Once in Royal David’s City

Life can change unexpectedly (often for the worse) when you are neither ready nor expecting it. In Michael Gow’s latest play, Once in Royal Davids’ City, directed by Eamon Flack, there is an intertwining of life’s curve balls and the joyous possibilities of theatre (via German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s ideas). Will Drummond (Brendan Cowell) is a theatre director whose play is not going very smoothly. Worse, his dad died a month ago and his mum (Helen Morse) is now very ill. Will has gone from a heady theatrical life of studying Brechtian theatre in Berlin to talking to his sleepy mother at her bedside in a North Coast regional hospital, watching her slowly die from pancreatic cancer on Christmas Eve. He is helpless and confused. Minor characters drift in and out of his life over this period, Anthony Phelan plays Wally the gentle but slightly annoying Christian missionary coming into the hospital to talk to patients, Tara Morice is a teacher anxious to get Will to talk to her private school senior students about political theatre in the midst of his deepening grief at what is happening to his life. An irritating (and seemingly pointless) Christmas carolling chorus sandwich key scenes. A lengthy monologue about the virtues of Brechtian / Marxist views by Will after his mother dies, ends the play. You may leave the theatre thinking that you just copped an earful about why society would be far better under a communist regime (and probably not agreeing with it!).
When and where: Belvoir, Surry Hills On now

The Turk In Italy

This is one fun opera! The surtitles alone with their racy colloquialisms are hilarious. Not often that you see “crap artist” and “spunky hunks” written above the performers at the Opera! Rossini’s opera buffa, a comedy opens on the verdant and vertically curved lawns of Bar Geronio, a groovy 50’s style cafe On the Italian coast where only the cool kids hang. Good time gal Fiorilla (Emma Matthews) married to rich but doddery Geronio (Conal Coad) is up for a bit of flirting, her wedding ring no obstacle to a bit of spice on the side, given her ongoing nooky with Narciso (Luciano Botelho). Enter the hipster Turk Selim, (Paolo Bordogna) looking uncannily like the rockstar Prince and swivelling his hips towards the nearest hot babe. He has left his sex slave Zaida (Anna Dowsley) and has arrived from Turkey with his mates, landing on the beachfront surveying who he may pick up. Zaida, as of course happens in all comic operas, just happens to be also there, heartbroken and crying into the drinks of bartender and budding playwright Prosdocimo (Samuel Dundas). While trying to come up with a new comedy, Prosdocimo watches events unfold and a highly amusing story takes shape. The setting is for a massive flirt session with Selim finding that two women, Zaida and Fiorilla want to get into his pants!. Fiorilla’s husband may be doddery but he wasn’t born yesterday and together with Prosdocimo, a way is concocted for him to get his own back. The costumes and set design by Gabriela Tylesova is so colourful and clever- everything has been thought of. Directed by Simon Phillips, the English surtitles have been so thoughtfully put together and a strong cast with Emma Matthews performance being a stand out. Simply a great fun night at the opera!