Reviews

La Boheme

Melbourne Opera Company. Director: Hugh Halliday. Musical Director: Greg Hocking. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. Mar 3 – 18, 2012.

Melbourne Opera’s first offering for the year was a good one. I was particularly impressed with the direction. There was with a lot of innovative action, particularly with the boys in the shenanigans of the last act.           

Emilie's Voltaire, a Love Story

By Arthur Giron. The Red Room Theatre (Vic). Directed, designed and performed by Kenneth MacLeod and Kate Stones. Directorial Consultant: Angela Chaplin.

Emilie's Voltaire, a Love Story is an extremely cerebral work about two of history's great intellects. It is a two hander that covers the time that Voltaire and Emilie du Chatelet were lovers, sparring partners and confidants and is staged almost entirely in domestic environments. 

The production is engaging and absorbing, presented by talented actors with lovely clear voices and the capacity to make perfect sense of the demanding writing.

ELEGIES for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens

By Janet Hood and Bill Russell. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre (NSW). February 29 – March 3, 2012.

Inspired by the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, Elegies was forged in the late 80’s hothouse of American denial and discrimination against those with AIDS. Staged on a giant looped red ribbon of remembrance, thirty actors enter one by one with their own short poetic soliloquy on what their life – and death – meant to them. They’re all there, some stereotypical, others with high drama, most with ordinary powerful stories from the apocalypse.

The Last Five Years

Written and Composed by Jason Robert Brown – Last Tapes Theatre Company – Herald Theatre, The Edge, Auckland, New Zealand. March 1 - 17, 2012.

The Last Five Years was Jason Robert Brown’s third musical and was inspired by his own failed first marriage. The show is a two-person musical which tells the history of a relationship from two different perspectives. The male's narrative begins at the beginning of the story and progresses through marriage, infidelity, and divorce, while the female narrative begins at the end of the relationship and ends with the couple's first date; the two actors' only direct interaction takes place mid-point, during the wedding sequence.

Pride & Prejudice

Adapted for the stage by John Spicer from the novel by Jane Austen. Canberra Repertory. Director: Duncan Ley. Theatre 3; 24 Feb to 17 Mar 2012.

The Lesbian Variations

By Gina Schien. Blancmange Productions. Directors: Stephen Carnell and Amelia Tranter. Slide Cabaret, Oxford Street, Sydney. February 25, 2012. Additional performances announced - Saturdays March 24 & 31; April 14; May 5 & 12.

The Merchant of Venice

By William Shakespeare. Genesian Theatre Sydney. February 18 - March 31, 2012.

It’s a great sign when people are lining up to buy tickets to a sold out performance. It’s an even better sign when the curtain opens and all preconceptions of a dusty performance of Shakespeare are washed away by a fiendishly clever set.

The Genesian Theatre was stripped back to the church wall with the stage filled with the word Venice in flashing lights. Looking down on them is a stained glass window of Jesus on the cross from the church building itself.

As You Like It

By William Shakespeare. La Boite. Roundhouse Theatre (Qld). Feb 24 - Mar 24, 2012.

La Boite do it again: another hit!

This show has everything, from bone-crushing wrestling to love stories, songs, and broad comedy.

Director, David Berthold, commented once he could produce anything in the round at La Boite. He’s gone one better; the action takes place in the entire theatre, involving the audience as well in the irrepressibly joyous action.

The Seed

By Kate Mulvany. Melbourne Theatre Company (Vic). Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio. Director, Anne-Louise Sarks; Set and Costume Design, Christina Smith; Lighting Designer, Matt Scott. 17 February – 4 April, 2012.

The Seed, by Kate Mulvany, is a play about the uncomfortable truths that exist in all families, and the disempowering and intrusive nature of war.

Rose, a writer travels with her father from Australia to meet her Irish grandfather in Nottingham, hoping to be rewarded with the Maloney family history. Sifting through the family folklore, Rose’s questions lead her into uncomfortable truths about herself, her family, and ultimately into greater appreciation of their imperfect family bonds.

Painting with Words and Fire

By Keith Gow. The Wooden Leg (VIC). Revolt Melbourne. Design: Andre White. Lighting: Ryan Hodge. Musician: Claire Healy. Feb 15 – 25, 2012

The Loading Dock at the Revolt Melbourne in Kensington is an ideal space for Painting with Words and Fire. So up close and personal is the setting that you need to be prepared to be eyeballed by the actors themselves, giving you the feeling that their characters are talking directly to you. It can be a little confronting, but thrilling.

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