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Greta Lee Jackson. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Evatt Room @ Trades Hall. 30 March – 9 April 2017

Greta Lee Jackson. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Evatt Room @ Trades Hall. 30 March – 9 April 2017

Greta presents how she undermines her very unsuccessful attempts to form adult relationships because of her desperate need to be accepted and her use of sex and drugs to ‘spak fill’ where the ‘trauma termites’ had eaten away her self-esteem.

Hachiko

Directed by Phillip Mitchell. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle, WA. April 8-22, 2017

Hachikō was probably Japan’s most famous dog, This loyal akita, who waited patiently for his deceased owner to return for nearly ten years, is remembered in a statue at Shibuya Station in Japan, where he had kept his vigil. This production is a lovely interpretation of his story.

This show has nods to its Japanese origins in some of the costuming, and in an origami feel to ‘lead’ puppet Hachiko. Lots of natural tones in set and puppets blend with splashes of primary colour, in a thoughtful design by Matt McVeigh.

The Rasputin Affair

By Kate Mulvany. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). April 1 to 30, 2017

The multi-talented Kate Mulvany has let her very vivid and extremely articulate imagination run wild in this farcical interpretation of the assassination of Rasputin, the mystic ‘monk’ who wormed his way into favour with the Russian royal family prior to the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. The play is a romp – a mischievous piece of theatre that pushes the boundaries of style and pace, reaching a crescendo of ridiculous, well-timed action that will either delight – or dismay.

Nikki Britton is Romanticide

Written & Performed by Nikki Britton. Melbourne Comedy Festival. The Ladies Lounge, The Forum, Flinders Street. 30 March – 23 April 2017.

As the title of the show has it, Nikki Britton’s fast and very funny stand-up spiel is anti-romantic.  Or, more exactly, it points up the contrast between ‘Romance’ and the harsh or sordid or humiliating or, sometime, smelly, reality.

The Play That Goes Wrong

By Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields. Directed by Mark Bell, Sean Turner (Australia). Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Kenny Wax Ltd, Stage Presence, David Atkins Enterprises, ABA International Touring and Mischief Theatre Company. 5-23 April, 2017

So here I am, posting a review from Sydney after The Play That Goes Wrong has played Melbourne and Adelaide and reviewers have raved from both cities. 

The play has been running on the West End for three years. It opens on Broadway this month and follow-up productions proliferate: Peter Pan Goes Wrong is coming. Apart from its attack on amateur dramatics, what can I say that might stem the flow?

Lord Of The Flies

Matthew Bourne. From the novel by William Golding. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. April 5 – 9, 2017.

William Golding’s iconic novel is enjoying, along with Orwell’s 1984, something of a resurgence in this strange new era of society we find ourselves embroiled in. Golding’s novel is confronting, and often frightening, as it holds up the mirror to a world driven by power, as well as survival, where the weak and the gentle find little compassion, where the will of the Tribe over-rides the rights of the individual. It is a stark and challenging narrative, crystal clear in its intent and very pertinent today, given what we are seeing overseas.

La Petite Merde

Written and performed by Brianna Williams. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Imperial Hotel, 5th to 16th April; Butterfly Club, 17th to 23rd April 2017

Running for 18 nights, this solo show is a blend of short sketches and a lot of improvising, and Brianna Williams has given herself the challenge of relying on audience participation for a large portion of the show. The theme in La Petite Merde is the attainment of happiness, whether it is in the workplace, a marriage, or being happy in ones self. Translated it literally means ‘the little shit’, the ‘shit’ being ‘happiness’, as it is so hard to attain.   

Hysteria

By Terry Johnson. Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Eternity Playhouse. March 31 – April 30, 2017

All farces need a good grounding in truth.  A meeting one rainy night in London between the dying great psychoanalyst Freud and the volatile surrealist Dali seems the perfect start.

Designer Anna Gardiner even creates a suitably washed out Hampstead consulting room for Freud with a clutter of busy doors already at surrealist angles.

Long Tan

By Verity Laughton. Brink Productions /State Theatre Company of SA. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. March 31st – April 8th, 2017

The Anzac forces in the Battle of Long Tan consisted of a mere 105 Australians and 3 New Zealanders. On August 18, 1966, just three months after arriving in Vietnam, the men of Delta Company 6 RAR were to face a battle like no other.

Dracula

Shake and Stir Theatre Company and Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Riverside Theatre Parramatta. April 1 – 4, 2017, and touring.

Shake and Stir have presented their own new adaptation of the classic Bram Stoker horror story.  Co adaptors Nelle Lee and Nick Skubij, who also played lead roles, Dracula and Mina, have given the tale a fresh new feel, with a clever design using a highly effective stage revolve.

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