Reviews

Song for a Weary Throat

By Rawcus. Director – Kate Sulan. Theatre Works. 29 November – 10 December 2017

Rawcus’ work brings together talented dancers/performers of various abilities so seamlessly it is marvelous. 

In Song for a Weary Throat, proceedings commence with a chalk inscription being written on the blackboard of the set.  A dark, desperate and overwhelming precedent is set.  What ensues as sound is initially quite shocking (warning – loud noise).  This morphs into amazing music featuring the exquisite voices of Invenio Singers. 

Peter Pan

Film of joint production of the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic. Cinema Nova, Carlton. And cinemas nationally. 2nd - 13th December 2017

Staging a story which has been presented as a book, many films and other theatre productions presents challenges. This one is particularly difficult because it involves flying, pirate ships and magic.

Taking Steps

By Alan Ayckbourn. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Mark Kilmurry. 23 November 2017 – 13 January 2018

If the prolific Alan Ayckbourn has indeed written 81 plays (see Wikipedia), Taking Steps is Play No. 24, crafted way back in 1979. It’s very Ayckbourn and very English, to the point where this Ensemble production employs a Dialect Coach. What you have is a big, draughty house where the plumbing groans on three floors, and which Roland (Peter Kowitz), big in Buckets, wishes to purchase for dubious dancer/girlfriend Elizabeth (Christa Nicola).

Trek Around the World

Writers and Directors: Darren Rosenfeld & Michael Try. Trek Musicals. Musical Director: Graham Ford. Diamond Creek Uniting Church. Nov 18, 2017.

Trek Musicals, established in 2016 by Graham Ford, is an organisation which presents its musicals using karaoke technology, enabling the group to perform in any location, at any time and without the need for an accompanist or orchestra. 

Redshift

Choreography & Costume Concept by James Batchelor. Presented by Chunky Move Studios, 111 Sturt Street, Southbank. 23 November – 2 December, 2017.

Redshift is a contemporary dance performance inspired by scientific experience and knowledge that highlights small and sometimes unnoticeable changes in movement. The study of the consequences and importance of these minute details are the main focus of this piece. Movement is studied rather than performed and this results in a highly unusual pace for a dance piece, where the minute and the banal are transformed into spectacle.\

Perspectiva Artificialis

Written & performed by Fiona Rutkay, co-created with Jack Moon and with directorial advice from Jack Moon and Alice Cummins. La Mama Explorations. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton VIC. 27-29 November 2017

Fiona Rutkay has a face that would not be out of place in a Renaissance painting.  This gives an added poignancy to her show that opposes, I think, emotion, feeling, and physical experience of the world, against Euclid’s eight principles (definitions of a point, a line, a plane, and so on), that sound so abstract, and the ‘laws’ of perspective.  These laws, ‘discovered’ in the Renaissance, changed forever drawing and painting from flat two-dimensional depictions to those having an illusion of depth – that is, as the human eye does see the extern

Chronic

By Milton [sic]. Directed by David Sweeney. La Mama Explorations. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton, VIC. 22 – 24 November 2017

With Chronic, playwright Milton – no other name supplied - combines such elements or ideas as alien creatures, consumerism, sexuality, September 11 (an inside job?), a mad scientist in a wheelchair, Stanley Kubrick, the movie 2001 – A Space Odyssey, the (faked) moon landing, filial loyalty and a warning that ‘They are coming’ (this list may be incomplete) all in a swirling, farcical mishmash of a show. 

Bread Crumbs

Devised & performed by Ruby Johnston & Benjamin Nichol. Poppy Seed Theatre Festival. Meat Market Stables, North Melbourne. 21 November - 2 December 2017

Ruby Johnston and Benjamin Nichol burst onto the stage as Gretel and Hansel, dressed in picture book garb.  Within seconds they shift the familiar fairy tale into different territory and a different time.  The language is contemporary – and it’s not that of ‘innocent’ children.  They’re not lost in a forest, exactly, but they’re lost.  Or are they?  They are traversing some outer-urban landscape – a mall is mentioned, some waste ground… 

Lost: 5

By Daniel Keene. Illumi-Nation Theatre. Director: Michelle McNamara. Composer/Sound Designer: Mbyro (Matt Brown). 22 November to 3 December, 2017

More excellence from this years eclectic and cleverly situated Poppy Seed Festival.  This time the venue is south of the Yarra at St Martins Theatre.

The Irene Mitchell studio, with its natural brick wall, is the perfect venue to infer the atmosphere of a street for five probing monologues relating to homelessness by Daniel Keene.  Keene is a Melbourne playwright, deeply engaged with social issues and whose work was most prolifically staged in Melbourne in the mid 1990s. 

The Caretaker

By Harold Pinter. Throwing Shade Theatre Co.The Playhouse, Actors Pulse, Redfern. 22 November-2 December 2017

Throwing Shade Theatre’s production of The Caretaker, directed by Courtney Powell, is true to Pinter’s portrayal of three damaged and deluded souls that come together, each cast member bringing their own persona to the script, and life to Pinter's lively dialogue.

Never a dull moment, and fast paced, the characterisation was excellent.

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