Reviews

Cruise Control

Written and directed by David Williamson. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). April 30 - June 14, 2014.

Is this the play which finally gives Australia’s most successful playwright a long run on both sides of the Atlantic?

It certainly has the credentials of becoming a red hot hit.

An Australian couple, two Jewish New Yorkers and a pair of stiff upper lip Poms board a cruise ship in London – retracing the journey of the Titanic. They are trapped on the same dining table for seven nights as their relationships hit icy waters or sink.

4000 Miles

By Amy Herzog. La Boite and Mophead & Catnip Productions, with the support of QPAC. Director: Anthony Skuse. Roundhouse Theatre (in Indie format). 30 April – 17 May 2014

This totally modern family study comes fresh from a Sydney Ensemble theatre season. The la Boite Indie format also brings the audience close enough to become immersed in this family situation. The warm message in 4000 Miles will stay in the memory long after you leave the theatre.

How I Learned to Drive

By Paula Vogel. NUTS (ACT). Directed by Emily Clark. ANU Arts Centre. 23-26 April, 2014

Given the subject matter, this could have been gruelling. Luckily the script, a Lolita-style story of an abusive relationship told from the girl’s point of view, is a piece of quick witted brilliance that deserves the Pullitzer it won in 1998. NUTS have done a great job living up to the material. Director Emily Clarke is to be commended for coaxing well-tuned deliveries from the cast. The timing is spot on.

Danse Noir

Presented by Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. Concept and Choreography by Penelope Mullen. Sat 26 April – Sat 3 May, 2014

After Blaque Bordello, last year’s cheeky entry to the professional stage attracted critical and public attention, *Lewis Jones approached Penelope Mullen to create another all-black dance production using ‘best of the best’ dancers.

The Rocky Horror Show

Book, Music and Lyrics by Richard O’Brien. Directed by Christopher Luscombe. Comedy Theatre, Melbourne from April 26th, 2014.

Cool, crazy, charismatic and comic, the consummate Craig McLachlan, as Frank’n’Furter, takes The Rocky Horror Show, chews it up with much Bette Davis apomb, and spits it out all over the front row, along with a few hairs stuck between his teeth which really are Too Much Information. Now sing to the opening 4 bars of “Timewarp” – ‘It’s inspiring – we’re gobsmacked admiring”’….fill in the rest with your own superlatives.

Death In Bowengabbie

Written by Caleb Lewis. Directed by Peter Green. The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. April 24th-May 10th, 2014.

Death in Bowengabbie is an amiably funny one-man-show that, while written within a well-established formula, never comes across as an assembly line product.

Patient 12

By Kevin Summers, La Mama Courthouse, Carlton (Vic). April 25 - May 11, 2014.

Patient 12, a play about the casualties of ‘The Great War’,opened on Anzac Day. It’s unlikely this was by chance.  Crowded into the tiny Courthouse theatre, the audience could scarcely have been more aware of the play’s context. The debate over what exactly was being either celebrated or mourned. Sacrifice versus waste. Patriotism versus useless slaughter.  For the Empire?  For Capital?  For freedom?  All these arguments, beliefs and positions are represented and examined in Patient 12

The Girls in Grey

By Carolyn Bock and Helen Hopkins. Critical Stages and The Shift Theatre. Director: Tom Healey. The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. April 24-26, 2014 and touring Australia

It’s hard to describe the emotion of touching an archived letter, even if your hand is in a glove. In front of you is paper that a real person from the past has written on, in their voice and the language of the time. Traumas and excitements are very real when read in the first person. The Girls in Grey aims to convey that emotion by weaving into the script passages taken from diaries and letters of women who served as nurses with the Australian Army during World War I. Doing so gave the play authenticity, and made the inevitable tragedies more poignant.

SPOILT

A Tragicomedy written and performed by Liz Skitch. Directed by Fiona Scott Norman. Visy Theatre, Powerhouse, Brisbane. April 24 – 26, 2014.

What is this woman? Frenetic laugh-maker? Fitness freak? Mad spider spinning a comedic web over an entire theatre and its patrons?

Probably all of those, as well as clever writer and perceptive observer of social trends. She doesn’t stand still long enough to be classed as stand-up comedienne.

The Little Mermaid

Music by Alan Menken and Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, adapted and arranged by David Weinstein. Based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and the Disney film and directed by Jen Firth and Kylie Green. Walford Theatre (SA). 24th-27th April 2014.

Pelican Productions have done this household favourite proud. Do not make the mistake of thinking this show is aimed only at a younger audience, because you too will be swept up in the magic that is The Little Mermaid.

A love story of sorts that transcends two very different worlds. Accepting one’s differences and ultimately believing that dreams can come true. A typically predictable fairy tale plot, but mesmerising just the same.