Reviews

How to Spell Love

Written and performed by Anisa Nandaula. Presented by Brisbane Festival 2020 and Metro Arts, Brisbane.17 to 20 September 2020

Earlier this year, when I saw Anisa Nandaula perform her short piece as part of La Boite’s The Neighbourhood, a collaboration of diverse Brisbane stories, the feeling was positive, the vibe upbeat. The lockdown cast a cloud over that optimism.

Don Quixote

Ballet by Rudolph Nureyev, after Marius Petipa. Based on the ballet Don Quixote by Marius Petipa. Music: Ludwig Minkus arranged by John Lanchbery. Director: Rudolf Nureyev & Robert Helpmann. Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth. With Orchestra Victoria conducted by John Lanchbery. “At Home with Ballet TV” Australian Ballet streaming until 24 September 2020

If you want to know why Rudolf Nureyev became the rock-star of ballet following his defection from the Soviet Union in 1961, then you only need view this movie – a superb showcase of his amazing classical ballet talent.

Fiddler on the Roof Jr.

Book by Joseph Stein. Music by Jerry Bock. Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Primadonna Productions. Directed by Carole Dhu. Pinjarra Civic Centre, WA. Sep 11-12, 2020

Primadonna Productions’ youth musical Fiddler on the Roof Jr. was cast back in February, and completed four rehearsals before being shut down due to COVID. Despite a three month pause in rehearsal, these young people finally brought their work to the stage, performing to capacity distanced crowds at the Pinjarra Civic Centre.

Tilt 2020 (Program 2)

Various Writers. Various Directors. WAAPA final year Performance Making Students. The Blue Room Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre, WA. Sep 10-11, 2020

Tilt 2020 (Program 2) is the conclusion of a two part celebration of the talents of WAAPA’s final year Performance Making Students. The first part of this production was The Blue Room’s first performance since February, and this second program is also performed in this venue, once again using two of the Blue Room Spaces.

What the Butler Saw.

By Joe Orton. Canberra Repertory. Directed by Liz Bradley. Canberra REP Theatre, 10–26 September 2020.

 

The Psychic

By Sam Bobrick. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director: Helen Maden. 11-26 September, 2020

Making up for lost time, The Psychic is Spotlight’s second production since reopening at the end of July.

Billed as “a Murder Mystery ... of sorts” the play is set in the depressing two room basement flat in New York City of Adam Webster, a mystery writer whose life revolves around the characters he creates.

For his latest adventure, the writer has decided to lure his characters into the plot via a hand-written sign advertising psychic readings in his window and from there the plot thickens (or unravels, as the case may be).

Not About Nightingales

By Tennessee Williams. Life on Hold Productions. Directed by Sarah Christiner. Last Drop Brewery, Canning Vale, WA. September 11-26, 2020

Not About Nightingales is a lesser known Tennessee Williams play. The first play written under his famous pen name, Not About Nightingales was written as a college assignment to write a play based on newspaper articles. The young Tom Williams chose to base his work on the torture and deaths of prisoners at Pennsylvania’s Holmesburg Prison. Rejected by theatre companies in the thirties, the play remained unperformed and lost to time, until actress Vanessa Redgrave tracked it down.

Neighbourhood Watch

By Lally Katz. New Theatre, Newtown, NSW. September 8 – October 3, 2020.

This revival of Lally Katz’ 2011 hit was snatched from the New Theatre stage by COVID just before its opening night in March.  Now the plucky theatre – with strict protocols and distancing – has thankfully reopened its doors, and this play, with a different director, designer and some cast changes. 

Neighbourhood Watch is a deceptively difficult darkish comedy, telling in cinematically short scenes and flashes, an Australian neighbourhood story of inter-generational friendship, as historic griefs are reforged into new hopes.

Metamorphosis

By Stephen Berkoff from the novella by Franz Kafka. Hayman Theatre Company. Directed by Tereza Izzard. Hayman Theatre, Curtin University, WA. 8-12 September, 2020

Stephen Berkoff’s Metamorphosis is a retelling of the Franz Kafka novella, in which commercial salesman Gregor Sansa awakens in his family home one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed - described in the original as a “monstrous vermin”. Still able to think and feel, his family are forced to care for him, cope with the shame of his condition, and to cope with the loss of the family’s breadwinner.

Bombshells

By Joanna Murray-Smith. Arena Arts. Directed by Christine Ellis. Roxy Lane Theatre, Maylands WA Sep 4-19, 2020

This Australian play, first performed in 2004, with Caroline O’Connor in all six roles, is being performed to appropriately distanced audiences by Arena Arts at Maylands’ Roxy Lane Theatre. This production features six actresses performing the sextet of monologues, each featuring a dynamic and interesting woman.

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