Tuesday 31 December 2002

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, Dec 31, 2002

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Where: State Theatre,  Dec 31, 2002 to Jan 31, 2003
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

'Tis the season for family entertainment and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, adapted by David Parker from C.S. Lewis's novel,  is a perfect family fare.

This enormous visual theatre show is from the producers of The Hobbit. This time, there are not only Philip Millar's  beautifully designed puppets but also fine original music by Ian McDonald.

Much of McDonald's music is evocative of the Middle Eastern. Hugh Colman's  set design provides a spookily beautiful fairy tale environment. The exotic atmosphere is enhanced by Philip Lethlean's magical lighting design.

Director, Nadia Tass,  keeps the action moving and writer-adaptor, David Parker,  provides an economical narrative.

Amanda Muggleton  as the White Witch is magnetic.  Her songs are passionate and her presence commanding as she prowls and parades as the wicked usurping Queen.

The versatile Dennis Olsen  plays several roles. He is charmingly avuncular as the Professor then regal and resonant as Aslan,  the Lion King returning to save Narnia.

The story is based on the first book of seven part Narnia Chronicles  by C.S. Lewis, a professor of Literature at Cambridge. The heroes are four children: Lucy,  Peter,  Edmund  and Susan  Pevensie (Meaghan Davies, Joseph Connell, Brian Rooney, Yolande Brown).

They are a family of World War II refugees who are sent to the house of The Professor. While playing hide and seek, Lucy discovers Narnia through the back of a wardrobe in the spare room. The four save Narnia from the tyrannous White Witch who makes the land  "always winter but never Christmas."

Davies plays the naïve, honest Lucy with energy. Connell, as the responsible older brother, is a talent to watch particularly for his bell-like tones and impeccable control singing Fire in My Soul.

As the older sister, Brown has little to do but provides a strong character. Rooney as the corruptible Edmund plays his traitorous role with zest.

Six compelling acrobats act as sprites. Their role as scene changers becomes repetitious.

Millar's puppets are the stars. Seven multi-skilled puppeteers animate no less than thirty creatures. There is a giant, Rumblebuffin  (Bruce Paterson) Mr. Tumnus , the faun, (Leighton Young) and the majestic Lion King, Aslan (Warrick Williams, Nicola Fearn).

Puppeteers also provide the character's voices and sing. No mean feat when one is simultaneously manipulating a beaver or a dwarf. The multi-skills needed may explain why some puppeteers' acting is weaker than others.

Millar's team produced beautifully sculpted creatures. Aslan's head is exceptional. Black suited puppeteers animate most of the puppets while others, such as centaur and faun, are attached to a human body.

This huge undertaking needs plenty of development time so some niggly details need attention. Aslan's rear end looks loose and some creatures look disabled. Philip Judd's  lyrics are clever but sometimes a little trite.

Despite these quibbles, this is a perfect holiday show for the family.

By Kate Herbert

Friday 20 December 2002

Wanna Play, Dec 21, 2002

What: Wanna Play by Donna Bradshaw
Where: Courthouse Theatre
When: Tuesday to Saturday until December 21,2002
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Happy families is not the way to describe Wanna Play by Donna Bradshaw. The entire dramatis personae are dysfunctional and irrational.

The story revolves around a group of 17 year olds living in an unnamed country town. They struggle to survive the pressure of their peers, their parents or their boredom.

The play, directed by Karyn Kamminga,) is described as an unsentimental look at life. The story is relentlessly unpleasant and exhausting as characters suffer at the hands of others.

Sally ( Tara De Pasquale) hides in her bedroom to avoid her desperate mother's (Cristabel Sved) fights with her drunken, violent boyfriend. Ross. ( Peter Heward)

She tries to avoid a relationship with the loving Adrian (Tom Sansburg) because she desperately wants to escape the stultifying atmosphere of this parochial town.

Sally's unambitious friend, Rachel (Bianca Sirianni) is in a teenage love triangle with the dangerous and manipulative Joey (Tristan Pierce) and his submissive sidekick, Sean (Mark Pound)

 Bradshaw's script has some merit. Her dialogue is often well observed and the message is appropriate for younger audiences.

These lives are well depicted as depicted are sad, stupid, cruel and unloving in the greater part. Apart from Sally, only Adrian and his mother ( Louise Steele) have redeeming features.

No one has what he or she wants. No one has any hope of getting it.

The play is probably better than this production. The acting is amateurish and the direction heavy handed. Scene changes are clumsy and the scenes repeat themselves.

There is far too much shouting by actors who play the roles on one note. Eventually we feel nothing for them.

The dialogue and issues are repetitive. Individual characters seem to press home a single idea and this is tiresome.

It would be useful to focus the play earlier on sally as the cental character. It is unclear for some time, whose story it is.

The play is very earnest and verges on soap opera at times. There is attempted rape, two teenage pregnancies, drugs, an accidental death, brutal beatings and plenty of stand up fights between just about everyone.

This production has no dynamic range which interrupts it attempts to touch us with the tragedy of these lives.

By Kate Herbert

The Play about the Baby, Edward Albee, Red Stitch, Dec 20, 2002

What: The Play about the Baby, by Edward Albee, Red Stitch Actors Theatre
Where: Red Stitch 80 Inkerman St St Kilda
When: Until November 24 2002 at 8pm
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Having not seen more recent works by Pulitzer prize winning playwright, Edward Albee, I have only early works to compare with this, his latest play.

The Play about the Baby is a less substantial script albeit llively and amusing. IT certainly does not meet the level of sophistication ab complexity of his potent play, Whoo's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. 1962 or A delicate balance. 1967
IT relies on the absurd and metaphorical rather than the realistic and literal.

A young man and his wife Brett Cousins  Laura Gordon) live in domestic bliss in their trailer park with their new baby. They are naïve, cheerful, loving and adolescent in every way. No pain has touched them- yet.

An older Man and Woman ( Daniel Frederiksen Kat stewart ) arrive unannounced and uninvited intheir simple, balance orld.

The older couple take the baby with no explnation apart from the Man's sinister epithet, " Without wounds how do you know who you are? How do you know you are alive?" Perhaps Albee wants us to see a Garden of Eden reference.

Kaarin Fairfax's direction makes rather heavy work of the text. The actors stand around a good deal too much and seem uncomfortable in this very stylised almost cabaret style.

Frederiksen plays the Man almost as a loud controlling game show host. His character chides us and the Woman, taunts the young couple and indulges in cryptic references and odd anecdotes about memory.

S thee Wooman, Stewart is engaging and funny. She effectively portrays her as a dizzy, vain woman with the attention span of a gnat.

The main problem with the casting is that the older couple are too young. The roles call for mu h older actors to make the spearation of innocence an maturity work on stage. We cn suspend ourisbelief only so far.

The younger roles are moore difficult to play. Both Cousins and Gordon seem awkward and uncertain.

The design ( Dannielle Brustman) s like a cartoon version of a trailer park with two dimensional caravan wall , fake lawn and fold- up metal chairs.

The metaphorical elements are laboured. The young couple wear white as if they are unsullied and virginal. The older pair are in cocktail outfits fit for Derby day drunken sophisticates.

Res Stitch is a valiant new company to be recommended. The Play about the Baby is entertaining but lacks subtlety.

By Kate Herbert

Robyn Arthur- Taught By Experts, Dec 20, 2002

What: Taught By Experts by Robyn Arthur
Where: Chapel off Chapel 12 Little Chapel St Prahran
When: December 19 to 22
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Robyn Arthur is one of our seasoned music theatre artists. Taught by Experts, her solo show, is a simple presentational format that showcases her talent, versatility and wry demeanour.

Arthur may not be a household name to  any but the music theatre aficionados, but she has an enviable musical biography.

The evening is a virtual tour through her life in music. The show, directed slickly by Terry O'Connell, is written by Robert Hewett who has use Arthur's own stories to create a witty and economical script to link songs.

 The songs are peppered with funny and poignant snatches of stories about her family and the stage.

She boarded with an aunt in Sydney, trained as a secretary, worked in dull old Canberra and met incompetent politicians at the ABC. Then she toured and made a success in the theatre world.

The second half of the show is a musical feast. The songs are moving, the stories heartfelt and Arthur's singing impassioned. Her voice is rich and controlled.

 Her rendition of Peter Allen's Don't Cry Out Loud brought storms of applause from the crowd. They also loved Master of the House from her role as Madame Thenardier, the innkeeper's wife in Les Miserables.

She stands at the microphone with accompanist Dean Lotherington seated behind her on piano. Her manner relaxes after interval and we feel her energetic personality. She describes her musical influences and passion for music theatre.

The catalyst for a thirty-year career was when her baritone dad took her to Carousel as a child. Her big break was Harry M Miller's Jesus Christ Superstar. She played Apostle's Woman - no specific apostle apparently.

Her Catholic education prepared her for Nunsense. Then came a scruffy production of Showboat with plywood sets. Then came Evita where she learned from consummate Broadway star, Patti LuPone. Beauty and the Beast saw her playing Mrs. Potts, the teapot.

Music theatre people are troupers. Arthur toured in Annie for four years and for the same time in Les Miserables. She performed in literally thousands of each show.

Let's hope the failing music theatre scene can sustain more shows to feature her skills.

By Kate Herbert

Wednesday 18 December 2002

Marat Sade, Dec 18, 2002

What: Marat Sade by Peter Weiss, by Eclipse Theatre
Where: Theatreworks 14A Acland St., St. Kilda
When: December 18 to 21, 2002 at 7.30pm
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Marat/Sade, written by German playwright, Peter Weiss, is set in the bath hall of the French asylum of Charenton in 1808, sixteen years after the French Revolution. Director, Miranda Rose, bit off a fair chunk in attempting this play. The production cannot meet the quality of the script.

The full title of the play is "The persecution and assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as performed by the inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the direction of the Marquis de Sade."

The incarcerated Marquis de Sade directs his own play about the death of Jean-Paul Marat, the French revolutionary murdered in 1793 in his bath by fellow revolutionary, Charlotte Corday.

The shocking murder is told in a play within a play, through the voices of the inmates of the asylum under de Sade's cool direction.

 Weiss's play is a political allegory using the French Revolution as a parallel for the modern world. The violence of the Revolution, the poverty of the masses and opulence of the aristocracy are reflected in the powerlessness of the inmates as they perform for the elite of French society in 1808.

As the time for the murder nears, the lunatics lose control and the audience, both on and off-stage, are threatened with violence.

This production appears to use the translation by Geoffrey Skelton with verse adaptation by Adrian Mitchell and music by Richard Peaslee.

Peter Brook originally directed this version in 1964 for the Royal Shakespeare Company. (RSC) It was the definitive stage form of Antonin Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty in both writing and performance.

There are several competent performances in Eclipse's production. As de Sade, Adrian D'Aprano has an imposing presence and an understanding of the character. As the somnambulist, Charlotte, Ben Sutton is compelling while James Adler holds our attention as Marat with his stillness.
Swapping the genders of characters is a comic choice that undermines the potency.

Overall, the show misses the poignancy and tragedy. It portrays the mentally ill with face pulling and twitching. There is no subtlety nor is there any sensitivity to the issues inherent in Weiss's complex play.

The songs are probably the most successful part of the show.

The audience should feel at risk emotionally and physically. The play should balance the sardonic with the socially significant, blend the poetic and the crass, the musical and the spoken. Eclipse fails to do this.

By Kate Herbert

Theatre Wrap Up 2002, Dec 18, 2002

What:  Theatre Wrap Up 2002
Writer: Kate Herbert

There are some nights I would rather throw myself under a train than go to the theatre. Luckily, there are some wonderful shows to renew one's faith in art.

Two of my favourites this year came from the UK. Three Dark Tales (Theatre O) was a superbly crafted contemporary clown show with a poignant story of loneliness and despair in an office. In Say Nothing, (Ridiculusmus) a dark comedy, two actors stood atop a suitcase to creating a satirical, political micro-view of Ireland.

Two solos grabbed me. Our inimitable Max Gillies' political satire, Your Dreaming, returned with an updated, hilarious script by Guy Rundle. Then Canadian puppeteer, Ronnie Burkett, wowed audiences in Tinka's New Dress.

Melbourne Theatre Company had several successes. Rachel Griffiths,, was exceptional in the funny and profound Proof. (MTC) True West featured a wonderful duo in David Wenham and David Tredinnick while Laughter on the 23rd Floor was a giggle.

There was little local theatrical experimentation this year. However, the innovative and unconventional Interior Sites (IRAA Theatre) altered the actor-audience relationship when we stayed overnight with the magnetic Roberta Bosetti.  

A few international shows took a bite at the experimental - or just the mental. We saw mad Italians, (Genesi Argentinians (Mil Quinientos) and Germans. (Total Masala Slammer) during Melbourne Festival.

The Roulette series (Ranters Theatre) and Laurance Strangio's Krapp's Last Tapes showed how to mount great shows on low budgets.

Lucky VCA students worked with dynamic English director, Di Trevis, on a vivid and innovative production of Remembrance of Things Past, adapted by Harold Pinter.

From Sydney, Copenhagen was a challenging play with fine performers. (John Gaden,  Robert Menzies, Jane Harders) and The Royal Shakespeare Company sent four resonant older actors in The Hollow Crown to show us how to use a voice.

La Mama once more produced more small shows than anyone else. The Store Room and Chapel of Chapel followed close on its heels with Fortyfivedownstairs as a new horse in the race.

Some notable failures included Dead Caucasians - a messy, long and tiresome tale of inner-urban angst -  and The Changeling which courageously incorporating a rock band into a Jacobean Tragedy.

Indigenous issues took a front seat this year. Fire, Fire Burning Bright went half way to integrating indigenous stories with contemporary technology.  Blak Inside (Playbox & Illbijerri) provided a forum for important indigenous issues but the season lacked theatrical strength.

The experimental was less visible in local product than in imports. Of course experimentation costs money and our system provides too little.

What we still lack is middle-sized companies. Funding bodies provide only for larger companies or small projects. Without a middle level, the industry cannot expand, new groups cannot move upward into positions as ongoing companies with viable budgets.

The market is unlikely to change without increased subsidies or massive sponsorship.

By Kate Herbert

Saturday 14 December 2002

In The Beginning…. The Odd Testament, Dec 14, 2002

What: In The Beginning…. The Odd Testament by Short Attention Span
Where: Trades Hall
When: Wed to Sat until December 21, 2002
Time: 8pm
Bookings:   9685 5111
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Messing about with the Bible might be considered naughty but In The Beginning is a very sweet, entertaining show about some dysfunctional biblical couples.

Performers Alice Carter and Krisztian Bagin with director John Bolton blend speeches from The Old Testament with stories about Adam and Eve, Mr and Mrs Moses and Noah and wife.

The result is a short, witty, modern clown show with original songs by The Soubrettes and live music by Steven Lindsay .

The pair is dressed in scruffy, Eastern European 40's gear. Carter wears a gold top and feathered hat, Bagin a baggy green suit.

They might be World War Two Jewish migrants living in their run-down kitchen with laminex table and antique washing machine.

Bagin is a gifted comic performer with a mobile face and charming manner while the warm and voluptuous Carter carries a cabaret tune with great verve.

The show begins with day one of the universe. " Let there be light," Carter drones dryly like a bored cabaret singer and an off-stage God turns on a single globe.

Adam and Eve meet, fall in lust, naively investigate the Garden of Eden and all its treasures. Finally, they must contend with the drudgery of domestic life.

Bagin is hilarious as Adam trying to appease his over-worked wife. He tries valiantly and hopelessly to do the ironing to ease her load.

Ironic references to the biblical stories arise; "Adam, one day Cain is really going to hurt his brother," says Eve.

On Mount Sinai, Mrs Moses demands that Moses chisel her Ten Commandments in stone. "You will pay me a compliment at least once a week - and mean it."

Bagin clambering up the mountain clumsily hauling stones tablets is very funny physical comedy.

Director, Bolton, keeps the rhythm unpredictable and the visual and verbal gags coming fast.

Another element introduced part way into the show is the exotic cabaret singer, (Tania Kyriakou) who croons songs about love and survival. This character needs some further integration into the show.

In the Beginning is a happy, peppy piece that is worth a look and giggle. It certainly is the Odd Testament.

By Kate Herbert

Friday 13 December 2002

Speedmouse, Umbbilical Bros, Dec 13, 2002

What: Speedmouse by The Umbilical Brothers
Where: Athenaeum Theatre I
When: December 12 to 14 & 18 to 22, 2002
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

What is so wonderful about The Umbilical Brothers in Speedmouse, apart from their exceptional skill, is their apparent unpretentiousness. Dave Collins and Shane Dundas knock our socks off us with their effortless blend of physical gags, sound effects and stupidness.

Between, or sometimes during, their construction of bizarre imagined worlds, they charm us with their casual chit chat, making it all look like a relaxed party game. It isn't. Speedmouse is a cleverly devised and complex piece without a single narrative line.

It sports two delightful, skilled performers who lead us like lambs into their land of nutty noises and pictures. The stage is empty except for the occasional introduction of a small, black screen by the third cast member, the Roadie. On this cavernous, black stage of the Athenaeum the pair create an underwater world, the Manchester Olympics

They manufacture out of thin air and sound effects, their own Fantastic Voyage inside Dave's body as he holds a microphone to his head listening to the scientists chat about his innards.

Their version of French mime- they mockingly call it European visual theatre - is a wry parody of walking into the wind and pulling yet another a mime rope.

This is no ordinary or classical mime show. They create a seamless mind and body meld between them. Much of the time Shane is using a mike but almost invisibly creating all the sound for both his and Dave's actions.

 A dog barks, pounds up the road on its little paws, runs after a stick. All this is vapour but we believe it because Dave and Shane's illusions are so real and complete.

There are several theatrical devices that allow them to move through their visual and audio gags. One is the use of a remote control. They fast-forward, go slow motion, move frame by frame or rewind.

They can switch channels to an erotica program, to a runaway truck heading toward them or to a child floating away attached to a helium balloon.

Another winning element is the clown-suited, ominously silent Roadie who hates Dave. While the Roadie supports Shane, Tina, the unseen but heard stage manager with a big bloke's voice, disciplines Shane.

Their timing is impeccable. Their method is their own. The two become almost interchangeable as voice and actor.

Speedmouse is more than a short spin around a few visual gags. It is a rich and funny 90 minutes with two very talented guys and a complete bastard of a Roadie.

It is the kooky meeting of Die Hard and Marcel Marceau. This could be family entertainment - if you can tolerate the odd bit of swearing.

By Kate Herbert

Thursday 12 December 2002

Harry's Christmas, Berkoff, Dec 12, 2002

What: Harry's Christmas by Steven Berkoff, by Elixir Theatre
Where: Chapel off Chapel 12A Little Chapel St Prahran
When: Thurs to Sun at 7pm until 22 December, 2002
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

English playwright and actor, Steven Berkoff, knew what a depressing time Christmas could be for many lonely people.

His play, Harry's Christmas, is a dark, comic exploration of one man's failure to cope with the Silly Season.

Mirra Todd, plays Harry as a frenetic, almost uncontrollable, lonely loony.

Stefan Mrowinski directs him in an abstract form based on the methods of Polish director, Jerzy Grotowski. This works only in part.

The production takes us out of the realistic and ordinary and into a metaphoric world in which Harry's broken thoughts are represented in convulsive and unpredictable movements.

Todd cavorts and leaps in a large open space. He runs in circles, contorting his body and babbling at his audience.

In Berkoff's script, Harry collects his handful of Christmas cards and hangs them in his bed-sitter.  In Mrowinski's production, Harry instead holds a deck of playing cards, symbolising that his luck is out.

Berkoff's language exaggerates superbly the fractured mind of this sad little man with no friends. His thoughts leap from topic to topic like a bird pecking seeds.

Harry wants company. The only call he receives is from his ailing, aging mum. He franticly phones a couple he knows to come for a drink. He rings an ex-girlfriend only to abuse her.

His plan to invite another for a drink is foiled when he discovers she is happily partnered.

This play can be hilarious as well as grim. This production lacks colour and dynamic range. Much of the humour is lost amidst the tension of its form.

Todd's performance is a good attempt at this play but it misses the mark on some levels.

His voice is monotonous, grating and stuck in the throat. He seems disconnected from the text and even from the movement.

The set design by Rashelle McHugh, comprising banners of playing cards, is interesting but seems inappropriate.

Lighting design, by Bernard Angell, often leaves the actor in darkness and us in stark white light.

This lighting technique can work if it offsets dialogue in darkness or some attack on the audience. However, in this production, it seems gratuitous.

By Kate Herbert

Monday 9 December 2002

3 Dark Tales, Dec 9, 2002

3 Dark Tales by Theatre O (UK)
Merlyn Theatre until February 2, 2002
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

We are all living lives of quiet desperation but none so blatantly as the three characters in 3 Dark Tales. Theatre O from the UK creates one of the finest physical, visual and comical shows I have seen in a long while.

Each of the three stories focuses on one of three characters whose lives are linked by more than just the office in which they work. Despair, loneliness and an inability to change their lives drive them.

What is so magical, challenging and delightful is the superb clowns and their detailed physicality. These four actors (Joseph Alford , Lucien MacDougall , Sarah Coxon , Carolina Valdès) have impeccable timing, control and stamina. 

The piece is crisply and stylishly directed by Alford. He keeps the rhythm shifting from rapid-fire slapstick to lyrical dance or poignant solos.

Their style is dominated by their shared training with the inimitable master, Jacques Le Coq in Paris. They repeat scenes, set up routines only to break them, make us laugh then weep.

In the first story, Dream on Mr. Tibble, a pathetic, weak little office worker, Mr. Tibble (Alford) is totally subjugated to his deranged wife's will. (Coxon) The pace is rapid, the comic business constant. He kowtows daily to his wife and his boss, Frank. Until, finally, he falls in love with his coy, pretty co-worker, Amelia. It ends in a violent parody of murder and mayhem.

The Unfortunate Predicament of Amelia Sas is slower paced, more poetic and tragic. Amelia's (Valdès) doctor diagnoses her fatal heart condition. She kisses Mr. Tibble in a restaurant and dies in a gloriously strange dance, fluttering like one of her goldfish out of water.

In Frank's Wardrobe , (MacDougall) their petty and autocratic boss, Frank, faces his wife and children leaving him. His former bravado is shattered when he returns to his empty home night after night.

There are some hilarious and compelling moments in these colliding lives. The illusion of Frank in a bed with his wife or a prostitute is cleverly staged.

Tibble's vanquishing of his muggers is a treat while the competitive display of their cars by Alford and MacDougall is a masterly. MacDougall's rendition of Frank as a rapacious bumblebee brings applause and the use of gibberish throughout is exceptional.

3 Dark Tales is marvellously original theatre making.

By Kate Herbert

Blak Inside 3: Playbox & Ilbijerri, Dec 9, 2002

Blak Inside 3: Casting Doubts & Crow Fire 
By Playbox Theatre and Ilbijerri Theatre
At Beckett Theatre, Dec 9, 2002 until February 23, 2003
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Blak Inside 3 is the third week in the Playbox -Ilbijerri collaboration. These two plays confront challenging issues about aboriginality in a contemporary society with varying success.

Casting Doubts is the more successful dealing with a casting agency specialising in aboriginal actors.

The characters include white-looking Mick, (Bruce Morgan) conceited and incompetent Wally (Isaac Drandich) who lands all the typical 'blackfella' roles and the agency PA who hides her aboriginality. (Suzanne Clarke

Mick can't get a role because he is too white. Jimmi (Phil Haby) is too stroppy and Linda (Tammy Clarkson) is forced to play pretty victims.

Maryanne Sam's script works as comedy. It raises some issues of prejudice, preconceptions of white film directors and the challenges facing an actor of colour.

Heather Bolton is clever, hilarious and credible as the vodka-swilling casting agent Deborah. Haby has great range as Jimmi, the serious, albeit recalcitrant actor. Clarkson is a successful Linda and Drandich plays a lively Wally.

However, the resolution is glib and not credible. Mick suddenly gets money from nowhere to produce and direct his own film.

Crow Fire is less effective as a play. The ideas are potent but a good idea needs to be realised in quality writing, direction and acting. Jadah Milroy's play is confusing and borders on incoherent. 

Dayna, a young aboriginal woman is ashamed of taking a government job and ignoring her aboriginality. Her friend, Tony (Tony Briggs) is an aboriginal political activist.

An older man, Yungi (Djunawong Stanley Mirindo) from a desert tribe up north, arrives in town to remind Dayna of her long-forgotten promises to the tribe. He garners our sympathy immediately, despite the actor reading from the script.

Dayna dresses as a crow and walks the streets taunting people. It is unclear how this heightens her sense of her culture. The crow is a blurry symbol and often evokes laughter rather than pathos. While the metaphor of the White Lady as heroin is laboured.

The argument is interesting that urban aboriginals replace their search for culture with their fight for recognition. This point deserves more attention.

The dialogue is preachy and expository and scenes are often too short. The narrative about an unhappy white couple (Rachael Tidd, Steve Mouzakis) is irrrelevant and offensively represents the pair as total idiots. Andrea James' direction is awkward and scene changes are clunky.
This production needs work.

By Kate Herbert

Saturday 7 December 2002

Love is the Best Doctor, Dec 7, 2002

What: Love is the Best Doctor by Moliere Rogue Theatre
Where: Chapel off Chapel 12A Little Chapel St Prahran
When: Wed to Sun at 9pm until 22 December
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

There's no denying it. 18th Century French playwright, Moliere, was a super satirist. He to the style of the Commedia del'Arte - the Italian clowns- and turned it into a biting attack on the upper classes.

Despite his acerbic wit, he was the darling of the aristocracy and of Louis XIV, the Sun King.

Love is the Best Doctor is a flimsy and funny piece of fluff that Moliere wrote and staged in five days for the King.

Moliere wrote that it was best seen with "the music of the incomparable Monsieur Lully , the fine singing and the skill of the dancers…"

Director, Alison Wall, hurls herself bodily at Moliere's own mode of using contemporary references. It is a comic success.

Sganarelle, (Terry Kenwrick) a wealthy man, invites three doctors to advise treatment of his daughter, Lucinde's, depression. Doctors Tom (Jaimie Robertson)  and Des ( Richard Vette) are charlatans and, in this production, drug users.

The third doctor, Clitandre, (Vette) is also a fake but he is the secret lover of Lucinde. (Alicia Gardner ). He treats her ailment with love.

The style is broad physical comedy. The actors grimace and prance, dance and gambol like mad children at a birthday party.

They are dressed in attention-grabbing, funny costumes designed by Jessie Willow Tucker and constructed from found objects, scraps of fabric and a wild vision.

As King Louis and other characters, comedian Alan Brough is a delightful and magnetic presence. His bright, compelling style and contemporary adaptations of dialogue are hilarious.

Gardner successfully plays Lucinde as a working class Aussie chick. Her smart maid, Lissette, is played with sexy charm by Jodi Dorday.

Vette and Robertson play the diabolical doctors with modern overtones.

The original live harpsichord ( Matthew Vehl) and trippy oboe (Warren Bloomer ) echo Moliere's Baroque composer, Lully, with a touch of pop.

Wall directs this play with verve and delight. She takes risks with the contemporary insertions and the result is a funny and unpretentious production.

By Kate Herbert

Sunday 1 December 2002

2002 Reviews Kate Herbert

2002 Reviews Kate Herbert

The following are all reviews published in Herald Sun during 2002. They are still available through www.newstext.com.au

They will all be uploaded in full soon.  KH

 Satire, clowns are tops   Herald Sun, 27-12-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 083, 522 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
SOME nights I would rather throw myself under a train than go to the theatre. Luckily, there are some wonderful shows to renew one's faith in art. Two of my favourites this year came from the UK. Three Dark Tales (Theatre O) was a superbly crafted co...                                                                                                          

    Life as a song and dance   Herald Sun, 23-12-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 084, 314 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Taught By Experts ROBYN Arthur is a seasoned music-theatre artist. Her solo show, Taught by Experts, reveals her talent and versatility. The show, slickly directed by Terry O'Connell, is written by Robert Hewett, who has used Arthur's own stories to ...                                                                                                            

   A Sade let-down   Herald Sun, 20-12-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 092, 375 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss, Eclipse Theatre Where and when: Theatreworks, 14A Acland St, St Kilda, until tomorrow DIRECTOR Miranda Rose bit off a fair chunk in attempting this play, set in the bath hall of a French asylum in 1808. The production canno...                                                                                                            

   Gagsters really knock your socks off   Herald Sun, 17-12-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 051, 326 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Speedmouse, by The Umbilical Brothers Where and when: Athenaeum I, until December 22 WHAT is so delightful about The Umbilical Brothers in Speedmouse, apart from their exceptional skill, is their unpretentiousness. Dave Collins and Shane Dundas will ...                                                                                                           

    Let there be laughs   Herald Sun, 16-12-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 107, 322 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
In the Beginning: The Odd Testament, by Short Attention Span Where and when: Trades Hall, Wed-Sat, until December 21 MESSING about with the Bible might be considered naughty but In the Beginning is a very sweet, entertaining show about some dysfuncti...    

  Nobody's wild about this unlovely Harry   Herald Sun, 13-12-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 101, 356 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Harry's Christmas, by Steven Berkoff, Elixir Theatre ENGLISH playwright and actor Steven Berkoff knew what a depressing time Christmas could be for many lonely people. His play, Harry's Christmas, is a darkly comic exploration of one man's failure to...                                                                                                            

    Great medicine: a flimsy, funny piece of Moliere fluff   Herald Sun, 13-12-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 102, 373 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Love is the Best Doctor, by Moliere, Rogue Theatre THERE'S no denying it, 18th century French playwright Moliere was a super satirist. He took the style of the commedia dell'arte, the Italian clowns, and turned it into a biting attack on the upper cl...                                                                                                                                                                   

Gentle tales evoke a grand feeling   Herald Sun, 04-12-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 055, 354 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The Grand Feeling Where and when: 45 Downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, city, until Saturday Reviewer: Kate Herbert THE Grand Feeling is a production with oodles of charm. Directors Nadja Kostich and Jeremy Angerson bring to the stage the stories of three...                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

  Canefield produces bumper crop   Herald Sun, 04-12-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 056, 386 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
TALK about suffering for your art! Students of Music Theatre in Mackay, when the course began in 1996, studied in sheds erected in a canefield. Seven graduates from the degree course at Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music yesterday strutted th...                           

   Lower's sad humour still takes audiences higher   Herald Sun, 27-11-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 056, 209 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Lonely Lennie Lower Where and when: La Mama, until Sunday Reviewer: Kate Herbert BARRY Dickins and one of his best-loved characters, Lennie Lower (Simon King), share many attributes. Both are comic journalists, both are unpredictable, outrageous, lov...     
 Giving the Devil his due   Herald Sun, 27-11-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 057, 218 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Faust Where and when: Chapel off Chapel, until Sunday Reviewer: Kate Herbert IT IS rare to see German writer Goethe on stage in Melbourne. This production of his major play, Faust, directed by Fredric Lleaf, is economical and effective in its staging...     

                                                                                                          The love story behind Narnia   Herald Sun, 27-11-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 057, 287 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Shadowlands Where and when: Athenaeum Theatre 2, until December 8 Reviewer: Kate Herbert EARLY in the new year C.S. Lewis's children's book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, takes to the stage. Meanwhile, we can see a snippet of Lewis's personal...   

                                                                                                            Changeling an adventure gone wrong   Herald Sun, 25-11-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 084, 238 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The Changeling Where and when: La Mama at the Courthouse, until Saturday ENGLISH Jacobean playwrights of the early 1600s wrote two types of performances. One was the court masques that were glossy spectacles equivalent to our peppy musicals. The othe...                                                                                                             
 Puppy love rattles shallow yuppies   Herald Sun, 20-11-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 062, 333 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Sweet Phoebe, by Michael Gow Where and when: The Store Room, Fitzroy, until December 1 SWEET Phoebe, staged by Araucous Productions, is a play about a couple searching for a missing dog. Helen (Sandra Rucins) and Frazer (Mark Blackmore) are the ultim...                       

                                                                                        Talking up a heap of faith   Herald Sun, 18-11-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 084, 235 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Rapture by Joanna Murray-Smith Where and when: Merlin Theatre, Malthouse, until November 30 THERE is a question asked in Rapture: What do the godless do when their best friends discover faith? In this middle-class faithless society, couples such as t...                       

                                                                                        Almost a knockout   Herald Sun, 11-11-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 089, 280 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Sugar: The Story of a Boxer Where and when: La Mama at Carlton Courthouse, until Saturday TWO-PERSON clown shows are becoming de rigeur on Melbourne's fringe-theatre circuit. Sugar: The Story of a Boxer, by Joseph Sherman and Nick Papas, is a slight,...                                                                                                             

  Redstitch's difficult child   Herald Sun, 04-11-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 102, 284 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The Play About the Baby Where and when: Redstitch Actors Theatre, Inkerman St, St Kilda, until Nov 24 HAVING not seen more recent works by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee, I have only early works to compare with this, his latest play. ...                                                                                                             

 Emily's winning ways   Herald Sun, 01-11-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 097, 367 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Emily of Emerald Hill Where and when: George Fairfax Studio, Victorian Arts Centre, until tomorrow Reviewer: Kate Herbert IT IS not the play so much as Ivan Heng's performance that makes Emily of Emerald Hill an extraordinary theatrical experience. H...    
Giving birth to chaos   Herald Sun, 29-10-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 045, 392 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Genesi - From the Museum of Sleep by Societas Raffaello Sanzio Where and when: State Theatre, Sunday GENESIS, the genetic, the genital: all are elements of Genesi - From the Museum of Sleep. Director Romeo Castellucci takes the first book of the Old ...               

                                                                                                Bathed in surrealism   Herald Sun, 28-10-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 084, 289 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
THEATRE REVIEW Mil Quinientos Metros Sobre el Nivel de Jack Where and when: Black Box until November 2 Reviewer: Kate Herbert THE emotional force is like an ocean -- or in the case of this play -- a bathtub. Mil Quinientos Metros Sobre el Nivel de Ja...                                                                                                             

 Arresting modern take on a madwoman   Herald Sun, 25-10-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 095, 390 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Medea Where and when: Horti Hall until November 2 HELL hath no fury like a woman scorned, Shakespeare said. Medea is the ultimate in vengeful women. Her husband Jason dumps her for a younger, richer, more influential woman. The King banishes her with...                                                                                                             
 Marionettes march to an adult tune   Herald Sun, 22-10-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 051, 405 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Tinka's New Dress Where and when: Fairfax Studio until Sunday THESE puppets are not for kids. Never have marionettes been so wicked, moving and overtly political as in Ronnie Burkett's Tinka's New Dress. In Burkett's adroit hands they are bawdy and a...                                                                                                             
 Brutal issues exposed   Herald Sun, 21-10-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 084, 229 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Fire, Fire Burning Bright, by Neminuwarlin Performance Group and Jirrawun Aboriginal Arts Where and when: State Theatre, Sunday. Reviewer: Kate Herbert. A NY performance of Aboriginal stories on a conventional stage has political echoes. This story a...                                                                                                             
 Season of fear and lust   Herald Sun, 18-10-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 100, 313 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Still, by Jane Bodie; A Piece of Pie, by Rik Brown; Gangland, by Mirra Todd Where and when: The Store Room, until Sunday THE Store Room in Fitzroy is maintaining its reputation for interesting programming. Its second season of plays for the Fringe Fe...                                                                                                             
 When theatre and life become entwined   Herald Sun, 14-10-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 092, 413 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Interior Sites Project WE ARE all voyeurs in some way. We peer through windows into cosy, well-lit rooms. Real dramas and real-life television fascinate us. The Interior Sites Project by IRAA Theatre is theatre verite...                                                                                                           .  
 Brassy, bold Dolly a delight   Herald Sun, 11-10-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 097, 272 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
MUSICAL REVIEW Hello Dolly! Music and lyrics: Jerry Herman By: The Production Company Where and when: State Theatre, until tomorrow Reviewer: Kate Herbert AMANDA Muggleton plays Dolly Levi, the bossy, scheming matchmaker, with a touch of Mae West. Mu...           
    Improvised show is a Bard thing   Herald Sun, 07-10-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 088, 455 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
OUT damned spot, says a woman to her stained laundry. This was not Shakespeare's intention for Lady Macbeth's words but it could be part of the coming improvised Shakespeares by Impro Melbourne. Allow me to declare my hand here: I am the foolish dire...                                                                                                             
   Angina runs out of puff   Herald Sun, 07-10-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 089, 253 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The Angina Monologues Where and when: Trades Hall, until October 19 THE Angina Monologues begins by promising to be a challenging, dark, comic walk through death. The title of Simon Kennedy's one-man show is attention grabbing. The opening story, abo...                 
    Of sweet and sour   Herald Sun, 01-10-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 054, 408 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Spoilt, by Kirsty Fraser and Laura Sheedy Where and when: The Store Room, Parkview Hotel, Fitzroy, until Sunday Reviewer: THE Fringe Festival is always a mixed feast of tasty and ordinary fare. The Store Room in Fitzroy has a veritable banquet of 13 ...          

                                                                                                     Great magic   Herald Sun, 27-09-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 086, 357 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Adapted by: Simon Phillips, Melbourne Theatre Company Where and when: Playhouse, Victorian Arts Centre, until October 12 THE multiple stories of Great Expectations are rich and the gallery of characters fascinati...                 

                                                                                              Xenophobia brings on a slight Fever   Herald Sun, 23-09-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 108, 338 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Fever, by Andrew Bovell, Patricia Cornelius, Melissa Reeves, Christos Tsiolkas and Irine Vela, Melbourne Workers Theatre Where and when: Trades Hall, until October 5 WHERE does the fever in the nation burn hottest? This was the challenging question a...                                                                                                             
The truth is an intense experience   Herald Sun, 16-09-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 092, 355 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The Simple Truth Where and when: The Malthouse, until October 5 THERE is a disturbing quality to Michael Gurr's new play, The Simple Truth. It challenges an audience to stay alert, to keep abreast of its wave-like motion and to comprehend its twists ...                                                                                                             
 Actors are really good sports   Herald Sun, 17-07-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 054, 386 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Distance doesn't deter theatre companies from parallel shows, writes KATE HERBERT in San Francisco SAN Francisco is 14 hours from Melbourne but that hasn't deterred two improvisation theatre companies doing parallel seasons of Theatresports. Theatres...    
  Snapshots create a picture of life   Herald Sun, 24-06-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 083, 345 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Week Where and when: 251 High St, Northcote, until June 30 THERE is something charming and delightful about Week, by Platform Youth Theatre. A cast of 23, aged 16 to 25, write and perform a show based on one week in their lives. The result is a serie...                                                                                                             
 Daughters' passions simmer   Herald Sun, 10-06-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 100, 297 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Casa d'Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca Where and when: School of Drama, VCA Studio 45, Sturt St, until tomorrow FEDERICO Garcia Lorca's play Casa d'Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba) is written for six older women, and all the six actors are very young ...                                                                                                             
  In June . . . the flaws do matter   Herald Sun, 07-06-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 093, 280 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
June . . . the place does not matter A CIA production Where and when: La Mama carpark until tomorrow THE Bouffon is a wonderful and strange form of theatre with its roots in medieval France...                                                                                                           .  

 Drug parable's vision impaired   Herald Sun, 03-06-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 090, 381 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
REVIEWTHEATRE The Lord of Misrule, by Sam Sejavka Where and when: La Mama at The Courthouse, until June 15 S AM Sejavka's play, The Lord of Misrule, is a contemporary gothic parable about drug addiction and inner-urban angst. Sejavka employs his ecce...                                                                                                             

  Out-of-space Aliens off the pace   Herald Sun, 31-05-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 086, 292 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
REVIEW THEATRE The Aliens, by Jackie Smith Where and when: La Mama, until June 16 IN AN Australian country town, secrets, prejudices and lies have festered since Lizzy (Liz Welch) left town 12 years ago. The Aliens was co-winner of the Patrick White ...                                                                                                             
 Roulette spins four fine stories   Herald Sun, 29-05-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 056, 396 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Roulette B Where and when: Chapel off Chapel, until June 1 Reviewer: Kate Herbert PROGRAM B of Roulette by Raimondo Cortese is no disappointment. Like Program A, it comprises four short plays -- each a gem. As a group, they provide a landscape of see...                 
Hot Shoe has them stomping and hooting   Herald Sun, 27-05-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 092, 410 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Hot Shoe Shuffle Written by: Larry Buttrose and Kathryn Riding Choreographed by: David Atkins and Dein Perry Musical direction: Robert Gavin Where and when: Athenaeum I, until June 15 IF YOU want peppy, Hot Shoe Shuffle is your show. It is exhilarati...                                                                                                           

 Compelling proof that love counts   Herald Sun, 24-05-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 097, 362 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Proof, by David Auburn, Melbourne Theatre Company Where and when: Playhouse, until June 22 WHAT a joy when a play touches us so sweetly and profoundly as does Proof by US playwright David Auburn. It is superbly written, compellingly performed, clever...         
   Issue simplified   Herald Sun, 20-05-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 099, 206 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
REVIEW THEATRE The Waiting Room Where and when: Trades Hall, until June 1 LET me declare my hand here. I am a critic of our Federal Government's policies on refugees. There are many issues to be discussed and many opinions on these policies need to b...                                                                                                              
  Roulette's delightful spin   Herald Sun, 20-05-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 100, 274 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Roulette A Where and when: Chapel off Chapel, until June 1 ROULETTE, a collection of plays by Raimondo Cortese and Ranters Theatre, is a movable feast that reappears often -- and with variations. It changes venues and cities -- even the number of the...        
   Milo is the life and death of the party   Herald Sun, 14-05-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 051, 360 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Milo's Wake Where and when: Merlin Theatre, Malthouse, until May 25 MILO'S Wake is a romp if nothing else. Margery and Michael Forde's play has a comical premise that carries it only so far. Milo is an Irish migrant in Brisbane, saddened by his life...               
 It's Her Majesty's crowning glory   Herald Sun, 10-05-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 091, 393 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The Hollow Crown, by Royal Shakespeare Company Where and when: Her Majesty's Theatre, until May 19 LET'S face it. These actors are so good they could read the phone book backwards and it would be compelling. They belong to the last generation of Brit...    
                                                                                                           Stories of fighting families are confusing   Herald Sun, 08-05-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 057, 340 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Reckage Where and when: Chapel off Chapel, until May 26 PLAYWRIGHT Tony Reck's two short plays are billed under the one title, Reckage. Both deal with the wreckage of a family in the wake of a father's violence. The two are non-linear, non-narrative ...          

                                                                                                     Boozy trio are really very stylish   Herald Sun, 07-05-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 045, 308 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The Dunny Where and when: La Mama at the Courthouse, Carlton, until Saturday THREE of the most vulgar, drunken and foul-mouthed Aussie males are the subject of The Dunny, written and directed by Daniel Lillford. Astoundingly, Lillford manages to make...             
  Light touch diminishes play's power   Herald Sun, 30-04-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 053, 278 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Richard III Where and when: Playhouse, until May 11 BELL Shakespeare Company produces several Shakespeares each year with varying degrees of success but always a challenging attack on the Bard's plays. Michael Gow directs this production. It is contr...                                                                                                             
  Keene's keen eye on redundancy blues   Herald Sun, 29-04-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 091, 377 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Scissors, Paper, Rock Keene Taylor Theatre Project Where and when: 45 Downstairs 45 Flinders Lane, until May 12 Reviewer: Kate Herbert KEENE Taylor's sensitive, realistic and trim
 script deals with a redundant worker's descent through depression into...                                                                                                            
    Wit still identifiable   Herald Sun, 22-04-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 097, 281 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, by Brad Fraser Where and when: Red Stitch Theatre, 80 Inkerman St, St Kilda until May 5 IT IS some years since we saw a production of this play by Canadian Brad Fraser. Though it dates a little,...                                                                                                             

  Despair in the bush   Herald Sun, 22-04-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 100, 313 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Paradise Where and when: La Mama until May 5 Bookings: 9347 6142 Reviewer: Kate Herbert T HE lives of ordinary people are not always represented in theatre unless in community projects. Tes Lyssiotis, in her new play Paradise, puts a magnifying glass...               
                                                                                                Britannia helmsman shows a leaning to port   Herald Sun, 19-04-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 088, 232 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Port Out Starboard Home: in company of Chris Addison Where and when: Melbourne Town Hall, until Sunday C HRIS Addison is like Hugh Grant on speed: dead charming, a bit of a toffy-nosed Brit and a self-declared ``middle-class, woolly left, Guardian re...                                                 
                                                              The Troubles with nonsense   Herald Sun, 16-04-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 055, 330 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Say Nothing Where and when: Lower Melbourne Town Hall, until April 21 Reviewer: Kate Herbert THIS is an extraordinary and skilful piece of absurd theatre. Two British actors, David Woods and Jon Hough, stand face-to-face atop a suitcase filled with g...    
                                                                                                           Angela a woman of the worlds   Herald Sun, 15-04-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 089, 329 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Still Angela Where and when: Playbox at Merlyn Theatre, until April 27 Reviewer: Kate Herbert IT MAY not be possible to explain a Jenny Kemp theatre experience in words, but here goes. Still Angela is written and directed with provocative flair by Ke...                                                                                                              
  In need of a disciple   Herald Sun, 15-04-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 092, 292 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Richard Herring in Christ on a Bike Where and when: 7 Alfred Place, city, until Sunday RICHARD Herring's show starts badly, but is worth it for its 10 minutes of wild theorising about the Gospels. Herring needs to work on his audience relationship, h...                                                                                                             
As weird as it gets   Herald Sun, 12-04-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 087, 307 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
COMEDY The Journals Where and when: 7 Alfred Place, city, until April 21 LET'S face it -- the Brits have a handle on comedy like no other nation. John Hegley and Simon Munnery in their joint show, The Journals, are proof. Hegley is Elvis Costello wit...        
  The right chord   Herald Sun, 10-04-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 056, 366 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The Fall of the Roman Umpire PEOPLE'S personal histories are endlessly fascinating. Dennis Coard has written his life into a charming and cheeky one-man show. Coard's play is a self-narrated journey starting from his childhood emigration from Ireland...    
    Variety is the spice   Herald Sun, 01-04-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 096, 257 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Eccentric Acts Where and when: Theatreworks, until Sunday T HIS is a goofy show because the original vaudeville routines on which the production is based are indeed eccentric acts. The show is a collage of clown, music, juggling and old film footage...       
   Men's secrets   Herald Sun, 25-03-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 084, 380 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Uncle Bob by Austin Pendleton, Red Stitch Theatre Where and when: 80 Inkerman St, St Kilda, until April 7 A TWO-HANDER is difficult to write and stage. No third character can enter and change the dynamic. Austin Pendleton's play, Uncle Bob, does it w...                                                                                                             

 Deathly show has a funny side   Herald Sun, 20-03-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 059, 263 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Four Small Deaths by Stephen Davis Where and when: Chapel off Chapel until March 24 Bookings: 8290 7000 FOUR unrelated monologues featuring four or more deaths comprise Stephen Davis's script, Four Small Deaths, directed by Tom Gutteridge. The pieces...                                                                                                          

 It's a great night times three   Herald Sun, 15-03-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 085, 302 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Life X 3 by Yasmina Reza Where and when: Playhouse until April 13 Y ASMINA Reza's plays are generally audience-friendly, and Life X 3 is no exception. This Melbourne Theatre Company production has the added asset of Geoffrey Rush in a fine cast direc...                                                                                                             
Captain Cook misses the boat   Herald Sun, 15-03-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 087, 301 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Counting Icebergs Where and when: Cooks Cottage, until March 24 COOKS Cottage in the Fitzroy Gardens is a pixie house with a basil-scented garden, an enjoyable environ-ment for a historical play. Cook and his wife, Eliza-beth, never lived in the cott...                                                             
                                                  Bull's-eye for Dyson   Herald Sun, 13-03-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 056, 365 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The Bull-Ant Where and when: Theatreworks until March 23 THEY'RE ``funny bastards, and they hurt'', says the publicity for Bill Garner and Sue Gore's The Bull-Ant. The bull ant in question refers not only to the grotesque, stinging insect we love to ...                                       
                                                                        Fest fails faithful   Herald Sun, 12-03-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 061, 365 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
THE Adelaide Festival is dear to my heart. I attend for a dose of inspiration from exceptional international and local performance companies. This year was disappointing. Peter Sellars, the flamboyant Californian who resigned as artistic director, ha...                
                                                                                               Shakespeare's women speak   Herald Sun, 12-03-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 062, 215 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
REVIEW THEATRE The Loves of Shakespeare's Women Where and when: Athenaeum Theatre, March 6-7 Reviewer: Kate Herbert WE REMEMBER Susannah York as a luminous blonde screen beauty in movies. The Loves of Shakespeare's Women is another step in her return...                                                                                                             
Eat your art out   Herald Sun, 02-03-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: W21, 261 words , WEEKEND
IF EPHEMERAL art means having a limited shelf life, artist Tony Beilby has taken the idea literally. Last week a big, fat sausage in a plastic package, use-by date March 4, was placed in an airtight perspex box at Eltham's Dynamic Vegies. It is part ...                                                                                                              
  Terror in an abandoned shack   Herald Sun, 26-02-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 056, 328 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
REVIEW THEATRE Moon Babies, by Patrick van der Werf Where and when: La Mama, until this Sunday ACTOR Don Bridges gives a compelling performance in this production of Moon Babies by Patrick van der Werf and directed by Peta Hanrahan. He plays a peculi...                                                                                                              
  Messages lose clout   Herald Sun, 22-02-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 090, 350 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Blak Inside 3 -- Casting Doubts and Crow Fire Where and when: Beckett Theatre, until tomorrow BLAK Inside 3 is the third week in the Playbox-Ilbijeri collaboration. The two plays confront challenging contemporary issues with varying success. Casting ...                                                                                                             
 O so desperate, dark and funny   Herald Sun, 18-02-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 090, 404 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
3 Dark Tales by Theatre O Where and when: Merlyn Theatre, until Wednesday WE ARE all living lives of quiet desperation but none so blatantly as the three characters in 3 Dark Tales. Theatre O from the UK creates one of the finest physical, visual and...                                                                                                             
 The right story   Herald Sun, 13-02-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 056, 347 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Ticket to Ride; VCA School of Drama Directors' Season Speaking in Tongues: by Andrew Bovell Journeys in a Suitcase: by Tanja Beer One Good Useless Man: by Michael Block Where and when: Grant Street Theatre until tonight ONE important skill of a direc...                                                                       
    Off the cuff and into true love   Herald Sun, 13-02-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 057, 466 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
FOR 15 years he waited for his true love. He was 26 when they met, but she was only 16 and felt like jailbait. To his despair, she grew up and married someone else. But one day the marriage ended and she found him still patiently waiting...                                                                                                           ...                                                                                                              
  Art down under   Herald Sun, 12-02-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 055, 351 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Blink and you could miss this art space, writes KATE HERBERT IF YOU think artists' exhibition spaces are large galleries with loads of wall and floor space for enormous works, think again. CuSp is a mere 1.5 x 2.5m. It perches in the window of an art...                                                                                                          
     No cure for time's ravages   Herald Sun, 01-02-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 084, 378 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Sweet Bird of Youth, Tennessee Williams Performed by: Melbourne Theatre Company. Where and when: Playhouse, until March 2. Reviewer: Kate Herbert IN TENNESSEE Williams' 1959 play Sweet Bird of Youth, names serve to describe the characters. Chance is...    
Frightful experiment   Herald Sun, 30-01-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 049, 407 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
A repellent version of Macbeth is scary stuff, writes KATE HERBERT I T WAS a wild old weekend visiting the Sydney Festival to see the French Theatre du Soleil and Barcelona's La Fura dels Baus. Neither is coming to Melbourne. Nobody asked them. La Fu...                                                                                                             
 Dyke shequel a comic hoot   Herald Sun, 29-01-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 050, 357 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
My Life As a Dyke Too -- The Shequel Where and when: La Mama until February 16 DON'T judge this show by its title. It is not an over-the-top politically correct show appealing only to lesbians. My Life As A Dyke Too -- The Shequel, is a genuinely fun...                                                                                                            
    Script letdown   Herald Sun, 28-01-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 082, 338 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Shush Where and when: La Mama at Carlton Courthouse, until February 9 Bookings: 9347 6142 Reviewer: Kate Herbert COMING out as a lesbian to the family is difficult enough. Add to this being an incest victim of one's grandfather and you have a familia...                                                                                                             
 Kylie's love songs carry the show   Herald Sun, 23-01-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 049, 337 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
REVIEW MUSICAL I Should Be So Lucky By David Knox Where and when: Chapel off Chapel, until February 3 BLEND a heap of Kylie songs with a gay relationships self-help book and you get this show. David Knox's sell-out new musical, I Should Be So Lucky, i...                                                                                                             
 Static, but a success   Herald Sun, 21-01-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 082, 241 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Women in Love, adapted by Julia Britton Where and when: Rippon Lea throughout summer DH. LAWRENCE captivates the mind with his impassioned and controversial novel, Women in Love. It is a treatise on relationships, love, passion, friendship and the di...                                                                                                             
 Bawdy fun brings the gardens alive   Herald Sun, 07-01-2002, Ed: 1 - FIRST, Pg: 073, 382 words , ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Twelfth Night Where and when: Royal Botanic Gardens until 26 January STAGING a play in the Botanic Gardens is almost failsafe. We arrive with blanket, picnic hamper and bottle of wine. The ducks quack and the bats emerge. Only a stray police helicopt...