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LAKE DISAPPOINTMENT

LAKE DISAPPOINTMENT

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on April 25 2016

LAKE DISAPPOINTMENT, Carriageworks Bay 17, 20-23 April 2016. Photography by James Brown: above and right - Luke Mullins.

When Lake Disappointment returns or is produced elsewhere – and it has to be – do anything to secure a ticket. It is the most complete and unexpected work of theatre I’ve seen in a long time and it was a privilege to see it.

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DISGRACED

DISGRACED

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on April 23 2016

DISGRACED, Sydney Theatre Company at Wharf 1, 16 April-4 June 2016, followed by Wollongong, Parramatta and Canberra. Photography by Prudence Upton - above: Sachin Joab, Paula Arundel, Sophie Ross and Glenn Hazeldine. Right: Sachin Joab and Shiv Palekar

Although of Pakistani descent, novelist-playwright and actor Ayad Akhtar had the good fortune to be born on Staten Island and then move to the Mid-West. His parents were a cardiologist (father) and radiologist (mother) so his upbringing was comfortably middle class and secular. Nevertheless, the perils and quandaries of being a Muslim (or perceived as a Muslim) in post-9/11 USA clearly preoccupy him. And why would they not?

 
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CAUTIONARY TALES FOR CHILDREN

CAUTIONARY TALES FOR CHILDREN

By Felicity & James Review Posted on April 20 2016

CAUTIONARY TALES FOR CHILDREN, Arena Theatre Company at the Studio, Sydney Opera House, 20-24 April 2016. Photography - above and right: Virginia Gay

BY FELICITY AND JAMES DAYHEW 

Cautionary Tales For Children is a funny and creative play that engages the audience and provides many laughs. Virginia Gay is amazing and owns this one-woman play based on Hilaire Belloc’s hilarious book. With the incredible music, played and written by the fabulous pianist, Mark Jones it creates a magical and entertaining atmosphere.

 
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HAY FEVER

HAY FEVER

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on April 20 2016

HAY FEVER, Sydney Theatre Company, Drama Theatre at the Sydney Opera House, 15 April-21May 2016. Photography by Lisa Tomasetti: above l-r: Heather Mitchell, Tom Conroy, Braille Clarke, Alan Dukes, Josh McConville, Helen Thomson and Tony Llewellyn-Jones; right: Heather Mitchell

Like all the best froth and bubble, Hay Fever has an invisible base in something deeper and darker. Whether that foundation proves to be solid and able to be built upon depends pretty much on two things: the actress playing “retired” actress Judith Bliss, and a director who understands and can navigate the perils of the bear trap otherwise known as comedy.

In this instance, Judith Bliss is brought to febrile and hilarious life by Heather Mitchell and the production is constructed, moment by intricate moment, by Imara Savage. Between them – and the rest of the fine cast – they achieve that rare and delicious thing: light-as-air comedic meringue with the vital chewy centre.

 
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THE PEASANT PRINCE

THE PEASANT PRINCE

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on April 16 2016

THE PEASANT PRINCE, Monkey Baa Theatre Company at the LendLease Darling Quarter Theatre, 9-20 April 2016 then touring nationally to 38 venues. Photography by Heidrun Lohr

JAMES DAYHEW with a bit of input from OLIVER SPINKS

This was an amazing play with great choreography in the ballet sections. The story is about Li Cunxin, a Chinese boy who becomes a famous ballet star. At the start Li is 10 years old and is selected for a special dance program at the Beijing Dance Academy. He is one of only 15 kids out of 7000 all over China, chosen for the six-year program. 

Spoiler Alert – later Li is the only one picked to go to America and perform with the Houston Ballet

 
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GOOD PEOPLE

GOOD PEOPLE

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on April 16 2016

GOOD PEOPLE, Ensemble Theatre, 13 April-21 May 2016. Photography by Clare Hawley: above - Gael Ballantyne, Tara Morice and Jane Phegan; right - Christopher Stollery and Zindzi Okenyo

David Lindsay Abaire’s 2011 Tony Award nominee is an interesting play to come out of the USA in these times. It’s listed as a comedy and is in parts wickedly and wittily funny. Yet there’s a whole lot more going on than mere laffs. 

Set in two contrasting areas of Boston – rough, tough “Southie" and the graciously affluent Chestnut Hill – Good People is very much a play about the US now. It’s a land of millions of have-nots and a few have-alls; of false opportunity and false hope and every social and political extreme in between.

 
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