Reviews

Pygmalion

By George Bernard Shaw. Adapted and Directed by Daniel Lammin. Presented by 5pounds Repertory Theatre. The Owl and the Pussy Cat (Vic). Nov 6 – 10, 2012.

Enthusiastically presented with humor and energy this ‘rough around the edges’ version of Pygmalion is a highly engaging and engrossing production that moves at a spirited pace.

The Servant of Two Masters

By Carlo Goldoni, adapted by Nick Enright and Ron Blair. Theatre on Chester, Epping (NSW). November 9 – December 1, 2012.

Goldoni’s classic Italian farce of multiple mistaken identities saves most of its frenetic fun until after interval. It’s a play with a lot of exposition and set-up before the pay-off, including the introduction and establishment of the stylized stock commedia dell’arte characters (minus masks) and performance conventions, largely unfamiliar to local community theatre audiences and performers. Even so, the pace of act one seemed a little too slow at times on opening night.

Sasha Regan’s The Pirates of Penzance

By WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Sydney Theatre Company presents a Regan De Winter Production. Director: Sasha Regan. Sydney Theatre. November 10 – 24, 2012.

Pirates is a show normally dominated by boys. There is the swashbuckling Pirate King, made famous in recent times by Anthony Warlow and Jon English, the verbal virtuosity of the Major General and even the leading tenor Frederick has jokes to add to his sweet arias. Girls are sweet but play second fiddle.

The Last Prom: An Apocalypse in One Act

Performed by The Last Prom. Written by Nick Delatovic and Joel Barcham. Music and lyrics by Nick Delatovic and Julia Johnson. Directed by Joel Barcham. Ainslie Arts Centre, Canberra. Saturday November 10, 2012

In this rock opera set on the eve of the Apocalypse, the Antichrist, who might be the son of the beast but underneath is really just a lonely teenager, has as his sole desire to go to a 1950s-style graduation prom and fall in love. And if Lady Gaga can swathe herself in smallgoods, why the heck not? This show is the brainchild of Canberra songwriter Nick Delatovic of The Missing Lincolns.

The Wizard of Oz

Original book by L. Frank Baum. Book adaptation by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. Director: Lucy Nicolson. MLOC. Phoenix Theatre, Elwood. 9th-17th Nov, 2012

The Wizard of Oz is an iconic musical from the childhood of just about all of us. Who hasn’t, in their childhood, sat at a window and wondered what lies beyond the rainbow? Who hasn’t heard Judy Garland sing the song? And how many of us called a much loved pet “Toto”? It’s part of our makeup, our psyche. Beautifully realised on film, with a huge budget, it sets the bar for fantasy so high that it takes a brave theatre company to even attempt to match it.

Next to Normal

Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey. Music by Tom Kitt. Directed by Shaun Kingma. WMTC – Williamstown Musical Theatre Company (Vic). Nov 9th-24th, 2012.

When Next to Normal won 3 Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for a musical about death, grief, suicide, drugs and mental illness, reactions were mixed. Here was an absolutely stunning score but a book and lyrics that were confronting at every turn. It is not, nor will it ever be, to everybody’s taste. Yet it is a musical that all lovers of Music Theatre should see.

Ruby Moon

By Matt Cameron. Dramac. Macquarie University. Lighthouse Theatre. Nov 7 – 10, 2012

Matt Cameron’s play about the isolation of suburbia and the “darker recesses of human nature” (Matt Cameron) is haunting and confronting and, in the macabre manner of black comedy and absurdism, sometimes funny. Because its scenes interconnect and inter-relate, it is important that it be run, as the playwright instructs, “strictly without an interval”.

I'll Break My Own Heart.

Devised and performed by Rose Grayson. Tasmanian Theatre Company Cascade Indie Program. Theatre Royal Backspace, Hobart. Director: Andrew Kotatko. Musical Director: Peter Dasent. Wednesday 7th to 9th November, 2102

Think of cabaret, think of burlesque – then forget the bump and grind! From the moment Rose Grayson sashayed on stage in her cut-away tux-and-tails, black satin and lace corselet, top hat, high heels and fish-net stockings, she radiated burlesque vamp, but in a very classy way, darling. The long-awaited Tasmanian premiere season of I’ll Break My Own Heart, the sexy cabaret show that wowed audiences at Sydney Fringe Festival last year had arrived.

Everything Must Go

Written and performed by Rachel Leary. Presented with the support of the Tasmanian Theatre Company Cascade Indie Program. Theatre Royal Backspace (Hobart). Director: Damian Callinan. November 7 – 11, 2102.

Times are changing, and Nancy Browne, comic creation of Rachel Leary, must make sense of her shifting world. The quirky play Everything Must Go has evolved, over almost five years, out of a series of comedy sketches performed by Rachel Leary. It has received wide praise from critics and comic peers during its seasons at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Rachel was a finalist of Victorian Raw Comedy in 2007.

The Drowsy Chaperone.

Book by Don Martin and Don Kellar. Music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. Director: Karl McNamara. Fab Nobs, Bayswater (Vic). 9th-24th November, 2012.

It’s Fabulous! There you go, my shortest review ever. Oh, you want details? Well if you insist. This is the slightly goofy story of a shy agoraphobic man – The Man in the Chair - who rarely goes out of his run down apartment, instead playing his Broadway show records….yes, vinyl ones….for comfort. He includes us, the audience, as confidantes and shares with us his favourite little known show, the 1928 musical “The Drowsy Chaperone”. As he does, the musical comes to life in his tiny apartment.

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