Reviews

The Rape of Lucretia

By Benjamin Britten. Sydney Chamber Opera, Victorian Opera and Carriageworks. Aug 19 – 26, 2017.

In a first collaboration with Victorian Opera, the adventurous Sydney Chamber Opera delivers this famously problematic chamber opera from Benjamin Britten.  

The Rape of Lucretiais an ancient myth about a uniquely virtuous Roman wife who is raped by the envious Traquinius, son of the Etruscan tyrant.  Her subsequent shame and suicide galvanised Roman outrage in the formative days of its republic. 

Di and Viv and Rose

By Amelia Bullmore. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 12 August – 16 September 2017

Three young women, university freshers, move into a share house: Di (Nadine Garner), a sporty lesbian business student, bursting with energy, Viv (Belinda McClory), a judgemental, driven, ambitious design student intent on escaping her roots, and Rose (Mandy McElhinney), more middle-class, insouciant, a student of Art History.  It’s the early 80s.  Their friendship, over the next twenty-seven years, is the subject and the heart of this light but amusing and entertaining show.  It’s made all the more entertaining by this cast, who individuate their characters beaut

The Absence of Knowing: Four Men and Dog Play

By Elvis Peeters. Directed by Richard Murphet. La Mama Theatre, Faraday Street, Carlton, VIC. 17 August – 3 September 2017

This strikingly original production of two short plays by Belgian writer Elvis Peeters is by theatre veteran and award winner Richard Murphet.  Elvis Peeters’ texts supply no scene setting and no directions.  The writing is powerful, but the texts are no more than intertwining and juxtaposed monologues.  There is very little interaction between the characters – at least on the page.  It is up to the director what he or she does with this.  What Mr Murphet does is inventive, to say the least; it is also visually and aurally powerful – close to overw

Frailty

Written & directed by Sue Ingleton. Pricking Thumbs Collective. The Engine Room, View Street, Bendigo. 16-20 August 2017

‘Frailty, thy name is woman,’ says Hamlet.  He’s fulminating about his oh-so-recently widowed mother’s o’er hasty marriage to his uncle Claudius.  She’s weak, he thinks; she gave in to Claudius and to base, rank desires – which, really, she is too old to feel…  Really? 

Niche

Created by Eryn Jean Norvill & Emily Tomlins; directed by Nic Holas; original soundtrack/music by Eryn Jean Norvill, Marcel Dorney & Robin Waters. Elbow Room and Darebin Arts Speakeasy. Northcote Town Hall, Northcote, VIC. 16-26 August 2017

Niche is a witty and coolly intelligent show, beautifully realised, about the manufacture of celebrity and other infectious creations that ‘go viral’. 

Fame – The Musical

Conceived and Developed by David De Silva. Book by Jose Fernandez. Lyrics by Jacques Levy. Music by Steve Margoshes. Title Song ‘Fame’ by Dean Pitchford and Michael Gore. Birdie Productions Executive Producer – Rodney Bertram. Director – Jordan Vassallo. Bryan Brown Theatre, Bankstown. Friday 18 – Sunday 27 August 2017

From the moment the screen lifts, the cast of Birdie Productions’ Fame – The Musical delivers a high energy performance. The choreography is tight and the movements sharp, rivalling professional musicals, while the acting and harmonies are strong.

Uncle Vanya

Written by Anton Chekhov. Directed by Michael Beh. Presented by The Curators. Magda Community Arts, Bardon Qld. 18 August – 2 September, 2017

On a windswept evening in Bardon in a lovely, intimate venue, a small independent troupe called ‘The Curators’ performed Uncle Vanya. Chekhov’s work was appreciated by a supportive opening night crowd that clearly enjoyed the script’s existential ennui, unrequited love and dark humour.

Ruthless!

Book and Lyrics by Joel Paley. Music by Marvin Laird. Directed by Kate McIntosh and Allen Blachford. Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana, WA. Aug 18 - Sep 2, 2017

Talented eight year old Tina is ruthless in her desire to be the lead in her school play, but where does this ambition and talent come from? This campy homage to Gypsy, The Bad Seed, Mommy Dearest and Mame is a highly theatrical romp, presented in top notch style by Koorliny Arts Centre.

Jane Eyre

By Charlotte Brontë, adapted by Willis Edward Hall. Therry Dramatic Society. Arts Theatre Adelaide. 17th - 26th August 2017

Most of us are familiar with Jane Eyre, written in 1847. Many, as I did, studied this sweeping narrative by Charlotte Brontë in school. Partly autobiographical in nature, the story is tinged with pain and personal experience of the harsh life in England’s institutions of this time. The story was developed into a stage production by Willis Edward Hall, with its first performance in Sheffield in 1992. More recently, the play was re-worked for a National Theatre production.

Arteries by Ancestry

Directed by James McMillan. Blue Room Studio, Northbridge, WA. Aug 15 - Sep 2, 2017

Fugue, presenting this work at the Blue Room, describe this devised play as "a sexy and ambitious work”, and it certainly is that.

James McMilllan’s direction is clear and cerebral and the performers put 100% into the hour long show.

Noah Jimmy and Haydon Wilson are strong performers who work expertly as a team, move brilliantly and are completely invested in the presentation.

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