Reviews

Transparency

By Suzie Miller. Seymour Centre and Riverside Productions. Seymour Centre, September 1 – 17, 2011; Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, September 20 – 24.

Suzie Miller’s play Transparency is an extraordinarily well written piece of theatre. It is eloquent and sharp, with exceptionally well drawn characters. It has the bravery to deal with the deeply terrifying yet fascinating subject of the rehabilitation of violent juvenile offenders and their reintroduction back into society as adults.

Doris: So Much More than the Girl Next Door

Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne: August 23 to September 4, 2011. Regal Theatre, Perth: Oct 12-23. Twelfth Night Theatre, Brisbane: Nov 15-27

OK, I admit it! I’ve always been a fan of Doris Day. Clearly I was not her only fan based on the attendance at Her Majesty’s Theatre of many other adoring Doris Day fans, albeit most of them were over the age of 50.

Future of the Species: part one

Written and performed by Maude Davey. Director: Ingrid Voorendt. La Mama Theatre, Carlton (Vic). September 1 – 11, 2011

This savage and seductive one-woman play written and performed by Maude Davey (whose recent credits include Summer Heights High, and The Burlesque Hour) challenges the audience to compare one life with another, and decide ‘who’s worth more?’

PYJAMAS IN PARADISE

By John Michael Howson, Peter Pinne and Ashley Irwin. Choreography and direction by Tony Bartuccio. Gold Coast Arts Centre (Qld). September 2 - 10, 2010.

This show sizzles. It burst onto the Gold Coast stage the way Bernie Elsey’s original Pyjama Parties splashed across 1960s media: youthful abandon, provocative with innuendo, energy, and sheer joy. The writers captured this mood and the period, and the players dragged us kicking and writhing into that era.

It’s a big cast: eighteen principals, show band of twelve, seven backing booth singers, and a host of stage extras.

God of Carnage

By Yasmina Reza. The Mount Players (Vic). Mountview Theatre, Macedon. Director: Natasha Boyd. Stage, Set and Costume Design: Alison Dudon. August 26 – September 17, 2011.

On a beautifully designed and constructed set, God of Carnage is a wild romp that is well handled in its first Victorian amateur production by Mount Players.

Circle Mirror Transformation

By Annie Baker. Melbourne Theatre Company. Director: Aidan Fennessy. Set and Costume Design: Marg Horwell. Cast: Deidre Rubenstein, Roger Oakley, Ben Grant, Kate Cole and Brigid Gallacher. Lawler Studio. 17 August – 17 September, 2011.

Appropriately simply staged, in a mirrored workshop space, this natty little play comprises sequential highlights of a series of Drama Workshops that resonate as extraordinarily realistic. The workshops are run by an earnest and well meaning facilitator Marty who is played to perfection by Deidre Rubenstein. Marty is apparently determined that her process will be productive and supportive, regardless of the lack of dynamism or stability engendered by an inadequate number of participants.

Moby Dick

Unpublished
By Jake Heggie. State Opera of South Australia. Festival Theatre - 27 August to 3 September, 2011.

The opening night of Jake Heggie’s opera Moby Dick was a triumph for the State Opera of South Australia and its new Artistic Director and CEO Timothy Sexton, who also takes the helm as conductor. In a truly spectacular production directed by Leonard Foglia and co-commissioned by no less than five opera companies, including SOSA, the tragic tale of Captain Ahab and his monomaniacal obsession with the white whale is brought vividly to life on stage at the Festival Theatre, through a remarkable combination of computer animation, ingenious set design and excellent casting.

Private Lives

By Noël Coward. Eltham Little Theatre (Vic). Director: Susan Rundle. Eltham Performing Arts Centre. August 25 – September 10, 2011.

Noël Coward’s 1930 comedy of manners tells the story of Amanda and Elyot, divorced and newly remarried to new partners, who find themselves honeymooning in adjacent hotel apartments, and on their neighbouring balconies.

One can imagine what this could lead to! And it does.

ELT’s opening set, adjoining Mediterranean hotel balconies, and the second, an apartment in Paris, captured the period particularly well. Exquisite costuming also evoked the era, with ladies’ hairdos giving that added touch.

Flowerchildren

World Premiere. By Peter Fitzpatrick (featuring the songs of The Mamas and The Papas). Musical arrangements Simon Stone. Magnormos. Theatre Works, St Kilda (Victoria). Director: Aaron Joyner. Musical Director: Sophie Thomas. 29 August -10 September, 2011.

Fans of the late 60s sensation The Mamas and The Papas will relish this historical tour of their turbulent off-stage lives, and the revival of a unique musical brand. Behind the backdrop to hits like California Dreamin’, Monday Monday, Words of Love, Creeque Alley and Dedicated to the One I Love, band members forged a self-destructive path of drugs, sex, deceit, alcoholism, over-eating, and a debilitating love-triangle.

The Hamlet Apocalypse

La Boite Indie and The Danger Ensemble. Roundhouse Theatre (Qld). 24 Aug – 10 Sept 2011.

I am not bound to please thee with my answers. William Shakespeare.

This quote from the show’s promotions informs my impressions here.

I cannot accept that theatre should be nihilist. What happened onstage reflected what we experienced in a 70s QTC actor/director training course that included Geoffrey Rush, Bille Brown and a nun in our class of 20 plus. Explorations were no-holds-barred but, while valuable to us participants, outcomes were not exposed to the public for their criticism.

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