Reviews

Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision

Book by Craig Christie. Music & lyrics by Craig Christie & Andrew Patterson. SUPA Productions. Directed by Emma Tattam. A.N.U Arts Centre. 5–20 April 2013.

This truly enjoyable sendup of the Eurovision Song Contest and of several famous European entries into it had the audience engaged and laughing throughout.  Although by and large the competition's performances (of which there are a great variety) were sung (and danced!) more than competently, the real entertainment in them lay in their comedic moves and lyric suggestiveness.  Jordan Kelly's tight, sometimes very subtle, choreography added a rare kind of comedy to the entire satire, and the contest

OPERAMANIA

Moscow Novaya Opera. City Recital Hall, April 13, 16 & 17, 2013. Hamer Hall, Melbourne, April 19 & 20. Llewellyn Hall, Canberra, April 23 & 24. Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Concert Hall, April 28.

An invention of Valery Raku and Moscow’s respected Novaya Opera, Operamania is a manic if artful rush through the highlights of the world’s best operas, ballets and symphonies. Ten exceptional singers and four ballet dancers leap through tragedy, comedy and lyricism, backed by an onstage orchestra of 44 musicians. And it’s all squeezed onto the City Recital Hall stage. 

The Boy From Oz

Music & Lyrics: Peter Allen. Book: Nick Enright. Director: Catarina Hebbard. Musical Director: Ben Murray. Choreographer: Jenny Usher. Ignations Musical Society. Redcliffe Cultural Centre. 11-20 April/Schonell Theatre, Brisbane, 26 April – 4 May, 2013.

Every production of The Boy from Oz hinges on the performer playing Peter Allen, and Ignatians scored a coup when they cast Dale Pengelly in this iconic part. Bringing a ton of professionalism to the role, Pengelly sang, danced and sparkled his way through this popular bio-musical and even managed to make his asides to the audience seem like fresh bon-mots.

Angela McIntosh was a convincing Judy Garland delivering “All I Wanted Was the Dream” in a big-voiced tremolo, with Jessica Papst matching her as a driven Liza Minnelli.

Macondo’s Clothesline

Marquez Laundry Theatre Company. Creators: Alicia Gonzalez, Naomi Livingstone, Natalia Ladyko. Live Music: Matt Thomson. Lights/Sound: Erin Harvey. Old 505 Theatre Surry Hills. April 11 – 21, 2013.

A Fallen Woman

Les Misérables

By Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer. Willoughby Theatre Company. The Concourse, Chatswood. April 10 – 21, 2013.

An open stage is draped with a worse-for-wear Tricolore, a striking image suggestive of a French revolution or two too many. Exposed lighting rig and backstage mechanics hint that a very different Les Mis is about to unfold.

Hoisted into place as the orchestra plays the opening notes, the battered French flag becomes the backdrop, where its three separate panels create the entrances which help ensure the cinematic fluidity and pace vital to this sprawling epic musical (achieved using revolves in the original staging).

A Masked Ball

By Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto Antonio Somma (after the libretto by Augustin Eugene Scribe, 1833). Opera Australia. State Theatre, Melbourne (Vic). Director: Alex Olle. Conductor: Andrea Molino. Set Designer: Alfons Flores. April 12, 17, 20, 23, 26, May 3, 2013.

Any Verdi opera promises to be a feast of lavish music, with voices, costumes and set design to match.  We have come for the music, for the endlessly soaring melodies, and for the grand spectacle typical of the late Romantic period.

Soloists, Mexican Diego Tore (Gustave III), Hungarian Csilla Boross (Amelia) and Argentinian born baritone Jose Carbo (Count Ankarstrom), were warmly received, as was home grown talent Lorina Gore (Oscar) who thrilled with exquisite coloratura.

Coronation Street On Stage

By Jonathan Harvey. Director: Fiona Buffini. Sean McKenna, Phil McIntyre Ents Inc., ITV Production, The Civic Auckland, 28 March – 6 April/St James Theatre, Wellington, New Zealand, 9-13 April/Trafalgar Centre, Nelson, 17 April/CBS Arena, Christchurch 20-23 April, 2013. Reviewed in Wellington

Britain’s best-loved television soap-opera Coronation Street celebrated 50 years on-air in 2010. Coronation Street On Stage is the third stage incarnation of the series and follows 2010’s Corrie! and 2012’s musical version Street of Dreams. All have been written by head-writer of the series, Jonathan Harvey, who has done an amazing job of reducing 50-years of storylines into a two-hour fast-paced tribute.

The Man Who Planted Trees

Adapted and performed by Richard Medrington and Rick Conte. Puppet State Theatre Company. Arts Centre Melbourne. April 10 – 14, 2013

A charming and challenging story told with exceptional skill.

There is little mystery in this performance, the title says it all; there was a man who planted trees plentifully and persistently. What the performance does give us is a way to appreciate his motivation and the astonishing environmental and social impact of his ongoing act of grace and generosity.

IDENTITÉ

Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane. Flipside Circus. 10 -13 April, 2013

This show has the WOW! Factor.

A mix of amazing talents and mostly familiar circus skills presented with a twist: gymnastics and tumbling; juggling; human pyramids; trapeze; hula hoops; ingenious choreography; popular classical music and a great sense of fun and entertainment, IDENTITÉ is an hour of delight.

At times, acts incorporate potential danger that freeze us momentarily, then release our amazement at how skilfully the death-defying moment was avoided. (This company works with a mat but no safety nets.)

Assassins

Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by John Weidman. Directed by Tyran Parke. Fortyfivedownstairs Melbourne. 11 – 21 April, 2013

Sondheim is the master of the musical and this little seen dark comedy is delightful in its score. The plot revolves around some of the most and least infamous would-be Presidential assassins in US history. Some names you will know, John Wilkes Booth and John Hinckley, and others are less well known.

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