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THEATRE: 25 DECEMBER 2014

Oz Baby Boomers regular theatre reviewers choose their best shows for 2014. Hence, in no particular order:

SANDRA BOWDEN

§ Switzerland, by Joanna Murray-Smith | Directed by Sarah Goodes | Sydney Theatre Company | Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House

Switzerland is that rare breed of production whose shadows remain in your peripheral vision well after the house lights have come up. READ REVIEW

Toby Truslove, Helen Thomson in Children of the Sun. Image: Brett Boardman.

§ Children of the Sun, by Maxim Gorky, in a new version by Andrew Upton | Directed by Kip Williams | Sydney Theatre Company | Sydney Opera House Drama Theatre

While much of Children of the Sun is humorous, the dark undercurrent of revolt cannot be held back. Tension builds to a powerful, inevitable conclusion. Max Lyandvert’s soundscape creates a gripping backdrop to the increasing chaos and fear. In the presence of death, even children of the sun are consumed by the shadow. READ REVIEW

§ Oedipus Rex | directed by Adena Jacobs | Belvoir | Belvoir Downstairs Theatre, Surry Hills, Sydney

If a single shot could represent the complexity, power and anguish of Oedipus Rex, it would be the final seconds. The image remained on the retina well after that last blackout. READ REVIEW

JOHN ROZENTALS

The Last Confession, by Roger Crane | Directed by Jonathan Church | TRH Productions | Theatre Royal, Sydney

The elaborate, constantly changing, set design, the richness of the costumes, the clever lighting, and strong all-round performances from the large cast add up to a very memorable, thought-provoking night of theatre. READ REVIEW

Pamela Rabe, Rose Riley and Luke Mullins in The Glass Menagerie. Image: Brett Boardman

§ The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams | Directed by Eamon Flack | Belvoir | Belvoir Upstairs, Surry Hills, Sydney

Even from some distance away I could hear gnashing of teeth from fellow Oz Baby Boomers reviewer Sandra Bowden at having missed probably her favourite actor, Luke Mullins, in this splendid production. READ REVIEW

§ Kryptonite, by Sue Smith | Directed by Geordie Brookman | Sydney Theatre Company & State Theatre Company of South Australia | Wharf 1 Theatre, Walsh Bay, Sydney

It’s a touching, beautifully crafted piece of work, and both actors are superb throughout 90 uninterrupted minutes of intense, challenging performance. READ REVIEW

Kate Raison, Belinda Giblin, Lizzie Mitchell and Eric Beecroft in Dark Voyager. Image: Natalie Boog.

§ Dark Voyager, by John Misto | Directed by Anna Crawford | Ensemble Theatre | Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli, Sydney

John Misto has cleverly blurred the line between fact and fiction, and much of his writing is scintillating, with Crawford, Davis and Hopper delivering malice-laced lines at machine-gun speed. READ REVIEW

GERALDINE WORTHINGTON

§ A Christmas Carol,  by Charles Dickens, adapted by Benedict Hardie & Anne-Louise Sarks | Directed by Anne-Louise Sarks | Belvoir | Belvoir Upstairs Theatre

Benedict Hardie and Anne-Luise Sarks’ theatrical adaption perfectly captured the essence and message of Dicken’s original narrative with its ever essential message that we have to live in the past, present and future. READ REVIEW

Robert Jago, Kate Mulvany, Helen Dallimore, Charlie Garber, Geraldine Hakewill and Jennifer Hagan in Tartuffe. Image: Lisa Tomasetti.

§ Tartuffe, by Molière, in a new version by Justin Fleming | Directed by Peter Evans | Bell Shakespeare Company | Sydney Opera House

An expert production which, still after centuries, was very, very funny, relevant, darkly satirical and controversial. READ REVIEW

§ Richard III, by William Shakespeare | Adapted and directed by Mark Kilmurry | Ensemble Theatre | Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli, Sydney

Mark Kilmurry directed an excellent cast as well as playing the central character; an enthralling performance as we watched Richard lie, manipulate and murder his way to his destiny. READ REVIEW

§ Ganesh Versus the Third Reich, devised by Kate Sulan | Back to Back Theatre | Carriageworks, Eveleigh, Sydney

A welcome revival of this 2012 play, that astutely examined and investigated discrimination and the abuse of power. READ REVIEW

Jonathan Biggins as Paul Keating in The Wharf Revue. Image: Brett Boardman

§ The 2014 Wharf Revue: Open for Business, written and created by Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe & Phillip Scott | Sydney Theatre Company | Wharf 1 Theatre, Walsh Bay, Sydney

The regular crew, Jonathan Biggins, Amanda Bishop and Phillip Scott all play numerous roles and deliver wicked caricatures of our illustrious leaders past and present and Douglas Hansell makes an impressive debut. READ REVIEW

JOHN ROZENTALS

§ Cruise Control, by David Williamson | Directed by David Williamson | Ensemble Theatre | Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli, Sydney

In this case, as usual, it’s an entertainment that extends well beyond a plethora of wit and great one-liners. Serious issues continue to bob their heads — abuse within relationships, sexual dissatisfaction, the exploitation of Third World labour to serve wealthy Westerners — and they’re deftly and sometimes quite touchingly handled. READ REVIEW

Damien Carr and Leigh Scully in Trainspotting.

§ Trainspotting, adapted for the stage by Harry Gibson from the novel by Irvine Welsh | Directed by Luke Berman | Black Box Theatre & Emu Productions | King Street Theatre, Newtown, Sydney

This is confronting, provocative theatre at its best. Go see it, but make sure you take an open mind and a strong stomach with you. READ REVIEW