Man of La Mancha

By Dale Wasserman, Joe Darion and Mitch Leigh. CLOC. (VIC). National Theatre, St. Kilda. September 17 – October 2

Man of La Mancha confuses me in such a delightful way because… well, it just shouldn’t work. Dale Wasserman’s book takes great liberties in its interpretation of the life of Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, and requires such a suspension of disbelief it is surprising that the audience agree to go along for the ride. Not only do Cervantes’ fellow prisoners allow him to save his novel by presenting them with a play, they agree to help out and join in, playing anything from prostitutes to ponies!

Oz Asia Festival.

Paul Rodda and Nicole Russo Review Adelaide's Oz Asia Festval productions

The Dhol Foundation Festival Theatre, October 2nd In their first Adelaide performance since headlining Womadelaide in 2004, The Dhol Foundation returned to our fair shores as part of this year’s OzAsia Festival. Despite the long break, local support for the drumming outfit and their addictive blend of electronic Punjabi funk clearly hasn’t cooled, with palpable audience excitement from the get-go.

Has Alice Frikkin a Ghost of a Chance?

By David Scott. Javeenbah Theatre Company (Qld). 17 Sep – 02 Oct, 2010

In a departure of style from his intense, thought-provoking plays (Butcherbirds Cry at Midnight, Echoes in the Mist and Gathering Shadows) local playwright, David Scott, entertained a small, responsive audience with the premiere of his latest work; a comedy/fantasy Has Alice Frikkin a Ghost of a Chance?

Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica

By David Williamson. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). Director: Sandra Bates. September 24 to November 20. Touring Nationally in 2011.

It’s a tried and true recipe for dramatic comedy. Put two people from opposite poles into a small space and watch the sparks fly. Neil Simon did it with The Odd Couple and David Williamson has succeeded with flying colours in Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica. In this case Monica (played by Georgie Parker) is a highly strung member of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra on injury leave and Gary, aka Rhinstone Rex (played by Glenn Hazeldine), is a retired country and western singer.

The Waiting Room

Born in a Taxi & The Public Floor Project. Director: Penny Baron. Live sound: Michael Havir. Improvised Lighting: Greg Dyson. Stage Manager: Emily Adinolfi. Performed by Penny Baron, Andrew Gray, Carolyn Hanna, Kate Hunter, Nick Papas and Tamara Saulwick. Dog Theatre, Footscray (Vic). 22 to 26 September

The Dog Theatre and Dancing Dog Café is charming oasis right in amongst the huge inner west diversity of Footscray. This very popular venue was the “Winner of Best Venue: Melbourne Fringe Festival Awards 2009” and is presenting ‘A Menu of Physical & Visual Theatre’ for this years Fringe. A rich and interesting selection curated by Peta Hanrahan.

The Ballad of Backbone Joe

Suitcase Royale. Wharf 2, Sydney Theatre Company. Until October 2.

Really silly! Really bizarre and silly! Vaguely organised chaos! Australian comedy direct from Edinburgh Fringe acclaim. Backbone Joe is a punch-drunk Aussie bare-knuckle bush town boxer, who fights all comers in a local abattoir, which doubles as a boxing club. Did he kill his wife in a fit of passion? Detective Von Trapp arrives in the remote bush town to investigate. If that sounds even vaguely logical, I apologise.


By Giuseppe Verdi. Opera Australia. Director: Elijah Moshinsky. Conductor: Giovanni Reggioli. Set Design: Michael Yeargan. Lighting Design: Robert Bryan. Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House until November 4. Then Melbourne.

As certain a crowd-puller as anything in Opera Australia’s repertoire, Elijah Moshinsky’s 1991 take on Verdi’s powerful melodrama returns for more spins of its marvellous revolving set. Though almost 20 years old, the production’s 1950s Fellini-inspired design still seems a great idea. The dissolute Duke of Mantua’s opening party comes hot from La Dolce Vita, with drunk/drugged couples twisting the night away, cardinals dancing with circus girls, and toffs betting on races with fashionable lady jockeys riding puffing, crawling aristocrats.


Written and directed by Paulo Castro. The Basement. AC ARTS. (S.A.). Until 25 September.

Experimental theatre often fails because of a lack of story and character arcs, not so Underground, which stakes itself in different territory. In a word: brilliant. Reminiscent of ABC3's The Tribe, the underground attracts all the people society wants to forget: gang members, sexual fetishists, paranoids, schizophrenics, political agitators, alcoholics, drug addicts, homosexuals, depressives, nationalists and suicides.

Dancing at Lughnasa

By Brian Friel. Epicentre Theatre Company (NSW). Zenith Theatre, Chatswood. September 18 to October 2.

I approached Epicentre’s Dancing at Lughnasa with trepidation. In the early 1990s I’d seen the extraordinary Abbey Theatre production from Ireland, when it toured here. It had left an indelible theatrical stamp.

Happily this community theatre production of the bittersweet Irish drama has its own joys, in a credible, cohesive interpretation, with rich veins of humanity, pathos and humour, courtesy of director Abi Rayment.

Our Town

By Thorton Wilder. Sydney Theatre Company Director: Iain Sinclair. Set: Pip Runciman. Lighting: Nick Schlieper.

Though probably the most performed American play ever, Thorton Wilder’s 1938 masterpiece rarely gets a major professional production in Australia; which makes this almost-traditional, very moving Sydney Theatre Company staging worth travelling far to catch. Affirming life while facing the inevitability of death, Our Town urges us to celebrate even the smallest events of our daily life — so seeing a great play very well done must deserve special celebration.

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