Reviews

Hamilton

Book, Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Directed by Thomas Kail. Filmed at Richard Rogers Theatre NYC. Streaming on Disney+ from July 3, 2020.

Hamilton is here and aren’t we glad! With no live theatre for months we can now indulge and immerse ourselves in the most talked about (and rightly so) production of the last decade. Yes, it really is that good.

Dear Australia: Postcards to the Nation

Livestreamed monologues, presented by PlayWriting Australia. 2–5 July 2020

Dear Australiais billed as “50 fearless and inspiring short works from some of Australia’s best playwrights”. It is presented as a series of pre-recorded monologues over three nights, live on Facebook at the PlayWriting Australia YouTube channel. The ‘postcard’ format is perfect for getting across short and sharp messages, addressing themes current during the COVID-19 lockdown, including of course the virus itself, as well as other issues in the news such as the Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the US.

Rattling the Keys

By Zoe Muller. Adelaide Repertory Theatre. Virtual Play/You Tube. Screened live on June 27, 2020, and available for one month.

As I sit down to write my first review in many months, much has changed. When the pandemic Covid-19 swept the world, life as we knew it ground to a halt. Unfortunately, the Arts were left in the dark, as our government dubbed the industry non-essential. Companies were left with no choice but to close theatre doors and it remains to be seen how many will be able to open again.

Who’s Your Baghdaddy? or How I Started the Iraq War

Music and book by Marshall Paillet. Lyrics and book by A.D. Penedo. Curveball Creative. Director Neil Gooding. Streaming live from 24th-28th June, 2020. Available to view until July 12.

LATEST: From Monday 29 June Who’s Your Bagdaddy (Or How I Started The Iraq War), which was performed online from 24 - 28 June for five performances, will be available to view until Sunday 12 July through www.baghdaddymusical.com.au. Tickets will be on the same sliding scale as the live performances, starting from $22, with any added donations split between the Actors Benevolent Fund of NSW and the cast and crew.

Act One

Play by James Lapine. Based on the autobiography by Moss Hart. Director: James Lapine. Lincoln Center At Home. 19 May – 3 July 2020

When I first read Act One, first published in 1959, I thought it was the most wonderful theatrical memoir I had ever read, and plenty of others agreed with me. Frank Rich called it ‘the greatest show biz book ever written’ and it stayed at Number 1 on the best-seller list for five months.

Bombshell In Concert

Music: Marc Shaiman. Lyrics: Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman. Director: Michael Mayer. Musical Director: Marc Shaiman. Choreographer: Joshua Bergasse. People.com free live-stream. Wednesday 20 May 2020

When Bombshell In Concert aired last Wednesday it was manna from heaven for musical theatre geeks who worship at the shrine of Smash, the beloved NBC series which aired for two seasons 2012-13.

Noah, Moses and Jonah

Sight & Sound Theatre. Featured on BroadwayHD.com

At the start of the Covid-19 lockdown I received many excited messages from friends telling me of BroadwayHD.com, a streaming service dedicated to performing arts. The channel has a diverse range of titles from traditional live musical theatre and movies to plays and concerts.  Dozens of titles include performances from Hugh Jackman (Oklahoma!), David Hasselhoff (Jekyll and Hyde), Zachary Levi (She Loves Me) and the complete Nunsense series. 

Begotten: the radio play

Written and performed by Bianca Butler Reynolds. Minola Theatre. Launched online 16 May, 2020

Imagine being able to go back in time and have a conversation with your grandmother or your great-grandmother when they were young and full of ambitions for their future. What would it be like to hear an uncensored version of their life choices and the reasons behind them? It could be confronting, sentimental, provocative, worrying – in the case of Begotten by Bianca Butler Reynolds, it is all of the above. The writer has woven together one family’s passions, secrets and lies into a fascinating tapestry, brought to life with music and audio effects as a radio play.

Funny Girl

Music: Jule Styne. Lyrics: Bob Merrill. Book: Isobel Lennart from an original story by Miss Lennart. Revised Book: Harvey Fierstein. Director: Michael Mayer. Vision Director: Robert Delamere/ Musical Director: Alan Williams . Choreographer: Lynne Paige. Recorded Live Manchester Palace Theatre, August 2017. Digital Theatre. Cost: £7.99

What is it about the English and American musicals? They seem to be able to revive them and bring dollops of lustre to even the most jaded of musical forms – for instance the backstage musical. Just look at Imelda Staunton’s groundbreaking performance as the definitive Mama Rose in Gypsy.

Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration

Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Producer/Narrator: Raul Esparza. Director: Paul Wontorek. Musical Director: Mary-Mitchell Campbell. Streamed 27 April 2020, and available on broadway.com/YouTube

Technical hitches mired the first six minutes of this celebration which began half an hour after its advertised curtain time, but the edited version which can now be picked up on the net is a musical theatre aficionado’s delight. Musical geeks will salivate over the roster of Broadway stars who deliver their most intimate performances in their living rooms, studies and kitchens.