Reviews

Creature: An Adaptation of Dot and the Kangaroo

Script: John Romeril. Based on the book by Ethel C. Pedley. Music: Peter Kennard. Choreographer: Dean Walsh. Co Directors: David Clarkson & Cristabel Sved. Out of the box and Stalker Theatre Company production. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 21-28 June 2016

QPAC’s annual Out of the Box festival for kids eight years and younger kicked off yesterday with a strikingly imaginative and effective adaptation of Ethel C. Pedley’s beloved children’s classic Dot and the Kangaroo. Written in 1899, the tale of a young girl Dot who gets lost in the bush and is befriended by a kangaroo has enchanted generations of children for ages.

The Nederlands Dans Theater

A Three Ballet Programme. State Theatre, Arts Centre. Exclusive season 22nd-25th June, 2016.

There are good reasons why adjectives like “exquisite”, “astonishing”, “flawless”, “incomparable” are used about the Nederlands Dans Theater – affectionately known as NDT. Their agility and physicality are incomparable, their technique is astonishing and their lines are exquisite - overall they are indeed flawless.

The Honey Bees

By Caleb Lewis. Red Stitch Theatre. Directed by Ella Caldwell. June 14 - July 16, 2016

There’s much to enjoy in Lewis’s new play, developed with the help of Red Stitch’s INK…a worthy in house programme for writers which is in jeopardy after Arts Funding cuts. It’s part Outback Chekhov/part Home and Away in red Dirt, but, despite being an entertaining 90 minutes, the text itself needs a solid dose of subtext and less exposition, more depth and less width, more character and less plot. It simultaneously feels too long, and yet doesn’t allow enough breathing space for us to take in the machinations between characters.

Ladies Night

By Anthony McCarten & Stephen Sinclair. Jally Entertainment production. Gardens Theatre, Brisbane. 21-22 June 2016 and touring.

Ladies Night has an impressive record - eight sold-out tours of the UK, a Moliere Prize (France’s premiere award for comedy), and translations into sixteen languages. It is without doubt New Zealand’s most commercially successful play.

If you feel you’ve seen the plot before, you have - The Full Monty ripped it off in 1997 - but it’s still a funny concept - four unemployed blokes, motivated by The Chippendales, form a male-strip show to make some money.

Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution

By Agatha Christie. Canberra Repertory Society. Directed by Aarne Neeme AM. Theatre 3, Acton. 16 June – 2 July, 2016

I thought my glasses had misted, but then I realised: in an attempt to recreate an authentic London atmosphere not just the stage but the entire auditorium was filled with fog. This device sets the tone for REP’s Witness for the Prosecution, a respectful recreation of the play as Christie envisioned with emphasis on commentary on the social prejudices of the time, but not without a wry nod to the more ridiculous elements.

Closer

By Patrick Marber. Old Mill Theatre, South Perth, WA. Directed by Trevor Dhu. June 10-25, 2016

Old Mill Theatre’s matinee audiences are typically very mature, but Closer, by Patrick Marber, billed ‘for mature audiences’ may have been a little surprising in its content, judging from the whispered buzz in the auditorium.

The show’s poster has already sparked some controversy for its explicit nature, being discussed on radio station 6PR and 6PR’s Facebook page, causing observer John Nicholls to remark, “It’s not my Mum’s Old Mill. Where’s the vicar? Where are the delightful misunderstandings?”

Vicar of Dibley

Stage play written by Ian Gower and Paul Carpenter adapted from the original TV series by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer. Presented by: John X & Graeme Paine. Directed by: Ingrid Ganley. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart . 17 June -2 July 2016

When choosing The Vicar of Dibley for stage, directors are under pressure to recreate exactly the recognisable TV characters, stories and jokes. Hobart Director Ingrid Ganley, for John X and Graeme Paine, had a good cast who gave us what we expected to see from the oft-repeated TV program.

Di Richards, a well-known singer with enormous stage presence, filled the role of Geraldine admirably, although a little breathily. Despite his natural pleasantness, Paul Levett (David Horton) competently brought off the acerbic nastiness of the TV David.

Hamlet: Prince of Skidmark

By The Listies. Wharf 1 Theatre, Walsh Bay, Sydney. Sydney Theatre Company. June 16 – July 17, 2016.

What Fun!

The Listies – Richard Higgins, Matt Kelly and Olga Miller – have created a spoof that mixes comedy and slapstick using the essential characters and story of the famous tragedy. Even if the young people in the audience don’t know the story of Hamlet, it’s explained … sort of … and there’s a very succinct summary in the program if they have a chance to read it beforehand.

Away

By Michael Gow. ARENAarts. Directed by Christine Eliis. LC Theatre, Belmont, WA. June 10-25, 2016

ARENAarts are presenting Michael Gow’s Away - a classic Australian play that has appeared on the WA Drama and English curriculums.

A 30th Anniversary production, it endeavours to capture the essence of a trip away in the Australian summer, not an easy feat in June, in one of Perth’s coldest theatres - but they do well in creating atmosphere.

Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris

Music: Jacques Brel and Others. Lyrics: Jacques Brel. Translation by Mort Shuman & Eric Blau. Director Geraldine Turner. Musical Director: Mark Cranston Reid. Miranda Musical Society. Sutherland School of Arts. June 17 – 25, 2016.

If you know Brel and this show then go see this. If you’ve never heard of Brel (or this show) then GO! SEE! THIS!

I cannot rave enough about this production. It was like watching a master class, and those of us (me included) who think we can direct, md, sing, act, light, sound, costume, and design sets will doubt our abilities after watching this show.

First some background. Confirming that only good things come from Belgium, Jacques Brel was a Flemish poet and songwriter who rose to prominence in the 50s and 60s.

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