Reviews

The Tuxedo and The Little Black Dress.

By Louis Nowra and Stewart D’Arietta. Director: Christopher Parker Chapel off Chapel 27 Sept – 14 Oct, 2012 (preview 26th). World Premiere.

Louis Nowra is justifiably one of our most esteemed playwrights. Stewart D’Arietta is a renowned musician noted for his work on Through a Glass Onion and his “Tom Waits” show in various incarnations. I am an unabashed fan of their work. I’ve been looking forward to this production for some months and even took a bunch of friends with me. It’s therefore disappointing and bewildering to have to ponder why their new show doesn’t work the way it should.

Tender Napalm

By Philip Ridley. Presented by La Boite & Brisbane Festival. Roundhouse Theatre, 21 Sep–13 Oct 2012

After the extensive promotional build-up to this play, I suspect I went along with false expectations. I am blessed with detailed long-term memory and I recall those euphoric highs and bitter lows of burgeoning new love, but mostly I recall the joyous physicality of affairs.

The talented pair in this play, played by Ellen Bailey and Kurt Phelan, didn’t achieve any form of intimacy, not even holding hands, until the final moments. It was just words, words, words ─ sometimes lyrically poetical, other times violent and ugly.

Daibolica Jones

Written by Anna Held. Drop Bear Theatre. The cast: Diabolica Jones, Pier Carthew; Sharon, Sarah Lockwood and Carol, Carolyn Ramsey. Kingston Arts Centre – Moorabbin. 24 – 26 September, 2012 at 11am and 1.30pm

I was lucky enough to, almost accidentally, catch a preview of this charming show for young people. 

Diabolica Jones, the play, is a spirited and intriguing work, full of imaginative connections and flights of fancy, presented with sparkling fresh energy.

Hair: the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical

Book & lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado. Music by Galt MacDermot. Queanbeyan City Council. Directed by Stephen Pike. Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 19 September – 6 October, 2012.

It must be difficult in 2012 for a cast born in the 1990s to understand the concerns and attitudes of their forebears some four decades earlier. Then, the cold war; the Vietnam war; justified fear of atomic war; and other causes fomented a revolution in attitudes to the demands of the military–industrial complex. Today, that complex is well-embedded in American pop culture and nearly invisible, and would raise hardly a murmur amongst the young except for the new revolution, the Internet.

His Room

By Wayne Tunks. True West Theatre. Riverside Theatres, Paramatta. September 14 to 22, 2012.

A child has been abducted.

10 years on, a mother clings to hope, turning her son’s bedroom into a shrine, adding the latest gift to a pile of unopened birthday gifts, accumulated over a decade. She continues to progressively withdraw from the world, her husband and her surviving son, with painful ramifications.

At Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres, True West Theatre fosters works written or set in Sydney’s west, giving local works a first airing for local and broader audiences.

Zoe

By Jean Gordon. King Street Theatre, Newtown (NSW). September 18 – 24, 2012.

Zoe, a short, concise drama, is a tightly woven exploration of loss and its after effects. Main character, Emma, is newly divorced and has lost her husband and the possibility of a child with him. In addition, her mother maintains a relationship with the ex which adds to her distress.

Emma was a sad, drab character clad in dull brown and her confusion and anger were honestly portrayed by Sarah Kate Mitchell. Will Harrison Smith as her best friend, Chris, showed humour and warmth and their realistic relationship was a highlight of the play.

Beauty and the Beast

By Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Linda Woolverton. Miranda Musical Society (NSW). September 19 – 22, 2012.

Disney’s ‘tale as old as time’, the hit Broadway stage musical based on the iconic studio’s well-loved animated fable Beauty and the Beast, provides happy family entertainment.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

National Theatre Live Season Four Premiere. Participating Cinemas Nationally – Oct 6th and 7th.

Sharmill Films launched Season Four of its National Theatre Live series this week and once again had me salivating at the choices they are presenting. One of the best things about these seasons of live plays on screen is that you don’t have to travel to London to see them. But that is also one of the worst things. Your appetite is whetted for the sense of inclusion that an audience at a performance “In the round” might feel, and there is a sense of separation at having the screen as a “4th Wall”.

Madama Butterfly

Opera by Giacomo Puccini. Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Director: Moffatt Oxenbald. September 20 - November 1, 2012.

This beautiful looking production has been floating since 1997. The set resembles the inside of an exquisite Japanese doll house.  

Panels rise and fall, light peeps through the windows, then they become transparent when the stars and full moon come out at night.  

All of this is framed by shallow water - laden with flower petals.

In the opera Madama Butterfly is 15 years old. But it’s often the case that the leading lady chosen to sing the incredibly challenging role is as much as three or more times as old as this.

Drought and Rain

By Ea Sola. Arts Centre Melbourne. 20-22 September, 2012

Drought and Rain sees French-Vietnamese choreographer Ea Sola re-create her original 1995 dance piece, this time with a new ensemble of extraordinary Vietnamese women performing. Sola’s 1995 version explored the human costs of the war with America, and her performers were women who had been part of their country’s resistance movement. This new group of younger women had also lived through that war but their role was not to carry a gun. They sang to comfort the soldiers.