Reviews

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Music & Lyrics: Richard & Robert Sherman. Book: Jeremy Sams & Ray Roderick. Directed by Karen Francis. Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, WA. 15-18 October, 2015

Stray Cats Theatre and Mandurah Performing Arts Centre came together in a community partnership for their production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Directed by Karen Francis, it featured musical direction by David Hicks, Choreography by Ashleigh Riley and Megan Doohan, a cast of eighty-eight and an orchestra of thirteen.

Mortido

By Angela Betzien. Directed by Leticia Caceres. State Theatre Company of South Australia / Belvoir. Dunstan Playhouse, Festival Centre. 20-31 October, 2015. Belvoir Theatre, Sydney. 6 November – 17 December, 2015

Mortido is a sprawling crime drama that critically examines all the sordid dealings inherent in the traffic and distribution of cocaine, as well as chronicling the human wreckage that occurs as a consequence of this, blazing a trail through the impoverished barrios of Mexico, the jungles of Bolivia, the gay nightclubs of Berlin, the cultural melting pot of modern Cabramatta and the sleekly manufactured, designer Shangri-Las of the Sydney yuppie jetset.  

Sunnytown

By Krystal Sweedman. La Boîte Indie Season. Director: Heather Fairbairn. Roundhouse Theatre, Brisbane. 15-31 October, 2015

La Boîte has again touched on a relevant subject very much a part of the media these days with the introduction of a new playwright, Krystal Sweedman, who, as part of her studies at NIDA, has broached the subject of writing about something her tutor has been encouraging his students to attempt: any topic you wish to avoid. Ms Sweedman chose domestic violence.

Desdemona

Text by Toni Morrison; music & lyrics by Rokia Traoré. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. Melbourne Festival 16 – 19 October 2015.

In Shakespeare’s Othello, Desdemona is virtually a functional character: she is in the play to transgress by marrying a ‘Moor’ (i.e.

The Bacchae

Conceived by Adena Jacobs and Aaron Orzech. Melbourne Festival, St Martins, Fraught Outfit and Theatre Works Theatre Works. 8 – 24 October 2015

A strong sense of danger and menace lurks in this courageous contemporary interpretation of The Bacchae.  It is a vital production, performed in raw and natural way, without artifice, by girls and young women from St Martins Youth Arts Centre. It is apparently the culmination of the results of these young performers being empowered and supported to self-devise around the ‘adult themes’ of The Bacchae

Company

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by George Furth. Everyman Theatre. Directed by Jordan Best. The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 16-24 October 2015

What a gem this production is! With Jordan Best’s reliably slick comic direction and a cohort of some of the ACT region’s best triple threat performers, Everyman Theatre’s production of Company promised to be good and it doesn’t disappoint.

A Rabbit for Kim Jong-il

By Kit Brookman. Griffin Theatre Company. Director: Lee Lewis SBW Stables Theatre. Oct 17 - Nov 21, 2015

Word leaked out from the rehearsal floor that this play was a barrel of laughs  (or maybe a burrow) and the rumour was on the money.  The premise was preposterous and just a little true. German rabbit breeder Johann Wertheim has attracted the attention of the “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il \, who  dispatches his agent to bring back a prized a giant rabbit, no matter what the cost.

1984

Adapted and directed by Robert Icke and Duncan MacMillan. From the book by George Orwell, Playhouse Theatre. Arts Centre Melbourne. Melbourne Festival. 16th-25th October, 2015.

For many, George Orwell’s surreal nightmare of society, 1984, ceased to have relevance on Jan 1st 1985. In the years that followed, Big Brother wasn’t watching us, (except in a contrived TV reality show), Doublethink was twice unthinkable (unless you were a social media addict) and Newspeak hadn’t become the reality of mobile phones (though textspeak is more horrific than anything Orwell could have imagined).  Could…or would…anyone’s life and identity be deleted at the press of a button?

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart.UMMTA. Director. Amy Bryans. Musical Director: Taylen Furness. Choreographer: Catherine Spanti.. Union Theatre, University of Melbourne. October 16 – 24, 2015

Funny Thing is one of my favourite comic musicals, a delightful romp, so the prospect of a performance by University students was mouth-watering. It did not disappoint.

Apart from the energy of the performers, there were different twists I had not encountered before. After Pseudolus’s initial introduction the stage opened on a scene from the film of Les Miserables with galley slaves being whipped, before he repeated “Tragedy Tomorrow!” and the curtains closed again.

Oliver!

Book, Music and Lyrics by Lionel Bart. Directed by Barbara Hughes. OSMaD (Vic) Scotch College. 15th-24th October, 2015

A  marvellous 22 piece orchestra under the expert direction of John Ferguson; a superb ensemble of children with stand-out performances from the two leads; two absolute stars in Fagin and Nancy; and the timeless collaboration of Lionel Bart and Charles Dickens; all combine to make this production an absolute triumph for OSMaD.