Reviews

The Boy From Oz

Music and Lyrics by Peter Allen, book by Nick Enright. Director: Tom Sweeney. Willoughby Theatre Company. Concourse Theatre, Chatswood (NSW). September 23 – Octiober 1, 2011.

Bumping in a big show can be harrowing, but what about bumping in a whole theatre? The Willoughby Theatre Company had that mountain to climb by staging The Boy From Oz, the first ever production in the magnificent 500 seat tiered Concourse Theatre in Chatswood.

Appalling Behaviour

Written and performed by Stephen House. Directed by Justin McGuinness. La Mama, as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Sept 21 to Oct 2, 2011

In Appalling Behaviour, performer Stephen House conjures a whole world of dirty laneways, windowless rooms, frenetic nightclubs and lost souls with little more than his voice and body. He has a black curtain behind him, a few blocks for props and minimal lighting. It is all House needs.

Ethel Chop & Chums

The Dog Theatre / Melbourne Fringe Festival. Footscray Town Hall. 21 September – 8 October, 2011.

For ridiculously funny and superbly consistent character based comedy at this year’s ‘Fringe’ you would be hard pushed to beat Ethel Chop & Chums.

A Chorus Line

By Marvin Hamlisch, Edward Kleban, James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante. Miranda Musical Society. Sutherland Entertainment Centre. September 21 – 25, 2011.

First impression as I settle into my seat is the audience reflected in the upstage wall of mirrors on the empty stage, enforcing the allegory of A Chorus Line. This is a show about everyone’s dreams, not just a group of dancers auditioning for eight places in a musical theatre chorus.

That said, it is, of course, the ultimate backstage dance musical.

 

Can an amateur cast meet the challenges of A Chorus Line?

Clybourne Park

By Bruce Norris. Melbourne Theatre Company, Victoria. MTC Theatre - Sumner, Southbank Boulevard, Melbourne. Director: Peter Evans. Set and Costume Design: Christina Smith. Lighting Designer: Matt Scott. Composer: Jethro Woodward. Sound Design: Martin Kay. 17 September – 22 October, 2011.

Sure, Clybourne Park is a play about race, and how little we have travelled since the 1950s, but it also offers insight into humanity’s territorialism, and the lengths we will go to protect our patch.

John and Jen

By Andrew Lippa and Tom Greenwald. Sidetrack Theatre. Sydney Fringe. September 20 – 24, 2011.

Got an embarrassing sibling, or a soccer (baseball) mum?

Someone you just love to hate?

You’ll find plenty to identify with.

John and Jenis an affecting two-hander musical following the story of Jen (Naomi Livingston), and her relationship with the two Johns in her life, her brother, subsequently killed in Vietnam, and her son (Edward Grey). At the core is the guilt Jen carries at going to college, leaving her brother in an abusive home.

Hold the Pickle

Written and performed by Rachel Berger. The Arts Centre, Fairfax Studio September 20 – 24, 2011.

LadyNerd

Writer / Performer: Keira Daley. Sydney Fringe 2011 / Twisted Melon. Seymour Centre Sound Lounge, Chippendale (NSW). September 15, 29 & 30, October 1 at 7pm.

I don’t know about truth being stranger than fiction, but it’s certainly just as entertaining in this witty, affectionate look at smoldering, high-achieving women.

What a delightful hour or so of entertainment and, dare-I-say-it, education!

Hotel Sorrento

By Hannie Rayson. Bankstown Theatre Company. August 26 – September 4, 2011.

As Bankstown Theatre Company (formerly Bankstown Theatrical Society) adjust to their terrific new black box theatre at Bankstown Arts Centre, their second production in the new venue sees them returning to a play for the first time in many years. Given the nature of their new home, and the conversion of Bankstown Town Hall into a library, one imagines that the company’s immediate future lies very much in plays and intimate musicals.

Pains of Youth

By Ferdinand Bruckner in a new version by Martin Crimp. The Artisan Collective. Director: Ben Pfeiffer. The Malthouse Theatre (Vic). September 9 – 24, 2011.

This is a curious, intriguing, engaging and well produced work that ‘showcases’ a beautiful, spirited and talented group of young actors.

In a drawing room with an atmosphere of decadence and display, combinations of young, self serving individuals work through their intimate relationships and close friendships, play with their personal power and indulge their neuroses. 

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