01 June 2014

May review previews

The full reviews are on AussieTheatre.com and will be published here in a few days.

Dangerous Liaisons
Little Ones Theatre
30 May 2014
Lawler Studio
to 8 June

Photo by Sarah Walker
The second NEON Festival of Independent Theatre opens with the dazzling high-camp, glitter-bright, subversion of Stephen Nicolazzo's Little Ones Theatre.

Dangerous Liaisons is a 1985 play (which won lots of awards) by Christopher Hampton that's based on Pierre Choderlos De Lacos's Les Liaisons Dangereuses, a late-18th century novel consisting of letters between the characters. Being a story about the perverse sexual and moral corruption of the decadent French aristocracy, it never has problems being transported out of its context.


Darebin Arts Speakeasy 
27 May 2014
Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre
to 29 May 2014

I've seen a lot of circus and a lot of contemporary dance, but I've never seen anything like Circa's S.

Premiered at the Brisbane Festival in 2012, S has toured Australia and the world, and tonight is the last chance to see it in Melbourne. It's on at the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre (corner of St Georges and Bell streets, plenty of parking or on the 112 tram line).


Full review here.

22 May 2014
The Sumner
to 21 June

Photo by Jeff Busby

Overwrought and underwhelming, the MTC's Ghosts is as haunting as the Luna Park ghost train, but not as fun.

The 1880s critics generally despised Henrik Ibsen's play for being a pit of degenerate ickiness that dared to talk about nice middle class people knowing about syphilis, sex and incest.


Gale Edwards's translation so simplifies (and Aussifies) the script that the seamen pun is a highlight in a tale that now states the obvious, explains it a bit more and yells it again. 

This was onFull review here.

Ugly Mugs
Malthouse Theatre and Griffin Theatre Company
20 May 2014
Beckett Theatre
to 7 June

Melbourne-based writer and performer Peta Brady is also an outreach worker who knows how people fall through the cracks of society and are left to fend for themselves. She's seen the violence, hatred and despair, and the hope. Ugly Mugs is a glimpse of this world that is too easy to look away from.

When a St Kilda resident was violently murdered last year, the media barely raised an eyebrow because she was a sex worker. Her family, friends and life beyond her work were dismissed as irrelevant. I didn't live very far away from her; I might have sat next to her on the tram, but I didn't recognise her.


La traviata
Victorian Opera in association with Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini
17 May 2014
Her Majesty's Theatre
to 29 May

Photo by Jeff Busby
Victorian Opera's much-anticipated La traviata is presented in association with Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini (the Pergolesi Spontini Foundataion) who run an opera house in Jesi, Italy, that was built in the late 1700s. You can imagine how much the original 1992 production oozed with connection to place and time and culture, but I'm not sure why Victorian Opera transported it to Australia.


With the original director, Henning Brockhaus, and the famous – extraordinarily beautiful angled mirror with painted floor clothes – design by the late Czech designer Josef Svoboda, it's the Italian production with an Australian cast.

And the cast are stunning. 

Matt Platt, David Stone, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, John B Platt, John Frost
10 May 2014
The Regent
to October

Photo by Belinda Strodder
Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman's phenomenally successful Wicked opened on Broadway in 2003 and is still running. This production has won piles of awards, has been reproduced all over the world, including Australia in 2008–11, and is back in Melbourne, before touring to Sydney and Brisbane.

With 11 years of international reviews, there's nothing that hasn't been said about the story of the friendship between the Glinda and Elphaba. If you somehow don't know, Wicked is the Wizard of Oz story told from a different perspective and based on a book by Gregory Maguire.


Commercial producers don't always get it right in Australia when they bring us the big shows, but Wicked is as glorious, funny and heart-pumping as any theatre I've seen.

Now, if they can just find a way and the will to give people and families who can't afford hundreds of dollars the chance to see this show.

Night on Bald Mountain
Malthouse Theatre
8 May 2014
Merlyn Theatre
to 25 May

There's the moment when you walk into a theatre and get the first look of the world you're going to be playing in. And all fear of the play that Patrick White himself called "a dishonest play" flew when faced with a real bald mountain.

Dale Ferguson's design for Night on Bald Mountain is a roof-to-floor and wall-to-wall terraced mountain made of plywood with secret doors opening into endless black and secret goats for instant joy. With Paul Jackson's always-glorious lighting, we're taken from dawn to dawn on the mountain and into a house that wants to be part of a landscape that it doesn't belong in.


The tribute piece by Neil Armfield from Meanjin.

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