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Canberra Today 23°/26° | Tuesday, November 30, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Jordan knows what’s Best for Q’s new season

ARTISTIC director of The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, Jordan Best, can hardly suppress her excitement as she announces her 2022 season.

Sure, she started in the job on December 14, 2020, replacing founding director Stephen Pike and inheriting from him a fully developed season, but it was one that would be savagely eroded by covid.

Now, just a fortnight short of her first 12 months there, she’s putting her stamp on the theatre’s program for 2022.

It’s divided into three sections – mainstage, locally devised or written shows and kids’ theatre and, as Best tells me: “Having more than half the season by locals is just tremendous.” 

Before she was appointed to her present position, Best had founded Echo Theatre under the aegis of The Q and the Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council, and she makes no bones about her interest in theatre by and about women – although not exclusively, as the program shows.

First up, staged by Echo, is the dark Joe Paley-Marvin Laird musical, “Ruthless!” in which Tina, a scary, precocious little girl, tries out for the lead in the school play, with deadly results. That’s billed as “a cross between ‘The Bad Seed’ and ‘Gypsy’ with ‘All About Eve’”.

Next, in March, is Steve Rodgers’ play “King of Pigs”, a raw look at domestic abuse in a production directed by Best’s sister Blazey, which played to sell-out seasons in Sydney and is now toured by Critical Stages.

“Mother & Son”, directed by Aarne Neeme for Jally Entertainment, will be at The Q from March to April. The original scriptwriter for the TV series, Geoffrey Atherden, has adapted his comedy for the stage and fans can enjoy speculating on questions such as whether Robert is having an affair with his hygienist or if Maggie will get to go on a trip of her own.

In July we’ll see another Critical Stages touring production, Joan Didion’s memoir “The Year of Magical Thinking”, one woman’s story of the journey to find acceptance and the lessons learnt in letting go.

Echo Youth takes the stage in late July with Joel Horwood’s play “This Changes Everything”, in which a group of disillusioned young people have disappeared. But on a platform out at sea, they have formed “The Community” – a new type of society – or is it?

Best’s warmest enthusiasm is reserved for the November mainstage production, “Sunshine Super Girl”, the quintessentially Australian story of Evonne Goolagong, the girl from the bush who dared to dream, by indigenous playwright Andrea James and toured by Performing Lines. 

The final mainstage production for 2022 by Echo Theatre is “God of Carnage”, by celebrated French playwright Yasmina Reza, in a translation by Christopher Hampton. 

Described as “a comedy of manners… without the manners”, it shows what happens when two sets of parents meet up to deal with an incident between their children and the middle-class veneer of respectability is stripped off.

The “Q The Locals” strand featuring Queanbeyan region artists, starts with “Smokescreen,” written and directed by Christopher Samuel Carroll, a look at the marketing techniques of the tobacco industry and just how profitable death can be.

 “21 Forster St,” conceived and directed by Bungendore’s Kate Walder, combines original music by John Shortis and text by novelist Inga Simpson traversing different time periods in a Bungendore heritage home, while “Demented”, by ACT theatre maker and puppeteer Ruth Pieloor, takes a poignant look at the illness suggested by the title. 

Finally, the ”Q The Kids” strand features “The Alphabet of Awesome Science” for ages 5+ where professors Lexi Con and Noel Edge make a thrilling voyage through the alphabet, “Robot Song” for ages 8-12, where the parents of unpopular 11-year-old Juniper turn to a giant singing robot and Best’s own musical production, “Goldilocks & the Three Bears” for ages 0-8, with music by film composer, Peter Best, and the chance for young audiences to meet the bears after the show. 

Book for the season at theq.net.au

AT A GLANCE

Mainstage season 

  • “Ruthless!” February 24 -March 12. 
  • “King of Pigs”, March 24-26.
  • “Mother and Son”, March 29-April 3.
  • “The Year of Magical Thinking”, July 7-9.
  • “This Changes Everything”, July 22-30.
  • “Sunshine Super Girl”, November 2-5.
  • “God of Carnage”, November 23-December 3. 

“Q the locals” season 

  • “Smokescreen”, January 26-February 5.
  • “21 Forster Street”, May 26-June 4.
  • “Demented”, August 11-20.

“Q the kids” season

  • “The Alphabet of Awesome Science,” April 5-6. 
  • “Robot Song,” June 9. 
  • “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” December 15-18.

 

 

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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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