Reviews

God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton

Melbourne Theatre Company. Directed by Peter Evans; Set and Costume Design by Dale Ferguson; Lighting Design by Matt Scott; Composer/Sound Design by Kelly Ryall; Fight Choreography by Felicity Steel. With Pamela Rabe, Geoff Morrell, Hugo Weaving and Natasha Herbert. Playhouse, The Arts Centre, Melbourne until 3 October.

It's not difficult to appreciate why Ms Reza's God of Carnage (and Mr Hampton's translation of it) is one of the most celebrated and decorated plays of the decade. It is pin-point accurate satire of the highest order … a flawlessly structured, intricate and glittering dissection of relationships, manners, careers, ambitions and societal aspirations: and the Melbourne Theatre Company's production of it is stunning.

Duets by Peter Quilter

Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall Street, Kirribilli (NSW) until October 3

Barry Creyton and Noelene Brown have returned to the Ensemble Theatre to perform another double act, again directed by Ensemble Artistic Director, Sandra Bates. This time, however, the play has not been penned by Creyton, (Creyton’s Double Act goes back to 1987), but by renowned British playwright Peter Quilter (Glorious, End Of The Rainbow). The play is aptly called Duets and features a set of four encounters.

The Colours

Written and Performed by Peter Houghton. Melbourne Theatre Company. Director Anne Browning; Set and Costume Designer Shaun Gurton; Lighting Designer Richard Vabre; Composer David Chesworth. Lawler Studio, Melbourne until 12 September.

It is a brave man who will write and perform a one-man show about War. In fact, preparing to attend this performance, I must confess to wondering what more could (or perhaps needs to) be said about this too often recycled, reinterpreted and common-sense defying human endeavour. I have very fond memories of Alan Seymour's influential Australian War drama The One Day of the Year (banned by the Adelaide Festival in 1960) and English playwright Peter Nichols' musical farce Privates on Parade (produced by the Melbourne Theatre Company in 1980). And the list goes on.

Bugger the Polar Bears This Is Serious

Live comedy by Rod Quantock. The Street (ACT) 25 to 30 August 2009

Bugger the Polar Bears This Is Serious is surprisingly educational entertainment. But even better is its good news. Rod Quantock's genius lies in painting a picture that incorporates more than doom and gloom, more even than science education, to show that, no longer at the mercy of under-the-counter coal and nuclear kickbacks, we can be part of a global campaign.

Get Gary

Newtown Theatre. Phantom Productions.

Sydney playwright Rachel Musgrove's play, Get Gary, put on by Phantom Productions and directed by Henry Jennings, looks at the bizarre goings of a bunch of hapless, bumbling criminals.

Intent To Murder

Genesian Theatre, Sydney

Sydney's unique little inner city community theatre, the Genesian Theatre, is currently presenting a production of the British playwright Leslie Sands's lively thriller, Intent To Murder, directed by veteran director, Joyce Birch.

The Producers by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan

Gosford Musical Society. Director: Darryl Davis. Musical Director: Josh Hochkins. Choreographers: Janadine Hart, Carolyn McNamara, Karen Snook

The posters and program proclaimed ‘A New Mel Brooks Musical’ but it wasn’t Young Frankenstein, it was a splendid production of the 2001 Broadway blockbuster The Producers. Never quite shaking off the blissfully manic 1968 Zero Mostel/Gene Wilder movie from which it was derived, Brooks’ brassy-farcey musical nevertheless won 12 Tonys and ran for years.

Rockabye by Joanna Murray-Smith

Melbourne Theatre Company. Directed by Simon Phillips; Set Design by Brian Thomson; Costume Design by Esther Marie Hayes; Lighting Design by Philip Lethlean; Composer/Sound Design by Peter Farnan. With Kate Atkinson, Betty Bobbitt, Daniel Frederikson, Pacharo Mzembe, Zahra Newman, Richard Piper and Nicki Wendt. Sumner Theatre, Melbourne until 20 September.

Theatre, like sex – or in the case of Joanna Murray-Smith's Rockabye, the lack of it – can be a profoundly disenchanting and one-way affair.

Nine by Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston

Shire Music Theatre (Sydney)

Shire Music performs up to four musicals a year – and is not afraid to dive into a repertoire of more eclectic works. This deserves commendation. Their production of Nine, based on the life of Italian film Director Federico Fellini, was well timed. The musical by Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston won a Tony in 1992 but has faded from the amateur circuit in recent years. All that will change soon when Nine is released as a feature movie (by the Director of Chicago) starring Daniel Day Lewis and Nicole Kidman.

Slava's Snowshow

Presented by Ross Mollison and David J Foster. Directed by Viktor Kramer; Designed by Viktor Plotnikov and Slava Polunin; with Jef Johnson, Derek Scott, Nikolai Terentiev, Yury Musatov, Gigi Vega Morales and Aeilta Vest; Sound by Roma Dubinnikov; Lighting by Sofia Kostyleva; Stage Technicians: Francesco Bifano, Dmitry Sereda and Vitaly Galich. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. Until August 30, then touring

Sometimes in the theatre, albeit all too rarely, magic can happen. Sometimes, when each and every theatrical element combines, the result is a perfect, fleeting moment of pure theatrical ecstasy. We recognise it instinctively – compelled to make sense of such welcome, but unusual, wonder. But never in my theatre-going experience, has magic happened as purely and simply (or as often) as it does within every riveting moment of Slava's Snowshow.

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