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BLONDE POISON

BLONDE POISON

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on July 31 2015

BLONDE POISON, produced by Adam Liberman with Red Line Productions at the Old Fitz; 28 July-15 August 2015. Photography by Marnya Rothe, above and right: Belinda Giblin.

That the true story of Stella Goldschlag is not as well known as the fictitious Sophie of Sophie’s Choice – the novel by William Styron that became a fabled movie starring Meryl Streep – is a mystery because, as always, truth is stranger (and in this instance, more extraordinary) than fiction. 

Stella Goldschlag  (Belinda Giblin) was a German Jew, whose “Aryan” blue-eyed blondeness enabled her to be safely assimilated in pre-WW2 Berlin and then become the Gestapo’s most notorious “greifer” – catcher of Jews – during the war. Her story was told in 1992 in a book, Stella, by Peter Wyden. He had been her childhood contemporary where she – the most beautiful girl in school – had brusquely brushed aside his declarations of love as only such a goddess would.

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OF MICE AND MEN

OF MICE AND MEN

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on July 16 2015

OF MICE AND MEN, Sport for Jove and the Seymour Centre at the Reginald Theatre, 9 July-1 August; Canberra Theatre Centre, 6-8 August 2015. Photography by Marnya Rothe, above: Andrew Henry and Anthony Gooley; right: Anthony Gooley.

Adapted from one of John Steinbeck’s best known Depression era novellas, Of Mice and Men  is a story of – among other things –  friendship, prejudice, love and loss, poverty and oppression. If you think that sounds too gloomy for a night out, please think again. On the one hand, Steinbeck’s writing is beautiful in its own right. On the other, quite simply, this is a marvellous production. 

Sport for Jove’s latest, directed by the brilliant Iain Sinclair, centres around an unforgettable performance from Andrew Henry as the tragic Lennie. He’s paired with an equally memorable Anthony Gooley as his friend and reluctant protector George; and they are supported by a company of similarly fine actors and a fine creative team.

 
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LADIES IN LAVENDER

LADIES IN LAVENDER

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on July 13 2015

LADIES IN LAVENDER, Ensemble Theatre, 8 July-15 August 2015. Photography by Clare Hawley, above: Gael Ballantyne, Sharon Flanagan, Penny Cook and Daniel Mitchell; right: Lisa Gormley.

Ladies in Lavender  is charming and consistently wryly and acidly funny as well as  touching. And that’s little short of miraculous given its origins: “adapted for the stage by Shaun McKenna from a screenplay by Charles Dance based on a short story by William Locke”. By all the laws of the universe it should have turned into a dog’s breakfast, but is has not.

That it is so successful at the Ensemble is also down to the very fine principal cast of Penny Cook and Sharon Flanagan as the lady sisters Janet and Ursula, and Gael Ballantyne as their hilariously dowdy and formidable cook-housekeeper Dorcas. 

 
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LOVE AND INFORMATION

LOVE AND INFORMATION

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on July 12 2015

LOVE AND INFORMATION, Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre at Wharf 1, 9 July-15 August 2015. Photography by Pia Johnson, above: Anita Hegh, Alison Whyte and Zahra Newman; right: Alison Whyte and Glenn Hazeldine.

It’s a pity Caryl Churchill wasn’t at Wharf 1 on Saturday to witness the opening night performance of her 45th or 57th play (depending which list you take). For one thing she deserved a standing ovation and for another, she would surely have been thrilled with what Kip Williams (director) David Fleischer (set designer) and Paul Jackson (lighting design) have done with Love and Information

 
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SNUGGLEPOT AND CUDDLEPIE

SNUGGLEPOT AND CUDDLEPIE

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on July 6 2015

SNUGGLEPOT & CUDDLEPIE, A CDP production in association with Monkey Baa Theatre Company, Playhouse Theatre - Sydney Opera House 3 July 2015. (Touring in 2016.) Photography by Branco Gaica: above Jacob Warner and Kirk Page; right: Georgia Adamson and Jacob Warner.

The combination of producer CDP (The Gruffalo(s), the various storeys of Treehouse, Babies Proms etc) and Monkey Baa (Pete the Sheep, Simon Tedeschi Pianist and Prankster) virtually guarantees a first-rate production and this one is no exception. It’s been adapted for a 55-minute show for littlies and their lucky adults by Eva Di Cesare, Sandra Eldridge and Tim McGarry from the much loved books by May Gibbs.

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THE DAPTO CHASER

THE DAPTO CHASER

By Diana Simmonds Review Posted on July 5 2015

THE DAPTO CHASER, Apocalypse Theatre Company and Griffin Independent at the SBW Stables Theatre, 1-25 July 2015. Photography by Robert Catto: above: Jamie Oxenbould and Richard Sydenham; right - Richard Sydenham and Jamie Oxenbould.

The ancient yet largely ignored sport of greyhound racing has recently made it into the news for the first time in decades (if not ever) but the reasons were dire. Extreme cruelty to living animals in the training of the dogs had been uncovered and then, if that were not enough, there was the grisly discovery in Queensland of dozens of greyhound corpses – killed and discarded because the dogs hadn’t made the racing grade. Recent revelations perhaps, but the nature of the evidence and stories told of a long and horrible history. And then there’s The Dapto Chaser.

 
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