Reviews

Mary Poppins

Music & Lyrics: Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, George Stiles, Anthony Drewe. Book: Julian Fellowes. Stray Cats Theatre Company. Directed by Karen Francis. Mandurah Performing Arts Centre. May 21-24, 2015

Mary Poppins is a huge show and a massive undertaking for any theatre group. Stray Cats Theatre Company attacks this production with enthusiasm and energy.

Big Maggie

By John P. Keake. Irish Theatre Players. Directed by Brian Dennison and Mary Murphy. The Irish Club, Subiaco, WA. May 20-30, 2015

Visiting the Irish Theatre Players (ITP) feels a bit like visiting an (albeit very competent) amateur theatre company in rural Ireland. ITP embrace the community aspect of community theatre. They are wonderfully friendly and beautifully atmospheric.

ITP has made Big Maggie a complete experience, creating an Irish village in the foyer and bar area, with signs in Gaelige and English and serving Irish snack food at the bar which becomes Maggie's "Siopa" (Shop) a tie-in to the play.

My Way – A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra

Conceived by David Grapes and Todd Olson. SUPA North. Director: Paul Belsham. Ballina RSL. May 15th – 23rd, 2015.

Making its Australian Premiere, My Way is consists of 50 songs associated with Frank Sinatra’s long and colourful career. Performed by an ensemble cast of five and a trio of musicians this was a great night’s entertainment.

Ballina RSL’s Vicki Veitch had gone to a lot of trouble to convert one of the club’s function rooms into a cosy, Black and White themed nightclub, complete with “Sinatra” drink coasters. The perfect showcase for this wonderful show.

Closure

By Ron Blicq. Direction: Gary Kliger. Centenary Theatre Group. Chelmer Community Centre, Chelmer, Brisbane. 9-30 May 2015

Canadian based English writer Ron Blicq got the idea for Closure when he heard a BBC radio documentary about men and women in the UK whose mothers had a relationship with Canadian servicemen during World War 2 and who now wanted to find their fathers to seek ‘closure.’ Blicq drew on his experience as a navigator in WW2 flying in Mosquito fighter/bombers with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Sondheim On Sondheim

Written by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. Manilla Street Productions. Directed by Chris Parker. Melbourne Recital Centre. Sat 23rd May, 2015

When you have eight of Australia’s top Musical Theatre performers, including a bona fide legend, words and lyrics by the greatest force in Musical Theatre in the past sixty years, plus a small but beautifully formed orchestra under an exquisitely sensitive Musical Director, it isn’t surprising that the result is pure bliss for any Sondheim fan. It’s also beautifully directed by Chris Parker, in his usual pursuit of excellence in all areas of the production. Oh, and that’s without the starring role, played by Sondheim The Man himself.

Evita

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Willoughby Theatre Company. The Concourse Theatre, Chatswood. May 22 – 31, 2015

Willoughby Theatre Company’s lavish Evita is top notch community musical theatre, with outstanding production values complemented by strong casting and performances, tightly-drilled choreography, a professional orchestral sound from the pit and excellent technicals.

Rabbit Hole

By David Lindsay-Abaire. Javeenbah Theatre Co, Nerang, Gold Coast. Director: Barry Gibson. May 15th – 30th, 2015.

Barry Gibson presented a first class production with the drama Rabbit Hole, the story of a young couple grieving the accidental death of their four year old son.

Alice’s Adventures In Operaland

Victorian Opera. Director: Libby Hill. Conductor: Phoebe Briggs. Playhouse Theatre, Arts Centre, Melbourne. May 23, 2015

Victorian Opera was created not so much to replace the Victorian State Opera, but to fill gaps in the operatic canon and educate the public. This has included involving community choirs from the country, performing in schools and a young artists’ program which leads to a Master of Music (Opera Performance) associated with the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

The Waiting Room

By Kylie Trounson. Melbourne Theatre Company. Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre, Melbourne.. 15 May to 27 June 2015

If nothing more The Waiting Room is a lyrical homage by playwright Kylie Trounson to her father, IVF pioneer Alan Trounson.  Our collective social history and Kylie’s personal history, in relation to the development of IVF, is placed under the microscope and framed by the music of the era.  Over all the script is drawn with sincerity and the production full of humanity.

My Love Had a Black Speed Stripe

Based on the novel by Henry Williams. Presented by Fractal Theatre Productions at the Ipswich and Anywhere Festivals 2015. Adapted and Directed by Brenna Lee-Cooney. Brisbane 13-23 May and Frankston 26 – 29 August, 2015.

The theme of this play struck a personal chord with me because coincidentally I recently decided to abandon life on the suburban highway and its environs in preference to the comforts of public transport; and one of the reasons relates to life on the road and the typical so-called Ugly Australian who enjoys venting his spleen with the accelerator pedal and causing chaos in his wake.

 

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.