Reviews

Just Desserts

By Michelle Pearson. Adelaide Fringe. East Market Pavilion, Gluttony, Adelaide. 6-14 March 2020

Michelle Pearson stirs, folds and beats a recipe of politics, philosophy and personal stories into a perfect late-night treat for all the senses. Revisiting her cabaret show introduced to the Fringe in 2019, Pearson mixes up well known songs with her own take on the lyrics, this time around updating her storytelling to reflect the changes in her life over the last twelve months.

Falling from Grace

By Hannie Rayson. Directed by Elizabeth Morris. Presented by Villanova Players. Ron Hurley Theatre, 28 February – 8 March, 2020

The complexities of women’s friendships are laid bare in this Hannie Rayson (Hotel Sorrento) play. Relationships are tested, secrets revealed, and scruples challenged as three women – Maggie, Suzannah and Janet – navigate the trials of working with your best friends in the pressurised environment of a magazine.

Tom Skelton: 2020 Visions (What if I hadn’t gone blind?)

Adelaide Fringe. The Boardroom at The Griffins Hotel, Adelaide. 7-14 March 2020

Ten years on from losing his sight British comedian Tom Skelton looks back at the last ten years and indulges us in his ‘what if?’ moments, starting his show exactly at twenty past eight – 20:20.

He takes us on his journey from the first medical specialist’s appointment where he was told he would soon have only 5% vision, through each year of the 2010s, introduced by music and audio from that year.

Attenborough and his Animals

Adelaide Fringe. Clownfish Theatre. Cupola at the Garden of Unearthly Delights. March 2 – 15, 2020

One of the most recognisable voices in wildlife documentaries must be the dulcet tones of Sir David Attenborough. Providing us with an intimate look inside the world of animals, he has provided much joy for this reviewer over the years.

Clownfish Theatre is a UK based company comprised of performers Jess Clough-MacRae and Jonathon Tilley. Multi-skilled, they have found a way to transport the essence of this loved documentary maker and naturalist to the stage.

Mouthpiece

By Kieran Hurley. Traverse Theatre Company. Adelaide Festival. Odeon Theatre, Norwood. 6-14 March, 2020

Mouthpiecewritten by Kieran Hurley, is a moving, thought provoking piece of theatre about storytelling. It jars us into thinking about ownership. It asks us who owns the story. Should stories be appropriated by others?

"Everyone has a story," says Libby (Shauna MacDonald), the writer in the play. "Naw," replies Declan ( Angus Taylor), "Some ay us just have lives." 

The Sound of History

Adelaide Festival 2020. Adelaide Town Hall, Adelaide. March 7, 2020

Before moving on to the review proper I would like to extend my best wishes to Brett Dean who co-created this concert. He is one of the most internationally performed composers of this generation and unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving in Australia from a performance in Taiwan and is in the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare. Roleystone Theatre. Directed by Paul Treasure. The Amphitheatre, Araluen Botanic Park, Roleystone, WA. Feb 22 - Mar 8, 2020

Roleystone Theatre has presented Shakespeare in the Park for the first time, playing over 4 “late afternoons” in February and March. Joining a crowd of over 200 patrons at the penultimate performance, I found a great picnic atmosphere, and a great sense of occasion as patrons prepared to watch one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. The anticipation was rewarded with a high energy, exuberant production that was well directed and performed.

Voices of Joan

Adelaide Fringe. The Breakout at the Mill, Adelaide. 6-8 March 2020

Arriving to the sounds resulting from someone twirling the radio dial, we’re bombarded with soundbites from politicians, a footy commentator and protestors current and not so current. Using the radio as a time machine, to capture the words already spoken and still vibrating the air somewhere, theatre-maker Janie Gibson channels the spirit of Joan of Arc in this breathtaking performance that addresses us, involves us – and makes us complicit in the outcomes.

Mamma Mia!

Music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, originally written for ABBA. Book by Catharine Johnson. Gosford Musical Society. Laycock Street Community Theatre. March 6 - 21, 2020.

Mamma Mia! has been playing to sold out houses around the world since its debut in the West End in 1999. It’s so popular that it spawned not only the 2008 film, but also a sequel, aptly named Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again in 2018, starring a little too much Cher and not enough Meryl Streep. The long-awaited community theatre performance rights were finally released mid last year, and so began the tsunami of mirror balls, spandex and synthesized music across regional Australian theatres.

As You Like It

By William Shakespeare. Melbourne Shakespeare Company. Directed by Jennifer Sarah Dean. Central Park, Malvern - 7-15 March, 2020, then Fairfield Ampitheatre, March 21 & 22.

This wonderful performance brings the magical aspects of the play to life in a vibrant and animated manner. This company is renowned for exploiting the challenges of outdoor performances and turning them to their advantage. The performance space is well-defined, but the company does not hesitate to take advantage of the expanse of the park to allow small details to be included in the performance. Watching characters in the distance as they approach the stage area adds to the overall attention to detail exhibited in this production.