Reviews

Noises Off

By Michael Frayn. Queensland Theatre/Melbourne Theatre Company. Director: Sam Strong. Playhouse, QPAC, Brisbane. June 3 – 25, 2017

In 1998 former New York Times critic Frank Rich wrote in his book Hot Seat that “Noises Off was, is, perhaps always will be the funniest play written in my lifetime.” He also said the film adaptation was “one of the worst movies ever made,” and that’s because Noises Off is a theatrical conceit that only belongs on a stage.

The 7 Stages of Grieving

By Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman. Queensland Theatre / Grin and Tonic Theatre Troupe. Riverside Theatres Parramatta. June 8 – 10, 2017, and touring.

Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman’s original production of ‘7 Stages’ is a collection of ‘chapters’ documenting the effect of white settlement on our First Peoples. In a series of vignettes using different theatrical styles, they tell of the disruption that invasion and assimilation has wrought. They cover the loss of land, family, culture and self esteem. They cover discrimination and vilification. But they also incorporate reconciliation, hope … and humour.

The Clean House

By Sarah Ruhl. New Theatre, Newtown, NSW. June 6 – July 8, 2017

Sarah Ruhl’s play is a witty American domestic comedy about housework and different loves lost and gained. Its occasional leaps into metaphors and magic realism are challenging to get right.  A workaholic doctor, Lane, sacks her Brazilian cleaning lady, Matilda – an aspiring stand-up comedian  who hates cleaning – just as her breast surgeon husband cuts open and falls in love with his patient.

The Village Bike

By Penelope Skinner. Cross Pollinate Productions. Director: Rachel Chant. The Old Fitz Theatre, Sydney. 7 June – 8 July, 2017

Behind the busy bar of a rough and tumble Wooloomooloo drinking spot, downstairs, between the busy kitchen, the inadequate toilets and a dining area is the cramped theatre space. The stacked audience face a perfect little setting in which everything works – the doors, the upstairs bedroom, the rumbling pipes, the computer, the sink, the bike. The Sydney Theatre Company couldn’t wish for a more polished and convincing set.

Salt

By Seanna van Helten. She Said Theatre. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton, VIC. 8 – 18 June 2017

Salt is a tale of Innocence Unprotected.  Or Innocence Exploited.  It’s reminiscent of a real-life scandal briefly in the headlines not so long ago.  But Salt is no docu-drama.  Seanna van Helten jumps off from that horrible, sordid story, goes under the ‘facts’ and makes her three characters rounded if damaged individuals.  An eight-year-old girl, Caitlin (Artemis Ioannides), only child of a single mother, adores television ‘personality’ Bobby (Scott Major) host and MC of a Saturday morning kids’ singing an

Briefs - Close Encounters

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2017. Magic Mirrors Spiegel Tent. 9-11th June, 2017

Combine gender bending, drag, acrobatics, circus, magic, comedy with just a touch of S&M and you have the spectacle that is Briefs - Close Encounters.

Being a virgin to this Queensland company (with the addition of a local Adelaide performer) I didn’t have a clear idea of what to expect, so every twist and turn of the show was totally new to me.

Performed in the iconic Magic Mirrors Spiegel Tent, this show is a delight for the senses from start to finish.

Miss Saigon

Music: Claude-Michel Schonberg. Lyrics: Richard Maltby Jr & Alain Boublil. Director: Mardi Schon. Musical Director: Julie Whiting. Choreographer: Maranne McQuade. Queensland Musical Theatre. Schonell Theatre, Brisbane. June 7 – 11, 2017

Staging Miss Saigon is a challenge for any community theatre company but Queensland Musical Theatre came through with flying colours.

Sierra Boggess – In Concert

Concertworks production. Musical Director: Brian Hertz. Concert Hall, QPAC, Brisbane. 8 June 2017.

Royalty came to Brisbane last night - that is Broadway and West End royalty -  the form of the brilliant and captivating young star Sierra Boggess. Not only is she Broadway and West End royalty, she is also a Disney Princess as well having created the role of Ariel in the stage version of The Little Mermaid animated movie.

Fiddler on the Roof

Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Book by Joseph Stein. Therry Dramatic Society. Arts Theatre, Adelaide. June 8 – 17, 2017.

Fiddler on the Roof has been a show close to my heart since I played in the orchestra for a production in 1981. Naturally I went to Therry’s production with high expectations and I was not disappointed.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

By Dale Wasserman. Monster Media (VIC). Director: Carl J. Sorheim. Designer: Sarah Tulloch. Southbank Theatre, The Lawler. May 31 - June 11, 2017

Staging One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in Australia requires a lack of sanity.

First, Cuckoo’s Nest is filled with American cultural references.

Second, the early 21st Century is the wrong time for this play. Modern psychiatric hospitals are mostly dissimilar from what you see on stage.

Third, the play calls for a cast of 16. While several actors in the ensemble only have a short time on stage, few of the roles are interchangeable.

Yet somehow Monster Media made the play work.

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