The Fallen Tree

By Christine Croyden. Director: Wayne Pearn. La Mama (Vic). February 15 – March 4, 2012.

Hannah (Libby Gott) is gathering twigs and branches into a pile on the stage, her cheeks smudged with dirt and her ears tuned to the cries of birds flying at night. The opening scenes are haunting, particularly as we know that Hannah has survived Black Saturday. It’s painful to look at the charred branches in her hands and think of what she has seen, and lost. Her neighbour Claire (Bridgette Burton), also a survivor of the fires, arrives just in time to convince Hannah not to set fire to the debris and risk another catastrophe.

The Weir

By Conor McPherson. New Theatre, Newtown (NSW). Mar 7 – 31, 2012.

In an Irish pub in a remote coastal village four blokes drink their way through a lifetime of familiarities and minor tensions. Tonight though is different. One of them, the cocky real estate agent, has brought Valerie, an attractive new resident from Dublin. The three others, bachelors, are out to impress.

In the best Irish tradition, they tell well-lubricated stories of local ghosts, fairies and other supernatural oddities – but Valerie then tops them all with a very real, human horror story of her own.

The New Electric Ballroom

By Enda Walsh. Griffin Independent. SBW Stables Theatre (Kings Cross, NSW). Mar 7 – 31, 2012.

In the lead-up to the opening night of The New Electric Ballroom, director Kate Gaul said, “I think when the play starts you think who are these people and what are they doing?” And quite frankly she’s right, but what begins as a curious riddle, unfolds into a captivating story of family-politics and bittersweet longing for romantic love.

Despite being set in a small fictitious town on the West Coast of Ireland, Enda Walsh’s script is incredibly accessible, touchingly beautifully and unexpectedly very funny.

Cosi fan tutte

By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. English Translation by Jeremy Sams/ Opera Australia. Director: Jim Sharman. Sydney Opera House. March 8 – 26, 2012.


LOLIpop Productions. Harvest Rain Theatre, Mina Parade Warehouse (Qld). 7-10 March, 2012.

I expected a quirky, off-the-wall physical comedy. I realised when the show opened this was a ‘clowning sequence’ – mime with occasional words, mugging, familiar situations, audience involvement, coping with work’s little challenges …

The simple plot, devised by the actors themselves with director Andrew Cory, worked very well, but the one-hour-and-a-bit was about as far as it could go.

The Mousetrap

By Agatha Christie. Queanbeyan City Council. Director: Jordan Best. The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 7 – 24 March 2012

It’s the 1930s, and Giles and Mollie Ralston are buzzing excitedly around their newly opened Katoomba boarding house, apparently not at all perturbed by the news of close-by murder. Strange, secretive guests appear and are trapped by blizzard and snow, and events soon turn sinister. As you would expect...

World Premiere: How To Train Your Dragon - Arena Spectacular

Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by Cressida Cowell. Adapted for the stage by Nigel Jamieson. DreamWorks Animation and Global Creatures (Vic). Hisense Arena, Melbourne. Director: Nigel Jamieson. Creature Design: Sonny Tilders. Lighting Design: Philip Lethlean. Costume and Projection Design: Dan Potra. Music by John Powell and Jonsi. Melbourne (until 11th March) then touring Sydney (16-25th March), Brisbane (28th March - 1st April), Auckland (dates unavailable), then USA in June 2012.

When my 10 year-old boy and I arrived at Hisense Arena we were late, but to my complete surprise people were still queuing for merchandise. The lack of parking coupled with heavy traffic meant we weren’t the only tardy ones, and the 7pm scheduled start was pushed back to 7.20pm.

The Ham Funeral

By Patrick White. State Theatre Company of South Australia. The Odeon Theatre, Norwood. March 7 – 18, 2012

Patrick White is the only Australian writer to have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, which he was given in recognition of his epic and psychological narrative art. He wrote The Ham Funeral in 1947, but had to wait 14 years to see it produced.

White has quite popularly developed themes of loneliness, the basic alienation of existence and the natural struggles which an individual faces to find fulfillment, in his writing. All of these themes are relevant in The Ham Funeral, and the overall feeling of the play is quite depressive and existential.

The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

The Zoey Louise Moonbeam Dawson Shakespeare Company (VIC). Fortyfivedownstairs, Flinders Lane. Adapted and Directed by Zoey Dawson. 29 February – 11 March, 2012

La Boheme

Melbourne Opera Company. Director: Hugh Halliday. Musical Director: Greg Hocking. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. Mar 3 – 18, 2012.

Melbourne Opera’s first offering for the year was a good one. I was particularly impressed with the direction. There was with a lot of innovative action, particularly with the boys in the shenanigans of the last act.           

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