Monday, 26 July 2021

Everyman by National Theatre, 25 July 2021 *****

 

THEATRE ONLINE

Adaptation by Carol Ann Duffy

By National Theatre Live. A production from National Theatre

https://www.ntathome.com/products/everyman-1

Available until July 2022

Reviewer: Kate Herbert on 25 July 2015

Stars: ***** (5)

This review published only on this blog. KH


Chiwetel Ejiofor as Everyman

 

The charismatic Chiwetel Ejiofor plays a successful and popular high-flier in Carol Ann Duffy’s re-imagined and modernised Everyman. ‘Ev’ (AKA ‘Everyman’) is a 21st century hedonist living his extravagant life in the fast lane with cocaine, booze, lovers and all the luxury goods he desires.

 

The original Everyman (The Summoning of Everyman) is a morality play written in the late mediaeval period in England. Duffy’s new adaptation for National Theatre (UK) was performed in 2015 and is streaming as part of National Theatre Live.

 

Everyman celebrates his 40th birthday with his rowdy, adoring ‘friends’ and plenty of drugs, booze and sex on tap. However, smack in the midst of his partying, Death, played with grim humour by Dermot Crowley, pays Everyman an unexpected and unpleasant visit. Ev must abandon his hedonistic ways and seek out someone to speak in his defence when he makes his ‘Reckoning’ of his life with God, who is portrayed by Kate Duchêne as a wry and disappointed cleaning woman.


Kate Duchêne as God

 

Rufus Norris’s production gallops at a breakneck pace, echoing Everyman’s frenetic scramble to beg for help from his friends, family, worldly goods, and his pitifully few good deeds. Ev’s fate is sealed already, but relentless Death pursues him like a dog chasing a rabbit, toying with him on the journey.

 

Ejiofor’s Everyman transitions convincingly from a charming, potent and compelling hedonist to a weeping, sweating, confused shell of his former self, pleading for mercy. His final confession is poignant, gripping and heartfelt, but we all know it is too little and too late.

 

The versatile ensemble plays multiple roles and is vigorously and inventively choreographed by Javier De Frutos to interpret Ev and his mates’ wild revelry and the chaos that whirls around him on his path to find even a single good deed for his credit column.

 

Everyman is an inspired production, imaginatively adapted by Duffy, impeccably directed by Norris and with the captivating Chiwetel Ejiofor leading a dazzling ensemble.

by Kate Herbert




Creative Team:

Director- Rufus Norris

Choreography -Javier De Frutos

Set design- Ian MacNeil

Costume -Nicky Gillibrand

Lighting-Paul Anderson

Video -Tal Rosner

Composer/Music -William Lyons

 

Cast:

Everyman - Chiwetel Ejiofor,

God/Good Deeds – Kate Duchêne

Death – Dermot Crowley

Father- Phillip Martin Brown

Mother- Sharon D Clarke

Sister- Michelle Butterfly

 

Fellowship/Senses/Wits:

Sound –Paul Bullion

Passion -Adam Burton

Vanity – Amy Griffiths

Strength – Nick Holder

Smell – Nicholas Karimi

Sensuality– Joshua Lacey

Conscience – Coral Messam

Touch – Nadine Cox

Taste –Itaxi Moreno

Sight – Ira Mandela Siobhan

Discretion– Kiruna Stamell

Insecurity – Clemmie Sviaas

 

Good:

Adam Burton

Amy Griffith

Joshua Lacey

Clemmie Sveaas

Knowledge -Penny Layden

Everyboy – Jeshiaiah Murray

Ensemble -Stephen Aintree

 

Thursday, 22 July 2021

THEM by Samah Sabawi, touring 2021 + Review of 2019 production

 THEM at Arts Centre   28- 30 July 2021 11am

See my review (below) of original production on 4 June 2019.


Cast & Creative Team of 2021 production:

Written by – Samah Sabawi

Directed by – Bagryana Popov

Sound Design – Elissa Goodrich

Lighting Design – Shane Grant

Set & Costume Design – Lara Week

Piano – Nahad Elrayes

Cast – Taj Aldeeb, Nahed Elrayes, Claudia Greenstone, Adeeb Razzouk, Osamah Sami, Mehran Tajbakhsh

 

REVIEW OF 2019 PRODUCTION 

By Samah Sabawi, presented by La Mama Theatre

At La Mama Courthouse, until June 9, 2019 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert 
Stars: ***1/2


THEM Priscilla Doueihy & Abdulrahman Hammoud pic by Justyn Koh 2019  
 
THEM, Samah Sabawi’s warm, moving play set in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, is a welcome antidote to common images of the Middle East as a region beset with terrorism and violence.

In these troubled times, portrayals of the Middle East and its refugees are often ill-informed at best, and negative, or even hostile, at worst.

Sabawi’s intimate story emphasises her characters’ humanity and vulnerability as they negotiate life-changing decisions of whether to stay or leave their war-torn city and risk their lives to reach a safer place.

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Frozen the Musical, REVIEW Melbourne premiere, 14 July 2021 ****

MUSICAL THEATRE

Frozen the Musical

Music & Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez; Book by Jennifer Lee

At Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on 14 July 2021
Stars:**** (4)
This review published only on this blog. KH

Jemma Rix - Photo by Lisa Tomasetti

 

The excitement was palpable and the atmosphere electric at the glittering opening night of Frozenthe Musical last night on a frosty winter's night in Melbourne. The premiere was postponed for a month while Melbourne laboured through a June lockdown and it marks the first major musical to open in Melbourne since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

 

Act One begins with the joyful, prosperous Kingdom of Arendelle and the playful and loving relationship between princesses, Elsa, who has the magical ability to conjure snow, and her adoring, younger sister, Anna.

 

When Elsa’s spell backfires, striking Anna down, Elsa is compelled to live in isolation within the palace for the next ten years, to avoid harming her sister or any of the townspeople. The over-arching message of Frozen is that love conquers all and, by the end, that particularly applies to the sisters’ love.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Harry Potter & The Cursed Child, (re-posting) 23 Feb 2019 ****1/2

THEATRE 

Story by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany 

Script by Jack Thorne 

At Princess Theatre, Melbourne, closing date TBC   

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ****1/2

I am re-posting my review of the ORIGINAL 2019 production as Cursed Child has, now re-opened. Remember, this is not the current cast.
This review was published only on this blog. KH

Sean Rees-Wemyss & William McKenna 
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a sparkling, visual feast filled with tasty, Hogwarts  treats for the Potter aficionado.

The excitable and very vocal crowd cheers and gasps at the remarkable, jaw-dropping special effects of John Tiffany’s production that combines magical illusion, black theatre puppetry, startling appearances and disappearances, and whirling choreographic scenes - oh, and familiar characters as well as new ones.

Tiffany keeps the action swift and vivacious in Parts One and Two that are an endurance test of over five hours for the audience - but nobody seems to mind.

Friday, 9 July 2021

Marys Seacole, LCT Online, 4 July 2021 ***

THEATRE - ONLINE

Written by  Jackie Sibblies Drury

Part of LCT Steinberg New Works Program

Recorded at Claire Tow Theatre, Streamed by Lincoln Center Theater until 4 July 2021

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ***

 This short review is only published on this blog. KH

Quincy Tyler Bernstine as Marys Seacole

 

Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play, Marys Seacole, explores the life of Jamaican nurse, Marys Seacole, and her modern counterparts, in an episodic journey that visits 19th century Jamaica and Crimea, and 21st century America.

 

In Lileana Blain-Cruz's production of Sibblies' play, Marys, played compellingly by Quincy Tyler Bernstine, transports us to different times or locations by narrating parts of her story in monologues. Some of this interpolated narration has too much explication or is simply too long.

 

The first time shifts delivers Marys from Jamaica in 1850s, to present-day America and the action moves to a modern nursing home where an earnest, white woman visits her ailing, verbally unresponsive mother.

 

We meet other women of Jamaican background as modern nurses, mothers in a playground and nurses on the Crimean battlefield.

Glass by Rawcus Ensemble with Marc Brew, 8 July 2021 ***1/2


THEATRE  Rawcus

At Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre, until 11 July 2021

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ***1/2

 This review is published only on this blog. KH

Rawcus Ensemble, GLASS. Photo by Pia Johnson


Rawcus Ensemble has waited over a year to be able to perform its latest production, Glass. This physical performance had its inception in Oakland USA during Rawcus’ momentous, 2019 visit to work with Marc Brew and his company, Axis Dance Company.

 

When the pandemic hit in 2020 and Brew was unable to travel to Melbourne, the project changed into an international collaboration choreographed by Brew via Zoom. Glass is the result.

 

Rawcus describes itself as ‘A long-term ensemble of 15 performers with diverse minds, bodies and imaginations who create distinct performance work and deliver exceptional arts experiences.’

 

This diversity is apparent in the performance which explores, in abstract, non-narrative and physical form, themes of confinement, freedom, conformity, repetition, playfulness, contact, separation and individuality, amongst others.

Friday, 2 July 2021

Talking Dogs, 2 July 2021 - Children's show - REVIEW

By Joel Salom

Roola Boola Children's Arts Festival (Stonnington )

Chapel off Chapel, Prahran

One show only online via Zoom on Friday 2 July 2021 

Reviewer:  Kate Herbert 2 July 2021

The producers decided that they wanted a review so here it is! Yippee! KH


Talking Dogs by Joel Salom is a cute and engaging, online children’s show performed on Zoom for children 4 and over.

 

Salom, a charming and skilful juggler, is not only juggling balls and clubs, he’s also juggling a live, multi-camera stream from his living room in Brunswick Heads with the support of his own offspring, Harper and Miro. It all works and the kids who are peering out at us in their Zoom screen from their own homes love it!

 

While everyone arrives in their Zoom room before the start of the show, Salom chats to his screen-captive audience, explaining to the kids that they should wave their hands onscreen if they want to participate by making suggestions during the show.

Talking Dogs, online, Fri 2 July 2021 (not a review)

By Joel Salom

One show only online via Zoom on Friday 2 July 2021 

Part of  Roola Boola Children's Festival (Stonnington, Chapel off Chapel, Prahran)

See programme for Festival: https://chapeloffchapel.com.au/whats-on/

NB: The producers of this show didn’t want a review, so I’m just making some general comments. (Pity, 'cos it's good. Oops! that's a review/value comment!) KH

 

Talking Dogs by Joel Salom is an online children’s show via Zoom for children 4+.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

KNOT by Darkfield Radio, 23 June 2021 ****

 

AUDIO THEATRE

Darkfield Radio KNOT, 'Immersive 360 Audio'

Streamed on your phone. Fri- Sun at 5pm, 6pm & 7pm (All of these times) until 31 July 2021

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: **** (4)

KNOT, another in a series of immersive, audio performances by Darkfield Radio, is an evocative and unsettling dreamscape.

 

This is a solo listening experience in three parts. The audience listens to the performance through earphones on their mobiles. We experience Part One on a park bench of our choosing, Part Two in a car alone, and Part Three back in our own home. With eyes closed, the world is populated by a parade of characters, and filled with soundscape that evoke each location.

 

KNOT relies on the audience, as active listeners, being willing to be transported to other places and times and willing to believe in this new reality. We are not merely audience, but each of us is an intrinsic character in this narrative – silent, but still present and significant.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

A Celebration of Student Songs, by Lincoln Center Theater, 17 June 2021 ***1/2

MUSICAL THEATRE/ONLINE CONCERT

Produced by Lincoln Center Theater (sic) - Songwriting in the Schools

Online Lincoln Center Theater via  Broadway on Demand until 20 June 2021

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: 3.5

This review published only on this blog. KH 


Songwriting in the Schools is part of Lincoln Center Theater’s Open Stages Education program during which students from High Schools write music and lyrics for their songs, ably assisted by their teachers.

 

This hour-long performance is usually performed on stage at Lincoln Center. However, for this year’s Pandemic performance, participants recorded video introductions to their songs and the singers performed them to a camera, probably from their own homes.

 

The songs cover issues ranging from the Pandemic to racial justice, gun control, LBGQT rights, love and pets.

Monday, 7 June 2021

BATS Improv Online, 5 June 2021 ****


IMPROVISED THEATRE

Canadian Horror Story by BATS Improv Online (San Francisco) BATS Online

On Facebook and Zoom, 5 June 2021 (Sun 6 June AET)

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ****

Regina Saisi -Rafe Chase  BATS Canadian Horror Story, pic from Zoom show


Canadian Horror Story, the brainchild of Canadian improviser, Karen Brelsford, is the latest online improvised show from BATS Improv Online in San Francisco.

 

Brelsford, appearing in black and white, introduces the show in the persona of a late-night, horror movie host. From the audience suggestions – posted in the Zoom Chat – Brelsford decides that the story will be set in Doug Hollow, a small, bucolic, Canadian town that is visited by two cousins on a car trip.

 

This improvised horror show is variously hilarious, spooky, demented and gory. The story takes us, via virtual backgrounds, to a car interior, a rustic log cabin / gas station, the town bar, the interior and exterior of an isolated motel and a creepy forest at night. Joshua Raoul Brody’s music has echoes of the original Twin Peaks score.

Saturday, 22 May 2021

The Lifespan of a Fact, MTC, 21 May 2021 ****

THEATRE

Written by Jeremy Kareken & David Murrell and Gordon Farrell, by Melbourne Theatre Company

At Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne, until 3 July 2021

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ****

This review is published only on this blog. KH

  
Steve MouzakisKarl Richmond

 

The Lifespan of a Fact is bound to trigger arguments about the vices and virtues of literary non-fiction and the value of fact and truth in this purportedly non-fiction literary form that demands the same poetic licence as fiction writing.

 

Creative non-fiction colours and enhances a true story by imbuing it with literary flourishes and making it a more palatable story. From where I’m standing, if you don’t use facts, i.e. empirical truth, then it’s no longer non-fiction.

 

Evidently, facts don’t appeal to lots of people because they are dry and require effort to process. We need to be fed facts wrapped in a story to which we can relate. This is what myths and religious stories such as the Bible provide, and now, it seems, so does literary non-fiction.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

The Royale, Lincoln Center Theater, online until 16 May 2021 ****1/2

THEATRE Online

Written by Marco Ramirez

Online- Lincoln Center Theater(sic) Private Reels via  Broadway on Demand

Available until 16 May 2021

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ****1/2

 This review published only on this blog. KH

 

  Clarke Peters, Khris Davis

‘I’m gonna change things!” says Khris Davis as the charismatic, African-American heavyweight boxer, Jay ‘The Sport’ Jackson, in The Royale by Marco Ramirez.

 

But can Jay risk winning his bout against the white champion, Bernard Bixby, when it may change things for both the better and the worse for his African-American community?

 

Set between 1905 and 1910 in various places in the US, Ramirez’s confronting and compelling play is directed imaginatively and deftly by Rachel Chavkin who conjures a dramatic and conflict-driven world that seems to be even more perilous outside the ring.