Reviews

Julius Caesar

By William Shakespeare. WAAPA Third Year Acting Students. Directed by Humphrey Bower. Subiaco Arts Centre, WA. Sep 14-18, 2021

Stepping off the WAAPA campus for this visually striking and auditorily stunning production, Third Year Acting students present Julius Caesar, a show designed, built and crewed by Production and Design students.

Set and costume designer Emily Chong gives us a modern era production, with a clean and studiously simple set, that harks to the Roman era, and costumes that are a lovely blend of American politics with Romanesque flavour. She works well with Lighting Designer Georgia Beswick, who uses colour to great effect. 

The Triumph of Man: A Comedy in Two Acts

By James Watson. Presented by James Watson and Paper Mouth Theatre. RUMPUS, Bowden SA. 14 – 26 September 2021

RUMPUS was founded in 2019 as a response to the perceived lack of a thriving second tier theatre industry.

Come From Away on Apple TV

Book, Music & Lyrics: Irene Sarnoff & David Hein. Director: Christopher Ashley. Music Staging: Kelley Devine. Music Supervisor: Ian Eisendrath. Streaming Apple TV from 10 Sep 2021 (1hr, 46mins)

Since it opened on Broadway in 2017, Come From Away has picked up Tony and Olivier Awards, a book of rave reviews (‘Broadway’s biggest and best surprise of the season’), and a slew of admirers, thanks to director Christopher Ashley cloning his Broadway production around the world.

Simon Gallaher’s The Pirates of Penzance

Music: Arthur Sullivan. Libretto: W.S. Gilbert. Director: Thomas Armstrong-Robley. Choreography: Simon Lind. Musical Director: Robert Clark. Ipswich Musical Theatre. Ipswich Civic Centre, Ipswich, Qld. 11-19 Sep 2021

Gilbert and Sullivan have often been called the fathers of musical comedy, so it’s good to return every now and then to their body of work to experience where it all began. Long before Stephen Sondheim came on the scene, Gilbert was the master of wordsmithery, and coupled with Sullivan’s easy-to-remember melodies, they created a genre that we all know and love and is still relevant today.

Of Auburn - The Untold Stories of Women in War

Written by Steven Oppes and co-produced by Steven Oppes and Jean-Marc Spiler. Auburn FrenchFest. The Stables, Rising Sun Inn, Auburn, SA. September 10-12, 2021

The world premiere of Of Auburn at the Auburn Frenchfest on 11 September was a delightful surprise to this reviewer and a clear hit to the packed audience. Written by Steven Oppes, co-produced by Steven Oppes and Jean-Marc Spiler, and directed by Lisa Harper Campbell, this is a clever multimedia presentation on the Great War.

Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America

By Stephen Sewell. Rondo Theatre, Cairns. Directed by Kevin West. 10-18 September, 2021.

Stephen Sewell’s award winning play is given justifiable quality treatment by director Kevin West and his group of talented Cairns Little Theatre actors. Set in New York City shortly after 9/11, the story revolves around free-thinking Australian New York University accused of inappropriate behaviour with a student. To top it off he is also visited by an unnamed, mysterious thug with a gun who is bent on destroying Finch’s career.

Clue on Stage

By Johnathon Lynn, Sandy Rustin, Hunter Foster and Eric Price. Directed by Carmen Dohle. Melville Theatre, Stock Rd, Palmyra, WA. Sep10 -25, 2021

Clue On Stage is much merrier than you might imagine a night of multiple murders to be. A well performed production of this play, which is an adaptation of the film, based on the well-known board game, known in Australia as Cluedo.

Glengarry Glen Ross

By David Mamet. Flying Penguin Productions (in association with Brink Productions). The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. 10 – 25 September 2021

David Mamet wrote Glengarry Glen Ross in 1983 then sent it to his mentor, Harold Pinter, asking for guidance about how to end the work.

The Pirates of Penzance

By Gilbert and Sullivan. WAAPA Classical Voice Students with the WAAPA Symphony Orchestra. Directed by Brendan Hanson. Geoff Gibbs Theatre, WAAPA, Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, WA. Sep 10-16, 2021

The Pirates of Penzance would appear to be one of this year’s most popular shows, at least in Western Australia - with this being the third for this reviewer. There is probably a psychological explanation, that when times are tricky, we return to the safety of this beloved and funny operetta, first performed in 1879.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Written by Stephan Elliott and Alan Scott. Toowoomba Choral Society. Directed by Mary Quade. Empire Theatre, Toowoomba. Sep 9 – 11, 2021

The 1994 motion picture The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was a cinematic work of art – three flamboyant, glamorous drag queens and a large, pink bus set against the backdrop of the unforgiving, red-brown outback. Best of all, it presented the ubiquitous hero’s journey in a uniquely Australian way.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert brings that story to the musical stage - a riot of themes and colours, classic one-liners from the film supporting the action between songs, and sarcastic observations of life, love and sex.