Reviews

The Taming of The Shrew

By William Shakespeare. Nash Theatre, Qld. Directed by Jason Nash. May 13 – June 3, 2019.

This production of The Taming of The Shrew has maintained most of the elements of the original but has moved it more into modern times. Probably this is essential for a modern audience who seldom see a production of a Shakespearean play. Now the action takes place in Padua, where the mafia gangs are strong and warring. The local bar is run by Baptista who keeps the peace but has two daughters -  Bianca, a soft beautiful object of desire for half the mafia and her sister, Katherina, the hard fighting shrew. The question is who marries whom?

The Wind in the Willows

By Alan Bennett, adapted from the book by Kenneth Grahame. Music: Jeremy Sams. Villanova Players. Director: Leo Bradley. Musical Director: Rosemary Murray. Choreographer: Lynette Wockner. F.T. Barrell Auditorium, Yeronga, Qld. 13-28 May 2017.

The Wind in the Willows was written by Kenneth Grahame in 1908 and belongs in that group of English fiction popular at the time, which includesAlice in Wonderland, whose characters are anthropomorphised animals. Written when automobiles were coming into fashion, the book was a thinly disguised satire on the habits and foibles of Edwardian England.

Annie Get Your Gun

Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields. Murray Music and Drama Club. Directed by Cathy Puzey. Pinjarra Civic Centre, WA. 12-26 May, 2017

Annie Get Your Guni s being presented with colour and enthusiasm by Murray Music and Drama Club (MMDC).

This production has an interesting provenance. Annie Get Your Gun was the first musical directed by Cathy Puzey for MMDC in 1993. One of her favourite shows, she thought it time for a revival, although this time they present the 1999 Broadway version rather than the original. The detailed program with photographs of the real-life inspirations for the musical, is a lovely asset to the show - well done to Tammy Peckover.

Awakening

By Daniel Lammin, based on the play Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind. Presented by fortyfivedownstairs and Monash Uni Student Theatre (MUST). Fortyfivedownstairs, Flinders Lane, Melbourne. May 10 – 21, 2017

Six young actors (Nicola Dupree, Samantha Hafey-Bagg, Eamonn Johnson, James Malcher, Sam Porter and Imogen Walsh) embody the teenage characters of Daniel Lammin’s rewrite, direction and concept of Wedekind’s ‘scandalous’ 1891play, Spring Awakening. The concept gives them the challenge of switching characters from scene to scene.  They begin in appropriately period Austrian school pupil costumes: knickerbockers with braces, full skirts and stout boots – but there are some deliberate anachronisms, such as ‘selfies’ on a mobile phone.

Fire Bucket

Indigenous storytelling by Uncle Wes Marne. Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival. Weelam Ngalut – Meat Market – Garden. May 9 and 10, 2017

There is so much awesome Indigenous Art being presented in the Yirramboi Frist Nations Arts Festival across Melbourne.  In amongst it I was lucky enough to catch this marvelous mystical storytelling event.

After being enthusiastically greeted, the audience was warmly welcomed and walked to the garden to experience a smoking ceremony before getting comfortable around a fire bucket to enjoy most remarkable evening of story from 95-year-old Uncle Wes Marne.

The Witches

By Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood. Directed by Ryan Taafe. Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana, WA. 12-27 May, 2017

Koorliny Arts Centre’s production of Roald Dahl’s The Witches (as adapted by David Wood) is a generous, lavish production with the ‘big show’ feel of a musical - to the point where you half expect people to burst into song.

Played on a gorgeous set, designed by Jon Lambert, locations are usually designated by single set pieces, but these are beautifully finished, highly detailed and slide smoothly into position with expert precision.

After Dinner

By Andrew Bovell. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Directed by Petr Divis. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. 12 -27 May 2017

Sometimes all the creative stars align to create a perfect theatre experience. After Dinner, presented by Hobart Repertory Theatre Society,was one such show – words, actors, costumes, set, lighting, timing, production crew and audience all conspired to create a wonderful play. Director Petr Divis “got” Andrew Bovell’s deliciously funny script, the actors “got” each other and the director’s intentions, and the audience “got” the result.

Australia Day

By Jonathan Biggins. Pymble Players. Directed by Jan McLachlan. May 3 – 27, 2017

The attention to detail in the set immediately impressed. On the walls of the scout hall (which was the location for meetings of the Coriole Shire Australia Day Committee) were the most authentic looking Girl Guide honour roles, knots and a faded dusty portrait of the Queen.

The Flood

Play written & directed by Tim Horgan. Anywhere Theatre Festival, Queen Alexander Home, Coorporoo. 11 – 21 May, 2017

The Flood is a black absurd comedy set in 2011 around the Brisbane flood. Four young housemates at an existential crossroad of their lives share an old Queenslander on the Brisbane River. Glenn a corporate lawyer and Karl a photographer who writes pretentious food and coffee reviews are interrupted in their efforts to get stoned by Sandra and Damo returning home from holiday. All hell breaks loose when Sandra sees the mess the house is in and that the guys have eaten all the food in the pantry.

Black is the New White 

By Nakkiah Lui. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Theatre. May 5 – Jun 17, 2017

Nakkiah Lui’s new play delights with the same deliciously naughty racial lampooning as her work on ABC TV’s Black Comedy.  Here race and cultural background clashes with class as we open in the upmarket holiday home of an affluent Aboriginal family, and what promises to be an awkward Christmas reunion.

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