NORA, Upstairs Belvoir at Belvoir, 9 August-14 September 2014. Photography by Brett Boardman: above - Blazey Best and Damien Ryan; right Blazey Best and Linda Cropper.
Anne-Louise Sarks is Belvoir’s newest Resident Director and this production goes in the “much anticipated” basket after 2012’s Medea, her award-winning and wonderful collaboration with Kate Mulvany. Unfortunately, this latest “re-thought classic” is not in the same league and probably belongs in the “be careful what you wish for” basket.
Sarks and playwright Kit Brookman have updated, extended and generally beaten up Henrik Ibsen’s great play of 1879 until it is barely recognisable. This is not necessarily a bad thing, indeed the main idea is intriguing: what happened to Nora after she walked out on her marriage and slammed the front door. That slam reverberated across the world and continues to do so, so it’s natural that many would wonder - what did she do next? What became of her?
CONSTELLATIONS, Darlinghurst Theatre Co at the Eternity Theatre, 8 August-7September 2014. Photography by Gez Xavier Mansfield: Emma Palmer and Sam O’Sullivan.
Nick Payne won the Evening Standard award for Best New Play in 2012 after the premiere run of Constellations at the Royal Court (it later transferred to the West End). And in Anthony Skuse’s exquisitely wrought production for Darlinghurst, it’s easy to see why. First of all, it really is a remarkable play and would be even if the author were not, at the time of writing, a 29-year-old wunderkind.
Constellations runs for under 90 minutes yet is packed with ideas, ambition, laughter, tears and intelligence. It’s about quantum physics and bee-keeping and how these two apparently irreconcilable occupations can coincide and collide, or continue to orbit and never meet; or meet only in passing and occasionally…
TARTUFFE, Bell Shakespeare at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 26 July – 23 August, 2013. Photography: Lisa Tomasetti, (above) Kate Mulvany, Geraldine Hakewill, Charlie Garber, Sean O’Shea, Helen Dallimore, Jennifer Hagan and Robert Jago, (right) Leon Ford and Helen Dallimore.
REVIEWED BY POLLY SIMONS
Anna Cordingley’s set design quite literally sets huge expectations for Justin Fleming’s adaption of Tartuffe, Moliere’s classic 1664 farce of greed, hypocrisy and gullibility.
DARK VOYAGER, Ensemble Theatre, 24 July-30 August 2014. Photography by Natalie Boog: above - Jeanette Cronin, Lizzie Mitchell and Kate Raison. Right: Eric Beecroft and Lizzie Mitchell.
This new play by John Misto is billed as “a sparkling new comedy inspired by real events”. It’s also described as “biting and crisp as a dry martini” but let’s allow that bit to pass for now. The premise is potentially entertaining: imagine a supper date at the Hollywood home of infamous gossip queen Hedda Hopper (Belinda Giblin). Invitees are ageing superstar Joan Crawford (Kate Raison) and her ageing superstar rival Bette Davis (Jeanette Cronin). In close attendance is Hedda’s butler and aspiring actor (natch) Skip (Eric Beecroft). It is 1962 and the two stars have just completed filming of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? As in real life, the two had fought non-stop during filming and the movie was widely expected to be a flop at the box office. This anxiety is part of the underlying tension of the play as they continue to bicker and snipe.
MACBETH, Sydney Theatre Company at Sydney Theatre, 21 July -27 September 2014 but SOLD OUT. Photography by Brett Boardman: above - Hugo Weaving; right: Paula Arundell and Hugo Weaving.
BY POLLY SIMONS
Kip Williams’ nightmarish and introspective take on the Scottish play won’t please everyone.
There’s nowhere to hide in the stripped-back surrounds of Sydney Theatre, and no escape from Macbeth’s “vaulting ambition” and unrelenting personal anguish. It demands much from the audience – including the ability to endure the hideously uncomfortable seating – yet rewards them with a perceptive and genuinely thought-provoking production.
UGLY MUGS, Griffin Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre at the SBW Stables Theatre, 18 July-23 August 2014. Photography by Brett Boardman: Steve Le Marquand and Peta Brady; right: Peta Brady.
An ugly mug is the unacceptable face of the mug punter. Both are customers of the street sex workers of, in this case St Kilda, but would be familiar on the dark corners of any major city or town around the world. The mug punter is the ordinary john (another term of endearment for the blokes who hand over the cash), while the ugly mug can be violent, kinky, repulsive and - in the main - to be avoided unless one is utterly desperate for a dollar. Unfortunately, at the lower end of the sex industry, the women can be desperate…
A shopping list would be more interesting
Be absorbed, amused, moved and thoroughly entertained
Sparkles from start to finish.
Okay, and then what?
A genuinely thought-provoking production
BAD NEWS FROM THE RIALTO
Today's forecast: not good and will get worse.
DARK DESCENDS ON THEATRE ROYAL
Sydney theatre supply hits the wall
STAGENOISE ON THE HIGH SEAS
Blessed silence for two weeks.
THE RISE AND RISE OF KING KONG
Broadway beckons. Spiderman watch out!
NEXT TO NORMAL: GONE
Why can't the producers get it right?
Danny and the Deep Blue Sea
August 22 - 30 (NSW)
Faust + Omega
Tuesday 23 September, 7.30pm (NSW)
Love and Death and an American Guitar
August 24, 31 & September 7 (NSW)
26 - 31 August (NSW)
The God of Hell by Sam Shepard
26 august - 13 September 2014 (NSW)
The 39 Steps
August 27 (NSW)
August 28 to September 6 2014 (VIC)
walk in beauty
August 28-31 (NSW)
Rolling Thunder Vietnam
29 - 30 August (NSW)