A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennesse Williams.

Sydney Theatre Company. Director by Liv Ullmann.

Cate Blanchett needed two stitches to the back of her head after a wayward radio struck her during a preview. It came while her character Blanche Dubois was playing music next to a poker game hosted by her sister’s husband Stanley Kowalski. The Sydney Theatre Company wanted a production that was fresh and vital, but perhaps drawing blood was taking it a bit far.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

MLOC Productions Inc. Directors: Roy & Jenni Mears. Musical Director: Danny Forward. Choreographer: Louisa Mitchell.

Beauty and the Beast is a story of an arrogant prince who was changed into a beast and would only return to humankind when he was genuinely loved by a young lady. MLOC had a very well set stage of a village and then the interior of the Beast’s castle, with costumes from the original professional production. Belle, the beauty whose love conquered the beast was given a wonderful portrayal by Deeon Clark, who captured the innocence of the village girl who understood suffering and eventually understood the Beast’s tragedy.

The Life Of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht, adapted by David Hare

Epicentre Theatre Company. Zenith Theatre, Chatswood (NSW)

The Epicentre Theatre Company is currently presenting Bertolt Brecht's The Life Of Galileo, in an adaptation by David Hare, as the final play in this years' trilogy of works celebrating classic theatre works framed around the theme of courage in the face of extreme prejudice.

Don Juan In Soho by Patrick Marber

New Theatre, Newtown (NSW)

Luke Rogers production for the New Theatre's of British playwright Patrick Marber's play Don Juan in Soho is a great night out at the theatre. A loose and very contemporary adaptation of Moliere's classic 17th Century play, the central character of-course is the world's greatest playboy, Don Juan, or as he is called in Marber's play, DJ. DJ is a self confessed sex addict and NIDA graduate Blair Cutting is great as the diabolically charming DJ.

Angry Young Women In Low Rise Jeans With High Class Issues by Matt Morillo.

Mixed Company. Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse. July 15 – 25.

Director Simone de Haas assembled a fine young cast for the Queensland premiere of this American play, which she successfully adapted to an Australian setting. Once renowned for producing every Ray Cooney farce known to man, this Mixed Company has moved with the times and is presenting contemporary works for Brisbane audiences – and reaping rewards.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Old Mill Theatre, South Perth (WA). Directeor: Danielle Ashton. June 24 - July 4.

The first production of A Streetcar Named Desire to play in Perth in some years was memorable for its strong production values, some outstanding performances and its excellent multi-level set. On entering Old Mill’s auditorium, one could not help feeling in awe of Hwyel Williams and Danielle Ashton’s impressive set, which captured the poverty of Stanley and Stella’s flat, evoked the neighbourhood and the era, and made incredible use of space. The entrance of the ensemble, well dressed by Merri Ford, further transported us to post-war New Orleans.

Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend

Stirling Theatre, Innaloo (WA). July 10-25. Director: Ailsa Travers.

As a teenager during the eighties I grew up with the Adrian Mole books and I was skeptical as to whether a concept so tied to that era would resonate today. Director Ailsa Travers is renowned for ‘period pieces’ but captured this recent historical piece very nicely. Costumes were flamboyant and accurate and the settings, on Kevan Hooke’s clever multiple set, were as I remember the time.

The American Plan by Richard Greenberg

Melville Theatre Company Perth (WA) June/July. Director: Geoffrey Leeder

This play set in the Catskills in 1959 comments on the ethnic, intellectual and sexual mores underlying American society at that time and, to a lesser extent, the effect of changes in the following decade. Lili was played by a delightful Amy Welsh. She gave a first rate performance as the young mentally fragile daughter desperate to escape the influence of the mother at a Catskill resort.

Pack of Lies by Hugh Whitemore.

Sherbrooke Theatre Company. Director: Tony Bird.

Would you know if your closest friends were Russian spies? The Jackson family never suspected their neighbours, the Krogers, in Hugh Whitemore’s play, based on a true story. The play was set in the Jackson household, with the lounge room to audience left and the kitchen audience right. Glenn Baker captured the loving father and husband Bob Jackson, who agreed that his home could be used for surveillance against his wife’s wishes.

Newcastle Reviews - August 2009

The Shrewd Maid, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Fame, Proof, Puzzling Pirates and Stage 3 Project

Ken Longworth has been out and about in Newcastle.

Image: The Shrewd Maid - Dermod Kavanagh and Samantha Cobcroft

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