Reviews

Richard III

By William Shakespeare. Schaubühne Berlin. Thomas Ostermeier. Her Majesty’s Theatre. Adelaide Festival. March 3-9, 2017

Shakespeare’s Richard III has been one of his most popular works ever since it was first performed in 1594. It has an extremely long and varied performance history of productions around the world, including Germany. There is evidence of Shakespeare’s plays being performed in Germany from the early 1600s and Thomas Ostermeier and Berlin’s  Schaubühne Theatre Company have been leaders in contemporary theatre for many years.

The Secret River

By Kate Grenville, adapted by Andrew Bovell. Sydney Theatre Company. Adelaide Festival. The Quarry, Anstey Hill Recreation Park. February 28- March 1, 2017

The stage adaptation of Kate Grenville’s novel The Secret River by Andrew Bovell, and directed by Neil Armfield, is one of the highlights of this year’s Adelaide Festival; this made even more so by the fact that this is a new production of this very successful play in that it is being staged in the open air at the Anstey Hill Quarry.

I had not read the book, nor had seen previous productions, so this was a whole new experience for me, as well, I assume, for many in the audience.

The Book of Clown

International School for Acting and Creativity. Adelaide Fringe. 4,5,11,12th March, 2017

When we think of clowns, we imagine colourful face make-up, big wigs and oversized clothes. This Adelaide Fringe show, The Book of Clown, has some of that but focuses more on slapstick and silliness. It is brought to the stage by the International School for Acting and Creativity.

Performer Sang Park opens the show coaxing his audience into his absurd juggling tricks with soft neon balls and plastic bags. At this performance, he was met with a pint-sized heckler in the front row who kept him on his toes. Park handled it well with a big, mischievous smile.

Scientology: The Musical

By George Glass. The Producers Warehouse. Adelaide Fringe. March 4-19, 2017

With a very famous Broadway musical which comedically focuses on a ‘particular’ religion now on stage all over the world, it was topical to go and see what this ‘Scientology’ thing is all about. Scientology: The Musical, playing at the somewhat run-down venue of ‘The Warehouse at The Producers’, is a good satirical look at a religion many of us only associate with aliens and Tom Cruise.

The Philadelphia Story – A Lux Radio Production

Written by Philip Barry. Directed by Sharon White. New Farm Nash Theatre. 24 February – 18 March, 2017.

This production is as it was first performed in 1942 at the Victory Theatre by the United States Government as part of their war effort. It had in the cast such famous people as Kathryn Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart from the original film and it was a great success. It later was made into the musical,  High Society, with Grace Kelly.

Saul

By Handel. Glyndebourne Opera. Adelaide Festival. Adelaide Festival Theatre. 3-9 March 2017

If music be the food of life, then this feast, brought to the stage by Barrie Kosky, was ravenously devoured by the audience on opening night. Saul brings to the table, both literally and metaphorically, a meal of aural and visual delight.

Calendar Girls

By Tim Firth. Villanova Players. Director: Jaqueline Kerr. F.T. Barrell Auditorium, Yeronga, Brisbane. 25 February – 12 March 2017.

Ever since Tim Firth adapted his successful 2003 film into a stage play in 2008 it has been a box-office bonanza, breaking the all-time British box-office record for a play on its 2008/09 UK tour. Based on a true story, the plot, as everyone knows, is about a group of middle-aged Yorkshire women who pose nude for a fund-raising calendar, and is an ideal choice for community theatre with its multiple roles for women of a certain age.

The Full Monty

Music & Lyrics by David Yazbek. Book by Terrence McNallyBased upon the screenplay by Simon Beaufoy. StageArt. Director: Drew Downing. Musical Director: Nathan Firmin. Choreographer: Rhys Velasquez. National Theatre, St Kilda. March 3 – 19, 2017

StageArt’s production of The Full Monty was a high energy affair. The story, familiar to audience members from the film, had been moved to America. With the local factory having been closed, Jerry is struggling to pay maintenance to his ex-wife and faces losing access to his son, Nathan. So he enlists some mates in a get rich quick scheme to produce a male strip show.

Initially we encounter the wives attending a strip show, enjoying themselves enormously and complaining about their husbands. Sophie Weiss is particularly strong as Georgie.

Betroffenheit

Electric Company Theatre/Kidd Pivot. Adelaide Festival. Dunstan Playhouse. 3-4th March, 2017.

The German word Betroffenheit carries with it a sometimes inexplicable feeling; bereavement, shock and impact caused by tragedy. It’s a sensation attached to an incomprehensible emotion that encompasses the whole body. In their latest performance piece, Electric Company Theatre and Kidd Pivot channel performer Jonathon Young’s personal struggle.

Confessions of an Aerobics Instructor

Written and performed by Joana Simmons, co-written/co-directed by Elizabeth Dawson Smith. Music by Jamie Burgess. Speakeasy HQ (Vic). March 3, 10, 17th, 2017.

With all the hype that surrounds the ever-popular exercise industry; from the wardrobe essentials of active wear to the gym memberships, the fitness tracking accessories, and mass-produced elite gym equipment, Confessions of an Aerobics Instructor delves into the minds of the super humans that work in this business.

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