Theatre and live music reviews of Mudhoney at Northcote Social Club, By Jane’s Hand at La Mama, The Tap Pack at the Comedy Theatre, and Selling Kabul at Red Stitch


Arm has a hypnotising presence on stage, regardless of saying little or no between songs. And with drummer Dan Peters and Melbourne-based Man Maddison on bass guitar, there’s little room for banter anyway. It’s a pedal-to-the-metal journey down reminiscence lane, with detours to new tracks, together with Transfer Below and Memento Of My Journey.


Assist band Seminal Rats have been considered one of a number of native bands Mudhoney requested for this tour.

Fronted by vocalist Michael Harley, the veteran Melbourne rockers first performed in 1984, however wound the clock again with a nostalgic, at instances wonky, set together with Reality By no means Lies and Rat Race from their 1986 album, All-powerful.
Reviewed by Martin Boulton

Mudhoney headline Cherry Rock 2023, Little Collins Road, Melbourne, on Sunday, April 30.

By Jane’s Hand ★★★½
La Mama Courthouse, Till Might 7

A short and kooky divertissement to gladden the hearts of Janeites, this present splices Jane Austen’s letters, scenes from Delight and Prejudice, and a slightly good number of songs chosen from the writer’s non-public music assortment.

A scene from By Jane’s Hand at La Mama.

A scene from By Jane’s Hand at La Mama. Credit score: Darren Gill

Three performers (Olivia O’Brien, Marjorie Butcher, Isha Menon) in faux-Regency robes tag-team the voice of Austen. With snippets from the letters bookending the piece, that is finished to vigorous choric impact and tends to boost slightly than compromise intimacy.

The sense is considered one of immersion in a pointy thoughts flashing by us. And sure, there are limitless balls, astute and sometimes acerbic observations on the character and look of these she meets, and droll remarks on social pecking order – the stuff of the novels.

However there are glimpses, too, of one other Jane – one who confessed to writing with a hangover, or who was thrown right into a panic when, in 1798, she nearly misplaced her writing field (collectively along with her worldly wealth of £7) after it was positioned by mistake on a horse-drawn chaise heading for Dover.

It makes you marvel, given a lot of her 3000 missives have been destroyed by her household, what the writer might need written in her most unguarded moments.

By Jane’s Hand offers a lively insight into the life and mind of Jane Austen.

By Jane’s Hand gives a vigorous perception into the life and thoughts of Jane Austen.Credit score: Darren Gill

Lightning excerpts from Delight and Prejudice are likewise shared, with alternating narration and fulsome comedian caricatures of the male roles. The odious Mr Collins is an particularly grotesque patriarchal lampoon, with Mr Darcy rehearsed and readjusted to search out simply the appropriate shade of resentment.

Whereas the appearing doesn’t try a lot nuance, musical refinement makes up for it. All performers are skilled musicians, and the various songs interwoven all through function harp, keyboard, violin, and different devices, in addition to some pleasant a cappella roundelays and harmonies.

These embrace jauntily organized and ornamented youngsters’s rhymes (you’ll by no means hear Scorching Cross Buns or Goosey Goosey Gander the identical manner once more), rousing people and ingesting songs, and extra melancholy fare reminiscent of Haydn’s She By no means Advised Her Love, set to immortal traces from Twelfth Night time.

By Jane’s Hand embodies the spirit of the novice in one of the best sense – the efficiency is constructed nearly as a transient shrine to the love of Austen’s work – and it doesn’t waste a second of your time. Followers ought to get pleasure from it immensely.
Reviewed by Cameron Woodhead

The Faucet Pack ★★★
Comedy Theatre, till April 30

The globetrotting song-and-dance troupe referred to as the Faucet Pack have returned, bringing their guileless family-friendly fusion of faucet and tailor-made fits to Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre for a lightning weekend season.

The present sticks near the established Faucet Pack formulation: a quintet of amply proficient Aussie blokes carry out faucet routines and sing modern pop hits and traditional swing numbers such because the Sinatra requirements The Girl is a Tramp and One for My Child.

It’s a brisk and really compact manufacturing. There’s a good bit of awkward banter among the many performers and some cheery reflections on dance and the points of interest of the stage, however there’s no elaborate storyline to sluggish issues down. You’ll be again on the road in lower than 90 minutes.

The Tap Pack are a must-see for anyone who loves the percussive pleasures of tap.

The Faucet Pack are a must-see for anybody who loves the percussive pleasures of faucet.Credit score: The Faucet Pack

The main target is squarely on the standard of the dance and the singing, which is – fortunately – very excessive. This model of the pack options common faucet rats Jesse Rasmussen, Jordan Pollard, Thomas J Egan and Ben Brown, with native crooner Thomas McGuane readily available for the Melbourne reveals.

Rasmussen does his crowd-pleasing impressions of Sammy Davis Jr, Fred Astaire and the penguin from Glad Toes. And there’s a beautiful, improvised, unaccompanied beast of a solo in two components carried out by Brown, which sprawls throughout the stage and mesmerises with its depth.

The massive group dance numbers, nevertheless, are the primary attraction: from the high-energy opening quantity, to the bottle-juggling mess of the blended drinks routine, to the hand-clapping, stair-stomping finale.

Faucet Pack remains to be a must-see for anybody who loves the percussive pleasures of faucet. The present is a real celebration of the artwork type, and the performers are a number of the finest within the enterprise. There’s additionally a greater than serviceable quartet of dwell musicians, led by Stefan Nowak on keyboards.
Reviewed by Andrew Fuhrmann

Promoting Kabul ★★★
by Sylvia Khoury, Crimson Sew, till Might 21

Sylvia Khoury’s Promoting Kabul takes place in 2013, however it depicts so urgently the perils confronted by Afghans who assisted occupying forces through the 2001-2021 battle, you might initially assume it was set on the eve of the chaotic withdrawal of US-led troops from Kabul in 2021.

Farhad Zaiwala, Khisraw Jones-Shukoor, Claudia Greenstone in a scene from Selling Kabul.

Farhad Zaiwala, Khisraw Jones-Shukoor, Claudia Greenstone in a scene from Promoting Kabul.Credit score: Jodie Hutchinson

Cooped up within the condo of his sister Afiya (Nicole Nabout), Taroon (Khrisraw Jones-Shukoor) is in hiding from Taliban thugs. His life is in imminent hazard. Having accompanied US troops as translator and information, his identify is on successful listing, and, with out web entry, he can’t uncover whether or not his promised US safety visa has been granted.

Taroon is determined to flee his hiding-place for an additional motive. His spouse has simply given beginning to their first baby, and he plans to decorate in a burqa (or chadaree) to go to them in hospital with out being caught, earlier than the three of them are spirited overseas to security.

As they await the arrival of Afiya’s husband Jawid (Farhad Zaiwala) – whose enterprise dealings with the Taliban purchase him some tentative safety – chatterbox neighbour Leyla (Claudia Greenstone) seems… and is later drawn helplessly into deadly intrigue as rigidity escalates, violence erupts, and Taroon is compelled to flee Afghanistan that very night time.

Nicole Nabout and Claudia Greenstone star in the tense Selling Kabul.

Nicole Nabout and Claudia Greenstone star within the tense Promoting Kabul.Credit score: Jodie Hutchinson

Claustrophobic tedium and anxiousness baseline a thriller-like plot which rises to an anguished pitch of heightened emotion. The characters face unenviable, life-or-death choices, and there are sometimes no good selections.

Nabout’s Afiya is a fiercely protecting however self-abnegating presence: her total being consumed to a fault by serving to these she likes to survive. She can also be educated – one of the best English-speaker within the household – although as she remarks bitterly, it doesn’t deliver freedom, remaining little greater than “social gathering trick” for American troopers.

Taroon, for his half, grows to query each his motives for, and the value of, serving to the occupation, with Jones-Shukoor channelling an nearly comically caged vitality as tragedy and horror accumulate. Reverse him, Zaiwala’s splendidly modest, delicate, and introspective Jawid lends the interrogation of braveness and cowardice a grave ethical complexity.

Whether or not that is an correct portrayal of life in occupied Kabul – and there are melodramatic prospers (to not point out Australian accents) which pressure to convey it realistically – appears much less essential than that the try and think about it exists.

Other than alleged battle crimes dedicated by Australian troops, we get scant information about Afghanistan, and this play may encourage you to find how dire the scenario is for strange folks underneath Taliban rule.

Afiya wouldn’t be educated in Kabul at this time. She wouldn’t be allowed to work. The UN estimates two thirds of the inhabitants requires humanitarian help, and it has threatened to tug overseas subsequent month if the Taliban edict banning support organisations from using native girls isn’t lifted.

Are we complicit in all this? What can we do? On the very least, we’ve a accountability to not look away, to insist that Australia meets its worldwide obligations to these – like a number of the characters on this play – compelled to flee their homelands as refugees.
Reviewed by Cameron Woodhead

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