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Showing posts from December, 2019

REVIEW: Chicago - The Musical

The real-life inspiration for the musical Chicago comes from nearly a century ago, when reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins reported on two unrelated court cases about women suspected and acquitted of murder. Watkins later wrote a satirical play about the attention both cases got, focusing on the media’s sensational headlines – something Watkins herself fed into.
The play became a silent film in 1927, a 1942 film named Roxie Hart (starring Ginger Rogers), and later the 1975 musical Chicago, for which husband and wife creative duo, Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, struggled to get the rights to make throughout the sixties.
The original Broadway production opened to mixed reviews, as it was considered cynical and subversive – the opposite of what audiences wanted from musical theatre. But times change and this black satire about merry murderesses returned to Broadway in 1996 in a slick, pared-back production, directed by Walter Bobbie with choreography by Anne Reinking – “in the style of Bob Fos…

My Favourite Theatre of 2019

This year I saw some amazing theatre in Melbourne, as always, and I was lucky enough to visit London for the first time, where I saw some wonderful West End theatre and some really inventive off-West End and independent theatre.
The thing about the theatre in London is that is really seems to be working toward the ideal of diverse casting, even if behind-the-scenes (writers, directors) are still male-dominated. And it’s not just in reinventions of shows like Death of a Salesman, which was a mostly black cast; a lot of shows I saw there were female-focused with racially diverse casts.
That said, I did see a show that was ostensibly about race, which was all white.
I saw some shows again this year, which were as great as when I originally saw them, but they have been on previous year-end lists, so sorry to Hamilton, Muriel’s Wedding and Cock – you’re not on my list again this year.
The lists are in alphabetical order and links in titles to review where available.
TOP TEN 

All About Eve –…

REVIEW: Punk Rock by Simon Stephens

You’re a teenager and your hormones are racing and you’re in school and you’re supposed to be studying but there’s a girl… there’s a boy… there’s your awkward body and your perspiration and emotions and masturbation and kissing and daydreams and nightmares… you want to act out but you’re taking your mock A Level exams at a grammar school in Stockport and there’s some pressure to do well but… you just want to dance and fuck and turn over tables and feel everything.
Simon Stephens’ Punk Rock is a two-and-a-half-hour drive into the malaise of being a teenager, where you think you know all the answers, but can be taken down a peg or two by a look from a girl you fancy or from a bully who might fancy you. Where you might feel nervous or uncomfortable in your body, but inside you’re ready to rock the hell out. It’s a delicate and dangerous balance.
Patalog Theatre Company’s production of Stephens’ play is slick in parts and rough around the edges in others, which seems fitting. Director Ru…

REVIEW: This Wide Night by Chloe Moss

“Twelve years inside and I’m still not free. Not properly.”
Lorraine is just out of prison and she’s dropped in on Marie, who she met and got to know while they were both locked up. She’s thirsty. Parched. Unsettled and unsettling. She can’t sit still.
Marie has been out for a while and seems, at first, to have found her feet. She’s looking fresh-faced and has shiny hair and she might be living in a studio apartment, but she knows that’s just a fancy name for a bedsit.
Playwright Chloe Moss has based her play on women she met while volunteering at a prison in England. The play touches briefly on their prison lives and only alludes to why they might have been sent there in the first place. The story doesn’t focus on life behind bars, but on life upon release – and how difficult it is for these women to re-enter society.
Marie is uncomfortable with Lorraine encroaching on her space, even as she wants to help her friend. Lorraine wants companionship, before she moves into a shelter and –…