Reviews

Rocket Man

By Paul Gilchrist. Subtlenuance Theatre Company. Director: Paul. Gilchrist. Producer: Daniela Giorgi. Designer: Rachel Scane. Tap Gallery East Sydney. 4-14 July to 2013

Blind Anger Tasted

Sydney Indie theatre stalwarts Paul Gilchrist and his partner Dani Giorgi have created their thirteenth production in five years and Rocket Man delivers a powerful blast of passion, disappointment and anger.

Corpse

By Gerald Moon. Gold Coast Little Theatre. Directed by Nathan Schulz. June 29 to July 20, 2013.

CORPSE! What a great name for a “who-dun-it”, especially when there is only one lady, two gentlemen, a twin playing psychopath and multiple “corpses”.

Nathan Schulz, assisted by Barry Gibson, brought the corpses to life in an ever-twisting plot worthy of the best English thrillers.

The Pirates of Penzance

Gilbert and Sullivan. Directed by Adam Salathial. Phoenix Theatre at Memorial Hall, Hamilton Hill, WA. July 5-20, 2013

Laughing Horse Productions and Phoenix Theatre's co-production of The Pirates of Penzance was one of the most fun productions I have seen in a while.

While the skill levels of the cast vary enormously and frankly some aspects of the show are not really up to scratch, it is one of the quirkiest interpretations of Pirates I have seen, has a beautiful spirit and has some truly brilliant moments.

Singin’ in the Rain.

Adaptation (book) by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Based on their screenplay for the MGM film of the same name. Music by Nacio Herb Brown. Lyrics by Arthur Freed. Director Rowena Brown. Musical Director Rebecca Dupuy-Purcell. Choreographer Lisa-Maree David. Set Designers Rowena Brown and Matt Wheatland. Costume Designer Louise Parsons. Presented by ARC (Vic). Until 13 July, 2013.

What, asked the audience member sitting behind me of her companion on the opening night of ARC’s production of Singin’ in the Rain, were they thinking? Apparently, a less-ambitious show might have been in order. Well, if ambition is the yard-stick by which we are to measure the success of this young company’s terrific production of this celebrated musical, then all power to them.

Sleeping Beauty in the Wood

By Tony Nicholls. Directed by Carole Dhu. Pinjarra Town Hall, Pinjarra, WA. July 5-6, 2013

Prima Donna Productions is predominantly a youth theatre company, which has become quite a presence in the Murray district in the past ten years. Featuring kids from 7 to 18 in this production, the emphasis is on involvement and all in the cast of over thirty performers demonstrated an excellent on-stage commitment.

This WA written pantomime, by Tony Nicholls, was localised even further with a clever dig at neighbouring town Dwellingup. A contender for an award for the most complex plot in panto history, the story was effectively conveyed and the audience kept well entertained.

Tosca

By Giacomo Puccini. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. July 6 – August 31, 2013.

The Plot

Puccini’s opera, adapted from a play by French playwright Soudain, and first performed in 1900, is set in Rome in 1800 as Napoleon’s troops approach to free Rome from the long and tyrannical rule of the Kingdom of Naples.

Angelotti, who has just escaped from prison, hides in the Attavanti chapel of the Sant’Andrea dell Valle church. When he emerges, the artist Mario Cavaradossi, who is completing a painting of Mary Magdalene in the church, agrees to help him escape but tells him to hide when Tosca approaches.

The Dragon

By Evgeny Shwarz. Adapted by Toby Schmitz. Music and Lyrics by Tripod. Directed by Marion Potts. Malthouse – Merlyn Theatre. June 27 - July 27, 2013

Take the wonderfully creative and naïve talents of TRIPOD (the Dragon), add an absolutely stupendous performance, perfectly crafted by Kim Gyngell (the Mayor), the usual stellar work from Nikki Shiels,  a great supporting cast, an adaptation by the amazing Toby Schmitz, an innovative revolve set by Anna Tregloan, and you would be justified in expecting a brilliant night of amazing theatre. Right? Wrong!

Tape

By Stephen Belber. Broken Mirror Productions (Vic). Douglas Montgomery: Director / Designer. Broken Mirror, Upstairs 2c Staley St, Brunswick. 3-13 July, 2013

Tape, an enthralling one-act play by Stephen Belber (The Laramie Project), draws the audience voyeuristically under its spell, and into the lives of its three characters.

Premiering at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in 2000, it was subsequently made into a film in 2001, directed by Richard Linklater starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Robert Sean Leonard.

Hipbone Sticking Out

By Scott Rankin. Big hART and the Roebourne community. Directed by Scott Rankin. Canberra Theatre. 3–6 July 2013.

This lengthy, somewhat multimedia work calls our attention to a range of historical injustices and to the manner in which massacre was dressed up as justice, and does so with admirable appeal to our better natures.

The Force of Destiny

By Giuseppe Verdi. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. June 29 - July 23, 2013.

Fancy staging a new production of a classic and setting it in the period which it is written. It’s almost revolutionary in Australian theatreat the moment, where transplanting the time and context of a text isnow de rigueur.

And yet here was a production faithfully set in 19thCentury Europe, as written, that was every bit as fresh and shocking as one would wish from a contemporary performance. In this case as fresh as a wound which will not heal.