Reviews

You’ve Got Hate Mail

By Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore. Brisbane Arts Theatre. Directed by Braydon Mengel. August 3 – 11, 2018

This hilarious comedy of errors looks at the world of on-line hook-ups and breakups in this age of online communication. Disaster occurs when a juicy e-mail is sent to the wrong address. The play is told entirely through laptop computers, along with the occasional phone call to add to the mayhem. This proved to be very amusing to the audience as they learnt about the modern world of courtship and sexual relationships (with the extreme language associated with this).

The Goat or Who is Sylvia?

By Edward Albee. University of Adelaide Theatre Guild Inc. Little Theatre, The Cloisters, University of Adelaide. Aug 4 – 18, 2018

I have always been fond of goat curry but after seeing The University of Adelaide Theatre Guild’s The Goat or Who is Sylvia? I may never touch it again!

The Goat or Who is Sylvia? is one of Edward Albee’s later plays as opposed to the well-known Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which was written near the beginning of his career. Both centre on relationships and secrets, but The Goat delves even deeper into the psyche to places where the average person would never go.

Sneakyville

By Christopher Bryant. A Before Shot Production. Fortyfive downstairs, Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 1 – 12 August 2018

Sneakyville is at once a visceral experience and an intellectual and emotional challenge.  It is brilliantly and inventively realised by bold and risk-taking direction, a stark, stripped back aesthetic and a cast capable of astonishing transformations.  It is a play about Charles Manson – and it’s not.  Remember him?  It tells (but does not dramatize) in documentary detail of the murders carried out by members of the ‘Manson Family’, at Manson’s direction, in 1969 Los Angeles.  The frenzied murders of not just Sharon Tate and h

Cosi Fan Tutte

By Mozart. Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. Canberra Opera. Directed by Elisha Holley. Belconnen Community Theatre. July 27 – August 6, 2018

“I suffer horrible twitches, oh you bitches, this is totally your fault!” Canberra Opera’s Cosi Fan Tutte is unabashedly daggy fun. Director Elisha Holley has moved the setting to Braddon, an inner suburb of Canberra and inserted Australian vernacular through the libretto, which is an old technique which can be either funny or excruciating. Here it works well. The boys are Duntroon cadets, the girls are spoilt Canberra Prius-driving brats and Despina is pure Charnwood (for non-Canberrans, think Western Sydney).

The Memory of Water

By Shelagh Stephenson. St. Jude’s Players (SA). St. Jude’s Hall, 2nd-11th August 2018

This Olivier Award winning play by English writer and actress Shelagh Stephenson is set in a remote northern coastal village, presumably Yorkshire, in the family home of three sisters, Teresa, Mary and Catherine.  The death of their mother, Vi, has forcibly brought the siblings back to the place in which they grew up as they prepare for her funeral and the sale of the house. It’s a well-worn theme that has also been explored by Australian playwrights, such as Louis Nowra in Radiance and Hannie Rayson in Hotel Sorrento.

Snow White

Ballet Preljocaj. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. August 1 – 5, 2018

The original Brothers Grimm fairy tale of Snow White, as with all their stories, is dark and gritty. This is what choreographer Angelin Preljocaj had in mind when he first put together this retelling of the tale. The 2008 production was in many ways on the cutting edge of contemporary dance. Now 10 years later it seems, well, adequate.

Hell’s Canyon

By Emily Sheehan. The Old 505 Theatre, Sydney. Director: Katie Cawthorne. 1 – 11 August 2018

Up many unmarked, outside steps in the heart of Newtown is this ‘home to Sydney’s independent theatre makers’. In the upstairs ballroom of the old School of Arts a small crowd sits in awed silence as Emily Sheehan’s award-winning short play unfolds. If this is an example of 505 Theatre’s ‘warm, strange, exceptional theatre’, then bring it on, though perhaps with less steps to get there.

The Widow Unplugged

Written by and starring Reg Livermore. Ensemble Theatre. Directed by Mark Kilmurry. August 4 - September 1, 2018

What a brilliant way to ward off dementia - write and perform a fiendishly clever - language muddling one man play set in a nursing home, then perform it eight times a week for over a month.

Just a few months shy of turning 80, it’s a feat which more than deserved the standing ovation he received on opening night.

When Icebergs Burn

By Michael Griffith. The Wolves Theatre Company. Northcote Town Hall. Aug 2 – 19, 2018.

An isolated tin shack in dense bushland, a fugitive daughter and a remorseful father caught between the cops, an encroaching bushfire and their own personal demons. When Icebergs Burn is a new play written by Michael Griffith and directed by Aarne Neeme for The Wolves Theatre Company.

Point of No Return

Written & directed by Alaine Beek. Essence Productions. The Melba Spiegeltent, Johnston Street Collingwood VIC. 1-4 & 9-11 August 2018

Alaine Beek creates a ‘pressure cooker’ environment in which isolation, hunger, filth and cruel punishments aggravate conflicts between four boys transported to a remote prison in 19th century Tasmania.  Worse, their guards are former inmates of the notorious Port Arthur prison, just across a narrow stretch of sea.  

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