Reviews

The Effect

By Lucy Prebble. Melbourne Theatre Company (Vic). Director Leticia Caceres. Set Designer Andrew Bailey. Video Designer Chris More. Sumner Theatre, Southbank. 16 August – 20 September, 2014

The Effect takes depression, fast becoming a well-worn theme in contemporary theatre, and poses the question should we be popping those anti-depressants quite so easily. Frequently classified as a ‘chemical imbalance’ requiring medical intervention, this narrative asks why so many people in our society are medicated, when most display only mild depressive symptoms.

Cash on Delivery

By Michael Cooney. Ballina Players. Director: Mary Richards. Players Theatre, Ballina. Sept 5th – 20th, 2014

Great casting makes this comedy a fantastic piece of theatre. Mary Richards has assembled a talented group to bring Michael Cooney’s side-splitting comedy to the Players Theatre.

Heading the line up are Michael Sheehan, Dylan Wheeler, Clem Halpin and Brian Alston, ably supported by Alexander Ellen, Simon Dubber, Peter Spill, Murray Hand, Tilly Todhunter and Ellie Kelly-Lloyde.

The Harbinger

Written and Directed by David Morton and Matthew Ryan; Puppetry and Stage Designer – David Morton; Lighting Designer – Whitney Eglinton; Sound Designer - Tone Black Productions; Costume Designer – Noni Harrison; Performed by Kathleen Ion, Barb Lowing, Emily Burton, Anna Straker and Giema Contini. Dead Puppet Society at Gasworks Arts Park on September 5 & 6, 2014, then touring.

This exceptional work is basically a delightful telling of a fairy tale for adults.  Rural towns in Victoria are very privileged to have the opportunity of such a magical evening of entertainment; it is not to be missed if you get the chance. 

The Wisdom of Eve

By Mary Orr. Eltham Little Theatre. Director: Susan Rundle. August 19 – September 13, 2014.

Having recently watched the film All About Eve, it being on the VCE syllabus this year, I was fascinated to catch The Wisdom of Eve, which the author of the original short story adapted from the film. There were significant differences in the latter stages, but I’m not sure if this was closer to the original story or further away.

The stage was split into two with one side being the star’s dressing room and the other the lounge room of various residences. With effective lighting this worked well.

Shirley Valentine

By Willy Russell. Laughing Horse Productions (WA). Directed by Adam Salathial. Koorliny Arts Centre. 5-13 Sep 2014

I saw Laughing Horse's production of Shirley Valentine at a Father's Day performance, although there was less than a handful of men in this rather full audience, with this rather chatty matinee crowd being overwhelmingly female.

Adding Machine: A Musical

Music: Joshua Schmidt. Lyrics: Joshua Schmidt and Jason Loewith. Underground Productions, Qld Uni Drama Society. Co-Directors: Samuel Boyd and John Vizcay-Wilson. Schonell Theatre, Qld University. September 4 – 13, 2014.

Adding Machine: A Musicalis another avant-garde production from Underground Productions and, in keeping with previous offerings, is far from main stream theatre.

The co-directors of this piece describe it as deeply complex and I have to agree with them.

The cast of 13 worked as a solid unit on a revolving set using rear projection in lieu of conventional scenery.

In an ensemble piece such as this, there were no weak performances.

THREE MASTERPIECES

BACH PATITA – Choreography by Twyla Tharp. Music by Johann Sebastian Bach. Solo Violin: Charles Yang. SEVEN SONATAS – Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky. Music by Domenico Scarlatti. Piano: Barbara Bilach. FANCY FREE – Choreography by Jerome Robbins. Music by Leonard Bernstein With the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Conductor: Charles Barker. American Ballet Theatre. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. 5-7 September 2014

The second program by American Ballet Theatre in their exclusive Brisbane season proved to be just as stimulating and rewarding as their first. Three Masterpieces was a mixed bill of one-act ballets that showcased the brilliant talents of the company.

 

Eurydice

By Sarah Ruhl. Directed by Luke Kerridge. Red Stitch Actors Theatre, St Kilda (Vic). Sept 3rd – Oct 4th, 2014.

Director Luke Kerridge’s enchanting vision, plus some beautiful acting (as we expect) can’t quite dispel the enigma of Ruhl’s play about love and loss. It is both exquisitely naïve and yet indulgently pretentious; seemingly simplistic and yet deeply touching. The beautiful prose borders on the poetic and touches the soul, yet leaves the mind with little to ponder.

I Want To Know What Love Is

By Daniel Evans. Queensland Theatre Company and The Good Room in association with Brisbane Festival. 4 - 13 September 2014

This delightfully engaging show is difficult to define.

Director/writer Daniel Evans (recently announced winner of the 2014-15 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award) describes it as a performance Ode to love, celebrating the responses of 812 people of diverse ages and backgrounds who responded to a recent website The Good Room set up called wewantyourlove.com.

Year of the Abbott

Sydney Fringe. Chippendale Hotel. September 6, 7 & 17, 2014.

An hour of irreverent impersonations and recollections of the first year of the Abbott government kicked off last night in the cellar of the Chippendale Hotel, just one day short of the actual anniversary of Tony Abbott’s first 365 days in office.

John Timothy, Hugh Govers and Shane Addison with Nathan Lentern and Brent Thorpe take a satirical swipe at the present PM, a past PM, a PUP, and the media in a series of interviews, a quiz and some “guest appearances”.

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