Robots Vs Art (La Mama Theatre)

ImageVenue: La Mama Courthouse (Carlton, VIC), Apr 17 – May 5, 2013
Director/Playwright: Travis Cotton
Actors: Daniel Frederiksen, Simon Maiden, Natasha Jacobs, Paul Goddard

Theatre review
This tale has been told many times before. Man is again at threat of being consumed by its own Frankensteinian monster, but this retelling is still intriguing. While the play’s ideas are not original, they are updated with the hue of current human concerns that make its theme engaging. Its most successful moments revolve around the story’s robotic autocracy attempting to make sense of art and human emotion. Although exaggerated, this portrayal of government comes across convincingly and comically similar to our daily experience of leaders in civilisations today. Less successful, however, is the attempt to end the play with the human race escaping obliteration, which comes across tragically unconvincing.

Dance Of Death (Malthouse Theatre)

Venue: Beckett Theatre at Malthouse (Southbank VIC), Apr 18 – May 19, 2013
Playwright: Friedrich Dürrenmatt, English text by Tom Holloway
Director: Matthew Lutton
Actors: Jacek Koman, Belinda McClory, David Paterson

Theatre review
The players are brilliant. They are charismatic, humorous, agile and precise. From the very start, the audience is eating out of the palm of their hand, keen to see what unfolds. Their depiction of a dysfunctional marriage (to put it mildly) is fascinating and thrilling, but it is a struggle to find more than great entertainment value from this production, which is curious as the play does go into very dark places. Its last third turns more serious, but this is where the show loses focus, and the crowd is left bewildered as to what is being conveyed.

Production values are wonderful. Sound and music, set and props, and lighting all felt flawlessly executed and artfully created. This is a loud and dynamic, yet elegant production, which theatre-goers will enjoy even if its ending fails to match u up to its astounding start.

Cowboy Mouth (Exhibit A: Theatre)

Venue: Goodtime Studios (Carlton VIC), Apr 1 – 28, 2013
Playwrights: Sam Shepard & Patti Smith
Director: Emily O’Brien Brown
Actors: Belinda Misevski, Benjamin Rigby

Theatre review
This is a little-known play for good reason. The script is incredibly messy, as one would expect from a work created from the depths of intoxication. O’Brien Brown’s direction is intelligent, keeping emphasis on performance, emotion and mood, rather than story. Misevski shines brightly in this intimate staging. She is fearless and focused, presenting to the audience at close proximity, a character covered in open wounds. Her performance is intense, but also varied and colourful. A reminder of the great importance of “small theatre” productions.