Reviews

Consensual

By Evan Placey. Australian Premiere. New Theatre, Newtown (NSW). March 16 – April 15, 2017

Classrooms out there are a sexual minefield for naïve teachers.

Consensual shows schools bristling with hormonal teenagers, porn savvy through social media, bullish, even assaulting and yet all pumped up about their rights.  And that’s just the girls.

British writer Evan Placey puts Diane (Lauren Richardson) right in the middle of it, as she struggles also to deal with a thwarted young man at the school gate, back after seven years and accusing her of unconsensual sex. 

Backbone

Gravity and Other Myths. Adelaide Festival. Dunstan Playhouse. March 14th – 19th, 2017

Raw, entertaining and at times mesmerising - this is Backbone, presented by Gravity and other Myths (GOM). The concept of this production, directed by Darcy Grant, is a devised circus that examines strength honestly, ironically and personally. Whilst this reviewer couldn’t quite grasp the underlying theme, I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle and show for what it was, an amazing and jaw dropping showcase of dedicated and talented acrobats.

The Places You’ll Go

By Hila Ben Gera. Lama Theatre Company. The Garage International.Adelaide Fringe. March 1 – 17, 2017

Lama Theatre Company was founded by Hila Ben Gera, who is also the author of The Places You’ll Go. Having premiered the play in New York City in 2014, she has assembled an all-Australian cast to breathe life into this version for the Adelaide Fringe.

The Laden Table

By Yvonne Perczuk, Nur Alam, Raya Gadir, Chris Hill, Marian Kernahan & Ruth Kliman. bAKEHOUSE Theatre Company. KXT – Kings Cross Theatre, Kings Cross Hotel. March 10 – 25, 2017.

Like the long table that dominates the set (designer Courtney Westbrook), this play is also ‘laden’ – with diverse opinions, racial and religious vilification, family values and traditions and strong, passionate characters that articulate their beliefs and emotions in meaningful and judiciously scripted dialogue. It is also ‘laden’ with love surmounts barriers and promises hope.

H.M.S. Pinafore

By Gilbert and Sullivan. Melbourne Opera. Director: Robert Ray. Conductor: Greg Hocking. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne, March 14 – 18, 2017 and Monash University’s Robert Blackwood Hall, April 22.

Melbourne Opera stepped out of their comfort zone in presenting a G&S operetta. However, they employed one of the most experienced G&S directors and a number of music theatre professionals to make for an enjoyable production.

Robert Ray’s approach was traditional, but with some neat twists. He included a recently discovered duet for the Captain and Josephine, “Reflect My Child”, though it didn’t seem as musically inspired as the rest of the score.

Every Brilliant Thing

By Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahue. Paines Plough. Pentabus Theatre Company. Adelaide Festival. The Space Theatre. 14-18 March, 2017.

Has ever a show carrying cautions about 'themes of mental illness and self-harm' been able to generate so much capacity for optimism and joy?

This one-man-plus-willing-audience presentation is one that makes you want to hug the performer in question; not out of pity, but of gratitude and respect. Every Brilliant Thing elicits the kind of audible audience reactions - chuckles, gasps, and moans - that reflect total viewer engagement.

 

Barbu Electro Trad

Cirque Alfonse. The Peacock/Gluttony. Adelaide Fringe. March 8-13th, 15th-19th, 2017

This show is like no other circus cabaret; with a thumping soundtrack and an abundance of cheeky shenanigans, you will have the time of your life.

Large screens either side of the performing space provide video of the beautiful Quebec region, along with scantily clad performers frolicking through the countryside. At times, bizarre, it all soon makes sense.

Cold Light

Adapted by Alana Valentine. Based on the novel by Frank Moorhouse. Directed by Caroline Stacey. Produced by the Street at The Street Theatre, Canberra. Australian Premiere. March 3 – 18, 2017

This new production has debuted at The Street Theatre in Canberra. It is based upon the final novel in Moorhouse’s trilogy which details the life, ambitions and loves of the fascinating Edith Campbell Berry. Alana Valentine’s adaption of the novel is most entertaining, retaining the humour and drama of the novel while compressing the action into a marvellous narrative that compels the audience’s attention.

Twelve Angry Men

By Reginald Rose. Director: David Cascarino. Campbelltown Theatre Group Inc. Town Hall Theatre. March 3 – 18, 2017.

This is an excellent production, well acted with taut direction.

Il Trovatore

By Verdi. CitiOpera (Vic). Director: Stella Axarlis AM. Musical Director: Alan Cook. Frankston Arts Centre, March 12, 2017 and Wyndham Cultural Centre, March 25.

This was another ambitious project for this semi-professional company. A traditional production, which was originally staged at the Athenaeum Theatre, it looked a bit sparse on the huge stage in Frankston, though the projections at the back helped.

Il Trovatoreis nothing without top singers, and this CitiOpera delivered. New Zealand dramatic soprano Amanda Atlas had the ideal voice for Leonora. Her big voice easily met the demands of this challenging role, also delivering some beautiful pianissimo singing.

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