Reviews

Atlanta

By Joanna Murray-Smith. Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. October 5-21, 2017

The Bakehouse Theatre (former the Red Shed) is one of the most important and vital performing spaces in Adelaide. Led by Australian theatre ‘legends’ Peter Green and Pamela Munt, it has an illustrious theatre history that spans centuries – literally.

Dark Circus

Melbourne Festival. Beckett Theatre, Malthouse. 5 – 9 October 2017

This delightful work of sound and projection with an old world charm is high art in motion – it speaks to us all in a unique individual way.  This work is completely entrancing from go to woe.  “Come for the show, stay for the woe”, is the sardonic catch cry.

Birdland

By Simon Stephens. New Theatre, King St, Newtown. October 3 – November 4, 2017

Birdland by British playwright Simon Stephens belongs to that long tradition of stories about immoral rock stars lost to fame and the hedonism of, well, sex, drugs and rock n roll.  

One night in Moscow, bored on tour, Paul (played with a charming, almost ordinary cruelty by Graeme McRae) seduces his best mate’s beloved, fragile girlfriend (Louise Harding). The next morning she jumps from the hotel’s top floor.

All Of My Friends Were There

Presented by the Guerilla Museum. In association with Theatre Works and Melbourne Festival. The Guerrilla Museum: Annie Bourke – Producer, John Byrne – Venue Production, Manager and Lighting Designer, D.A. Calf – Technical Production Manager and Sound Designer, Bryanna Lowen and Sarah Hall – Set and Costume Design, Sean Healy – Video Design, Lloyd Marsden – Video Programming. Theatre Works. October 5 – 11, 2017.

This is a really fun and joyful evening of participatory entertainment.

Pretty much what happens at Birthday Parties transpires at a completely co-opted Theatre Works for the next few evenings.  So bursting to the seams with party preparation and performance spaces - is Theatre Works - that a portaloo needed to the flown in!

Sweeney Todd

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Hugh Wheeler. Produced by Dramatic Productions. Director: Richard Block. Gungahlin College Theatre (ACT). 6 Oct 2017 to 21 Oct 2017

Every year Dramatic Productions showcases brilliant new talent. Last year it was a very young Alex Clubb shining through Catch Me If You Can. This year’s revelation is Meaghan Stewart as Mrs Lovett. She blew me away! Stage presence, comic timing, accent spot on, even when singing her lively By the Sea against a near comatose David Pearson (Sweeney Todd) was just fantastic, and her Not While I’m Around was caring and mature. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after reading that she’s only in Year 12.

The Ongals: Babbling Comedy

OzAsia Festival. Space Theatre. 7-8 October, 2017

THE ONGALS are an ensemble of four South Korean physical comedians who have been popular on the international comedy circuit and are a fantastic part of this year’s wonderful OzAsia Festival in Adelaide.

The show I saw was in front of a relatively full house that was essentially made up of families, parents and children, who were simply wooed and wowed by the brilliant virtuosity, skill, and sheer fun of The Ongals.

No Sex Please, We’re British

By Alistair Foot and Anthony Marriott. Tea Tree Players (SA). October 4th-14th, 2017

Directing a successful farce depends on timing, for without it, punch-lines fall flat and physical comedy bombs. Director of Tea Tree Players’ No Sex Please, We’re British, Damon Hill clearly understands this genre; not relying on the joke-laden script, he manages to illicit more comedy through visual cues and slapstick. He has assembled a fine cast who obviously have done a lot of work on characterisation and deliver gags with confidence.

Yerma

By Simon Stone after Federico Garcia Lorca; directed by Simon Stone. A Young Vic Production. National Theatre Live. Nova Cinema, Carlton VIV (& other participating cinemas nationwide.) 4 – 15 October & 17 – 22 October 2017

Simon Stone, in another of his rewrites (this one more radical) lifts Garcia Lorca’s peasant characters from rural Spain and transforms them into ‘aspirational’ middle-class people in contemporary London.  In an interview before the NTL screening, Mr Stone says, yes, he’s changed the source material, ‘but not the myth’.  I’m not sure what he means by the myth, nor what, really, is the motive behind the exercise.  Whatever he means and whatever the motive, this production was received in London with mostly rapturous reviews (there were

Please Continue (Hamlet)

Conceived by Roger Bernat & Yan Duyvendak; scenography in collaboration with Sylvie Kleiber. Dreams Come True, Geneva. Melbourne Festival. Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio. 5-9 October 2017

Anyone who’s attended a trial, in whatever capacity, knows that there’s a considerable element of theatre involved.  The rhetoric, the probing of character and motive, the excesses of emotion, the wigs and costumes, and the uncertainty of outcome.  Yan Duyvendak and Roger Bernat were fascinated by the ‘Byzantine dynamics’ of the Guantanamo trials of alleged terrorists in which traumatised prisoners could hardly string sentences together, but were repeatedly told, ‘Please continue.’

Broadway and Beyond – Qld Pops Orchestra

With Teddy Tahu-Rhodes & Students from the Queensland University Performing Arts. Concert Hall, QPAC, 7 Oct 2017/Empire Theatre, Toowoomba 8 Oct 2017.

If it wasn’t enough to have the audience in tears once, Qld Pops had to do it twice in their Broadway and Beyond concert yesterday at QPAC’s Concert Hall. With Patrick Pickett conducting and special guest-artist Teddy Tahu-Rhodes leading the whole faculty of Griffith University’s Musical Theatre Students (90), singing “One Day More” from Les Misérables, the sound was incredibly thrilling. The song, one of six from the musical closed the first half.

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