Reviews

Oil

By Ella Hickson. Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre. 27A Cromwell Road, Prahran. 12 November – 15 December 2019

Ella Hickson’s Oil is a sprawling saga stretching from 1889 and on into our future.  In scene one, an American oil man (Darcy Brown) quips to a dirt-poor, candle-lit farming family, as he introduces them to the wonders of kerosene, ‘The Stone Age didn’t end because they ran out of stones.’ 

Grease

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Wyong Musical Theatre Company. The Grove Theatre, Wyong. November 15 – December 1, 2019.

Grease has been a staple of community theatre and high school performing arts programs for many decades. In fact 2019 marks 40 years since the show premiered. Unlike other shows in the ’community theatre staples’ bracket, Grease doesn’t offer any sort of positive message. One can only assume its constant remounting across the world comes thanks to the insanely popular 1978 movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newtown John.

School of Rock

New Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics: Glenn Slater. Book: Julian Fellowes. Capitol Theatre, Sydney. From 15 November 2019.

In many ways School of Rock is The Sound of Music for a new generation and with a gender swap: a naïve young adult tutors a group of repressed unhappy kids. Through music, the kids are empowered and find joy. At the same time, the equally repressed unhappy authority figure is also reconnected to music and falls in love with the tutor. Together, they all defy an oppressive regime, but this time it’s not Nazis but their rigid school and “the Man”.

Little Women

By Louisa May Alcott, adapted by Peter Clapham. ARENAArts. Directed by Christine Ellis. Roxy Lane Theatre, Maylands, WA. Nov 15-30, 2019

ARENAArts’ production of Little Women is a warm, feel-good production that is faithful to the original novel, and is presented with love and care.

Cinderella - A Pantomime

Murray Music and Drama. Directed by Cathy Puzey. Pinjarra Civic Centre, WA. Nov 15-29, 2019

It is always a pleasure to visit Murray Music and Drama, with their lovely Front of House staff and country hospitality. The cabaret style seating helps to make this feel very much a community event. This production of Cinderella speaks to this, with Buttons making call outs to people in the audience, including life members and residents from the local lifestyle village in attendance.

Les Misérables

Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg. Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. Original French text byAlain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel. Darlington Theatre Players. Directed by Joe Isaia. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. Nov 15 - Dec 14, 2019

Les Misérables is always a “big” production. Darlington Theatre Players’ Les Misérables is a big production of Les Mis. Despite the fact that Marloo Theatre is not a huge space, this production is a behemoth of a show.

Black is the New White

By Nakkiah Lui. State Theatre Company of SA. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre. 13 Nov — 1 Dec, 2019

Black is the New White feels very much like a marriage between Crazy Rich Asians and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, in the nicest possible way. This romantic comedy challenges all of the stereotypes about our indigenous people and loudly and proudly canvasses almost every politically correct and incorrect issue that you would never introduce into polite conversation.

Madama Butterfly

By Giacomo Puccini. State Opera South Australia. Festival Theatre, Adelaide. November 14 – 23, 2019

Madama Butterfly is perhaps Giacomo Puccini’s most famous opera. Produced all over the world, it remains a favourite for performers and audiences alike.

State Opera SA’s production originated in Seattle and was brought to Australia by Stuart Maunder and directed by its creator Kate Cherry.

PULP

By Joseph Zettelmaier. Centenary Theatre Group. Chelmer Community Centre. 9-30 November 2019

Not even fans of the film Pulp Fiction – which famously plays around with the sequence of time – will be able to guess the extraordinary events in the denouement of Joseph Zettelmaier’s PULP.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

By Jeffrey Archer. St Jude’s Players. November 14-23rd, 2019

Best known for his fast-moving, critically acclaimed thriller novels, Jeffrey Archer has written three plays, two of which have a courtroom setting, both actively involving the audience in deciding innocence or guilt. Beyond Reasonable Doubt is the first, having had a lengthy London run and countless world-wide performances since.

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