Reviews

High Fidelity

Music: Tom Kitt. Lyrics: Amanda Green. Book: David Lindsay-Abaire. Based on the Novel by Nick Hornby and the Touchstone Pictures Film. Beenleigh Theatre Group. Director: Michael Skelton. Musical Director: Christine Leah. Choreographer: Stewie Matthews. Crete Street Theatre, Beenleigh, Qld. 28 June – 13 July 2019

When community theatre gets it right they really get it right and that’s what Beenleigh Theatre Group did with their production of High Fidelity. There were laughs galore, the theatre kept rockin’ all night, and the cast were at the top of their game.

Wake in Fright

Adapted from Kenneth Cook’s novel by Declan Greene. Malthouse Theatre. The Beckett. 21 June – 14 July 2019

Embarrassingly in the profound ‘deafening’ silence after the close of Wake in Fright I turned to my plus one and uttered ‘Oh My Goodness’.  This was a reflex response to a remarkable refined and intensely focused work.

Declan Greene and Zahra Newman’s Wake in Fright is a superbly crafted piece with all creative artists working in rarefied and finely tuned synchronicity.  It is frightening.  And yes it does identify and express much of the essence of Kenneth Cook’s masterpiece.

A Little Night Music

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Hugh Wheeler. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Phoebe Briggs. Director: Stuart Maunder. Playhouse Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. June 27 – July 6, 2019

Sondheim’s A Little Night Music is a delightful romp. This was an excellent production, with the revolving stage and sheer curtains used to great effect to allow rapid changes of scenes.

The thing which stood out for me was the wonderful comic timing of the cast. There was no rushed dialogue and many appropriate pauses gave the audience plenty of time to laugh at the various situations, and there was much cause for this.

Spartacus

Ballet by Yuri Grigorovich after the novel by Raffaello Giovagnolli, and ideas from the scenario by Nikola Volkov. Music: Aram Khachataturyan. Bolshoi Ballet. Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Choreography: Yuri Grigorovich. Musical Director: Gennadi Rozhdestvensky. Conductor: Pavel Sorokin. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 26 June – 7 July 2019

Although the stage was awash with testosterone and male bodies it was prima ballerinaOlga Smirnova who was the star of the Bolshoi Ballet’s return visit to Brisbane for this year’s International series. As the predatory Aegina she captivated, especially in the third-act, with her astonishing technique and flawless lines. She absolutely bristled with charisma in a performance that had gold-standard stamped all over it.

Girl in the Machine

By Stef Smith National Theatre of Parramatta. Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. June 20 – 29, 2019

Despite the fact that both playwright and director talk about the play as a love story, and whilst the actors try desperately to make their affection plausible, any empathy for them is mitigated by the concerns the play raises about the addictive power of technology and the possibility of its far-reaching effects.

See You Next Tuesday

By Sam Nerida. Static Drive. Directed by Alexa Taylor. The Blue Room Theatre, Perth, WA. June 18 - July 6, 2019

Static Drive’s See You Next Tuesday was originally developed as part of Barking Gecko and the Australian Theatre for Young People’s Fresh Ink writing development process. Billed as “Hormones, smart phones, and really big feelings”, it is a coming of age story featuring 17 year old Evie, as she comes to terms with her sense of self, her sexuality and her sense of responsibility. Writing with a huge amount of potential, it is well presented in this premiere at the Blue Room.

Wunderage

Circus Oz and Company2. Meat Market, North Melbourne. June 20 – 30, 2019

At the revamped Victorian Meat Market (built in 1880) in North Melbourne, a promenade circus performance takes place in the cobblestone pavilion.  Wunderage is a spectacle-circus collaborative show directed by Circus Oz’s Rob Tannion and Company 2’s Chelsea McGuffin.

Chapter Two

By Neil Simon. Directed by Pam Cooper. Presented by Sunnybank Theatre Group in association with ORiGiN Theatrical Pty Ltd. Sunnybank Theatre. 14 - 29 June, 2019

Neil Simon plays regularly deliver on the laughs and Chapter Two certainly packs a comedic punch. The romantic comedy takes a cynical view of fidelity and marriage in many respects, while still giving us the anticipated happy ending.

August: Osage County

By Tracy Letts. Playlovers. Directed by Barry Park. Latvian Centre Theatre, Belmont, WA. June 21 - July 6, 2019

When Beverly Weston disappears, his family returns to their home in rural Oklahoma. Pulitzer Prize winning play August: Osage County is being performed for the first time in Western Australia by Playlovers, at the Latvian Theatre in Belmont, as the company is still waiting to return to their home at Hackett Hall, Floreat.

Seven Little Australians

Adapted from Ethel Turner’s novel by Joan Leslie and Di Mason. Hills Youth Theatre, Stirling Community Theatre, South Australia. 21-30 June 2019

Seven Little Australians is a novel more than a hundred years old and has been continuously in print ever since it first told distinctly Australian stories of the seven children in the family of Captain Woolcot and his second wife Esther.

This stage adaptation by Joan Leslie, and the director Di Mason, is a revival of its original staging eighteen years ago and is a marvellous showcase of the talents of Hills Youth Theatre and its many students.

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