Saturday, September 24, 2016

SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER



Written by Oliver Goldsmith
Directed by Tony Turner
Canberra Rep at Theatre 3 until 8 October

Review by Len Power 23 September 2016

Here’s your chance to see an 18th century classic comedy brought to life wonderfully for a modern audience.  Tony Turner’s production for Canberra Rep is perfectly cast and satisfying and enjoyable in every way.

Through its many characters, the play presents an enthralling picture of 18th century English life.  A young woman finds a way to make her painfully shy suitor fall in love with her and propose while complicated and hilarious mayhem occurs around them.

The large cast perform the work with gusto.  The level of detail in the performances, physically and vocal, is quite remarkable.  Kate Hardcastle, the object of the betrothal, is nicely played by Zoe Priest as a confident, almost modern young woman with a sly sense of humour.  Her blustering parents, Mr and Mrs Hardcastle, are played delightfully with all stops out by Jonathan Pearson and Elaine Noon.

Kate Harris gives a winning performance as Mrs Hardcastle’s niece and Adam Salter almost steals the show at times with his hilarious portrayal of the scheming Tony Lumpkin.  The suitor, Young Marlow, is played by George Pulley, cleverly capturing the nervousness of the suitor around his intended and a brashness with others but keeping the audience on his side at all times.

Teig Sadhana gives a fine performance as George Hastings, Young Marlow’s companion with romantic plans of his own, and, in smaller roles, Anthony Ives as Sir Charles Marlow plays with a nice authority and Paul Jackson gives a funny characterisation as Stingo the Landlord.

Special mention must be made about the eight actors playing assorted servants.  The level of physical detail in their performances made them collectively into a major force in the show.  They are at times hysterically funny and always very real.

The deceptively simple and attractive set was designed by Cate Clelland and the beautiful costumes by Anna Senior with great period wigs by Ilona Murphy.  Lighting by Stephen Still and sound by Tim Sekuless added a fine atmosphere to the show.

Tony Turner’s direction is excellent.  You’re not aware of the length of the play as it moves at a fast pace even during the cleverly planned set changes.  Turner has achieved an amazing depth and reality in the characterisations of his actors.

This is one of those classic plays that you’re told you should see as part of your theatrical education.  I say go and see it because it’s just great fun!

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7’s ‘Artcetera’ program on Saturdays from 9.00am.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Wharf Revue: Back To Bite You - Canberra Theatre Centre


Review by John Lombard

Last year's anniversary special Wharf Revue felt like a gap year, a break for the team while they waited for the chaos of Australian politics to settle down.  Famously, the day the show went to stage in Canberra Tony Abbott had his last day as Prime Minister, but the team still managed to address Malcolm Turnbull's rise to power in a short but well-polished sketch.  Now after a patient year of knife-sharpening the Revue's sketch writers celebrate Turnbull's first year with the savagery of unruly senators lining up to stick one more knife into Caesar.

The core team of Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott are all in attendance this year, although they are now joined by newcomer (to the revue) Katrina Retallick.  As always, Biggins and Fortsythe are fearless chameleons: this year has Biggins perform an erotic fan dance as Tony Abbott, while Fortsythe squeezes himself into Pauline Hanson's heels.  Phillip Scott is also impressive as stolid characters, but makes the greatest mark this year as musical director with his excellent musical parodies.  Retallick fits right in, with her Jackie Lambie a particular delight.

This year the revue focused noticeably on extended scenarios, in particular the opening sketches set in Ancient Rome.  With Malcolm Caesar's leadership wobby there are whispers of a fatal leadership challenge - and for the Romans, a knife in the back is always literal.  These sketches were wry, boasting as many puns on Latin names as an Asterix comic, and gave the strangely appealing spectacle of Derryn Hinch kitted out as a gladiator.  The closing sequence cast an eye at the United States in an equally developed Little Shop of Horrors parody, that had na├»ve Republican power brokers feeding a Trump monster they cannot control.  I noticed that many of the lines (possibly all?) Trump was delivering in this sketch were actual quotes.

While the leadership rumblings in the Liberal Party were the main focus of the night, another key theme was the decline of the smaller parties, with the Democrats in particular the subject of brutal satire.  Pauline Hanson was the subject of equally sharp treatment, although Jackie Lambie was depicted with more dignity.  Bill Shorten's great moment was a speech-making lesson from Henry Higgins, while the Brexit was addressed in a sketch that recreated a Carry On Movie.

The Wharf Revue has never been known to shie away from a dad joke, but enough jokes land for the show to have an impact.  The satire is always just a shade gentle, ribbing rather true political anger, something all but the most hardened ideologues and party members can enjoy.  Although it was rewarding to look back, this year's Revue was anchored firmly in current events, and more satisfying for it.  By the time the show was finished it was hard to believe 90 minutes had passed, another success for the Revue in its spiritual (if not actual) home.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

THE FAITHFUL SERVANT



Written by Tom Davis
Directed by Caroline Stacey
The Street Theatre to 18 September

Review by Len Power 16 September 2016

‘The Faithful Servant’ by Tom Davis plays for 105 minutes without an interval.  It’s the quickest 105 minutes you’ll experience in the theatre.  The play engages the audience immediately with well-developed and interesting characters, striking staging and an absorbing story.

Dr. Raymond Gerrard has spent over 50 years working in the ‘Australians For Hope’ hospital in rural Mozambique.  Coetano Perreira has been his right-hand man for decades, but now wants the organisation to become faith-based.  Gerrard’s adopted daughter from Mozambique, Caroline, has grown up in Australia and wants to stay there and pursue her GP practice.  Moving back and forth in time from Gerrard’s first arrival in Mozambique until his death, it becomes clear that being good isn’t as straight forward as it sounds.

As well as telling an interesting story, the strength of this play is in its three main characters.  All three are well-meaning but flawed people and Tom Davis makes them come alive with the depth of detail he gives each of them.  He is aided by three actors who play with such sincerity and skill that the emotional interplay between them gives the play a fierce reality.

At the centre of the play, Peter (PJ) Williams gives a vivid and moving portrait of an innocent doctor who came to Africa ‘just to help’ and stayed on for virtually the rest of his life, becoming a much-loved figure amongst the locals.  As his adopted daughter, Caroline, Tariro Mavondo gives an excellent performance as the tough, conflicted young GP in Australia resisting the call of her country and her father to help.  Dorian Nkono gives a subtle reading of his role as Coetano Perreira.  Is he good or does he have another agenda and is that a bad thing anyway?  The actor plays the fine balance so skilfully that we’re never quite sure.

Minor characters are played by Mavondo and Nkono.  This was confusing at times and it would have been preferable to have extra cast members playing these roles.

Caroline Stacey’s direction of the play is brilliantly imaginative and works very well.  Having the audience seated onstage on either side of the large playing area helped to draw us into the action.  Once again, Imogen Keen has designed a production that is unusual and very impressive.  Kimmo Vennonen’s complex sound design was especially atmospheric and effective.  Lighting by Linda Buck would have been quite a challenge with the unusual playing area but it worked perfectly.  Video by Scott Holgate was well-designed and complemented the action onstage.

Tom Davis’s previous play presented at The Street Theatre, ‘The Chain Bridge’, although showing writing talent, was marred by too many story lines and lack of clarity in its purpose.  ‘The Faithful Servant’ works because it has a clear focus, a really interesting story and an emotional reality that we can relate to completely.

Len Power’s reviews can also be heard on Artsound FM 92.7’s ‘Artcetera’ program on Saturdays from 9am.

Friday, September 16, 2016

CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS




Carnival of  the Animals

Created by Yaron Lifschitz and the Circa ensemble A production by Circa and QPAC’s Out of the Box Festival Director Yaron Lifschitz Production Manager/Lighting Designer Jason Organ Video Design Michaela French Sound Designer/ Composer Quincy Grant
Costume Design Libby McDonnell Set Design Yaron Lifschitz, Jason Organ, Libby McDonnell and Michaela French, Costume Design Libby McDonnell Costume Creation Team Janie Grant, Susan Gibson, Trang Vo, Chris Healy, Selene Cochrane, Karen Blinco, Sarah White, Maria Wong & Kate Jefferay Director of International Partnerships Jennifer Cook International Representation Paul Tanguay (Worldwide) Thomas O. Kriegsmann (USA) Canberra Theatre. Canberra Theatre Centre. September 15-18 2016.

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins

It all begins simply enough. A spot lights up four suitcases one on top of the other in the centte of the vast Canberra Theatre stage. Enter a clown dressed in black with a bowler hat upon her head and a red nose, the mark of a clown upon her face. Three strikes of her staff upon the floor and the stage bursts into action as acrobats tumble and whirl, spin and turn, somersault and roll to create a carnival world of red and white striped drapes and a canopy with animals drawn along the edge. This is a world of transformation, transporting audiences into a magical world of the wonders of the animal world om land, on sea and air. There is still the flavor of a bygone era, when circus was the entertainment king and acrobats, jugglers and clowns held sway upon  an amazed and delighted crowd.

CIRCA’s production of Carnival of the Animals still captures the charm, the skill and the wonderment of the art of acrobatics, but the production is lent a whimsical air with the use of Nineteenth century French composer  Camille Saint-Saenn’s captivating Carnival of the Animals suite.
A challenge to acrobatic troupes is to discover innovative new concepts and approaches to present familiar routines in a new and exciting way. The agile, youthful, highly skilled Circa troupe perform the customary trapeze, hoop, balancing and tumbling routines with aplomb. The clown routines offer the usual comic relief, usually at the expense of one of the pair.

What makes Carnival of the Animals such a delightful performance is the use of Saint-Saenn’s bright classical composition to underscore, the performers’ fascinating transformation from animal to human to animal, the nostalgic nineteenth century circus setting and the spectacular use of video animation as a panoramic backdrop to the performance.

Before our very eyes, the cast would transform from the human form to animals such as the cast, the peacock, the skipping kangaroos, fish and birds as the remarkable projections featured the rich variety of animals of land, sea and air. In fact, the projected images, so ingenious in their devising, so bold in colour and so inventive in their magical art of creating the drawing of an elephant that would come to life before our very eyes and be mirrored by the phenomenal dexterity and suppleness of the performers on stage. It made for a night of splendid collaboration between imagery, acrobatics and music. At times, the video projections were so prominent that they upstaged the routines upon the stage.

Ingenuity and artistry shine as animals parade their skills at balancing, skipping, leaping through hoops and preening themselves. Hands turn into ears as bodies bend and curve to end a routine as an animal, and young faces beam with excitement.

Smiles turn to squeals as sharks leap through the audience or tiny hands reach out to touch the flying rad balloons that soar above the audience’s heads in an interactive display of unforgettable colour and fun.



As it began, so the show comes to a close as the drapes fall, the canopy collapses and the performers reveal the letters T-H-E-  E-N-D. on the suitcases;  Carnival of the Animals reminds us that we share the world with the many members of the animal kingdom. It is a company to marvel at, and CIRCA has shown us a world to delight in.





As there was no programme provided for the show, I am unable to name the cast or mention particular moments of amazing skill, Suffice to say that this ensemble is a joy to watch in a show that delights the eye, warms the heart amazes at its skill and is not to be missed.

 

 







 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

THE GRUFFAL;O


GRUFFALO.

By Julia Donaldson with illustrations by Axel Scheffler. Adapted by Tall Stories Theatre Company. Olivia Jacobs and Toby Mitchell, artistic directors. Original Direction: Olivia Jacobs. Music and lyrics : Jon Fiber and Olivia Jacobs. Additional music and lyrics :Robin Price and Andy Shaw. Music production: Jon Fiber and Andy Shaw for Shock Productions. Associate Director (Aust / NZ):  Liesel Badorrek. Designer:  Isla Shaw. Original Lighting Design : James Whiteside. Produced in Australia and New Zealand by CDP Kids.Company Stage Manager: Sharna Galvin. Assistant Stage Manager: Marshall Bull. Designed by Isla Shaw. Costume creation from the original production design by Isla Shaw - Anthony Phillips.  Tall Stories Theatre Company. Bicentennial Hall and The Q Theatre. Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre September 13 – 18 2016.


Reviewed by Peter Wilkins


 


Beware what you imagine. It might just become real. The dark, dark woods can be a dangerous place for a tiny, weeny mouse. If you can’t live by your strength, then you may have to survive by your wits, and that is just what Mouse (Kalyani Nagarajan) does by creating the big, bad monster Gruffalo (Josh Cramond). The wily fox, the ogling owl and the slithery snake ( all played with versatile vitality by Cole Jenkins) soon learn to their dismay that having the right friend can keep the predators away.

Kalyani Nagarajan as Mouse. Josh Cramond as Narrator and
Cole Jenkins as Fox in CDP Theatre Producer's The Gruffalo.
To Mouse’s surprise and to the wicked delight of the children in the audience, who have obviously read Julia Donaldson’s  story, the Gruffalo bursts into monstrous life, with an ominous taste for fried Mouse on a slice of bread.
In the face of such a perilous predicament, Mouse swiftly sizes up the situation and saves the day with a clever plan to scare the predators away, and discover the nuts that sets her on her quest through the dark and dangerous woods.
CDP’s production, remaining faithful as it does to the original Tall Stories Theatre Company production of this popular tale is a delectable theatrical treat for young and old alike. Isla Shaw’s colourful touring design of cut-out trees, unlike Axel Scheffler’s original illustrations, offers an Australian flavour to the setting, without losing the flavour of the story or its setting within the woods.  Minimalist and effectively lit by James Whiteside, the effective design allows the audience to focus on the characters, played with physical verve, an infectious sense of fun  and choreographed slickness by the talented acting trio. Costume designs remain true to the characters, while suggesting a fox, an owl and a snake without disguising them within a full blown costume, allowing the actors upon the stage to physically create the animals for the children. Only the Gruffalo’s more elaborate costume, created by Matthew Aberline stays truest to the storybook illustration. A sprucely attired fox, a winged owl with an aviator’s cap and goggles and a gold-clad, Caracas wielding  matador-dressed snake and a horned leafy costumed Gruffalo lift the story from the page into the vivid realm of a child’s imagination. It is here that the liberty of adaptation has been the preservation of the tale’s intent with added life and flair.  Olivia Jacobs' original direction has been faithfully and imaginatively re-directed for the Australian and New Zealand touring production by Liesel Badorrek.  Direction and performance show an expert talent for engaging a young audience, bewitching them with hilarious business, offering excitable possibilities to participate and throwing in the occasional in-joke to keep the adult members of the audience entertained.  At Mouse’s urging the wide-eyed attentive kids roar to the upraised arm and fall silent to the finger upon the lips. Crowd control has been skilfully martialled to let the story clearly unfold. It is a joy to see the careful consideration of theatre for young children taking its well-executed path. A less professional approach could easily lead to chaos, confusion and the loss of magic in a story that exalts the power of the imagination and the triumph of wit and wile over gullibility.

This production of The Gruffalo is delightfully enhanced by some catchy, lyrical tunes composed and written by Jon Fiber and Olivia Jacobs with additional music and lyrics by Robin Fisher and Andy Shaw. I found my foot involuntarily jigging to Mouse’s  Life is good in the Wood, Fox’s wily Let me be your guide, Owl’s How would you like to come up to my treetop house? and the slippery Rhumba rhythms of Snake’s Party Song. Even What does a Gruffalo do? lends a more wistful tone to the monster’s longing for more noble, heartfelt pursuits.
All in all this production has something for everyone. Adults may lend an amused groan to the puns as Gruffalo salivates at the thought of his favourite dishes Tiramouseoo, Mouseaka, and Bubble and Squeak while the young audience can squeal with feigned fright as Gruffalo runs through the theatre.   A carefully colourful and creative adaptation of Donaldson and Scheffler’s Gruffalo fills the young audience with delight in a fifty minute performance, jam-packed with entertainment and the unobtrusive moral to the tale. For holiday entertainment for the kids aged 4 and upwards, The Gruffalo is a sure fire hit.

AN original version of this review was published on Canberra Critics Circle in September 2014 after a performance at the Canberra Theatre Centre. Much of the content of that review is included here and reflects the ongoing quality and enduring popularity of this production by CDP Productions. Changes have been made to reflect the different cast and the different performance venue. Otherwise this review is almost identical to the previous review of the Gruffalo that I wrote in 2014.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

THE WHARF REVUE - BACK TO BITE YOU

Jonathan Biggins, Katrina Retallik, Phil Scott, Drew Forsythe
in
BACK TO BITE YOU

Written and created by Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott
Presented by Sydney Theatre Company
Canberra Theatre Centre 13 – 24th September

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

Surprisingly, our Prime Minister doesn’t make an appearance in this newest edition of The Wharf Revue; however he has provided the creators with an all-star cast who more than compensate for his absence. Pauline Hanson, Jacquie Lambie and Derryn Hinch all make appearances, as does his predecessor, Tony Abbott, resplendent in red budgie smugglers, whose extraordinary fan-dance is alone, worth the price of admission.

Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott are an extraordinary team who not only conceive and write all the material, but also perform it. Each is a masterful clown, with particular skills to contribute. Their annual Wharf Revues are eagerly anticipated, particularly by Canberra audiences, for the brilliance with which they skewer the foibles and failings of those elected to govern our country.

Their current revue, “Back To Bite You” is up there with their best. Slick, meticulously staged, and presented on an elegant setting augmented with clever video projections and a constant stream of wickedly appropriate costumes. The show commences in ancient Rome where toga-clad senators, with ridiculously familiar names, scheme and plot. Among the continuous parade of unlikely characters  is  Hinchicus, (Phil Scott clad in gladiator leather, sword and shield as broadcaster, Derryn Hinch) whose interview by a certain well-known, red bandana-wearing columnist, portrayed with delicious accuracy by Jonathan Biggins, provides one of many highlights.
 
Katrina Retallik as Hilary Clinton - Phil Scott on piano 

New to the team this year, Katrina Retallick, sets the scene as a Roman goddess in a superbly sung introduction. Her considerable acting and music theatre chops as well as her immaculate comic timing prove a considerable asset as, among many stylish turns, she joins Biggins for some Bob Fosse-inspired madness to the tune of The Rhythm of Life, portrays Julia Bishop, Jacqui Lambie, and an especially charged-up Hilary Clinton warning “Don’t Piss on My Campaign” to the tune of Don’t Rain on My Parade.

Drew Forsythe adds memorable characterisations as Pauline Hanson fending off overtures from Phil Scott’s George Brandis, as a compliant Bill Shorten getting a lesson in media skills from Jonathon Biggins’ Professor Higgins, a la “My Fair Lady”, but especially as a funny and poignant Bob Ellis, complete with tiny battered angels wings, celebrity spotting his heroes and mentors in heaven.

Jonathan Biggins,  in top form, delivered  a brilliant pun-packed monologue as American military chief, Dick Tingle, briefing the audience on America’s view of the Middle East. He also demonstrated his considerable mastery of physical comedy in a cavalcade of memorable creations including a fan-dancing Tony Abbott, a Fosse-like escapee from “Sweet Charity”, and a shorts-clad Bob Brown.

Phil Scott and Jonathon Biggins 


Besides slipping behind the keyboard of the Steinway grand to provide brilliant accompaniments, Phil Scott manages to  miraculously  slip in an out of some impressive costumes to portray a buxom Hattie Jacques, an avenging gladiator, a Roman senator, and any number of other miscreants with rib-tickling flair. 

It was interesting to observe that the final section of the show focussing the American political scene, while brilliantly devised, did not get the same response from the audience as what had gone before. Perhaps it was because of a lack of familiarity with the personalities in American politics, or maybe because the pronouncements of the likes of Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton are just too unsettling. Or perhaps the audience just laughed out.
 
Whatever the reason, it was proof of how well this brilliant production succeeds in achieving what should be the aim of every satirical review,  to entertain, provoke and unsettle.

                                             Photos by Brett Boardman


This review is also published in Australian Arts Review. www.artsreview.com.au

THE WHARF REVUE - BACK TO BITE YOU



THE WHARF REVUE -  BACK TO BITE YOU.

Devised and performed by Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Philip Scott with Katrina Retallick. Sydney Theatre Company. The Playhouse  Canberra Theatre Centre. September 13 – 24 2016.

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins


Drew Forsythe. Phillip Scott and Katrina Retallick
in The Wharf Revue - Back to Bite You.
Photo by Brett Boardman

Fifteen years on and the Wharf Revue team is kicking proverbial political butt harder and better than ever.  Satire slicker than sleight of quip. Able to cut down to size with a single verbal swipe.  Bawdy, brazen and brilliantly funny,The Wharf revue revelling in its ridicule takes Canberra by storm, and audiences only too familiar with the political shenanigans on the hill, lap up the lampoonery with squeals of delight as the political peregrinations of the past year are paraded with blistering affrontery.
Katrina Retallick and Phillip Scott
in The Wharf Revue - Back To Bite You
Photo by Brett Boardman
Well-honed, astute and deliciously irreverent, creators Drew Forsythe, the arch impersonator, Phillip Scott , the maestro of keyboard and lyrics and Jonathan Biggins, straight man extraordinaire with a penchant for  cheek  are joined this year by phenomenal, gutsy satirical siren of song, Katrina Retallick, who opens the show to let us all know with a stirring rendition of Cole Porter’s hit showtune that Anything Goes.  With apologies to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the first segment is set in Ancient Rome of 2016, an amphitheatre of conspiracy, intrigue, conniving and manoeuvring, just the normal runabout of political life. Video and sound designer David Bergman,  sets the scene with back projections while the cast in togas romp and sally forth. Biggins cuts a fine figure as Coreus Bernardus,   Scott is the spitting image of Pompus Brandeus, while Forsythe sweeps about as Fixer Cristos Pynus.  (These are phonetical versions of what I heard, but they give an idea of our pollies’ transformation to Roman senators) A highlight of the segment is Scott’s gladiator Hinchicus, intent on slaying the unjust. This and Scott’s plebiscite Gand S patter on piano are pure revue.
Phillip Scott and Jonathan Biggins in Ancient Rome 2016
Photo by Brett Boardman


During its non-stop ninety minutes of hilarity in which the follies and vices of our politicians are held up to ridicule, the scene shifts from Rome to our Parliament, peopled by the likes of Julie Bishop, Bob Katter, Arthur Sinodinos, Nick Xenophon, Richard Di Natale and many more. Dutton the Devious does not escape the barbed lashing of the team and poor, embittered  Kevin Andrews, like his Abbott compatriot, Eric Abetz, is barbecued on the pit of satire.
Scott once again takes delight in fitting his lyrics to popular tunes from musicals. Retallick makes the most of Don’t Rain on My Parade from Funny Girl as a feisty, forceful Hillary Clinton. Biggins as Higgins channels Rex Harrison with his rendition of Why Can’t The English Learn To Speak as he attempts to train Bill Shorten (Forsythe) to speak.
Jonathan Biggins. Katrina Retallick. Phillip Scott and
Drew Forsythe in Ancient Rome 2016. Photo by
Brett Boardman



It was inevitable that the team would not be able to resist lampooning Trump. Biggins again triumphs in his impersonation of the flamboyant GOP with foot in the mouth disease. Every politically incorrect utterance; every racist remark; every blinding flash of foolishness is compacted into Biggins’ speech. I am puzzled that such a focus on Trump should occupy a large part of the final minutes of the show, and that the finale of this snappy revue should be on the American situation. Is it a mark of the lost opportunity to bring Australian politics to a damning finale? Is the material so lacklustre that there wasn’t that special moment? There are some magic moments such as Biggins’ Fan Dance, the confrontation between Pauline Hanson (Forsythe), Jacqui Lambie (Retallick) and Brandis (Scott) and video references to Bob Hawke (Forsythe), Ben Chifley (Forsythe again) and Julia Gillard ( a guest return by Amanda Bishop and her mysoginy speech) And yet, we are left with another swipe at  Trump Tower politics.
Phillip Scott and Katrina Retallick
as Hillary Clinton. Photo by
Brett Boardman
 
Similarly, I couldn’t find the need for Carry On Up The Exit with Sid James (Forsythe), Barbara Windsor (Retallick), a voluminous Hattie Jaques (Scott) and a somewhat less than convincing Kenneth Williams (Biggins). Even those familiar with the madcap characters of the Carry On series might find it difficult to see the point of this typical university revue script.
Not so the beautiful, sensitive and intensely moving tribute to Bob Ellis, recently arrived in Heaven and pondering upon his fate and his loss. It is a beautifully expressed tribute to this curmudgeonly commentator on society and the nation’s matters. A brief reference to Richard Neville and we are reminded of the loss of those who made a difference and have passed on. It is time to pause and take a pensive break from the hilarity of ridicule and the lampoonery of the vices and follies of those who determine the state of the nation.
Katrina Retallick. Jonathan Biggins. Phillip Scott and
Drew Forsythe in The Wharf Revue - Back To Bite You
Photo by Brett Boardman
 The Wharf Revue – Back With a Bite probably has more sting than bite, although audiences may take it as they might. Revue is after all a moving feast and Canberra is the perfect place to try out before taking it home to Sydney. What is guaranteed is a night of sheer entertainment and the chance to laugh at folly, marvel at the wit and wisdom of four performers who have honed their skills to create satire that is cleverly crafted, brilliantly performed and an hilarious glimpse of the absurdity of democracy’s inconsistencies.