As You Like It (Canberra)

By Revelly Robinson

Zahra Newman cements her status as one of the country’s most entertaining stage actors.

Peter Evans’ interpretation of As You Like It is a light hearted romp into the magical forest of Arden. The actors give spirited performances in this fun Shakespeare play, but nonetheless there is something lacking in the cohesiveness of the piece. The characters drift dissonantly from scene to scene with little integration of their roles with each other. This incongruity mirrors the disparate narrative which almost seems to comprise of individual skits broken up by comedic and musical interludes.

One of Shakespeare’s iconic comedies, As You Like It contains the infallibly humorous elements of assumed identities and hapless romantics that make the bard’s plays so accessible. When the filial Rosalind is banished by her uncle, Duke Frederick, she assumes the identity of a man, Ganymede, to seek out her father in the forest of Arden. Accompanied by her cousin, Celia, posing as Ganymede’s sister Aliena, the protagonist uses her newfound identity to taunt and play havoc with the characters she meets along the way. Despite falling desperately in love with Orlando before leaving the court, upon encountering the melancholy Orlando in the forest, Rosalind under the guise of Ganymede takes the opportunity to taunt him into revealing the depth of his feelings for her.

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Black Diggers (Canberra)

By Revelly Robinson.

The retelling of a story that shows why its never too late to remember history. If there was ever a more resounding endorsement for a show it would be its ability to render a Minister speechless. And that’s exactly what happened on the opening night of Black Diggers at the Canberra Playhouse on Wednesday, 25 March.

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Between Us (Sydney – Australian Theatre For Young People)

Review by Shannyn Warren

The audience is thrust into a dark room looking at a television, spun around via flashes of light and beckoned into rooms deeper inside a labyrinth of secrets as dark as the rooms at the wharf theatre – and just between us – it’s wonderfully exciting.

The production sees eleven monologues created by a group of talented folk under 25 and performed by some promising adolescents. It’s about coming of age, leaving the innocence of childhood behind, and mostly – how secrets, above all else, are what seem to make us grow up.

One of the most poignant aspects of the play is perhaps the setting, designed by Melanie Liertz. The audience is consistently moved around an obscure curtained space via subtle stage manoeuvres or hints from the actors. Liertz’ set works remarkably well in making us feel uncomfortably involved in the messiness of other peoples business. The way the audience is positioned with the actors means that we are painstakingly present, and even sometimes in the way. It acts as a constant reminder that secrets are ever present and in our faces – even if they are the secrets of others – and are not something we can escape or move away from.

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