Reviews

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. 

The Mousetrap

By Agatha Christie. Centenary Theatre Group, Chelmer, Brisbane (Qld). September 3 – 24, 2011

Sixtieth year of its West End run! Agatha Christie’s estate released amateur performance rights to this legendary whodunnit for 2011-12 only. Little theatres rushed to cash in.

Full-house scheduled performances this middle week of Centenary’s run is a tribute to their slick professional production. Centenary board wasted no time negotiating with the company to perform extra matinees. So I managed to catch it.

Four Flat Whites in Italy

By Roger Hall. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). Director: by Sandra Bates. September 16 – October 15, 2011. Street Theatre, ACT - October 25 - 29, 2011.

Loot

By Joe Orton. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. September 16 to October 23, 2011.

This production of Joe Orton’s famous play Loot is a rollicking ride directed by Richard Cottrell who clearly understands the art of the farce and fortunately for the audience so do his cast.

This is just good old fashioned fun, lots of laughs, quick witted humour and stage fighting which is quite well executed.

The Pig Iron People

By John Doyle. Canberra Repertory. Director: Aarne Neeme. Theatre 3, Acton. 16 September – 1 October, 2011.

The Dollhouse (adapted from the play by Henrick Ibsen)

Melbourne Fringe Festival, Victoria. Foryfive downstairs, Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Director Daniel Schlusser. Producer Sarah Ernst. Set Design Jeminah Reidy. Sound Design Martin Kay. 8pm Sept 14-17, 20-24, 4pm Sept 18 & 25, 2011

Despite post-feminism, society’s patriarchal structure, as illustrated in The Dollhouse, continues to manipulate and control the lives of women, and particularly mothers. Reset in contemporary culture, this is a ‘hyper-realist’ rethink of Henrick Ibsen’s 19th century play, with shades of reality-tv influenced voyeurism.

Nunsensations! The Nunsense Vegas Revue

By Dan Goggin. Engadine Musical Society. Sutherland Memorial School of Arts. September 9 – 18, 2011.

It’s a lot of frivolous fluff and pink feathers.

Nunsense has become quite a franchise. Nunsensations!  is the fifth of six sequels to the original (the second longest running show Off-Broadway, playing 10 years) and there’s another three spin-offs.

West Side Story

Leonard Bernstein (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics). Based on a conception by Jerome Robbins, book by Arthur Laurents. Victorian College of the Arts (graduating students). Space 28, VCA Performing Arts Building. Director: Martin Croft. Musical Director: Stephen Gray. Choreographer: Kelly Aykers. Set Design: David Samuel. Lighting Design: Danny Pettingill. September 8 – 18, 2011.

Attempting Bernstein and Sondheim’s iconic West Side Story is no mean feat, not least because of the intense emotional energy interspersed with gentle pathos, and the demands of musical and dance material.

Victorian College of the Arts’ graduating music theatre students come up trumps in a production marking the culmination of three years of intensive study for cast members.

Avenue Q

By Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty. Brighton Amateur Fisherman’s Association (NSW). September 9 – 17, 2011.

The Show Did Go On!

Imagine this!

About a week prior to opening night you’re locked out of your theatre due to asbestos problems. You’ve bumped in everything except for the sound system, and you aren’t allowed access to get anything out.

This was the problem faced by Rockdale Musical Society’s Avenue Q, when Rockdale Town Hall suddenly became a no-go zone.

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