Reviews

Mother/SON

Written/performed by Jeffrey Solomon. Midsumma Festival. Theatre Works, St Kilda (Vic). Acland St, St Kilda. Jan 11 – 21, 2012

A son who has just come through a long struggle to accept his own homosexuality begins a new struggle to gain the acceptance of his disbelieving mum in this moving play by New York-based writer/performer Jeffrey Solomon.

Mother/SON is being presented as part of the Midsumma Festival at Theatre Works, which is an annual celebration of queer culture. It’s being packaged with two other plays under the banner, Men at Work, focused on three very different male performers.

I am Eora

Sydney Festival in association with the Baalnaves Foundation. Director: Wesley Enoch. Writer: Anita Heiss. Carriageworks, Everleigh (NSW). January 8 – 14, 2012.

I am Eora is a little bit (welcome to) country, a little bit rock and roll and a whole lot of other things in between.

The Boys

By Gordon Graham. Griffin Theatre Company / Sydney Festival. SBW Stables Theatre, Kings Cross (NSW). January 6 – March 3, 2012.

There was much anticipation in Sydney’s theatre-going community as the opening night of Griffin Theatre’s The Boys drew near and it didn’t disappoint.

Twenty years on from its debut on the same stage and Gordon Graham’s script is still fresh, relevant and terrifying. Originally based on the Anita Cobby murder, sadly it is not hard to imagine similar acts making current news headlines. This production is vivid, unrelenting and inescapable in its nature, but at the same time is compelling and completely consuming.

The Wind in the Willows

Adapted by Glen Elston from Kenneth Grahame’s classic. The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. Until January 28, 2011.

Pantomimes are rarely popular in Australia during the regular peak English season.  

While halls and theatres are packed in December and January in the old country, this tradition has lost its popularity during the warm summers of the southern hemisphere.

So putting on a show outdoors is the perfect solution, and no more sparkling a venue could be imagined than Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

The production of The Wind in the Willows has been running for 25 years and it is no surprise why.

Buried City

By Raimondo Cortese. A co-production with Urban Theatre Projects and Sydney Festival by Belvoir St Theatre. Upstairs Theatre, Belvoir. January 6 – February 5, 2012.

In keeping with its raw characters and themes, this is a raw production. It pulls no punches. It makes no excuses. So, if you don’t like straight talking with ubiquitous four letter words from characters who say it like it is, it may be possible that you won’t like Buried City. On the other hand, because the characters depict their own reality, in their own ‘speak’, the language they use shouldn’t really offend. They speak of their present, grubby as it is; they speak of their hopes, unachievable as they may seem; and it is all viscerally real.

The Taming of the Shrew

By William Shakespeare. Sydney Shakespeare Festival. Bicentennial Park, Glebe Foreshore until February 12, 2011..

Picturesque views of the city skyline, Glebe Island Bridge and Sydney Harbour create a stunning backdrop for Sydney Shakespeare Festival. In its 5th year, the festival is the perfect night out for families and couples. Along with the moonlight cinemas, Shakespeare performed under the stars is a must-see on a balmy summers eve.

Hamlet

By William Shakespeare. Sydney Shakespeare Festival. Bicentennial Park in Glebe. January 5 – February 12, 2012.

Now in its fifth season, the Sydney Shakespeare Festival has already staged outdoors the more obviously suitable pastoral or elemental plays by the Bard.  They’re back in their favourite spot in Bicentennial Park in Glebe, with Sydney’s skyline as a backdrop, but this time with the normally claustrophobic, internalised tragedy of Hamlet.

Still, the last version I saw of Hamlet, at a Sydney Festival two years ago, sported German actors plunging about in mud and Hamlet following everyone with a cam-recorder.

 

The Magic Flute

By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. Opera Australia. Director: Matthew Barclay. Based on the original production by Julie Taymor. Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 6 to March 23, 2012.

The New York Metropolitan Opera has a fabled reputation for the most extravagant of productions. Australian audiences can now feast on the visual banquet cooked up by Julie Taymor, of Lion King fame and Spiderman infamy, in this replica performance that opened at the Sydney Opera House ahead of a transfer to Melbourne.

James and the Giant Peach

Music & Lyrics: Maitlohn Drew. Adapted by David Wood from the book by Roald Dahl. Director: Tim O’Connor. Harvest Rain. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. 6 – 21January, 2012

James and the Giant Peach is a fun show for kids and perfect entertainment for this holiday time of year. With plenty of audience participation, bright songs, kooky costumes, and a knockout set, Tim O’Connor’s production covers all bases.

Annie

Book: Thomas Meehan. Music: Charles Strouse. Lyrics: Martin Charnin. Producers: John Frost, Power Arts, QPAC and Two Left Feet Productions. Director: Karen Johnson Mortimer. Choreographer: Kelly Aykers. Musical Director: Peter Casey. Lyric Theatre, The Star, Sydney. Opening Night: January 5, 2012. Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth seasons to follow.

Despite the old theatrical adage ‘never work with kids and animals’, from an audience point of view few theatrical experiences are more appealing. Twice filmed, Annie is a much-prized, well-watched part of most family DVD collections.

And talk about musical theatre star firepower.

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