Reviews

Spamalot

By Eric Idle and John Du Prez. Gosford Musical Society (NSW). Laycock Street Theatre, Gosford. Director: Darryl Davis. July 29 – August 13

Though Spamalot won the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical on Broadway, it’s not so much a musical, more a series of songs and comedy sketches “lovingly ripped”, as the logo says, from the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, itself a string of Pythonesque variations on a medieval theme.

Othello

By William Shakespeare. Independent Theatre Company. Odeon Theatre (SA). 29 July to 6 August, 2011

The cast of Independent Theatre’s Othello have done an excellent job with one of Shakespeare’s most popular works. Each of the players delivers their Shakespearian prose clearly and with understanding.

The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead

By Robert Hewett. The Theatre on Chester, Epping (NSW). Director: Kaye Lopez. July 29 – August 20, 2011.

Lives are flung out of orbit in this series of inter-connected monologues (almost). The seismic cause and effect impact of a single piece of idle gossip is at the heart of the play, originally seen as a solo performance by Jacki Weaver across Australia and North America.

Resonating comedy and human tragedy are intricately woven through the play, and captured effectively in Theatre on Chester’s production.

A woman attacks and accidentally kills the blonde she mistakenly believes is her estranged husband’s mistress in a case of mistaken identity.

Neighbourhood Watch

By Lally Katz. Belvior (NSW). Director: Simon Stone. Cast: Charlie Garber, Megan Holloway, Kris McQuade, Ian Meadows, Heather Mitchell & Robyn Nevin. July 23 – August 28, 2011.

‘Remember that not so long ago we were full of hope’ - that is what director Simon Stone says in his program notes. For me it is this play Neighbourhood Watch that gives me hope for Australian theatre.

Simply put this production is stunning and in so many ways. I have not been moved by a piece of theatre to this degree for a very long time. I laughed a lot and cried a lot too. And I dare say I wasn’t the only one in the audience who felt the same way.

Motherhood the Musical

By Sue Fabisch. HIT Productions and GFour Productions. Everest Theatre, Seymour Centre, Sydney. July 26 – Aug 13, 2011, then touring.

Despite a late start on opening night – which didn’t see to faze the happy patrons  – Motherhood the Musical swung on to the Everest theatre stage with all the love and laughter that one would expect from Sue Fabisch’s insightful, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and foot-tapping rhythms.

The four performers hit the Sydney stage with a bang that they sustained for the full 90 minutes of the show.

Side to One

Lisa Griffiths and Craig Bary. Space Theatre, Adelaide. 27 to 30 Jul, 2011.

Drake The Amazing + La Dispute

A double bill of two one act plays by Andy Hyman. Darlinghurst Theatre (NSW). July 20 – August 14, 2011.

Hamlet

By William Shakespeare. Melbourne Theatre Company. Sumner Theatre. 19 July to 31 August 2011.

Each new production of Hamlet brings with it fresh enlightenments and this absorbing, fast paced, modern day production directed by Simon Phillips is no exception. 

It is early days for this season but the skeletal bones are most skilfully placed, to be richly fleshed out, in the fullness of time, by a well-chosen, consummate cast.

Misery

Adapted by Simon Moore from the Stephen King novel. Bakehouse Theatre Company. Bakehouse Theatre – 21 Jul to 6 Aug.

Adapted from the Stephen King novel of the same name, this incredibly difficult two-hander play has been courageously produced in the Bakehouse Theatre by Peter Green, under the direction of Michael Allen. Cast in the two roles, Joanne Hartstone as Annie Wilkes and John Maurice as writer Paul Sheldon do an outstanding job.

Of Mice and Men

Libretto and Music by Carlisle Floyd. Based on the novella by John Steinbeck. Director: Bruce Beresford. Conductor: Andrea Molino. Opera Australia. Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House. July 23 - August 11, 2011. Melbourne season in November, 2011.

Bruce Beresford was asked what he would like to direct for Opera Australia and his first choice was Of Mice and Men. It’s not hard to see why a director with a strong film background would be inspired by the score.

Here is a piece of music with cinematic intensity. You did not leave whistling the tunes but the richness of the orchestration - ranging from shrieks of terror to deep melancholy - was a whole of body experience.

At the curtain call the composer Carlisle Floyd, looking a little wobbly at the age of 85, was given a well-deserved ovation.

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