Red Koi Reviews

See what I've seen, hear what I've heard

Archive for the ‘Theatre’ Category

Sydney Festival – My bicycle loves you

Posted by redkoireviews on 17/01/2011

This latest physical theatre piece by ‘Legs on the wall‘ draws inspiration from early 20th century Australian vaudeville, with archival footage of the Corrick family projected throughout the show. The troupe are acrobatic, but it’s not a circus act stuffed to overfull with physical stunts. The show is dramatic, but doesn’t follow a traditional plot progression that moves neatly from beginning, middle and end. It makes full use of audio and visual technology, but not in a ‘wow, 3D!’ kind of way. So it’s hard to define and that’s exactly what a great sydney festival show should be like.

The band provides a live accompaniment to the stage and the performance is all the better for it, reminding me of the pianist in movie cinemas that would accompany silent movies and a musical interlude during intermission. Some parts of the show did seem to drag on a little but mostly it had me captured. The characters build through the show as you find out their quirks and oddities, and my favorite was the you man whose energy, anger and frustration in the scene with the horns really moved me.

My Rating 3.5 stars

Second opinion? try stagenoise

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Posted in 3 Stars, Festivals, Reviews, Theatre | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Cranston Cup Theatresports Grandfinal

Posted by redkoireviews on 12/12/2010

Cranston Cup Bluekoi and I have been meaning to see some good theatresports for a while and last year we missed the finals of the Cranston Cup. Last nights final at the Enmore Theatre was awesome! MC’d by Chris from the Chaser, and featuring plenty of seasoned theatresports players plus some new faces it was fast paced and fun. Tom Dunstan from the team ‘The independent swingers” won “man of the match” and deserved it – his spontaneous physical comedy was the best I’ve seen and he was a real sport, jumping in to help other teams in almost every round.

This final wasn’t as musical as some of the other improv we’ve seen – but the standout team for the musical challenges where the new entrant “Tri-state Ghost Hunters” who where so-so overall but who’s opera about teaching was fantastic, and gave the improv keyboardist Penny Biggins a chance to shine.

The Cranston cup is the NSW competition – team “Bavaria’s Wurst” now goes onto the national championships in 2011, also at the Enmore as part of the Sydney comedy festival. I’ll definitely be going to see that 🙂

Posted in 4 Stars, Comedy, Theatre | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Gates of Egpyt

Posted by redkoireviews on 18/02/2007

The Gates of EgpytMy partner and I saw “The Gates of Egypt” performed by Company B last night. You realise just how deeply the wars in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq have angered people when you take a look at the number of plays that draw on them. This one revolves around normal Aussie grandmother Clarice, who has been left feeling at odds with her world after the death of her husband. Against the better judgement of her daughters, she takes a trip alone to Egypt, where she confronts the hate brewed by various wars in the middle east, and faces up to years of apathy about it in her own life and in those around her.

The play has a lot to say about our ability to distance oursleves from what is done in our name on the battlefront. There’s a sense of powerlessness, of life unfolding in predictable ways that you might regret later. Rather than being 100% political commentary on war, it draws you into the life, loves and regrets of a woman and her family. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2 Stars, Theatre | 3 Comments »

“The Space Between” by Circa

Posted by redkoireviews on 19/01/2007

The Space BetweenI saw this performance after a last minute offer of free tickets from a friend of mine. It’s a dance / circus / theatre performance piece by the Circa circus company. There have been a few performances as part of the ‘About an hour’ series in the Sydney Festival.

I’ve seen a fee modern dance performances before, and sometimes they can be so full of such physical stunts that you can become distracted by the sheer effort of the performers, forgetting the beautiful shape and form of their performance. Not so with Circa. Though their performance is physical, the performers do that wonderful thing of making a hard thing look graceful. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 4 Stars, Festivals, Other, Theatre | Leave a Comment »

The Adventures of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie and Little Ragged Blossom (A Musical)

Posted by redkoireviews on 14/01/2007

SnugglepotThis musical is based on the book ‘The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie” by Australian author May Gibbs. John Clarke (one of Australia’s best satire comedians) wrote it while Neil Armfield from Company B Theatre Company directed the production. It’s part of the 2007 Sydney Festival.

The story is a classic Australian children’s book, and the play sticks pretty closely to the original adventures of the three main characters as they make a journey towards a human city. John Clarkes satire comes through more as an overlay on top of the existing story, rather than being a 100% satirical plot. Think of it a bit like the Simpsons – the kids love it on one level but there’s jokes in it for the adults as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 3 Stars, Music, Reviews, Theatre | Leave a Comment »

‘Keating’ the musical

Posted by redkoireviews on 01/01/2007

KeatingSorry for the delay – chistmas madness! This was our last performance at the Belvior St Theatre for 2006! “Keating!” is a musical satire and biography of former labor Prime Minister of Australia Paul Keating. The songs chart the political life of Paul Keating, and the various other politicians that he fought, defeated and was eventually defeated by.

It’s a great comedy that works really well in a theatre built for plays, but musical spectaculars. The band was a lot better than I thought it would be. And just because it’s a musical, don’t think the music is going to be flowery schmaltz – this has everything from blues to hip hop. I thought that Terry Serio did a so so Bob Hawke and a better John Howard. Mike McLeish had his work cut out for him as Paul Keating – almost every song had him in it. Casey Bennetto wrote the musical and performs in it as a hilarious Alexander Downer and John Hewson.

There’s a speech Keating made while he was Prime Minister at Redfern, about the unjust treatment of Indigenous Australians over the last 200 years of white occupation. It’s still fondly remembered by Labor party stalwarts, and in this musical, the whole speech is set to music, pretty much verbatim. It’s one of the few serious(ish) numbers and I liked it a lot.

A great way to finish off the year – Well done Company B!

My Rating: 4.5 Stars. For another review, see the smh.

Posted in 4 Stars, Music, Reviews, Theatre | Leave a Comment »

It just stopped

Posted by redkoireviews on 08/10/2006

It just stoppedCompany B is back at their Belvior St venue, all refurbished and with seats that are actually comfortable! ‘It just stopped’ is the first play we’ve seen back at the original venue, and it made me appreciate the intimacy of the venue.

The play is a black comedy that explores what would really matter if everything just stopped – water, electricity, even (gasp) mobile phones. Americans Franklin (pretentious music critic) and Beth (redneck radio producer) are left with only their feature wall of jelly beans and large ego’s. However, they are soon joined by Aussies Bill (bloke, box-maker, sexist nihilist) and Pearl (strange, passive and very 50’s).  Together they decide if this is the end of the world, and if it is, what to make of it?

The script, acting and production where all excellent – no mean feat given the interuptions of re-building their theatre. There are plenty of boring, navel gazing ways about thinking about the meaning of life – this play manages to avoid them all and make it fun, dark and relevant to today’s culture.

My Rating: 4 Stars

See the Sydney Morning Herald for another review

Posted in 4 Stars, Reviews, Theatre | Leave a Comment »

“The Tempest” by William Shakespeare

Posted by redkoireviews on 17/09/2006

The tempestEarlier this year my Partner and I saw Bell Shakespeare perform “Romeo and Juliet“, and last night we saw “The Tempest“. I’ve never seen “The Tempest” before and found it my new favourite Shakespeare. The play is a tale of power, providence and magic.

Prospero is the bookish Duke of Milan, overthrown by his own brother and cast to sea, where by luck Prospero and his daughter land on an island with only a servant Caliban and spirit Ariel as company. When Prospero’s brother and his fellow conspirators sail close by, Prospero conjures a fearsome storm to deliver his foes to the island, where he seeks his revenge. In the process, love blooms and crooks conspire. In the end Prospero recognises that ‘The rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance’ and forgives his foes. The full synopsis of the Bell production is here.

John Bell played Prospero, with all the presence and power that the character needs. I found some of the monologues very moving, able to build emotion in the audience with ease. In today’s world of email, sms and blogs, the art of oratory has been largely lost. Our gutless politicians lack the vision to deliver anything of substance. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 4 Stars, Reviews, Theatre | 1 Comment »

Varekai by Cirque du Soleil

Posted by redkoireviews on 13/08/2006

VarekaiA couple of years ago, my partner and I went to see Quidam by Cirque du Soleil, and loved it. So when we heard that they were back out here in the land of Oz with Varekai, we booked early.

Cirque du Soleil always perform in their own tent, with the stage and seating arranged ‘in the round’. This makes it a lovely, festival feel, where the performers never feel too far away.

Varekai means ‘wherever’ in the Romany language, capturing the sense of being taken away, perhaps somewhere magical and unknown. The plot is (very) loosely based on the Greek myth of the fall of Icarus, but the format is largely a series of acts.

In any other book, play, theatre or performance, a series of acts with a thin plot would spell a disaster – but it’s the performers and their acts that make Varekai truly magical. Many of the acts make your jaw drop through the sheer physical feats and risky stunts, but the performers and costumes take it to another level. I think the two men on the aerial straps best captured just how beautiful and mystical Cirque du Soleil can be. At times their combined shapes and movement reminded me of the multi-armed Hindu god Ganesha, at other times their lives were entrusted completely in each other and their symmetry – the ultimate ying yang. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 5 Stars, Festivals, Reviews, Theatre | 1 Comment »

A large attendance in the antechamber

Posted by redkoireviews on 16/07/2006

A large attendance in the antechamberMy partner and I went to see the play “A large attendance in the antechamber” last night at the Opera House. It’s part of the “Adventures in the Dark” series that also included “The hanging man” and “The Importance of being Ernest“.

The play is a kind of study of Sir Francis Galton – cousin to Charles Darwin, eccentric genius, scientist and founder of eugenics. The play oscillates wildly between trivial and hilarious oddities from Galtons life, and the truly confronting philosophy of eugenics that lead to some of the most horrific times in human history. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 4 Stars, Reviews, Theatre | Leave a Comment »

 
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