Kitty Flanagan - Charming & Alarming

The Playhouse, Sydney Opera House. August 13 - 21

What a gem, an absolute hoot, a woman with big hair who’s witty - That’s Kitty.

Normally I find I’m not a fan of the stand-up fem comedienne. I generally find that I just don’t find them as funny as men. Why? I don’t know. It’s not a sexist thing it’s just about what makes me laugh and what doesn’t.

Kitty Flanagan, however, has changed all that - she’s turned the tables for me and shifted my thinking. I’ve now become a ‘raving fan’ - I’ve touted, posted and twittered about how good Kitty is.

Menopause: The Musical

By Jeanie Linders. HIT Productions. Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. August 17 – 29

“Most women know intuitively that every other woman is experiencing memory loss, night sweats, or hot flushes, but when they are in a theatre with hundreds of women – not just a few sympathetic friends - and all are laughing and shouting “that’s me!” then they know what they are experiencing is normal. They aren’t crazy. It becomes a sisterhood.” - Jeanie Linders, author of Menopause: The Musical.

From Chekhov With Love

Steam Productions. Newtown Theatre. August 13th - Sept 4th

Love, lust, anger, attraction, confusion and more. From Chekhov with Love’consists of three short plays by Anton Chekhov. Having three plays on offer in one production is refreshing and delightful for audiences, as there is no time to get bored as a new story is always unfolding. This is a show for anyone who enjoys the tension and mild frustration of compromising situations, pantomimic elements and a touch of farce.

Winter’s Discontent

Written and Performed by William Zappa. Darlinghurst Theatre (NSW). August 10 - 22

‘You are the sum of all you’ve been and done.’ What then for an actor who has played numerous parts from villains to heroes? Do they know who they’ve really been and what they’ve really done when they have been playing other people? As well as playing other people they’ve had to play themselves with all the trials and tribulations of being one of many in a flooded industry, wondering what will happen next, struggling for parts and countless rejections.

Fraudulent Behaviour and 2 Dimensional Life of Her

Arts House. The Meat Market. (Vic.) Thursday 12 – Sunday 15 August

Fraudulent Behaviour is a funny and lively, delightfully quirky piece of storytelling. Rosie Dennis, as raconteur, surprises as she charms. Firstly she works through a long list of dishonest claims made by people she knows that, strangely, we all seem to know or have met. Then she dances with invigorating swirling movements.Quaintly Rosie talks to an imaginary friend, and her other companion, a decoy duck, which, seemingly by way of response, bobs slightly in his bowl of water - all the while looking very smart and worldly.

Boy oh Boy oh Boy From Oz.

Music by Peter Allen. Book by Nick Enright

David Spicer reviews three productions staged by The Gosford Musical Society, The Metropolitan Players Newcastle and The Canberra Philharmonic Society.

If I see one more shaking maraca I might burst, but I still get a kick out of seeing The Boy From Oz, which this month is almost every weekend.

The Gosford Musical Society sure knows how to excite its community. Their 16 performance season sold out before opening night, and extra performancess sold out in hours.

Daisy Chain

By Eryn and Alan Skinner. Rouse House Theatre Company. Theatre Works, St Kilda (VIC). August 12 – 21

Daisy Chain tells the story of two children?/ teenagers? who find themselves in hell after picnicking in the forest. Unfortunately, the audience also found themselves in hell for the duration of the grueling two-and-a-quarter hour run time.

Writers Eryn and Alan Skinner were operating within an absurdist framework and they hit the nail on the head. Everything about Daisy Chain was so utterly absurd that it successfully distanced and alienated the entire audience.

The Bougainville Photoplay Project.

Devised and performed by Paul Dwyer. Directed by David Williams. Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall. August 12 to 15, 2010. Belvoir Street Theatre. November 9 to 28

In the award-winning 1999 documentary Facing The Demons, the family and friends of murder victim Michael Marslew meet face-to-face in a ‘restorative justice conference’ between two of the offenders responsible for Michael’s death. Produced by the Dee Cameron Company, the documentary was broadcast to widespread critical and public acclaim – going on to win the Logie for ‘Best Documentary’ and the Award for Best Television at the United Nations’ annual Media Peace Awards.

Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare. State Theatre Company of SA. Dunstan Playhouse. Until August 29

Nicki Bloom and Geordie Brookman have adapted Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to be staged with only 6 actors, each taking on various roles which are non gender specific, and constantly changing between players. Unfortunately the restructuring doesn’t bring anything new to the piece, it only serves to cause potential confusion for audiences unfamiliar with the play and makes the characterisations disjointed. There can be no doubt that this production is innovative, but the switching of characters and script alterations does not work.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

By Tennessee Williams. Brisbane Arts Theatre. 31st July-4th Sept 2010.

In Tennessee Williams plays, reality and art coalesce. Like graphic artists, he employs motifs in his plays. Williams attacked issues frankly, with incisively realistic dialogue unencumbered by today’s political correctness agenda. They lived! Not surprisingly, this play was a shocker when it premiered on Broadway 65 years ago. It still gives pause for thought today. Director Alex Lanham recognised this production might maintain BAT’s reputation as they approach their 75th anniversary. It has! Another winner here.

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