12 Angry Men

By Reginald Rose. Matt Byrne Media. Directed and Designed by Matt Byrne. Holden Street Theatres, Hindmarsh, Adelaide. 12-29 October, 2016.

It takes a quality production to win over a critic who goes in harbouring doubts over the quality of the text being performed. MBM’s 12 Angry Men, despite its flaws, is a quality production.

For those unfamiliar with the premise, these 12 in question are jurors, presiding over an American murder trial. The men are not named, only numbered. An accused boy’s life hangs in the balance, and they must all come to an agreement before he can be either freed – or condemned…

It’s not me, it’s you

By Lucienne Weber. La Boheme (SA). 12-14th October, 2016

What does a thirty-something woman with a long list of romantic failures behind her do for therapy? If you are cabaret performer Lucienne Weber, you write a show about it. Incorporating many well-known show tunes into her hour performance, Weber takes us on a journey of self-discovery, with a narrative that pokes fun at the dating game.

Do Something Else

By Cloé Fournier, Ryuichi Fujimura and Brigid Vidler. Old 505 Theatre in Newtown. October 4 – 22, 2016

There is comedy, intrigue and psychological probing in thought-provoking work Do Something Else. Performance art devised over a year as a work in progress by Cloé Fournier, Ryuichi Fujimura and Brigid Vidler, directed by Michael Pigott, and performed at the Old 505 Theatre in Newtown.

Backstage In Biscuit Land

Written & devised by Jess Thom, Jess Mabel Jones & Matthew Pountney. Melbourne Festival, presented in association with Theatre Works. Malthouse, Beckett Theatre. 12 – 16 October 2016.

You walk into the theatre and the atmosphere is warn and relaxed.  It’s as if the show has already started, but it can’t have because the cast is chatting amiably to the audience.  There’s an array of distinctly weird props lined up upstage, including an inflatable dinosaur, ducks dressed as dinosaurs, cloud shaped pillows, a portrait of Mother Theresa and a cut-out tree.  Jess Thom, whom I guess is the ‘star’ of Biscuit Land, is peeping around a flat stage right, grinning and making wisecracks to her ‘assistant’ and co-star,

Inside the Bell Jar

Written and performed by Kate Mulqueen. The Butterfly Club. October 11 – 16, 2016.

As an introduction to my review of Inside the Bell Jar I would like to highlight the magical singing voice and piano playing of performer Kate Mulqueen.  Throughout the show songs and music play a part in setting a poetic and melancholy tone.

A graduate of the National Theatre Drama School and with experience in film, television and theatre Kate has gone out on a limb with Inside the Bell Jar, as she shares with her audience the most personal experience of the life, the suicide of her beloved sister Emily and all of the consequences surrounding it.

You and Me and the Space Between

By Finegan Kruckemeyer. Terrapin Puppet Theatre. Melbourne Festival. The Coopers Malthouse, Beckett Theatre. 6 – 9 October 2016.

There’s a happy little island called Proud Circle in an ocean somewhere.  It’s a balanced, organised society where everything works perfectly from the cradle to the (watery) grave.  (The old folks disappear voluntarily into the sea – which may be a little controversial for a kids’ show.)  The curious thing about this island is that it floats.  It’s not attached.  But one day, out of the blue, it springs a leak.  If this goes on…  What to do?  While the adults try things that fail and then argue and panic, it’

Falling Apples

By Lene Therese Teigen. A Verve Studios Production with La Mama Theatre. Kensington Town Hall, Kensington (VIC). 22 September – 8 October 2016.

Lene Therese Teigen’s play, Falling Apples, comes from Norway.  A certain tinge or feel of Ibsen is present, but in purely formal terms, Ms Teigen is more expansive, more adventurous, more modern.  She presents a community – with some catalytic outsiders – in which her thirteen – yes, thirteen - characters are trapped in society’s structures and strictures, or disappointed or thwarted by false expectations, in interlocking, overlapping and parallel story strands and situations.  

To Lonely, With Love

Created by Jennifer Monk, Perri Cummings & Lisa Dallinger. Text by Perri Cummings. Directed by Jennifer Monk. La Mama’s 2016 EXPLORATIONS Season. La Mama Theatre. 11, 12 & 13 October 2016.

There’s a lonely fellow in gaol, Roger.  There’s a lonely housewife in an unhappy marriage, Samantha (Sam).  They write to each other.  They tell each other things they tell to no one else – maybe because no one else would care.  There’s also an ‘advice columnist’, a ‘Miss Lonely Hearts’, called Shari who supplies what she probably thinks is advice.  If this all sounds downbeat and a bit weepy, it is neither.  The show’s creators have made something that is – fundamentally – deeply serious and of

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

Adapted by Lee Hall from the book ‘The Sopranos’ by Alan Warner. Directed by Vicky Featherstone. The National Theatre of Scotland as part of Melbourne Festival. Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne. 6th-23rd October, 2016

Rib-achingly funny, heart-breakingly poignant, and dazzling in its energy and vitality, Our Ladies is the undeniable hit of this year’s Arts Festival. It isn’t necessary to know Alan Warner’s book (although I certainly want to read it now) to recognise the brilliance of Lee Hall’s adaptation and Vicky Featherstone’s direction. This is superb theatre; joyful, exhilarating, provocative and thought- provoking.


By Peter Weiss. New Theatre (NSW). October 5 – November 5, 2016

Peter Weiss’ intricately written play about rebellion and counter rebellion, profiteering and war, and the cavernous gulf between the rich and poor and the ruled and the oppressed comes to disconcerting new life in this incredible production directed by Barry French.

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