Reviews

Blithe Spirit

By Noël Coward. Endless Night Theatre Company. Director: Cassie Roome. Laycock Street Theatre, Don Craig Room. Feb 10-12, 2017

Originally billed as 'an improbable farce in three acts' when it premiered during the London Blitz of 1941, one cannot help but reflect on just how far away this play resides - from a typical farce. In fact it seems farcical to call this deliciously bitter, acerbically, witty script a farce. While the paranormal premise leans into the absurd – this is not your run of the mill comedy of errors.

Place this 76 year old script in the right hands – and it remains uncommonly, ridiculously sophisticated by anyone's standards.

My Friend Miss Flint

By Donald Churchill and Peter Yeldham. Therry Dramatic Society. Arts Theatre Adelaide. February 9-18, 2017.

They say there’s nothing more certain than death and taxes, yet in My Friend Miss Flint the tax man certainly arrives but death is foiled, because how can you plan the death of someone who doesn’t exist?

This is a rather dated English comedy. Nevertheless, in this production directed by Barry Hill, it remains enjoyable due to the competent writing of playwrights Donald Churchill and Peter Yeldham, together with a strong cast.

Time’s Journey Through a Room

Playwright/Director: Toshiki Okada. AsiaTOPA / Chelfisch. Arts House Melbourne. 9 – 11 February, 2017.

From the moment I entered the theatre I felt wrapped in a sense of suspense. The neat set design and the actor who entered the stage so quietly the audience didn’t notice her until she started to speak. I expected an experience like nothing I’d ever had before.

Dogfight The Musical

Music and lyrics by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul. Book by Peter Duchan. Blackout Theatre Company. The Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre, Darling Harbour. Feb 8 – 12, 2017

Dogfight The Musical was a very emotional and sometimes confronting night at the theatre.

Set in San Francisco during the Vietnam War, the musical centres in on three young Marines on their last night before heading to Nam. The three B’s, Birdlace (Ryan Henderson), Borland (Matthew Giles) and Bernstein (Jed Arthur), decide to spend their last night playing a game of “Dogfight”, where the winner takes home $50.

‘Tis Pity

By Richard Mills. Victorian Opera. Conductor/Composer: Richard Mills. Director: Cameron Menzies. Melbourne Recital Centre. February 4 – 8, 2017

I have been a big fan of Victorian Opera for many years now. Their programs are innovative, often breaking new ground and are always cast from strength.

Such was the case with ‘Tis Pity, an operatic fantasia/song cycle on the world’s oldest profession. This included ten vignettes moving through the ages. International cabaret star, Meow Meow, was at the peak of her powers. Her voice was unfailingly beautiful whether soaring in the stratosphere or plumbing the depths. She moved beautifully and was always expressive.

Twist

By Miles Tredinnick. Director: Kyla Booth. Tea Tree Players Theatre. 8-18 February, 2017.

Sometimes an ending that satisfies, surprises, and delights can go a very long way towards lifting a show into the winners' circle, and such is the case with Twist, a play operating in similar territory to classics like Sleuth and Deathtrap. If only playwright Miles Tredinnick's dialogue, plotting, and characterisation had been at least a little stronger and more distinctive than they are.

600 Seconds

Fringe World. The Blue Room Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre, WA Feb 7-10, 2017

600 Seconds, presented by The Blue Room’s Summer Nights, is a wonderful ‘taster plate’ of Fringe World Theatre. In six ten minute shows you get a diverse sampling of genres, styles and feelings.

Presenters are given one simple rule. You have 600 seconds. There are two different line-ups on alternating nights, and the audience has no idea what they are going to see.

Triage! A Nursing Cabaret

Written and performed by Zuleika Khan. Directed by Sally Bourne. Bok Choy Ballroom, The Noodle Palace, Fringe World, Perth WA. Feb 4-19, 2017

The sold-out audience at Triage! A Nursing Cabaret find themselves in the packed-to-the-brim Emergency Room at The Noodle Palace Community Hospital. Presided over by Division One Registered Nurse Züle, you have never had this much fun in hospital.

The Way Things Work

Written and directed by Aidan Fennessy. Red Stitch Actors Theatre, St Kilda. 31st Jan – 5th Mar, 2017.

When you have a fine and intelligent two hander script, and two mature actors at the top of their game, there is no greater pleasure than a night at the theatre.

Red Stitch launches its 2017 season with an absolute cracker of a production, possibly the best in several years. The play might have been written for the venue (but it wasn’t), so perfectly does it fit the space.

Paradise Lost

Written by John Milton, adapted and performed by Christopher Samuel Carroll. Bare Witness Theatre Company. Belconnen Arts Centre, ACT, January 26 – 28, 2017, then Fringe World, Perth, Jan 31 – Feb 4, and Adelaide Fringe, Feb 16 – 25.

This one-man performance is an ambitious adaptation of Milton’s classic poem Paradise Lost. While it is not studied at school as much as in previous generations, its resonances still linger through imagery and quotes. The adaptation includes both arcs of the poem: the fall of Lucifer from Heaven, and the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.