Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Concept by Clare Watson and Co-Created by Uninvited Guests Theatre Works July 31 to Aug 10, 2014 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: *** Review also published in Herald Sun online Friday, Aug1, 2014 and pater in print. KH
Luke Mullins (L) and Bert la Bonté
are not alone if you think of temper tantrums on a tennis court when you hear
the name, John McEnroe, AKA The Prince of Petulance.
Heart John McEnroe is an entertaining collage of playful parody and paper-thin
psycho-analysis of that notoriously temperamental, US tennis champion.
a realistic, green tennis court surface littered with tennis balls, five
performers channel aspects of McEnroe’s personality and episodes from his life
while exploring their own relationship to anger and their attitude to that
Director, Clare Watson, devised the production with
her talented cast: Natasha Herbert, Bert LaBonté, Luke Mullins, Katherine
Tonkin and child performer, Ivy Miller, who is the voice of reason when the others
chuck childish, McEnroe tantrums.
structure of the piece is episodic, incorporating short vignettes and dialogues
about McEnroe with crisp, movement sequences based on his recognisable gestures
as he angrily criticises the umpire’s decisions.
adult actors shift from playing McEnroe to playing themselves as they confront
their own anger or taunt other actors to trigger angry outbursts in each other.
By Sans Hotel, Conceived and Directed by Nicola Gunn NEON Festival, MTC Southbank Theatre, The Lawler, until Aug 3, 2014 I haven't seen this yet but I am a great fan of Nicola Gunn's work. See it. KH
Devised and Performed by Nat Cursio, Tom Davies, Nicola Gunn, Jonno Katz, Kerith Manderson Galvin; Production Designers Nicola Gunn and Gwen Holmberg-Gilchrist;
Sound Designer Duane Morrison;
Research Assistant Aaron Orzech
From Media Release: So, tell me about yourself. What do you do? Part-careers expo, part-social experiment, Green Screen is a show about the way we work and how we are in the world.
Where & When: Red Stitch Actors Theatre, July 25 until Aug
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Review will apear in full after publication in Herald Sun online on Monday July 28, 2014. It will then appear in print. KH
(L-R) Laura Jane Turner, Emily Goddard, Andre de Vanny, Jonathan Peck
stage is a perilous place in Glory Dazed, Cat Jones’ short play about an
English soldier whose war trauma drives him to bursts of violent rage.
(Andre de Vanny), a stouthearted, working-class Northerner, is so desperate to
win back his ex-wife, Carla (Emily Goddard), that he locks the doors to their
local pub in order to force Carla to take him back.
is a dangerous game that Ray is playing but he has no clear plan because he is
in a state of confusion and is driven by anger, fear and despair.
is a fine ensemble production with compelling performances from the four cast
members who explore both the danger and humour that bubble in the pressure
cooker that is the pub.
Carroll’s direction is bold and assured, ensuring that the action has a
powerful dynamic range and that the pace and rhythm have an almost tidal
By Geoffrey Atherden Comedy Theatre, Melbourne, until
Aug 24, 2014
Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars:***
A shorter version of this review went online in NEWS, Herald Sun at 9.50pm on Thurs July 24 and will be in print on Arts pages on Monday July 28, 2014. KH
Darren Gilshenan & Noeline Brown. Pic by Lachlan Moore.
you have ever felt a twinge of antipathy towards a parent, spare a thought for
poor, beleaguered Arthur Beare whose mother has held him an emotional hostage
for his entire adult life.
a flurry of excitement, nostalgia and laughter, Maggie and Arthur Beare are
back in the house – literally – in this newly minted, stage version of Mother
and Son, Geoffrey Atherden’s acerbic, 1980s, Australian sit-com.
two much-loved characters are reincarnated live on stage by Noeline Brown
(Maggie) and Darren Gilshenan (Arthur), whose consummate comic skills do justice
to these treasured characters originally brought to life by Ruth Cracknell and
intimate family comedy, directed by Roger Hodgman, is naturalistic,
identification theatre with characters that are still relevant in 2014 and dialogue
that is sharp-witted and well observed.
comedy relies on the maddeningly dysfunctional but predictable relationship
between lonely and frustrated Arthur and his manipulative, carping mum, Maggie.
gets no support but a lot of excuses from his successful, selfish and deceitful
brother, Robert (Shane Jacobson), the dentist, and Robert’s mouthy, snobbish wife,
Liz (Nicki Wendt), with her ever-so-slightly affected vowels and sassy manner.
is achingly funny and exasperating as Maggie, the mother of all mothers, whose days
revolve around keeping Arthur tied to her apron strings with her expert
emotional blackmail, complaints, intrusiveness and real (or often fake)
Lyrics by Frank Loesser, Book by Joe Swerling & Abe Burrows Based on a
story by Damon Runyon Produced by The Production Company State Theatre, Arts Centre
Melbourne, until July 19 to 27, 2014 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: ****
Review also published in Herald Sun online on Tuesday, 22 July then in print on Wed 23 July, 2014. KH
some New York gangsters and gamblers with showgirls and missionaries, toss in some
romance and songs, and you get Frank Loesser’s inimitable Guys and Dolls.
1950 musical is based on Damon Runyon’s gritty, underworld stories but is seasoned
with Loesser’s witty lyrics and singable tunes, and earthy dialogue and book by
Joe Swerling and Abe Burrows.
Director, Gale Edwards, musters an exceptional cast of
singer-actor-dancers in the lead roles and the accomplished Orchestra Victoria,
conducted by Guy Simpson, is impressive performing Loesser’s music.
story is a classic Romeo and Juliet tale of two lovers from the opposing worlds
of petty crime and the temperance society.
As Sarah Brown, the prim, pious Save Our Souls gal, Verity Hunt-Ballard
shifts effortlessly from prissy preaching to riotous, drunken salsa dancing in
Havana and her versatile voice is clear and pretty singing If I Were A Bell.
Mamet, Melbourne Theatre Company MTC Southbank Theatre, The Sumner, opens July 18 to Aug 9, 2014 Reviewer:
Kate Herbert Stars: ***1/2
Review also published online in Herald Sun on Friday July 18, 2014, and later in print. KH
Alex Dimitriades, Nick Barkla, John McTernan, Justin Stewart Cotta
The dramatic action in David
Mamet’s plays is driven by his gritty characters and scarifying dialogue.
In Glengarry Glen Ross,
Mamet penetrates the world of shonky, real estate salesmen in Chicago during
the early 1980s, characterising these men as desperate, brutal con artists who deceive
and manipulate both their unwitting clients and colleagues.
The Florida real estate
market is foundering, useful client ‘leads’ have dried up and those salesmen
who cannot close contracts and make a buck will be fired by the absentee
This is a callous world that
is dominated by aggressive men whose constant streams of expletives and searing
invective burn like hot gravel on skin.
Greg Stone is outstanding
as Moss, the resentful, disaffected and vitriolic middle-aged salesman who has
a dangerous plan to beat the bosses at their own game.
Alex Dimitriades is
compelling and audacious as the ruthless young winner, Roma, who would sell his
own children for a profit, and Brett Cousins gives an assured performance as Lingk,
Roma’s obliging and timid, new client.
Music by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by
Oscar Hammerstein II Based on novel by Margaret Langdon Princess Theatre, Melbourne,
until August 31, 2014 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: ***1/2 I reviewed the production with Lou Diamond Phillips in the role. This 2nd review also ran online on Monday July 14, in Herald Sun nd in print thereafter )possibly 15 July). KH.
Lisa McCune & Lou Diamond Phillips in The King and I-Photos by Oliver Toth
There’s a new King of Siam in town and it is
Lou Diamond Phillips who brings his own style of deliciously playful and
boastful posturing to the role.
Phillips, who recently replaced the injured
Jason Scott Lee, paces the stage like a prowling lion, portraying this man-child
King with a sassy edginess and volatility that makes the character more than a
little sexy and dangerous.
It is easy to understand the sensual frisson
between Mrs. Anna (Lisa McCune) and the King because Phillips’ King is lovable
despite, but also because of, his swaggering arrogance and vanity.
McCune is elegant and warm as Anna Leonowens,
the English schoolteacher that the King invites to educate his family in
English language and customs.
Their mutual attraction is tangible when the
King and Anna dance a lively polka during Shall We Dance?
Phillips’ versatility is evident in the
contrast between his clever, comic delivery and the moving final scene when the
King is weakened by illness.
from novel by Victor Hugo; Music & Book by Claude-Michel Shönberg; Book & original French
Lyrics by Alain Boublil & Jean-Marc Natel; English lyrics by Herbert
Kretzmer; Adapted for stage by Trevor Nunn & John Caird
A Cameron Mackintosh production; Australian producer Michael Cassel Her Majesty’s Theatre, from
July 3, 2014 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars:*****
This review also published in Herald Sun News online on the night of July 3 and in print on Fri July 4, 2014. KH
excitement and anticipation are palpable amongst the glitterati at the opening
night of Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Les Misérables in
Melbourne, the undisputed music theatre capital of Australia.
Victor Hugo’s 19th century epic novel, Les Mis is the epitome of
tragedy and romance, balancing narrative threads that encompass deprivation and
abuse, unrequited love, false imprisonment, fiercely loyal friendship, self-sacrifice
and class struggle.
Connor and James Powell revitalise Les Mis with their assured direction and
inventive vision, introducing a new design concept and a consummate Australian
cast to rival those in the West End or Broadway.
show is a musical and theatrical triumph thanks to Claude-Michel Shönberg’s
soaring, orchestral music, a repertoire of unforgettable, passionate songs and
evocative lyrics performed by exceptional voices.
has an operatic grandeur, not only because it is sung through without spoken
dialogue, but because of its swelling choruses and heart wrenching solos.