By Kieran Hurley. Traverse Theatre Company. Adelaide Festival. Odeon Theatre, Norwood. 6-14 March, 2020

Mouthpiecewritten by Kieran Hurley, is a moving, thought provoking piece of theatre about storytelling. It jars us into thinking about ownership. It asks us who owns the story. Should stories be appropriated by others?

"Everyone has a story," says Libby (Shauna MacDonald), the writer in the play. "Naw," replies Declan ( Angus Taylor), "Some ay us just have lives." 

The Sound of History

Adelaide Festival 2020. Adelaide Town Hall, Adelaide. March 7, 2020

Before moving on to the review proper I would like to extend my best wishes to Brett Dean who co-created this concert. He is one of the most internationally performed composers of this generation and unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving in Australia from a performance in Taiwan and is in the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare. Roleystone Theatre. Directed by Paul Treasure. The Amphitheatre, Araluen Botanic Park, Roleystone, WA. Feb 22 - Mar 8, 2020

Roleystone Theatre has presented Shakespeare in the Park for the first time, playing over 4 “late afternoons” in February and March. Joining a crowd of over 200 patrons at the penultimate performance, I found a great picnic atmosphere, and a great sense of occasion as patrons prepared to watch one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. The anticipation was rewarded with a high energy, exuberant production that was well directed and performed.

Voices of Joan

Adelaide Fringe. The Breakout at the Mill, Adelaide. 6-8 March 2020

Arriving to the sounds resulting from someone twirling the radio dial, we’re bombarded with soundbites from politicians, a footy commentator and protestors current and not so current. Using the radio as a time machine, to capture the words already spoken and still vibrating the air somewhere, theatre-maker Janie Gibson channels the spirit of Joan of Arc in this breathtaking performance that addresses us, involves us – and makes us complicit in the outcomes.

Mamma Mia!

Music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, originally written for ABBA. Book by Catharine Johnson. Gosford Musical Society. Laycock Street Community Theatre. March 6 - 21, 2020.

Mamma Mia! has been playing to sold out houses around the world since its debut in the West End in 1999. It’s so popular that it spawned not only the 2008 film, but also a sequel, aptly named Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again in 2018, starring a little too much Cher and not enough Meryl Streep. The long-awaited community theatre performance rights were finally released mid last year, and so began the tsunami of mirror balls, spandex and synthesized music across regional Australian theatres.

As You Like It

By William Shakespeare. Melbourne Shakespeare Company. Directed by Jennifer Sarah Dean. Central Park, Malvern - 7-15 March, 2020, then Fairfield Ampitheatre, March 21 & 22.

This wonderful performance brings the magical aspects of the play to life in a vibrant and animated manner. This company is renowned for exploiting the challenges of outdoor performances and turning them to their advantage. The performance space is well-defined, but the company does not hesitate to take advantage of the expanse of the park to allow small details to be included in the performance. Watching characters in the distance as they approach the stage area adds to the overall attention to detail exhibited in this production.

Sherlock Holmes and the Death on Thor Bridge

By Arthur Conan Doyle, adapted by Sandra Bass. Genesian Theatre Company. February 29 - April 4, 2020.

Sherlock Holmes mysteries have now overtaken Agatha Christie whodunnits in popularity for the Genesian Theatre, which has thrived as Sydney’s home of good old fashioned drama. So keen were the Genesians, to ride the sleuth’s wave of popularity that it has programmed a world premiere adaptation by member Sandra Bass.

Song Contest. The Almost Eurovision Experience

By Glynn Nicholas and Bev Killick. Primadonna Productions. Directed by Carole Dhu. The Fish Trap Theatre, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, WA. Mar 6-8, 2020

Primadonna Productions’ Song Contest. The Almost Eurovision Experience starts in the foyer, with lovely ‘European’ people welcoming the audience to Minsk in Belarus, presenting them with “clackers” (“Is gift from Belarus government to you”, assigning you to a country and lending you a flag to wave. The atmosphere is joyous - which continues into the production.

Dead Gorgeous: A True Crime Clown Show

Madness of Two. Adelaide Fringe. RUMPUS. 7th to 15th March, 2020

If you think that a clown show about true crime is a weird premise, you’re right, but somehow new Adelaide theatre collective, Madness of Two makes it work.  Founded by two of Adelaide’s award-winning theatre-makers, Ellen Graham and Jamie Hornsby, Madness of Two has set out to tackle important issues in non-traditional ways.

Josh Mensch: Abomination

Cackling Jackal Productions. Adelaide Fringe. Holden Street Theatres. February 28 – March 15, 2020

Josh Mensch is a local artist who as a 17-year-old boy had a dream. As a self-professed drama kid, he always wanted to put on a Fringe show. It seems that stacking lettuces at a well-known supermarket was offering no stimulation, so he sat down to pen his one-man rhetoric.

Judy’s is a small venue within Holden Street Theatres. It only seats 20 people and on the night, I attended it was almost full. It is a small space made for an intimate show and this worked well with Mensch’s delivery.

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