I loved this show. Like the best theatre it was as if I was cast under a spell in the intimate space that is the Old Fitz. We are transported to the going on in Inishmaan, a small country town in Ireland. It’s a sleepy old town where nothing much happens, kind of like Porpoise Spit in Muriel’s Wedding, There are the two women who run a small corner shop which everyone visits. My favourite character is an old guy who is the town gossip, who comes in all the time telling them the latest news. Most of his news items are plain dead boring and the women tease him about it.
Then one day the guy bursts through the door with some news that is actually newsworthy. An American film company are coming to the town to shoot a film. Here is a chance for a bit of fame. Who had the nerve to say that no-one wants to know about Inishmaan?!Continue reading THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN @ THE OLD FITZ→
Fifty years ago Alex Buzo’s NORM AND AHMED was spoken of in reverent terms in the theatre underground. It was all over the papers of course but that was mainstream and irrelevant to us young ones who were still arguing with our parents about ‘One Day of the Year’ which was 10 years earlier. There were smuggled scripts and meetings and late night discussions and readings and feminist reimaginings in secret.
Now it’s on the HSC syllabus and a whole new generation has the chance to be shocked by the play. Not for the censored and obscenity-trialled ending but more for the astounding relevance it still holds. I was lucky enough to see it onstage again today, as part of the Pioneer Play Festival, and it has had a bit of a tinker but it’s still damning. Continue reading ‘NORM AND AHMED’. WE KNOW THEY ARE STILL OUT THERE!→
Operatic in its emotions , searingly intense , this is a gripping intimate production of Richard Benyon’s play that under Kim Hardwick’s direction glows. THE SHIFTING HEART is set in Collingwood in Melbourne at Christmas time 1956, and while it could be regarded as a period piece is still extremely relevant today . It is an analysis of racism and its victims , of how migrants/refugees are viewed as ‘other ‘ .There is the haunting sense of displacement yet also a longing to belong and be accepted.
The original off-Broadway production of THE FANTASTICKS premiered in 1960, and ran a total of 42 years and 17,162 performances, making it the world’s longest-running musical theatre production, and has music by Harvey Schmidt with book and lyrics by Tom Jones.
Wooden Horse Productions Theatre Company has brought this mercurial musical to the Hayes Theatre in a production directed by Helen Dallimore, with co-musical direction by Hayden Barltrop and Glenn Moorhouse.
What is the world’s longest-running musical theatre production? Cats? The Phantom of the Opera? Chicago? The Lion King? No, it’s a boutique musical with a poetic book and a breezy, inventive score which has been performed all around the globe – THE FANTASTICKS. The show’s original off-Broadway production ran a total of 42 years and 17,162 performances, making it the world’s longest-running musical.
Whimsical, poignant and romantic, THE FANTASTICKS focuses on two young lovers, their meddling fathers, and the journey we all must take through adolescent thrills, the growing pains of hurt and betrayal, the highs of passion, the challenges of distance and the agonies of heartbreak to discover how to truly love. Continue reading THE FANTASTICKS COMING TO THE HAYES→
Product placement is elevated to lyric replacement in a case of not who pays the piper but the Piper pays the production in Helen Dallimore’s elegant, swellegant staging of HIGH SOCIETY at the Hayes Theatre.
Piper Heidsieck champagne is the choice of the Lord household and the bottles are not only wrung out but sung about in a show that’s as bubbly as the beverage.
Adapted in 1937, by Nobel prize–winning author John Steinbeck from his novella written the same year, this wonderful play tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced ranch workers in California, searching for a job during the Great Depression. The title comes from Robert Burns perhaps most used quote, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”
You know from the start that this complementary friendship between the intelligent but uneducated George and the gentle, developmentally challenged giant, Lennie is headed inexorably toward disaster. (The term ‘politically correct’ was not invented in 1937 and Steinbecks’ novella attracted a lot of criticism for using words like “Dumb” and Nigger!).
Dread and trepidation accompanied me as I took my seat last night in the Reginald Theatre down the stairs at the Selmour Centre. The idea of not controlling our destiny was echoed again in the program note about, “we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”
The moment we stepped into the theatre space we saw a very natural relaxed character playing slide guitar blues in the style of a panhandler straight out of the great depression. Then the unlikely pair of road travellers, George and Lennie, enter and put us at ease naturally with nicely crafted characters, regular humour and warmth that transported us with them to the promised land of the farm up ahead and the possibility of their own little ‘passle’ of land, a safe haven where Lennie can stay out of trouble and George can relax.
The stage then erupts with raucous farm hands transforming the space into the bunkhouse to the accompaniment of that natural guitar again and we know that we’re in good hands- but it’s gonna be a bumpy ride to drama and pain!
The cast are superb in every role. Andrew Henry delivers a sensitive characterisation of Lennie, a role which it would be so easy to overplay and lose empathy. Anthony Gooley is a wonderful, caring George. (I saw those tears at the end.)
Anna Houston was captivating as Curley’s plaintive desperate wife. Andre de Vanny played Curly, a villain to hate and Christopher Stollery played Slim, a solid support for George when needed.
John McNeil, Laurence Coy, Terry Serio, Charles Allen and Tom Stokes were all splendid and natural in character and performance. I make no apologies for reusing the word ‘natural’ to describe everything about this outstanding production.
We saw a simple but effective design from Michael Hankin, (I loved his design of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), enhanced by the lighting design from Sian James Holland and Nate Edmondson.
Iain Sinclair’s direction elevated this classic script to unusual heights, the use of naturally occurring sound in the background created atmosphere, and the audience’s commitment was palpable. I heard sighs and gasps at all the right times.
The last scene led to nearly half a minute of stunned silence, then the rapturous applause exploded. Then we all trooped out, moved but satisfied .. naturally.
A Sport for Jove production, Jon Steinbeck’s OF MICE AND MEN is playing the Reginald theatre at the Seymour Centre until the 1st August.
When MAN OF LA MANCHA opened on Broadway 50 years ago, it was in an era where Martin Luther King was espousing I Had A Dream and the Kennedy’s were quoting George Bernard Shaw You see things and you say “Why?” I dream things that never were, and I say “Why not.”
No wonder then the linchpin lyric of this endearing and enduring show is The Impossible Dream, the musical mantra of Don Quixote, the knight errant tiller of windmills, who sees life as it should be, noble and elevated, not as it is, vulgar and base.
Independent music theatre company, Squabbalogic’s fiftieth anniversary staging of MAN OF LA MANCHA has an impossible dream realised – the securing of Tony Sheldon, lauded local Broadway star now domiciled in the United States, to play the poet paladin. Continue reading Man Of La Mancha @ The Reginald→
Sheer theatrical delight , this is a superb production of this rarely seen show.
I saw the brilliant London version ( it’s also been on Broadway ) and it has been performed in Melbourne with Geoffrey Rush as Man in Chair , but so far as I am aware Sydney has not had a chance to be enchanted by it previously .
Under the scintillating direction of Jay James-Moody , the superb ensemble glows .With its clever staging and terrific cast the production sparkles and delights. With its infectious rhythms , all-singing, all-dancing superb cast wonderful Squabbalogic have done it again !.
For musical theatre fans it is witty distillation of history and an analysis of theatre itself. The show is a loving parody of 1920’s musicals purporting to be a record of a November 1928 musical that comes alive in the’ Man in Chair’s enthusiastic imagination. Continue reading THE DROWSY CHAPERONE→
SYDNEY REVIEWS OF Screen + Stage + Performing Arts + Literary Arts + Visual Arts + Cinema + Theatre +