Reviews

Liberty Equality Fraternity

By Geoffrey Atherdon. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). Director: Shannon Murphy. February 13 – March 9, 2013.

Take the suggestion that anything you write or post on Facebook, any email, any text that you send, could be hacked and twisted to be used against you in some way, and you have the basis for Geoffrey Atherden’s latest play. It’s fast, it’s believable … and, in true Atherden style, it’s funny – fortunately, for without the humour, it would be uncomfortably scary.

Murdered to Death

By Peter Gordon. The Basin Theatre Group (Vic). Directed by Don Harrod. February 15 – March 9, 2013.

It’s always a pleasure to drive out to The Basin to visit this theatre group because they make patrons feel so welcome. Having said that, the script has a very slow set-up and that wasn’t helped by one member of the cast drying completely and an awkward silence on stage on the second night. However, by the second scene the laughs were coming thick and fast and the audience clearly enjoyed the evening and the spoonerisms of Inspector Pratt…who really was one!

The History Boys

By Alan Bennett. Peach Theatre Company. Playhouse, Sydney Opera House. Feb 13 – Mar 12, 2013.

There's no question that Alan Bennett's play The History Boys is a beautifully written, classic piece of theatre. But does the current production staged by Peach Production Company tease out every nuance and take advantage of all the underlying subtleties in the script?

Too Old for TV.

By Brent Thorpe. The Lybrary Bar (formerly Shannon Hotel), Chippendale. Feb 15 – 22, 2013.

In the basement of an inner city pub, the charismatic Brent Thorpe takes his generation through the experience of turning 50 – “I know, it’s a 100 in gay years” – and a remarkable Sydney gay journey of more than three decades.

CLOSER

By Patrick Marber. Director: Scott Major. Chapel off Chapel (Vic) Feb 14 -March 2, 2013.

How do we determine what is love and what is need, and how far will we go to get what we want? These are just two of the questions Patrick Marber asks in his award winning play.

THE WEDDING SINGER

Music: Matthew Sklar Lyrics: Chad Beguelin. Book: Chad Beguelin & Tim Herlihy. Smash Theatrical. Director: Joanna Pearson. Musical Direction: Shane Tooley. Choreography: Caron Koch. Schonell Theatre, Brisbane. 14-23 Feb 2013.

Brisbane community theatre just got a massive shot in the arm with the Brisbane premiere of The Wedding Singer. Produced by Smash Theatrical, the ‘new-kids-on-the-block’ in community theatre, the level of performance was like a high-powered adrenalin rush - full credit to Joanna Pearson’s direction. The Wedding Singer was the ideal musical to launch a young company.

Zanna, Don't! A musical fairytale.

Book, music and lyrics by Tim Acito. Additional music and lyrics by Alexander Dinelaris. Shire Music Theatre. Sutherland Memorial School of Arts. February 8 – 17, 2013.

Zanna, Don't! A musical fairytale. Sounds a bit like a Xanadu send-up, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s more like a gay Grease / High School Musical / Cinderella hybrid send-up, with heaps of heart. And it’s a hoot!

Shire Music Theatre’s reputation as a boutique community music theatre company has been growing over recent years, and this Off-Broadway musical is yet another engaging small-scale ensemble production to enhance that reputation.

Constellations

By Nick Payne. Directed by Leticia Caceres/ MTC – Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne. February 8 to March 23, 2013.

Some people live their lives within the safe confines of limited probability. Others embrace a universe of infinite possibilities; and it’s these people that playwright Nick Payne is talking to in his amazing play, Constellations. The words “what if?” are life blood to any writer, providing multiple scenarios from a single premise. Payne takes it further. What if “destiny” exists in quantum physics like string theory….and everything that ever was or ever will be co-exists in parallel universes with millions of variations of ourselves?

Dreams in White

By Duncan Graham. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre, Sydney. Director: Tanya Goldberg. 8 February – 23 March, 2013

This is a difficult evening to write about without spoiling the experience for a potential audience member (i.e. you, the reader). There’s mystery and confusion about the characters and their motives, the sequence of events, the likely outcome, even the author’s overall purpose. This critic had a very good time trying to fit all the pieces together as they spilled onto the stage. He would hate to spoil things for you.

Kiss Me Like You Mean It

By Chris Chibnall. Director: Kate Shearman. MARC Up Productions. The Owl and The Pussycat, Richmond, Vic. 13-23 February, 2013

Kiss Me Like You Mean It is written by Chris Chibnall, a British playwright who is also a writer for TV with credits including Doctor Who, Life on Mars and several seasons as co-producer on Torchwood. But there’s not a wisp of science fiction or fantasy on display here. This is a strong character-driven piece, very down to earth, populated by just four characters but all of whom are engaging, interesting and believable.

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