Reviews

The Cripple of Inishmaan

By Martin McDonagh. Directed by Kerrin White. Adelaide Repertory Theatre. The Arts Theatre. 3-12 September 2015

In a world where some will doubtless be put off or offended by the mere presence of the 'c-word' in the title of this play, Martin McDonagh's writing aims to confront our sensibilities at the same time as tickling our funny bones. That he succeeds as well in this as he does is a testament to his singular talent. Politeness and political correctness are off the table in a McDonagh script; this writer sees the world as so full of cruelty and injustice that we simply must laugh to stay sane.

Masterclass

By Terence McNally. Left Bauer Productions. fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne. September 1 – 13, 2015.

If you haven’t yet seen this Australian production of Masterclass, you are missing the Charisma of Callas channelled through the Magic of Mercedes.

Volpone (or the Fox)

By Ben Johnson, in a new adaptation by Emily Steel. State Theatre Company of SA. August 21st – September 12th, 2015

Volpone means ‘sly fox’ in Italian and it is an aptly named satire full of greed and lust. Written in 1605 by Ben Johnson, it remains his most performed play. Reworking the script, playwright Emily Steel has brought a modern flavour to her adaptation. The lengths to which people are capable of going to attain wealth is not an uncommon tale and this story plays well in the 21st century of indulgence.

The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald, adapted by Rob Croser. Independent Theatre. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. Sept 3 – 12, 2015.

The Roaring Twenties was an era of excess, with extremes of both wealth and poverty. Prohibition was in full force and the divide between the classes was evident. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of the American dream and a man who came from nothing to make his imaginings real.

A Sunburnt History – Savages

Written and performed by Nick Waxman. The Lord and Master Barbershop Nepean Highway, Seaford. Aug 29 – Sep 5, 2015, then touring.

The Frankston Anywhere Festival has been so poorly promoted that it’s a wonder anyone knows its on, but DON’T miss this show if you can possibly help it, tonight (Sep 4) and tomorrow (Sep 5), or you may find yourself chasing it all around the country. Mind you, it would be worth it.

This is what Fringe theatre should offer us but frequently doesn’t and it speaks volumes that Nick Waxman’s “History lessons” fill venues at the MICF as well as large regional theatres.

An Inspector Calls

By J B Priestley. The Mount Players (Vic). Director: Julie Wade. Set Design: Margaret Muehlheim. Mount View Theatre. August 18 – September 19, 2015

An Inspector Calls- a theatre classic or ‘piece preserved in aspic’?  I am grateful to The Mount Players for bringing us, what is, I guess, ostensibly a ‘museum piece’.   In this way they have reminded us of just how pertinent and relevant theatre classics can be.  This is a very interesting, worthwhile and well managed production – a must to see for any lover of good theatre.

Death and the Maiden

By Ariel Dorfman. Sydney Theatre Company / Melbourne Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Theatre. August 28 – October 17, 2015

Ariel Dorfman’s 1991 classic is a chillingly balanced, deliciously dialectical three-hander about the human and moral compromises made in Chile after the bloody Pinochet regime.  It’s relevance today is still sharp as a tack, much as this cramped and flaccid MTC/STC co-production works to blunt it.

One Africa

2015 Boite Millenium Chorus. Directed by Lamine Sonko in collaboration with choir director Andrea Khoza. Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne. 30 August, 2015

Each year this project manages the colossal task of bringing together a range of African musical talent both locally and abroad to celebrate the magic and spectacular vibrancy of African song, music and dance. The showcase of diverse styles of musical traditions makes for an unforgettable event. 300 singers with a passion for African rhythms form the chorus and support the vast array of performers in this magnificent display of African culture. The choir is made up of community groups and students from all over Victoria who are a central part of this spiritually uplifting experience.

Into The Woods

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by James Lapine. Dramatic Productions. Director Richard Block. Gungahlin College Theatre. Aug 28 – Sep 12, 2015

“Happily ever after, schmappily ever after” and “be careful what you wish for” are the messages of this light-hearted production of the classic musical Into the Woods. An excellent cast, colourful costuming, an imaginative set, a tight orchestra and a particularly maudlin looking papier mâché cow on wheels ever all add up to great fun.

Let The Sunshine

By David Williamson. Villanova Players. Ft Berrell Auditorium, State High School, Yeronga (Qld). 28 Aug – 12 Sep 2015.

David Williamson writes what he knows, the Australian middle-class canapés and claret set, and he writes it very well.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.