Reviews

Picnic at Hanging Rock

By Laura Annawyn Shamus from the book by Joan Lindsay. Stray Cats Theatre Company. Directed by Karen Francis. The Fishtrap Theatre, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, WA. July 28 - Aug 1, 2021

Stray Cats Theatre Company’s Picnic at Hanging Rock is a gentle but unnerving retelling of this famous Australian story. A horror story in beautiful packaging, this production is well acted, looks gorgeous, but may induce nightmares.

Prima Facie

By Suzie Miller. Directed by Lee Lewis. Bille Brown Theatre. Queensland Theatre. July 14 – August 7, 2021

As an ex-lawyer, writer Suzie Miller has seen all sides of the Australian legal system – founded, of course, on British patriachy, established mainly to protect wealthy land-owners in the middle ages. It's an old order, deeply steeped in Latin terminology and ancient practice. The fact that legal aid was introduced in Australia in the 1970s only highlights that this this is a system that doesn't like change. So how does it serve us today?

Twice

By Jane Hille. Fenceline Theatre Company. Directed by Jane Hille. Maali Mia Theatre, Swan Christian College, Great Northern Highway, Middle Swan, WA. July 28-31, 2021

Fenceline Theatre Company presents the World Premiere of Twice, a beautiful and moving new play by Jane Hille. Featuring three mature performers, this is a story of love and loss in later adulthood and looks at the struggle of early onset dementia as well the struggles of repartnering and the need for love and acceptance.

Pirates of Penzance Jr.

By Gilbert and Sullivan. Primadonna Productions. Directed by Carole Dhu. Pinjarra Civic Centre, WA. July 23-24, 2021

One of at least three productions of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most famous work in WA this year, Primadonna’s Pirates of Penzance Jr. stands out. This shortened version is a delight, and still includes most of our favourite moments and songs.

KARIN

City Workshop, 23 July, 2021. Brisbane Music Festival 2021 (12 Feb to 12 Dec 2021)

The Brisbane Music Festival has been appearing in a range of large and small venues across Brisbane – and online – since February 2021. And, like other creative companies, the festival is taking advantage of the wealth of world-class talent that would normally be on tour, but is staying close to home in Queensland. Artistic Director, Alex Raineri, has put together a wonderful programme with a variety of performers and different music styles. As befitting our times, the festival also includes some exclusively digital performances.

Caesar

Written by Claire Christian, Jean Tong, Megan Wilding, Merlynn Tong and Zoey Dawson. Directed by Sanja Simić. La Boite Theatre. QUT Kelvin Grove, Brisbane. July 23 – August 7, 2021.

Something different, something new. The name of this play brings to mind the original by William Shakespeare but the link is rather tenuous at most. Caesar has been written by five women who demonstrate talents both in theatre and writing. Each was responsible for a scene, or act, in this relatively short play but the overall effect was one of unity. It could be said that the script covered the actors as they rehearsed scenes from the Caesar play of old to rehearsing their own lives in an equally direct manner. This was challenging for both the cast and the audience.

West Side Story

Music: Leonard Bernstein. Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Book: Arthur Laurents. Opera Australia, GWB Entertainment and BB Group Production. Director/Choreographer: Joey McKneely. Musical Director: Isaac Hayward. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 24 July – 22 August 2021

It’s hard to believe that when West Side Story opened on Broadway in 1957 it only received two Tony Awards, one for Jerome Robbins’ Choreography and one for Oliver Smith’s set design. Running for only 734 performances, audiences were uncomfortable with the subject matter (street-gang warfare), as they were in Australia in 1960 when it was first produced here. It wasn’t until the 1961 movie version that West Side Story was acknowledged as the groundbreaker that it was.

Great Inventions

Conducted by Benjamin Bayl. Presented by Queensland Symphony Orchestra. QPAC Concert Hall. 25 July, 2021

Queensland Symphony Orchestra delivered quality entertainment yet again with the latest instalment in their Music on Sundays series of events. Each event is built around a different theme. Entitled Great Inventions this show included music that is highly inventive and/or written in salute to great inventions.

Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert

Written by Stephan Elliott and Alan Scott. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. 23rd July to 21St August, 2021

Bursting onto the stage at Spotlight, the Priscilla bus erupted in a giant wave of glitz, colour, fabulous costumes and brilliant performances from the extremely talented cast led by Dean Giltinan – Tick / Mitzi Mitosis, David Valks – Bernadette and Brin Jenke – Adam / Feliciajollygoodfellow.

Director/Choreographer Jamie Watt, Musical Director Peter Laughton and Associate Choreographers Jackson Kook and Jessica Ng have presented an outstanding production which rivals the professional show.

Into the Woods

By James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim. Stirling Players. Directed by Kimberley Shaw. THEATRE. Stirling Theatre, WA. July 9-July 23, 2021.

Overcoming lockdowns and floods, Stirling Players have come out against the odds to produce a delightfully charismatic show that captivates their intimate, sold-out audiences and draws them deep Into the Woods.

One of Sondheim’s most renowned musicals, Into the Woods follows the adventures of several fairy tale characters as they journey to, and beyond, their respective happily ever afters.

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