Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Theatre: Other Desert Cities

Black Swan State Theatre Company
Written by Jon Robin Baitz
Directed by Kate Cherry
Set and costume design by Christina Smith
Lighting designer Trent Suidgeest
with Janet Andrewartha, Conrad Coleby, Robert Coleby, Rebecca Davis and Vivienne Garrett
Heath Ledger Theatre
Until August 4
pic: Gary Marsh
Black Swan has, for the second time running, mounted a production that improves the material it’s working with. In Joanna Murray-Smith’s Day One, a Hotel, Evening, director Peter Houghton, designer Tracy Grant Lord and a strong cast made a more than satisfying entertainment from an improbable and inconsistent text.
Other Desert Cities, Jon Robin Baitz’s story of familial and political disintegration against the background of lotus land America, has some similar flaws, but they don’t diminish the sparkle of his dialogue, the magnetism of his characters and the quality of the play’s architecture.
The play is given an immaculate, CinemaScope reading by director Kate Cherry; it's dressed to kill by designer Christina Smith (once again producing a set for the Heath Ledger you’d spend your lottery winnings to live in) and lit with technicolor glamour by Trent Suidgeest. In the face of such excellence, there’s not much point picking over the script’s occasional shortcomings.

Theatre: I'm Your Man

A Belvoir production
Created and directed by Roslyn Oades
Performed by Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Katia Molino, Billy McPherson, Justin Rosniak and John Shrimpton
PICA and Mandurah Performing Arts Centre until August 3
Billy 'The Kid' Dib
Boxing defies the understandable public revulsion and incontrovertible medical evidence that, you’d think, should have consigned it to history along with throwing folk to lions for the crowd’s entertainment.
One reason could be that boxing is unique among sports for the life and death drama and tight focus that allow it to work on stage and screen.
The writer and director Roslyn Oades’s singular achievement in I’m Your Man is to show how the actual words of fighters and trainers, exactly reproduced, are a fertile source of real life drama, humanity and a beaten-up, but still beautiful, poetry.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Circus: Empire

The Empire Spiegeltent
Crown Perth
Until August 18

Don’t listen to a word they say. Empire is not, as its publicity implies, a burlesque, or a strip show. Rather it’s a thrilling, agile, contemporary circus, immaculately staged and precariously gripping for every one of its 90 minutes.
It’s also as fine a gathering of talent, both on its tiny stage and behind the scenes, as you’re ever likely to find.
Two acts in particular deliver that magic that lifts you out of your seat. Degefa spinning and throwing the diminutive, explosive Alemu with his feet was simply incredible, and the long, delicate performance by Bilgin of the hypnotic Sanddorn Balance act, thirteen palm fronds and a single feather suspended in the air like the skeleton of an ancient bird, closes this humdinger of a show with audacious grace and impossible beauty.
 At the risk of stealing Memet Bilgin's thunder, here's the Sanddorn Balance Act performed by its originator, Maedir Eugster of the Rigolo Swiss Nouveau Cirque

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian   

Friday, July 12, 2013

Theatre: Yirra Yaarnz

Yirra Yaakin
directed by Eva Grace Mullaley
performed by Zac James, Mathew Cooper, Shakara Walley and Amy Smith
Blue Room Theatre
9 – 13 July, 2013
Shakara Walley (pic: Ashley de Prazer)
If the Yirra Yaakin production that closes the Blue Room’s first 2013 season is any gauge, the development of Aboriginal writers and performers in WA is in good hands.
Seven young writers (four of whom also perform) have taken up the challenge of creating short theatre pieces with the overarching theme of the river, and the result – brought together as Yirra Yaarnz – is diverse, compelling and insightful.
Much credit is due to the dramaturg Hellie Turner and project manager Irma Woods for a fine job of tending the material, and the director Eve Grace Mullaley and designer Daniel Ampuero for giving it an understated yet focused staging. The four actors, all graduates of WAAPA’s Aboriginal Theatre course, give clear, measured performances with much emotional subtlety.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Theatre: Alienation

Perth Theatre Company
Written by Lachlan Philpott
Directed by Melissa Cantwell
Designer Bruce McKiven
Lighting designer Benjamin Cisterne
Sound designer Peter Dawson
Featuring Naomi Hanbury, Luke Hewitt, Natalie Holmwood and Robert Jago
STC Studio until July 13
Natalie Holmwood
More Americans claim to have been abducted by aliens than have been POWs. It’s one of those statistics meant to show what a crazy bunch the Yanks are.
Turn the gag around, though, and it means millions of them believe they have had an alien experience. A surprisingly big number of us do too.
If all this activity is the result of one of the psychological and memory disorders that have been ascribed to it, it’s an interesting phenomenon.
If it isn’t, we have a problem here, Houston.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian