Thursday, 27 November 2014

Dreams From The Second Floor, NICA, Nov 2014

National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA)
From Nov 27, 2014
Stars: ****

Dreams From The Second Floor was a really entertaining and novel show performed by final year students at NICA with imaginative and deft direction by visiting director, Firenza Guidi.

Friday, 21 November 2014

La Cage Aux Folles, Nov 22, 2014 ***

Book by Harvey Fierstein & Lyrics & Music by Jerry Herman; based on play by Jean Poiret 
By The Production Company
Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne, Nov 21 to Dec 7, 2014
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Review also published online in Herald Sun on Mon Nov 24, 2014 then in print thereafter. KH

  Todd McKenney & Les Cagelles

La Cage Aux Folles, with its bevy of pert transvestites, seems to be terminally titillating to an audience that has probably never rubbed up against a drag queen – so to speak.

TV dance show judge and hoofer, Todd McKenney, relishes the opportunity to mince, prance and dazzle in glittering gowns and fabulous wigs when playing flamboyant, over-sensitive Albin.

Simon Burke is suitably elegant and decorative as Georges, Albin’s straight-acting gay, long-term partner and owner of renowned St. Tropez cabaret, La Cage Aux Folles, where Albin stars nightly as the celebrated drag queen, ZaZa.

Georges and Albin’s vivid but stable world totters when Georges’ son, Jean-Michel (Robert Tripolino), announces that he is bringing the Dindons (Gary Sweet, Marg Downey), the arch-conservative parents of his fiancée (Emily Milledge) to meet his own “parents”.

La Cage is playful, vivacious, silly and entertaining and the musical numbers are the most successful components of this production directed by Dean Bryant with musical direction by Matthew Frank and choreography by Andrew Hallsworth.

Friday, 14 November 2014

The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland, Nov 12, 2014

By Ridiculusmus
Arts House, Meat Market, North Melbourne
12 to 16 November 2014
I am not reviewing this for Herald Sun. I am hoping to see it but am not sure yet. I love Ridiculusmus. Wonder if they can bring it back for a longer season? KH

Jon Haynes, Ben Grant, David Woods and Nicola Gunn

From Media Release
" The first of a trilogy of work to be developed over the next five years focusing on mental health, The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland immerses the audience in an ambitious and innovative split staging arrangement where the action and dialogue from two different sequences of scenes are simultaneously performed to two different groups of audience in the same space.

Pennsylvania Avenue, Nov 13, 2014 ***1/2

By Joanna Murray-Smith, by Melbourne Theatre Company 
Southbank Theatre, The Sumner, Nov 13 to Dec 20, 2014 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert 
Stars: ***1/2
 Full review also in Herald Sun online today, Fri Nov 14. It will be in print on Sun Nov 16, 2014. KH
 Bernadette Robinson

Bernadette Robinson is renowned for her versatility and charisma as a singer but, in Pennsylvania Avenue, she reveals that she is also a fine character actor.

Robinson plays Harper Clemence, a woman from Thunderbolt Georgia who, over 40 years, worked her way up from invisible assistant to Social Secretary for the East Wing of the White House where she planned entertainment for First Ladies and Presidents of the USA.

Pennsylvania Avenue is a solo play with songs, written by Joanna Murray-Smith, deftly directed by Simon Phillips with impressive musical direction by Ian McDonald and an accomplished band.

Harper is retiring after her decades of dedication and, surrounded by portraits of past presidents in the famed Blue Room, she packs her last box of memories while she reminisces about her life in the White House.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Hans Christian: You Must Be An Angel, Nov 13, 2014 ****

By Teatret Gruppe (Denmark)
Arts Centre Melbourne, Nov 12 to 16, 2014 
Reviewer: Kate Herbrt 
Stars: ****
I am not reviewing this for Herald Sun. Please forgive the speed at which I've written this review. I wanted to get it down before I lost the magic. KH 
I’ve never seen a children’s show quite like Hans Christian: You Must Be An Angel – and I’ve seen a heck of a lot of kids’ theatre. 

Danish company, Teatret Gruppe, creates a world of wonder and magic and illusion created by two waiters who serve at a celebratory dinner at an enormous table at which sit Hans Christian Andersen and a parade of characters from his fairytales.

The two charming actors (Bodil Alling and Peter Seligmann) are supported by technicians (Søren la Cour, Søren Søndberg, Lars K. Olesen), two of whom are secreted under the table from where they control the technical magic that we witness above.

We don’t see the characters, but each table setting has an empty chair and place setting, cutlery, glasses and items that signify a specific character from a beloved fairytale.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Dreamers, REVIEW, Nov 8, 2014 ***

By Daniel Keene
fortyfivedownstairs, until Nov 30, 2014
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Nov 8
Review also published in Herald Sun on Monday Nov 10, 2014.
Please note my reviews of early Keene/Taylor seasons and other Keene plays are also on this blog. See list of links below review. KH
Yomal Rajasinghe, Helen Morse and Paul English; pic Jeff Busby

It is over a decade since the last Daniel Keene and Ariette Taylor theatrical collaboration so Dreamers, their new production, was awaited with eager anticipation.

Dreamers has some of the hallmarks of those much-loved, early Keene/Taylor Theatre Project works: pressing, contemporary social issues, championing of underdogs and outsiders, an impeccable cast, unexpected choreography and sparse design (Adrienne Chisholm).

Anne (Helen Morse), a lonely widow struggling to make a living from sewing piecework, begins an unexpected love affair with Majid (Yomal Rajasinghe), an equally isolated but much younger man who is a recent immigrant.

Because Majid is not only young but also dark-skinned, their relationship initially raises eyebrows and silent disapproval, but this simmering intolerance and antagonism soon escalates into unbridled racism and abuse.

Their neighbours – the banal and the bigoted – target difference and disadvantage, creating a non-existent enemy that these hypocrites can blame for their own malaise and sense of dispossession.

Friday, 7 November 2014

I'll Eat You Last REVIEW, Nov 6, 2014

I’ll Eat You Last, by John Logan, by Melbourne Theatre Company

Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne, opens Nov 6 to Dec 20, 204

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: 3 &1/2
This review is not for Herald Sun. KH

Miriam Margolyes manages to be both charismatic and repulsive in her portrayal of colourful Hollywood agent, Sue Mengers.

Mengers was not only a successful agent, but also a rapacious consumer of drugs and alcohol, a venomous gossip and an avid follower of the careers of "Twinklies", as she calls movie stars.

Lounging on her sofa like a dangerous feline awaiting its prey, Margolyes teases and charms the audience, treating us as plebian guests in Mengers’ opulent living room in the hiatus before her real and famous dinner guests arrive.

In this solo shows directed by the talented Dean Bryant, Mengers spins tall tale and true of her childhood as a German-Jewish immigrant in New York, her ambitious and relentless ascent from admin assistant to sought-after agent.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Passion, Sondheim, REVIEW, Nov 5, 2014 ***

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim & Book by James Lapine
Based on film, Passione D’Amore by Ettore Scola
By Life Like Company
Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne, Nov 5 to 8, 2014

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ***
Full review also published online in Herald Sun  today, Nov 6. It will also run in print tomorrow, Nov 7, 2014. KH
Kane Alexander & Silvie Paladino. Pic by Ben Fon

Stephen Sondheim’s score for Passion is luscious and emotive, capturing the essence of this boldly dramatic story of clandestine affairs and unrequited love.

The musical opens with Georgio (Kane Alexander), a young soldier, and his beautiful, married lover, Clara (Silvie Paladino), entwined in each other’s arms in a rumpled bed and singing of their unbounded happiness and secret love.

When Georgio is transferred from Milan to a remote, provincial military base, the two keep their love alight with intimate letters.

But Georgio is unprepared for the unwanted, relentless attentions of Fosca (Theresa Borg), the ailing, lovelorn cousin of Colonel Ricci (Mark Dickinson).

Sondheim and James Lapine’s Tony Award winning musical is set in Milan in 1863 and based on Ettore Scola’s film, Passione D’Amore.

The story is operatic in style with heightened characters, and Sondheim embodies this dramatic quality in his expressive lyrics, melodies and often surprising harmonies.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Calpurnia Descending, Nov 14, 2014

Sisters Grimm, Malthouse Theatre
Nov 14 to 30, 2014
With Paul Capsis & Ash Flanders
From Media Release:
"Calpurnia Descending sees one of the country’s most fabulous divas, Paul Capsis, in the role of a lifetime. Enter Beverly Dumont. Once a major star alongside Bette Davis and Elizabeth Taylor – this dame could dazzle. But those days are through. This has-been is now a recluse, hooked on hooch and limping toward obscurity as the curtain falls for good. When from the wings comes a not-so-naive ingénue by the name of Violet St Clair, with cheekbones that could cut glass and a body made for sin.
Together they collude on a Broadway hit to resurrect Dumont’s career, but both women are soon caught in a world of paranoia, scandal and remorseless ambition."

Pennsylvania Avenue, opens Nov 13, 2104

Written by Joanna Murray-Smith, Melbourne Theatre Company
Sumner, Souhbank Theatre, Nov 13 to  20, 2014

I will review this opening on Nov 13. Looking forward to another Bernadette Robinson show. KH
Cast: Bernadette Robinson

Director Simon Phillips
Musical Director Ian McDonald
Set & Costume Designer Shaun Gurton
Lighting Designer Nick Schlieper
Associate Lighting Designer Chris Twyman
Assistant Director John Kachoyan

I'll Eat You Last, Nov 6, 2014

By John Logan
Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne, Nov 6 to Dec 20, 2014

I will not be reviewing this show for Herald Sun but will write about it for the blog. KH

In this one-woman show directed by Dean Bryant, Miriam Margolyes plays Sue Mengers, a Hollywood agent.

Dreamers, Nov 8, 2014

By Daniel Keene; directed by Ariette Taylor
45downstairs, Sat Nov 8 to 30, 2014

I am reviewing this play on Nov 8. If you remember the Keene/Taylor Project, I suggest this would be a good show to see. 

Have a look  at this cast. It has at least four of my favourite actors in it. Now, you can guess who they are.

Helen Morse

Paul English
Natasha Herbert
Nicholas Bell
Marco Chiappi
Jonathan Taylor
Brigid Gallagher
Yomal Rajasinghe
Yomal Rajasinghe &  Helen Morse

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Hell, Oct 30-Nov 9, 2014

Metanoia Theatre
2 plays: 
No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre;
Bobby Gould in Hell by David Mamet
Brunswick Mechanics' Institute, Oct 30 to Nov 9, 2014

I am not seeing or reviewing this show. (I didn't receive any info about it at all.) KH

No Exit directed by Greg Ulfan
Bobby Gould in Hell directed by Gorkan Acaroglu

Shakespeare & The Dark Lady of the Sonnets, Oct 29- Nov 9.2014

By Enzo Condello
Richmond Theatrette
I am not seeing or reviewing this show. KH.

A play in verse that identifies the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets as Emilia Bassano.
Arta Mucaj as Bassano