BAULKHAM HILLS AFRICAN LADIES TROUPE, Riverside Theatres, May 9-18; Belvoir Downstairs, August 15-September 15, 2013. Photos by Lisa Tomasetti. Main: Nancy Denis, Rosemary Kariuki-Fyfe, Tariro Mavondo; right: Yordanos Haile-Michael and Rosemary Kariuki-Fyfe.
The subtitle on the program for this most remarkable theatre work is informative but also the tiniest tip of the iceberg: "Written by Ros Horin in collaboration with Yarrie Bangura, Aminata Conteh-Biger, Yordanos Haile-Michael and Rosemary Kariuki-Fyfe; on whose lives it is based."
What it doesn't reveal is that the "collaboration" took place over three long years of exploration, talking, more talking, trust-building, pain, more pain, sorrow, more sorrow and much music and laughter. The end result is an hour and 40 minutes of joyous entertainment that are not only politically and socially important but also, will stick in your mind and heart long after you've left the theatre.
4000 MILES, Studio 1, ATYP Under the Wharf; MopHead and Catnip Productions. May 3-May 18, 2013. Photos by Gez Xavier Mansfield: Diana McLean and Stephen Multari.
Amy Herzog's award-winning and Pulitzer Prize finalist was an instant success in New York at the not-for-profit Lincoln Center, and went on to a new theatre - with similar success - in 2012. This year it's been produced, to good reviews, in the UK at Bath's Theatre Royal and now it's been snapped up by a trio of small companies and given a wonderful production at ATYP's studio theatre. Well done, them.
The story is simple enough and therefore deceptive. Leo is 21, he arrives at his 91-year-old grandmother Vera's New York apartment - unannounced - in the early hours of the morning. He has cycled from Seattle on a quest to find himself and get away from his overbearing mother, in equal measure. Vera's main concern in the opening moments is that he hasn't showered for days and stinks. That aside, she is blissfully non-judgemental and when she finally slips in her dentures, she is also able to make herself understood by her wary, emotionally overwrought grandson.
FURY, Sydney Theatre Company at Wharf 1, April 20-June 8, 2013. Photos by Lisa Tomasetti: Sarah Peirse and, right, Harry Greenwood.
Joanna Murray-Smith's interest in and exploration of the yin and yang of human beings and their relationships with one another has made her one of our most successful and popular playwrights, albeit one whose work has been hard to find in Sydney in recent years. That's all changed now and apparently Murray-Smith is already talking to STC's artistic director Andrew Upton about a new commission for next year.
Meanwhile, Fury is not only about the human emotion of the title but also about a fictitious radical student political organisation that has a whiff of being a cross between The Push and Ananda Marga. And it's also about the fine lines between success and failure and expectation and reality.
THE BULL, THE MOON AND THE CORONET OF STARS, Griffin Theatre Company, Hothouse Theatre and Merrigong Theatre Company at the SBW Stables Theatre, May 2-June 8, 2013. Photos by Brett Boardman of Silvia Colloca and Matt Zeremes.
This is not the play for anyone who's found themselves wandering around a museum worrying about what it might be like to get locked in after closing time - and then become totally freaked out by the possibilities. On the other hand, if you're a fan of Ben Stiller and Night At The Museum (2006), or its follow up, Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009), this might be just the evening out for you.
Inspired by a shard of ancient Greek pottery decorated with the image of a bull that's in Oxford's Ashmolean Museum, the then UK-based Van Badham wrote a "little" radio play. She returned to Australia and Melbourne's Malthouse a while ago and the play has now morphed into a contemporary romantic comedy for the stage.
FORGET ME NOT, Upstairs Belvoir St, April 24-May 19, 2013. Co-commission with Liverpool Everyman. Photos by Lisa Tomasetti: main Eileen O'Brien and Colin Moody; right: Mandy McElhinney.
The entwined recent history of Australia and Great Britain being what it is, there's a long and egregious shared experience of child stealing. It's been explored in various ways on TV and onstage in, for instance, The Leaving of Liverpool, Parramatta Girls and Rabbit-Proof Fence. And now, Tom Holloway's Forget Me Not.
What all the above have in common in the stories of children in the hands of allegedly well-meaning authorities, is the lifelong misery inflicted on the kids and their grieving families. And it's not as if we can sit back and sigh with relief that it was all long ago and far away and things are far, far better now. The victims of the various policies of removing children from - usually - their mothers are among us and still suffering the consequences.
THE MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT, Workhorse Theatre Company at TAP Gallery, April 20-May 4, 2013. Photos by Michael Randall: Troy Harrison and Zoe Trilsbach; right: Zoe Trilsbach.
Workhorse Theatre Company - musical theatre performers Zoe Trilsbach and Troy Harrison and third year acting student Nick Bartlett - are among the newest little-companies-that-could and with this production they have well and truly arrived on Sydney's independent theatre map.
Choosing New Yorker Stephen Adly Guirgis's trickily titled seventh full length play marks them as wonderfully foolhardy (it's set on the upper West Side, features working class and Latino characters and couldn't possibly be Australianised) and, at the same time, sure of themselves. That is, sure in their capabilities - Trilsbach and Harrison play the lead roles of Veronica and Jackie, a couple whose drug habits, circumstances and life expectancy are equally gloomy, but whose hopes and dreams are dazzling and will put a lump in the throat of the most cynical.
Sheer entertainment packed into a political powerhouse
This production is just wonderful.
A sparkling and intelligent production
As light and appealing as cupcakes.
A rich, all too human and all too true story
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?
PHRYNE FISHER TO RETURN!
Terribly fashionable, unmistakably glamorous and handy with a pistol
MARGARET WHITLAM - 1919-2012
We will miss her
TMO Chamber Players – The Cellists
May 19 (NSW)
Noel and Gertie
21 May - 1 June (NSW)
Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow
May 21 - 23 (NSW)
May 21 (NSW)
An Evening with Julie Andrews
May 24-25 (NSW)
Bruce Mathiske at the Zenith
May 25 (NSW)
Jack Charles V The Crown
May 29 - 01 Jun (NSW)
The Dream of a Ridiculous Man
May 29- June 1 (NSW)
30 May-16 June (VIC)