Reviews

Luisa Miller

By Verdi. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. February 11 – 29, 2016

History plays strange tricks deeming this 1849 Verdi opera one of his lesser known ones. 

In its first ever production, Opera Australia, in collaboration with Opera de Lausanne, shows Verdi’s musical narrative and characterisations to be rich and stirring, and the five  central singers equally outstanding.

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare. Directions Theatre. Directed by Ellen Roe. Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart,12 Feb – 5th March 2016 and Shakespeare in the Vineyard at Delamere Vineyard, Pipers Brook on March 13th

For its18th production of Shakespeare in the Gardens, Directions Theatre Pty Ltd present Much Ado About Nothing set in a 90s Music Festival with a novice director to inject a new angle to the well known comedy. Although it seems light and possibly trivial, a darker theme underlying Much Ado About Nothing is what happens when wordplay meets hearsay.

Life Without Me

By Daniel Keene. Illuminate Educate. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre (NSW). February 10 – 16, 2016

Australian playwright Daniel Keene has placed – or displaced – his characters into a world of insecurities and confusion that “plucks apart the underlying tensions of what we feel about where we’ve been and where we imagine ourselves going, exposing how illusion and wish fulfillment are as powerful guiding forces as fact.” (Cathy Hunt, Director).

On the surface the set and the characters are very ordinary: a run-down hotel lobby; and seven people who are trying to make sense of the perceived disorder of their lives.

West End to Broadway …In The Reservoir

Underground Opera @ Spring Hill Reservoir, Brisbane. Musical Director: Brendan Murtagh. 12 - 28 February 2016

Underground Opera’s West End to Broadway satisfied on many levels, mixing songs from a clutch of popular and art-house musicals. Highlight of the night was the finale in which the four singers, Ana Marina, Louise Dorsman, Bradley McCaw and Lionel Theunissen, performed a rafter-raising quartet of Les Misérables’ “Bring Him Home”. It was thrilling. It was also interesting, different, and what the concert needed more of.

Dropped

By Katy Warner. Adelaide Fringe. Gobsmacked Theatre Company. Directed and designed by David McVicar. The Queen's Theatre, Adelaide. 13-25 February, 2016.

A depiction of unsettling existence and traumatic memory in the combat zone, Dropped would seem to have the ingredients necessary for an engaging and impactful experience: two female members of the defence force, attempting to maintain a steely exterior while seeming to crumble from within.

Doctor Who’s Midnight

by Russell T. Davies. Directed by David Dyte. Holden Street Theatres, Hindmarsh. Adelaide Fringe. February 12-27, 2016

This is a relatively straightforward stage adaptation of Midnight – one of the most intimate, small scale episodes in the history of long running British TV series, Doctor Who. This adventure sees the enigmatic time traveller known as “The Doctor” (Hugh O’Connor), book passage on a shuttlecraft embarking on a flyover of the resort planet, Midnight. Halfway through the trip, the shuttle breaks down and is infiltrated by a hostile alien lifeform that has the ability to take possession of the passengers.

Lungs

By Duncan Macmillan. Melbourne Theatre Company (Vic). Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne. Director: Clare Watson. Set Designer: Andrew Bailey. Lighting Designer: Richard Vabre. 5 February - 19 March, 2016

In The Guardian in September 2014, playwright Duncan Macmillan is quoted thus: ‘There’s nothing I can do in my life to compensate for the fact that the world would be better without me in it’. Perhaps never before in the history of this planet has the anxiety level regarding our negative environmental impact been so acute.

Labels

By Joe Sellman-Leava. Adelaide Fringe / Holden Street Theatres. 9 February -13 March, 2016

Joe Sellman-Leava is important and so is his message. His highly acclaimed one man show is a must for any human-being who is lacking in empathy for our current crisis regarding refugees. He stands before you and tells you his personal story with sincerity and biting honesty that leaves you breathless and at times ashamed to have elected such a bigoted government. Sellman-Leava fits into an hour his life story thus far, by explaining his mixed heritage, the racism he and his family have endured and in doing so teaches us a lesson in humility.

The Pride

By Alexi Kaye Campbell/ Directed by Shane Bosher. Darlinghurst Theatre, Sydney. Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. February 5 – March 6, 2016

As the lights come up on a house in 1958 London, we see Philip and Oliver in the doorway. They are meeting for the first time – Oliver works with Philip’s wife Sylvia – and there’s a sense of excitement. But it’s tense: the feelings they’re experiencing are forbidden and Philip, at least, must hide them. It’s all clear as they stand awkwardly in the doorway: a powerful first moment in this wonderful production of an award winning play.

Lifeline

By Nat Texler. Directed by Erik Strauts. Adelaide Fringe. The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton. Feburary 10-14, 2016

Driven to despair by the end of a long term relationship, Guy (James Whitrow) is about to commit suicide when he is interrupted by a phone call from a telemarketer (Wesley Van Gelderen). Over the course of their conversation it emerges that the voice on the other end of the line knows many intimate details of Guy’s personal life, and has concocted a sinister plan to manipulate this desperate and broken man, pushing him to the limits of his moral capability.

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