Reviews

Hungry Ghosts

By Jean Tong. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Lawler. 3 – 19 May 2018

Three strands combine and interweave here, never sacrificing clarity and demonstrating powerfully that the personal is political – and vice versa.  This is highly articulate, intelligent, driven writing – and the whole, just under an hour, takes on the quality of a prose poem or music with theme and variations.

Seer

Based on the Edgar Allen Poe short story Shadow. House of Vnholy. 2018 Next Wave Festival at Darebin Arts Speakeasy. Main Theatre, Darebin Arts Centre. May 4 – 8, 2018

Seer is a bold and solo death experience!

House of Vnholy has developed a high concept production on the subject of death.  Death is always a sad and frightening thought, but when you are forced to contemplate the subject in the form of an art installation, this immersive ordeal can be a challenging and somewhat spine-chilling encounter.

Best of British

Queensland Pops Orchestra. Conductor: Patrick Pickett. Resonance of Birralee, Toowoomba Contemporary Chorale, BBC Pipes and Drums, Watkins Academy of Dance. Guest Artists: Elizabeth Lewis & Sam Hartley. Concert Hall, QPAC. 5 May 2018

A clutch of stirring Empire songs, some G&S, a touch of Riverdance and a splash of the Edinburgh Tattoo were the ingredients for Queensland Pops Orchestra’s annual Best of British concert. Based on London’s famous Last Night of the Proms concerts which began in 1895, the local version has notched up 30 years since being established by Colin Harper in the 80s.

Rent The Musical

Book, Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Larson. Original Concept and Additional Lyrics by Billy Aronson. Directed by Tim Hill. Presented by QPAC & Matt Ward Entertainment. Cremorne Theatre. 2 – 20 May, 2018

This beloved musical that exploded on Broadway in the mid nineties to redefine the genre is back, playing for a limited season in Brisbane. While some of the libretto is definitely showing its age, the opening-night audience at the Cremorne still connected with the themes of love, art and La Vie Bohème.

Director Tim Hill is clearly one of those people for whom the musical holds special significance. He’s approached the production with meticulous attention to detail and palpable passion. As such, he’s drawn out some outstanding work from his cast and crew.

The Return

By Reg Cribb. KADS. Directed by Brittany Isaia. KADS Theatre, Kalamunda, WA. Apr 27 - May 12, 2018

Brittany Isaia fell in love with Reg Cribb’s play The Return as a Year 12 Literature Student, leaving it a clear choice as her first full-length play as a director. Brittany’s teacher Mrs Alexander Geneve was obviously very inspirational, so much so that the young director has cast her in this production.

The Return, filmed as The Last Train to Freo, follows the journey of the last train of the night travelling from Midland to Fremantle.

Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.

By Alice Birch. House of Sand. Old 505 Theatre, Newtown. May 2 – 19, 2018

Alice Birch writes unreservedly and unabashedly about how women are treated at home, in bed, at work, even in the supermarket. She writes in a blatantly feminist voice that is loud and bold and unembarrassed. And that is what she demands of the cast that brings this play to the stage. Her stage instructions at the beginning of the play are explicit:

If any vomiting, crying or shouting needs to happen off stage, the audience should be able to glimpse it.

There shouldn’t be any set.

Crunch Time

Created by Counterpilot; conceived & directed by Nathan Sibthorpe. A Next Wave & Metro Arts co-commission in association with Darebin Arts’ Speakeasy. Darebin Arts & Entertainment Centre, Preston VIC. 3 – 12 May 2018

Our audience - or participants – are strictly limited to twelve.  We soon see why.  This is definitely an ‘audience participation’ show – or presentation – or ‘experience’.  Without our participation, nothing would happen.  But it’s not that embarrassment-in-the-front-row kind of participation.

Don Quichotte

By Massenet. Opera Australia. Revival Director: John Sheedy. Conductor: Guillaume Tourniaire. Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre. May 3 – 12, 2018

I have been attending opera performances for over fifty years, but cannot recall feeling as elated as I was after attending Opera Australia’s latest offering, Massenet’s Don Quichotte. I have not seen it before and have no music in my extensive collection from this little known opera.

I was constantly swept away by the magnificent music. The five acts were reduced to two halves, with the inclusion of some ballet music from the same composer’s Le Cid. The haunting entr’acte to the final scene was a highlight.

Areté: Delta

Dionysus Theatre. Cube 37 – Frankston Arts Centre. Thurs 3rd – Sat 5th May, 2018

Based on a different theme each year Areté : Delta is the fourth festival offering from Dionysus Theatre, a company that always provokes debate and vivid discussion surrounding their works.

Areté is an innovative performance and visual arts festival, where all work presented responds to a specific theme.  The chosen theme for 2018 - ‘I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.’ – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Incorruptible

By Michael Hollinger. Australian Premiere. Galleon Theatre Group. Domain Theatre, Marion Cultural Centre. May 2-12, 2018

Incorruptible is Black Adder meets The Life of Brian and then some.

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