Reviews

Searching for David by Steven Dawson

Out Cast Theatre. Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre, Brunswick (Vic.) Until Feb 13, 2010

Out Cast Theatre is Australia's longest running GLBTIQ theatre company and tours nationally/internationally. The company has a long association with writer/director Steven Dawson who decided to tackle some ‘meatier’ subject matter in this production rather than his usual ‘joke-fest.’

The Comedy of Errors

Essential Theatre Company. Coriole Winery, McLaren Vale (SA).

Returning to the picturesque setting of Coriole Winery in the McLaren Vale, Essential Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors couldn’t have asked for a better day.

MacHomer

Created & Performed by Rick Miller. Merrigong Theatre Company & Richard Jordan Productions Ltd. Opened January 24, 2010 Playhouse, Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. Director: Sean Lynch

Your enjoyment of this show will depend on how much you love The Simpsons and how familiar you are with Shakespeare. If you’re not a fan of either then the laughs will be thin on the ground. It’s a brilliant conceit – to marry a popular cultural icon like The Simpsons with the classical theatre of the Bard. With the help of a screen which flashes images of The Simpsons popular characters dressed in Shakespearian garb, and some shadow puppets, Rick Miller creates a Macbeth that is original, clever, and funny.

WARRIORS OF BRAZIL

Produced by Kay & McLean Productions and Michael Coppel Presents . Director Toby Gough. Composer Gedeson Dos Santos. Theatre Royal, Sydney and National Tour.

Speed, flexibility, muscle, sweat, six packs and back flips – these men are a force to be reckoned with and thoroughly entertaining! 'The Warriors' are a troupe of young hot blooded, muscle packed men who knock us out with their skill, charisma and dynamite! Having come directly from the gangland warfare in Salvador de Bahia, these boys who grew up in dingy, poverty stricken Favelas of Brazil are now leading the way in exposing the martial art of Capoeira to the world. They are the raw real deal, you can’t get Capoeira performed more authentically than this.

The Drowsy Chaperone

Book by Bob Martin & Don McKellar. Music and lyrics: Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. Melbourne Theatre Company. Playhouse, the Arts Centre, Melbourne. Director: Simon Phillips. Musical Director: Mathew Frank. Choreographer: Andrew Hallsworth. Set and Costume Designer: Dale Ferguson. Until February 27, 2010

I’ve rarely had so much pleasure from one night of musical theatre.

A whirlwind of whimsical fun, The Drowsy Chaperone is a perky little valentine to the frivolous Broadway musical comedy confections of the 1920s, when plots were thin and formulaic, gags were corny, dances were energetic and music was chirpy and cheerful.

Tosca by Giacomo Puccini

Libretto by Luigi Sillica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Sardou’s play La Tosca. Opera Australia. Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Until March 27.

Opera Australia’s confronting new Tosca is compelling theatre, though it has ruffled traditionalist feathers.

Seeing Puccini’s popular opera for the first time, Christopher Alden’s dark, gritty, contemporary interpretation really grabbed me. Apparently it’s a harder ask if you have entrenched preconceptions.

Reports suggest that internationally acclaimed Australian Tosca Cheryl Barker, the originally announced diva, and a late withdrawl, is among the dissenters.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Red Leap Theatre / Sydney Festival. CarriageWorks (NSW). Director: Julie Nolan.

Like a lucky dip, this production of The Arrival is polished, aesthetically pleasing and full of surprises. The piece opens with autumn colours bathing the concertinaed set, which throughout the piece is manipulated and changed to create a vast array of sets. This production really is like peeking into a popup book. It's a charming, whimsical, joyful adaptation of the wordless novel, by Shaun Tan, a Perth-born and now Melbourne-based freelance artist and author.

Optimism by Tom Wright, After Voltaire.

Sydney Theatre Company / Malthouse Melbourne / Edinburgh International Festival. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House until February 20.

Optimism opens revealing a household with its smiles painted on.

Director / Auteur Michael Kantor’s stunning opening tableau sets a vaguely discomforting tone - clown smiles and clothes bear a vaguely distorted edge.

There’s something darker beneath the façade, like the undercurrent driving the spirited, mischievous entertainment that follows. ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ springs eternal as the punch-line sentiment to a succession of horrors, torments, tragedies and atrocities.

The Gruffalo

La Boîte at The Roundhouse (Brisbane). January 11th – 29th

The blaze of publicity that preceded this enchanting little show obviously inspired parents to dash out and buy the book for Christmas. Practically all the kids knew the rhyming couplet that recurs throughout the course of the action, and revelled in the opportunity to join in with Mouse each time she used the Gruffalo line to frighten off the three predators. In fact even the big kids and the grey set joined in with gusto. The Gruffalo is that sort of interactive theatre.

Midnite by Richard Tulloch – adapted from the Randolph Stow novel.

New Theatre Sydney.

It’s marvellous what you can find in an old book shop. The Artistic Director of the New Theatre found a dusty copy of this play with music on a shelf and couldn’t resist it. It’s not hard to see why. Midnite is a delicious piece of Australiana. There is a lovable 17 year old bushranger, his trusty pets, led most ably by his pet cat (spelt Khat), and a crooked copper – called Trooper O’Grady. The bushranger is orphaned and prompted into a life of crime. He goes in and out of jail and in and out of fortune.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.