Reviews

Irish Theatre Players One Acts 21

By Tony Layton, Seán Byrne and Simon Stephens. Directed by Alan Kennedy, Denice Byrne and Andrew Baker. Townshend Theatre, Irish Club of WA, Townshend Rd, Subiaco, WA. Jun 17-26, 2021

The Irish Theatre Players present three strong and varied short plays in the beautifully warm and friendly atmosphere of the Irish Club. An enjoyable and moving evening of entertainment.

In the Mirror

By Mammad Aidani. Cicero’s Circle & La Mama. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton. 15 – 20 June 2021

Two desperate people – unknown to each other - look into their mirrors.  What do they see?  Not themselves, but a version of themselves that might – just might – get them a job.  Any job.  Both are preparing for an interview.  Both are rehearsing an acceptable persona.  Each feels their real identity is disappearing.

The Woman in Black

By Susan Hill and Stephen Mallatratt. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Mark Kilmurry. 11 June – 24 July, 2021

Under the banner ‘West End Thriller’ comes this new production of Stephen Mallatratt’s excellent two-man, one-ghost stage version of Susan Hill’s supremely spooky novel The Woman in Black. Opening at the West End’s Fortune Theatre in 1989, it has been running (with Covid-19 exceptions) and frightening audiences there ever since. Only Agatha Christie’s elderly ‘The Mousetrap’ beats it.

The Cripple of Inishmaan

By Martin McDonagh. Castle Hill Players. The Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill. June 4 – 26, 2021

The Cripple of Inishmaan is set in 1934 on a small island just off the west coast of Ireland.  Right from the get-go the clever set design captures the audience’s attention.  There is lovely stonework, lots of wooden panelling and an excessive number of bright green tins of peas on the shelves. There’s also an elevated bedroom which is cleverly recycled and even a small boat waiting at the jetty down stage left for one of the most pivotal scenes.

Gloria

By Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins. WAAPA. Directed by Kylie Bracknell (Kaarljilba Kaardn). The Roundhouse Theatre, WAAPA, Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley WA. June 10-16, 2021

Gloria is a compelling and well-presented production, performed by part of WAAPA’s Third Year Acting cohort, with production and design from WAAPA students from a variety of departments. Highly polished and slick, this is a play with some interesting messages and much to say.

Footloose

By Dean Pitchford, Walter Bobbie, Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford. Art in Motion. Directed by Lys Tickner. City of Gosnells, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Thornlie, WA. June 11-19, 2021

Footloose is a fun, bright musical and is probably Art in Motion’s best musical to date. A great nostalgia trip, it is presented with a great sense of verve and enthusiasm.

Central character Ren is played with great energy and a clear commitment to the role by Matthew Walford, with Maree Stedul very impressive has his mother Ethel. Their arrival in small town Bomont, a town that bans dancing, is the catalyst for action for this show, based on the 1984 film of the same name.

Crazy For You

By George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin and Ken Ludwig. WAAPA. Directed by Crispin Taylor. His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth, WA. June 11-17, 2021

WAAPA’s most public showcase is probably the annual “big” musical. Presented for the first time at His Majesty’s Theatre, Crazy For You has a classic musical feel that is a great match for this large and ornate venue. Well polished, with excellent production values - this is a lovely showcase, not only for Second and Third Year Musical Theatre Students and Music Students, but for the Production and Design Students who have shaped this production very well.

A Red Plaid Shirt

Written by Michael Wilmot. Tweed Theatre Company. Directed by Raelene Richards. 11th-26th June, 2021.

Community Theatre is the very heart of entertainment for so many Australians, but it can be a hit and miss affair. Not so with Tweed Heads Theatre Company, whose latest offering is an absolute gem of a production.

Canadian Michael Wilmot’s play is a sketchy, sometimes hilarious, pastiche of two men, retired from work, seeking a purpose for the years to come - is it to be wood-working classes or a Harley Davidson - or fifty secrets to great sex?

The Appleton Ladies Potato Race

Written by Melanie Tait. Ensemble Theatre production. Directed by Priscilla Jackman. Canberra Playhouse. June 3 – 5, 2021

The Appleton Ladies Potato Race is a thoroughly enjoyable dip into the lives of women in a small country town, their hopes and their grievances. Change can be hard for many; these women are no different, yet they have big hearts that allow them to meet challenges and to open up to reconciling differences. The race, where participants carry a bag of spuds on their shoulders, is more than just a race: it is a potential scene of conflict between the sexes, the established community members and new members, and history and what we can make of the future.

Mother Archer’s Cabaret for Dark Times

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse. June 12-14, 2021

Robyn Archer graces the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 2021 after having ‘icon status’ bestowed upon her worthy shoulders in 2016 as winner of the Cabaret Icon Award.  This is only one of her many awards over a rich lifetime as singer, writer, artistic director, public advocate for the arts and venerated mentor, but certainly celebrates Archer’s pre-eminent position in the world of cabaret.

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