Reviews

The Glass Menagerie

By Tennessee Williams. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Mark Kilmurry. 17 July – 10 August, 2013

Tennessee Williams was 33 and a published poet when he had his first Broadway hit play in 1944. He called The Glass Menagerie a ‘memory play’ and it deals poetically with memories from his own unhappy Mississippi childhood. This welcome Ensemble revival, splendidly directed by Mark Kilmurry, is a reminder of the author’s spellbinding dialogue and bubbling-under-the-surface character tensions that would, three years later, explode into A Streetcar Named Desire.

 

The Last Five Years

By Jason Robert Brown. Musical Direction by Tim How. Paul Peacock's Underground Cabaret, King's Hotel, Perth, WA. July 11-14, 2013

Paul Peacock introduced the final performance of The Last Five Years by announcing that this had been the first sell-out production since this venue opened.

The Last Five Years deserved its capacity audiences. Expertly performed by Casey Edwards and Charles McComb - they created a very tangible five-year relationship despite the fact that Cathy tells their story from the break-up of their relationship backwards, while Jamie's story runs chronologically - intersecting briefly in the middle of the performance.

The Producers

By Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan. Playlovers. Directed by Peter Clark. Hackett Hall, Floreat, WA. June 28-July 20, 2013

The Producers at Playlovers is one of the most outstanding community theatre productions of the year to date.

Peter Clark’s direction is tight and slick. David Hardie’s Musical Direction is perhaps his best to date. Jessica Russell has created clever choreography that is nicely executed.

Bell, Book and Candle

By John van Druten. Director: Nigel Munro-Wallis. Nash Theatre, Brisbane. 6 – 27 July 2013

What a buzz to remember how enjoyable 1950s ‘well made plays’ were.  Strong characters, no social or political issues, just characters with conflicts and crises we can all identify with.

Director Nigel Munro-Wallis made astute choices of cast and steered the action with assured direction. His actors developed slick, confident dialogue and characters who engaged us, whether we believe in witchcraft or not.

 

The Shifting Heart

By Richard Benyon. Directed by Rachel Vonk. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. July 5-27, 2013.

Young director Rachel Vonk chose the important Australian play, The Shifting Heart, by Richard Benyon as her first full length production. A significant play, that won numerous awards in 1956 and 1957, it remains relevant to modern audiences and was warmly received in this incarnation by Darlington Theatre Players.

Dangerous Corner

By J. B. Priestly. Genesian Theatre, Sydney. July 6 – Aug 10, 2013.

This is J. B. Priestly’s first play. Written in the early 1930s, Priestly, a socialist, used the popular murder mystery genre to expose the wanton behaviour he believed existed beneath the veneer of respectability of the British bourgeoisie.

The Importance of Being Earnest

By Oscar Wilde. Directed by Brandon Martignago. Burley Theatre. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre (NSW) July 12 - Aug 3, 2013.

It's more than a bit embarrassing to admit it – having been a regular reviewer for Stage Whispers for several years now – but this is the first time I've seen a professional production of any Oscar Wilde play. I have seen films of his plays and bio-pics of his life and, like most people with a thinking brain, I love everything that Mr Wilde stood for, but the opportunity just never came up.

Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine

By Tim Spencer. La Boite Indie & Tamarama Rock Surfers. Roundhouse Theatre. 10 – 27 July, 2013

This play will haunt you.

Ostensibly this is a series of six interviews with a male sex worker. We aren’t told why or for what medium. (Of course, if we read the programme we would have known this piece played successfully at the Tamarama Rock Surfers Festival and went on to win a major award at the 2012 Melbourne Fringe Festival.)

On entry, each actor identifies himself and his part – first, Nick (Charles Purcell) the male prostitute, then Tim Spencer, as the writer/actor/interviewer.

One Man Lord of the Rings

By Charles Ross. The Playhouse, Canberra, 12 July 2013

To conceive of playing before a live audience multiple characters who must converse and journey together, rescue one another from danger, and engage in mortal physical and magical combat takes a special kind of imagination.  And it takes a special kind of actor to succeed in maintaining such mayhem for the length and breadth of the Lord of the Rings epic.  Fortunately for us, Charles Ross is one such.  Fortunately too, Ross managed to compress the epic tale's years into a single hour or so

The Bugalugs Bum Thief

Director: Noriko Nishimoto. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle WA. July 6-20, 2013.

 

"If you don't have a bum you can't sit down! "If you don't have a bum your pants will fall down! "How can you save a bumless town?"

 

 

 

The Bugalugs Bum Thief is a Spare Parts favourite that has returned to bring joy to old and new audiences.