Reviews

Blackie Blackie Brown

By Nakkiah Lui. Sydney Theatre Company. Directed by Declan Greene. Wharf 2 Theatre. May 12 - June 30, 2018

The set for this premiere play is like a blank canvas: a white floor and wall made up of equal-sized boxes on which something can be drawn. In this case, it’s a rollicking comic-book animation, which drives a thrilling work that touches at the heart of black and white relations in modern Australia.

The Pearl Fishers

By Georges Bizet. Produced by State Opera of Queensland and South Australia. Directed by Michael Gow. Conducted by Graham Abbott. Festival Theatre, Adelaide. May 12 – 19, 2018.

This new production of The Pearl Fishers is full of colour, exotic locations and beautiful music. The story is set in a village somewhere in Ceylon around 1860, at the beginning of the pearl fishing season.

Under Michael Gow’s direction the narrative is clearly told in a straightforward and unfussy way that held my attention at all times.

Bully Virus

By Kate Herbert. La Mama Theatre, Carlton, Vic. May 16 – 27, 2018

Bully Virus is a hard-edged verbatim theatre show about bullying in the workplace.  It is written and directed by Kate Herbert, who has researched at length several cases on the almost epidemic state of the Bully Virus in Australia.

Three performers, Jenny Lovell, Carole Patullo and Geoff Wallis, dressed in white-collar attire read from clipboards titled victims and clinically reflect on these cases as in a courtroom. The absent bullies are put on trial and we as the audience members are the unofficial jury.

The Bodybag, The Panto

Conceived and directed by Trevor Ashley. Written by Trevor Ashley and Phil Scott. The Playhouse, Sydney Opera House from May 16 to 23, 2018 and Comedy Theatre, Melbourne from May 31 – June 2.

The Bodybag is billed as a panto. Being of an age when I can remember vividly the pantos at the Tiv and other venues, with the great dames like Johnnie Lockwood, Jim Gerald, George Wallace and later Reg Livermore, I was looking forward to this panto. This time the dame is Trevor Ashley, and there is nothing like this dame. As clever and funny as the aforementioned dames with the required earthy humour, the difference is that Trevor can really sing, and does so with gusto.

mi:wi

Created & choreographed by Taree Sansbury. Next Wave Festival in association with Darebin Speakeasy. Northcote Town Hall, Main Hall, Northcote VIC. 16 – 20 May 2018

In this dance-based work, three performers create images of past and present, of strife and healing, of separation and intimate attachment, of flight and the earth, and, recurring throughout, the central thread and motif, that of unravelling and weaving.  These three women are strong, womanly dancers, their bodies emphasised by Peta Strachan’s white costumes, their movements emphatic and sharp, yet graceful, evoking a stream of emotions in their audience. 

The Bleeding Tree

By Angus Cerini. Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne. 15 – 19 May 2018

At the heart of The Bleeding Tree is the question of why, as neighbours and friends, do we turn a blind eye to the perpetration of domestic violence.  It is an extraordinary work of ‘high art,’ with rich integrity.  Superb craftsmanship is skillfully fused together by Director Lee Lewis.

The Bleeding Treecommences with an abrupt change of atmosphere, brutally bringing the audience into the pitiless world of a desperate story.

Annie

Music by Charles Strouse. Lyrics by Martin Charnin. Book By Thomas Meehan. Roleystone Theatre. Directed by Tyler Eldridge. Kalamunda Performing Arts Centre, WA. 12-19 May, 2018

Roleystone Theatre’s Annie was lucky to reach the stage. A fraught rehearsal period left the show rehearsing in half a dozen different venues, waiting for their home theatre to be repaired. When it was discovered that the theatre could not be used, there was a last minute scramble to find a venue. They are currently playing an (interrupted) run at Kalamunda Performing Arts Centre. Despite their fraught labour, Annie is a great little show, with excellent production values and some impressive performances.

Two Jews Walk Into A Theatre

Devised and performed by Brian Lipson and Gideon Obarzanek. Sydney Opera House Unwrapped May 9 – 13, 2018

I went to the box office of the Sydney Opera House with my wife – we were two Jews attempting to walk into the theatre – but the front of house lady could not see our name on the list. No matter how hard I tried she would not budge, so it was looking like two Jews walk out of the theatre.

Godspell

Conceived by John-Michael Tebelak. Music and New Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Presented by Irregular Productions and Lydian Productions. Direction by Karen Sheldon. Music Direction by Martin Cheney. Choreography by Kerry-Lynne Hauber. The Parks Theatre, Angle Park, Adelaide. 11-19 May, 2018.

Born from the era that gave rise to hippie culture and its ideals of peace-and-love, Godspell spoke to a generation that were able to embrace what they saw as the positive, relatable aspects contained in the Gospels and their account of Jesus’ teachings.

As You Like It

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Jason Nash. New Farm Nash Theatre. Brisbane. May 11 – June2, 2018.

Initially the play relates the disputes and power struggles that occurred in families at the best of times and the worst times, after deaths in the families. Thus Orlando is removed by his brother Oliver, Rosalind by her uncle Frederick and Duke Senior also by Frederick. That is just the start of the intrigue and the relationships that develop. Rosalind disguises herself as a boy (Ganymede) and travels with cousin Celia as Ganymede’s sister Aliena to the Forest of Arden where all the exiles have gathered.

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