Theatre / “Oh, What a Lovely War”. Directed by Chris Baldock. At Theatre 3 until March 10. Reviewed by JOE WOODWARD
NO stone has been unturned in Canberra Rep’s relentless search for theatrical excitement, as a lively crowd of members and well-wishers heard this evening (October 27) at the 85-year-old society’s 2018-19 season.The crowd was promised “power and passion of knowledge, love, desire, war, laughter, secrets and freedom” in the upcoming season. Laughter dominates the choices for the year, although there are a few chills and thrills and a line-up of directorial gourmet delights, with all the directors admired figures in their field.
The season will open with “Dr Frankenstein”, a new play by British playwright Selma Dimitrijevic. It’ll be directed by Jordan Best, who will also direct another play in the Canberra Theatre’s 2018 subscription season.
The season switches dramatically to comedy with George Bernard Shaw’s clever play, “Arms and the Man”, once described by George Orwell as “the wittiest play he ever wrote”. It’ll be directed by Ed Wightman, who last directed “Twelfth Night” for Rep.
Veteran director Cate Clelland returns to direct a rare comedy, “Happy Birthday, Wanda June”, by science fiction legend Kurt Vonnegut, set in the US during the 1960s.
Chris Baldock, who directed the searing “A View from the Bridge” this year, will stage the comedy of “misdirected love”, called “One Man, Two Guvnors”.“Radio on Repertory Lane” is easily the quirkiest choice of the season. It’s a suite of radio plays which will, over two weeks, present a thriller, a comedy and a drama. All ears and eyes will be on how director Jarrad West will present this “three-dimensional radio” on stage.
Continuing one of the society’s stranger practices, the season also announced the first play for 2019, Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”, one of the most revolutionary plays of all time, in which Nora walks out on her husband and home. Another favourite director, Aarne Neeme will be back with Rep to stage this important play.
An innovation will be education-focused preview sessions for three of the plays, in which directors will share their ideas with audience members.
“Power and Passion”, Canberra Repertory Society’s 2018-19 season. Bookings now open to canberrarep.org.au or 6257 1950.