Reviews

Blue Murder

Written by Beatrix Christian. Directed by Jane Oliffe. 4 Stage Productions, Nash Theatre New Farm. March 23 & 24, 2018.

This play, first performed in 1994, is challenging for the cast as well as the audience as it tells how Eve leaves her country town to come to Blackrock, a gothic cathedral-like rock in Sydney Harbour, to work for Blue, a children’s writer. He leads her on a journey of self discovery that is magical, sensuous and frightening. It is a study of how men have created the fantasy that their art is more than life - and even death. The implications were obvious when the name Blue fully registered.

Abigail’s Party

By Mike Leigh. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 17 March – 21 April 2018

Beverly (Pip Edwards) and Laurence (Daniel Frederiksen), an upwardly mobile couple – that is, struggling out of the working class - have invited a few friends around for drinks and nibbles.  That is, Beverly has invited them.  Laurence, a stressed, harassed real estate agent, could really do without it and them. 

La Bohème

HANDA Opera on Sydney Harbour. Opera Australia. Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point. 23 March – 22 April 2018.

Rain clouds that have hovered threateningly over the city all day begin to clear. Late afternoon sunshine begins to filter through. The harbour begins to sparkle. What has been a dull and dreary day turns into a balmy, Sydney, autumn evening. How lucky for the opening night of another Handa Opera on the Harbour!

As the sky darkens above the Bridge and the Opera House, a crescent moon shines through the last wisps of cloud – and the lights go up on a snow-encrusted stage. It is a wintery December night in Paris. La Bohèmeis about to begin.

bare THE MUSICAL

Book by Jon Hartmere & Damon Intrabartolo, music by Damon Intrabartolo, lyrics by Jon Hartmere. Presented by StageArt. Chapel off Chapel. 20 March – 15 April 2018

Here is an American music theatre import, presented by the enterprising StageArt producers, with a cast of attractive, energetic and talented young people – with a few adults thrown in.  Set in a Catholic co-ed boarding school, with the senior students in their final year, the heart of the story is the troubled love affair between sensitive Peter (Adam Di Martino) and popular jock and girls’ heartthrob Jason (Finn Alexander).  It is the ‘love that dare not speak its name’ – at least as far as Jason is concerned.  This central plot strand of forbi

Masterclass

By Terrence McNally. Starring Amanda Muggleton. Andrew Kay in Association with the Kings Head Theatre, London. Directed by Adam Spreadbury-Maher. The Studio, Sydney Opera House. March 20 - April 8, 2018

You can see why Amanda Muggleton would keep returning to the part of Maria Callas in Terrence McNally’s Masterclass. She’s played her a number of times before and is now wrapping up an Australian tour - and still she revels in the role. You can tell that she loves the interaction with the audience, the jokes and the melodramatic character of one of the world’s great opera divas.

To Lonely, With Love

Created by Jennifer Monk, Perri Cummings and Lisa Dallinger. La Mama Theatre (Vic). March 21 – 25, 2018

There is a lot to be said about the art of letter writing, especially between the incarcerated and lonely people on the outside.

To Lonely, With Love, created from real letters by the director and performer Jennifer Monk, with Lisa Dallinger and Perri Cummings, is having its second season after its Explorations run at La Mama in 2016.

This is a genuinely entertaining nostalgia-driven piece of drama meeting physical theatre.

Beauty and the Beast

Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Book by Linda Woolverton. Miranda Musical Society. Sutherland Entertainment Centre. March 21 – 25, 2018

With Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, one’s first thought is of magic; the magic of Disney, the magic of music, and the magic of imagination.

It’s story of the arrogant young prince and his castle's servants falling under a spell that won’t be broken until he learns to love and be loved in return. When the beautiful and headstrong Belle enters his castle, along with the help of his enchanted servants, she begins to draw the cold-hearted Beast out of his isolation.

Flight Paths

By Julian Larnach. National Theatre of Parramatta. Riverside Theatres. March 16 – 24, 2018

“This is a world where men and birds fall from the sky, where young women are judged by the colour of their skin and where power can be ordained by a line of succession … where most of the characters genuinely want to create a better, fairer world than the one they were born into.” (Anthea Williams, Director)

The Crucible

By Arthur Miller. Directed by Matt Edgerton. Geoff Gibbs Theatre, WAAPA, Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, WA. March 16-22, 2018

WAAPA’s The Crucible, performed by Third Year Acting Students, feels very different to the typical production of Arthur Miller’s classic script, with director Matt Edgerton’s desire to encourage the audience to look at the play with fresh eyes fully realised.

21

Written and directed by Mollie Earnshaw. Hayman Theatre, Curtin University, Bentley, WA. March 18-23, 2018

The new short play, 21, written and directed by Mollie Earnshaw, is presented as part of Curtin University’s Sunday Night and Lunchtime Theatre series.

A very nicely written relationship drama, it tells of a young man Jimmy who contracts penile cancer. Despite the serious subject matter, there is lovely use of light and shade and beautifully drawn likeable characters. Mollie Earnshaw’s writing of dialogue is very clever, especially her use of rapid patter.

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