Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
By Annie Baker Red Stitch Actors Theatre, from 1 May 2015 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: **** Full review also published online in Herald Sun on Mon May 4, 2015 & later in print. KH
Ngaire Dawn Fair & Kevin Hofbauer
Pulitzer Prize winning play, The Flick, Annie Baker’s cunningly wrought
dialogue crackles with wit and illuminates characters and relationships in a
surprising series of vignettes.
directed by Nadia Tass, The Flick is a fly-on-the-wall view of three cleaners
working in a shabby, old Massachusetts cinema that is one of the last to swap
its 35mm film projector for fully digital movies.
The entire 3
hours is set amongst the scruffy, empty seats of the fleapit movie house where
Sam (Ben Prendergast) trains new boy, Avery (Kevin Hofbauer), in the niceties
of sweeping up spilled popcorn, lolly wrappers and some scarily unidentifiable
and unsavoury jetsam.
(Ngaire Dawn Fair), the stroppy projectionist, ventures out from behind the
glass wall of the projection room only to taunt the two young men who are her
three are cool and remote in their communication, struggling to find common
ground and appearing to be two-dimensional stereotypes, even to each other.
Sam and Avery
discover a mutual love of movies and Sam challenges Avery with the movie trivia
game, Six Degrees of Separation, finding increasingly difficult tests of
Avery’s savant-like memory of movies.
The beauty of
Baker’s script is that, just when it seems to be going nowhere, like its
characters, the relationships intensify and Sam, Avery and Rose share their
dreams, secrets and wounds, becoming friends rather than merely co-workers.
becomes elastic and tropical days merge into each other for the characters on
an island resort in Lally Katz’ enjoyable, light comedy, Timeshare.
production, with assured direction by Oliver Butler (The Debate Society, New
York), staged on Dale Ferguson’s hyper-real sandy paradise set, is very funny
with plenty of goofy gags, dysfunctional characters, absurd situations and
silly but entertaining songs.
greatest strength is the versatile cast (Marg Downey, Brigid Gallacher, Bert
LaBonté, Fayssal Bazzi), and all four balance the hilarious aspects of their
characters with poignant moments.
(Downey) and her adult daughter, Kristy (Gallacher), spend a week on a noticeably
shabby timeshare resort managed by Carl (LaBonté).
they await the late arrival of her son, Gary (Bazzi), Sandy relaxes on a
lounger by the empty infinity pool and Kristy books every one of the
all-inclusive activities so she can spend time with sexy, resort worker, Juan
an island that straddles the dateline, time is confusing when one side of the
resort is experiencing today while the other is still in yesterday, and this is
perhaps most bewildering for Sandy.
By William Shakespeare, Bell Shakespeare Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre
Melbourne, until 10 May 2015 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: ***1/2 Full review below. Review also published in Herald Sun in print on Monday 27 April and online. KH
charming production of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, As You Like It, playfully
emphasises the silliness of love and lovers and the oddly predictable
changeability of human nature.
Evans directs the play imaginatively with a nod to the ridiculousness of its
story, the absurdity of its characters and the mischievousness of Shakespeare’s
witty and bawdy dialogue.
being banished from her jealous uncle’s court, as was her father, Duke Senior (Alan
Dukes), before her, Rosalind (Zahra Newman) disguises herself as a youth and
escapes with her loyal cousin, Celia (Kelly Paterniti), and the lascivious
jester, Touchstone (Gareth Davies).
In the Forest
of Arden, they encounter Silvius (George Banders), a lovelorn shepherd, his
beloved Phebe (Emily Eskell), and, eventually, they find Rosalind’s father and
his band of lords.
Orlando (Charlie Garber), dispossessed by his greedy brother, Oliver (Dorje
Swallow), and overwhelmed by his idiotic love, pursues Rosalind to the Forest
where he pens appallingly bad, romantic verses about her and pins them to
Rosalind in her guise as the boy, Ganymede, and she impishly proposes to teach
him the ways of love, its pitfalls and the foibles of fickle women.
brings passion, wit and muscularity to the role of Rosalind, the most fully
developed character in the play.
is intelligent, independent of thought, loving and chaste, but her composure is
disrupted when she falls in love with young Orlando.
willowy Garber gives Orlando a boyish callowness offset by his intemperate rage
and self-indulgent romanticism, but the requisite sexual chemistry is lacking between
Rosalind and Orlando until the final scenes.
Artistic Director of Bell Shakespeare, John Bell, is exceptional as Jaques, the
melancholy lord, and he delivers with elegant simplicity and a distinctive lack
of flourish one of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches: The Seven Ages of Man.
Presented by Arts
Centre Melbourne; originally produced by Queensland Theatre Company
& Sydney Festival Playhouse Arts Centre Melbourne, until 26 April 2015 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars:***1/2
Full review also in Herald Sun online today, Fri 24 April 2015 and in print on Sunday. KH
of war, the pain of prejudice and the solace of mateship combine in Black
Diggers, Tom Wright’s play about the 1300 unsung, aboriginal soldiers that fought
for Australia during World War One.
script does not focus on a single narrative or any one character’s story but
is, instead, episodic, with 60 short scenes that move swiftly in Wesley Enoch’s production.
based his research on the many and varied stories of young, indigenous men who
volunteered for service, despite not being recognised as citizens of their own
country at that time.
acting is uneven, these nine actors (Eliah Watego, George Bostock, Tibian Wyles,
Colin Smith, Shaka Cook, Kirk Page, Guy Simon, Luke Carroll, Trevor Jamieson) tell the soldiers’ stories with commitment and care, honouring their
memory, although the contribution of those veterans is not documented formally in
our history books.
divides into five periods, including the years before Federation, Enlistment,
The Theatre Of War on the Western Front, Turkey and Palestine, the Return to
Australia and the Legacy of the war.
In Welcome to My World At the Athenaeum Theatre, until 19 April 2015 Melbourne Comedy Festival Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: *** Review also in Herald Sun online on Fri 3 April 2015. KH.
UK comedian, Stephen K. Amos, is a regular and popular
visitor to the Melbourne Comedy Festival and he pulls a large crowd of loyal
Amos's warmth, energy and relaxed style are his
greatest assets in his stand-up show, Welcome To My World, along with his
rapid, ad-libbed repartee with the audience and his ability to turn a mistake
into a joke.
His interactions with individuals who foolishly sit in
the front rows, produce his biggest laughs, particularly his teasing of
20-year old Daniel, who suffers repeated quips about his safari in
Kenya and his business degree.
He also gets comedy mileage from some latecomers that
hail from Liverpool, a town that Amos clearly judges to be joke-worthy.
His material shifts between familiar, observational
humour and inoffensive political or social commentary about Australia.
With Colin Lane, David Collins & Esther Hannaford The Famous Speigeltent, until 19 April 2015 Melbourne Comedy Festival Stars: **** Reviewer: Kate Herbert Review also in Herald Sun online, 2 April 2015. KH
Mash up Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado with
some hilarious slapstick, goofy characters, hammy acting and delicious
harmonies and you have The 3 Mikados.
Directed deftly by Russell Fletcher, this totally
bonkers re-imagining of G & S's popular comic opera from 1885 is a treat
for so many reasons.
The show is the brainchild of two heroes of the
Australian comedy scene, Colin Lane (Lano and Woodley) and David Collins (Umbilical
Brothers), who bring their formidable physical and verbal comedy skills to the
Lane and Collins can sing too and are joined by
musical theatre star, Esther Hannaford (King Kong) with her exceptional voice,
and the inimitable John Thorn on piano.
In this version of The Mikado, the three performers
play multiple roles, a theatrical device that creates mirth and mayhem when all
characters are on stage at once and the trio must switch characters in the flap
of a fan.