Reviews

De Stroyed

Based on books and writings by Simone de Beauvoir including La Femme rompue/The Woman Destroyed.. 45 Downstairs, Melbourne. 16 – 27th May 2018

Jillian Murray and Suzanne Chaundy have created a beautifully refined work based on their personal responses to some of the acute realizations of Simone de Beauvoir as expressed through her writing.  The themes seem, most pertinently, about the deep pain of betrayal in a marriage and some shifts in sense of personal power and vulnerability experienced through aging.   

Society

Devised by After Dark Theatre Company. Melba Spiegeltent, Johnston Street, Collingwood VIC. 10 – 26 May 2018

Society is more circus than cabaret, but it’s great fun and an hour of amazement and gasp-inducing feats of skill.  A spiegeltent is the perfect setting, with its big top roof and the audience arrayed on three sides of the thrust stage.  Ebullient MC Francesco Minniti (who also directs the show and later does some magic tricks) has some patter about New Orleans and the dark arts, but this gloss on proceedings turns out to be really neither here nor there – except maybe as a justification for the show’s great, funky music, chosen by Music Director Kara Ci

The Shifting Heart

By Richard Beynon. Centenary Theatre Group. Director: Janine Francis. Community Centre, Chelmer, Qld. 18 May – 2 Jun 2018

Richard Beynon’s The Shifting Heart was the first play to deal with Australia’s xenophobic attitude to immigrants. It followed Summer of the Seventeenth Doll in the renaissance of Australian playwriting in the late fifties and had a healthy production life during the era and even a London stint at the Duke of York’sTheatre at a time when the West End was in the full-flight of “kitchen-sink drama”.

Ironbound

By Martyna Majok. Q44 Theatre. Abbottsford Convent, Sacred Heart Building, Abbottsford VIC. 16 May – 3 June 2018

A bus shelter in New Jersey, USA, is where five key incidents play out in the life of a worn but fiery Polish immigrant woman, Darja (pronounced ‘Daria’ – Gabrielle Rose-Carter).  As indifferent traffic passes in the night and buses come and go, Darja plays out her encounters – in the present, with lover Tommy (Alex Tsitsopoulos), with a Good Samaritan teenage drug dealer, Vic (Will Atkinson), and in the past with husband Maks (Anthony Scudi).  Via the dense, hyper-naturalistic, punchy dialogue, we piece together Darja’s story.

Priscilla – Queen of the Desert

By by Allan Scott and Stephan Elliott. Directed by Simon Phillips. Capitol Theatre, Sydney. Opening Night May 17, and touring.

Priscilla has accelerated her way back into Sydney in a blaze of pink LED and a cast that had the opening night audience on its feet applauding and cheering even before the curtain calls began. The energy and pizazz that begins with It’s Raining Men doesn’t let up for the entire show. The costumes, the colour, the choreography, the chemistry all come together in a spectacle that is a celebration of co-ordinated talent and vitality… and a bright rainbow ‘thumbs up’ to liberation and equity.

One Man, Two Guvnors

By Richard Bean. Papakura Theatre Company. Directed by Bob Lack & Patty Reid. Off Broadway Theatre Papakura Auckland. May 11th to 26th, 2018

Papakura Theatre Company are well known for producing plays. They have a foyer full of theatre awards for them. Their forte is for comedy.

One Man, Two Guvnors is based on The Servant of Two Master, a comedy by the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni written in 1746.

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.

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