Reviews

Cowra No Hancho Kaigi (Honchos Meeting in Cowra)

Written and directed by Yoji Sakate. Presented by Rinkogun Theatre. The Street Theatre, Canberra, 6-7 August 2014. Australian Premiere.

The little NSW town of Cowra's major claim to fame is that it was the scene of the largest prisoner of war breakout ever in history. 1104 Japanese POWs set their huts on fire and stormed three rows of razor wire fences, protecting themselves with blankets, baseball mitts and clothing. 234 died, and the remainder were rounded up over several days. This production of Honchos Meeting in Cowra is to commemorate the 70thanniversary.

Downtown!

Created by Phillip George, David Lowenstein, Peter Charles Morris. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Directors: Cilla Scott and Kim Reynolds. August 8th – 30th, 2014

This “feel good” production was a hit from the very first note to the last curtain call.

Full of the hits of the sixties, Downtown is a tribute to all the stars of that groovy, mod music and the cool singers like Lulu, Petula Clark and Dusty Springfield that gave us hit after hit.

Secret Bridesmaids’ Business

By Elizabeth Coleman. Blackwood Players. Blackwood Memorial Hall. Fridays and Saturdays August 8-23, 2014.

When they choose ‘tried and true’ material Blackwood Players have the capacity to stage very watchable shows and they are on a winner with Elizabeth Coleman’s bittersweet Australian comedy, Secret Bridesmaids’ Business.

Cranky Bear

Based on Australian Nick Bland’s picture book, The Very Cranky Bear . Patch Theatre Company. Odeon Theatre, Norwood (SA), from August 4, 2014 followed by Regional and Metro schools tour through September.

With 42 years’ experience, Patch Theatre Company have perfected the recipe for high quality children’s theatre. The auditorium was abuzz with the chatter, excitement and anticipation of youngsters eagerly awaiting the performance of Cranky Bear. Based on the children’s book The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland, director Dave Brown and company have put together a delightful, interactive piece which was entertaining to young and old alike.

Journey’s End

By R.C. Sherriff. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Director: Robert Jarman Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. 8–16 August 2014

In this year of the centenary of the outbreak of WW1, Hobart Repertory Theatre Society is to be congratulated for presenting Journey’s End, written by R.C Sherriff, as an observation of the futility of war, rather than as a glorification of war.

Joan Again

By Paul Gilchrist. subtlenuance in association with Sydney Independent Theatre Company. Old Fitzroy Theatre. August 5 – 23, 2014.

Apparently there were at least four imposters who claimed to be a ‘resurrected’ Joan of Arc in the twenty years after her fiery execution. In this play, Paul Gilchrist has imagined yet another ‘appearance’ in an impoverished little French village where a family struggles to survive raising ducks to provide feathers for pillows. Theirs is a thankless existence broken only by the stories that some of them weave.

The Tap Pack

TheatricHals and The Tap Pack in association with Hayes Theatre Co. Hayes Theatre Co, Potts Point (NSW). August 1 – 17, 2014.

The Tap Pack is the love child of Jesse Rasmussen, Jordan Pollard and Thomas J Egan, who have combined the style of those kings of cool the Rat Pack and the raw rhythmic dance that is tap. It's a great idea in theory, however what the creators have done is make the mistake of hanging a series of dance numbers on a unimaginative narrative.

Arcadia

By Tom Stoppard. Canberra Repertory. Director: Aarne Neeme, AM Theatre 3, Acton 1–16 August 2014.

Occasionally a work comes along that is captivating either in its mystery or in the cultural and scientific wealth it shares.  This is both.  The joy of sharing with fellow audience members such wealth and engaging in such mystery makes it all the richer, a kind of cooperative–competitive sport with no losers.

 

Mr Kolpert

By David Gieselmann, translated by David Tushingham. Pantsguys Productions. ATYP Wharf Studio 1 (NSW). 30th July – 16th August 2014

This show has anarchy, a definite post-modern morality and full frontal nudity, of both sexes, but the safest thing to say, is that this show is hilarious. You begin by walking in and seeing an actor monitor two electric puppies rotating and gyrating on the floor and immediately you are disarmed and charmed. Then he leaves. Then a peculiar couple come on and live house until their guests for the evening arrive. This is no drawing-room comedy. This is black comedy … pitch at times.

Walking into the Bigness.

By Richard Frankland. Directed by Wayne Blair & Chris Mead. Malthouse Theatre Melbourne, August 1 – 23, 2014

Walking into the Bigness recounts stories from the life of Richard Frankland, the indigenous Australian singer-songwriter, poet, filmaker, activist and playwright.

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