the television show via an original script. The only difference is that there is no canned laugh track. The audience response is genuine and spontaneous.

The Happy Prince

Ballet based on the story by Oscar Wilde. Australian Ballet. Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Adaptation: Kim Carpenter & Graeme Murphy, Choreography: Graeme Murphy. Composer: Christopher Gordon. Set & Costume Design: Kim Carpenter. Conductor: Nicolette Fraillon. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 25-29 February 2020

Despite the Australian Ballet’s wildly inventive production of Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince, the piece is curiously lacking in dance. A pas-de-deux between the two leads, Adam Bull (Prince) and Marcus Morelli (Little Swallow), and some exquisitely brief sequences with the Little Match Girl (Benedicte Bemet), classical ballet per se is missing. But there’s plenty to please the eye in Graeme Murphy and Kim Carpenter’s playful, sad, and irreverent version that’s alive with child-like magic.

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