Babes In The Wood

Written and directed by Stephen Lee. GRADS. Roleystone Theatre, WA. Dec 4-19, 2015

GRADS Seasonal Pantomime was presented this year at Roleystone Theatre, giving both groups a Christmas treat.

Nicely written and directed by Stephen Lee, this version of Babes had up-to-the-minute political references, teamed with very old jokes and a great blend of sauciness and sweetness.

Barry Park could have been born to play Dames, and was delightful as Dame Martha Twitchett, sweet funny and gorgeously attired, Dame Martha swept the audience along with her loveliness.

The Sound of Music

Music by Richard Rodgers. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Capitol Theatre, Sydney. Opening night: December 17, 2015. Touring nationally.

Pardon my indulgence, but I felt a connection to Captain von Trapp. Recently, due to my family ancestry, I became an Austrian citizen and like Georg I too received a stern letter from the military attempting to call me up for active service.  Thankfully I did not have to climb a mountain to avoid conscription.  

This production of The Sound of Music based on the Lloyd Webber London Palladium revival runs with military precision. It is tight, tuneful and barrels of fun.

From the Heart

A collaboration from Barking Spider Visual Theatre in association with Boroondara Community Outreach. Kew Court House (VIC). (Supported by the City of Boroondara and Kew Court House.) 16 December 2015

Is this ‘theatre’?  It is and it isn’t.  It is deceptively simple yet moving and  purposeful in every detail.  Three women from the Boroondara Community Outreach program tell their stories on tape in a calm and matter-of-fact way.  The women themselves do not appear.

Peter Pan

Directed by Neroli Burton and Katherine Friend. STAGE KEY. Melville Theatre, Melville WA. Dec 12-13, 2015

I had the pleasure of attending the final performance of the STAGE KEY Company's Musical Theatre Class - end of year production, a pantomime version of Peter Pan, presented by students aged 7 to 16.

This was classic British Pantomime, with most of the young performers demonstrating an excellent understanding of the genre, working well with the audience, who joined in with the fun.

The show opened with a direct address to the audience from Tinkerbell played by Cadence Smythe - an eight year old with confidence, style and poise.

No Names, No Packdrill

By Bob Herbert. Directed by Kristen Twynam-Perkins. Old Mill Theatre, South Perth, WA. 4-19 December 2015

No Names, No Packdrill is the final production in Old Mill Theatre's 2015 Season of Australian plays. This Bob Herbert play is set in Sydney, during World War II.

Central character Kathy is brilliantly played by Melissa Merchant, who captures this no-nonsense single girl beautifully, a wonderful, with whom the audience quickly bond. Like all of the ladies in this production, she looks like she has stepped out of a 1942 Women's Weekly with outstanding  wartime costuming, hair and makeup.

About Remembering

Devised and directed by Lloyd Jones in close collaboration with O.T.H.A.N. Theatre Company Ensemble. La Mama EXPLORATIONS, 205 Faraday Street, 14, 15, & 16 December 2015.

Remembering can be a tricky exercise; selective memory, burying memories, preserving memories, provide insight into the psyche and daily activities around remembering can be both a source of frustration and immense joy. All of these themes are explored in this play by deliberately and playfully forgetting the basic rules of theatre. The boundaries between performer and spectator are explored in a new and interesting mode, and linear narrative, memorising lines, traditional staging, focal points and character development are all dispensed with and replaced with spontaneous improvisation.

Sweet Charity

Book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Directed by David Nelson. Limelight Theatre, Wanneroo (WA). Nov 28 - Dec 12, 2015

I was delighted to be able to catch the final matinee performance of this bright and sassy musical, presented by Wanneroo Repertory Club.

Director David Nelson chose an excellent leading lady in the form of Helen Kerr, who lights up the stage as quirky dance hall hostess Charity Hope Valentine. Her bright and energetic performance was key to the pace and success of the production.

Santa’s Magical Kingdom

Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park. December 12 - 24, 2015

The walk to and from the parking station to the Showground may seem a long way for little legs, but it’s quickly forgotten in the glitz and glitter of ‘snow’ falling in a short walkway of sparkling trees, white reindeer, polar bears and snow princesses. Add the constant (dare I say ‘blare’?) of Christmas music, the squeals emanating from the many rides and the buzz of families having fun, and you have the new addition to Sydney’s Christmas extravaganzas.

Treasure Island

Writers: Ryan Purdey/Erich Fordham. Directors: Christian Dell’Ollio/Ryan Purdey. Heidelberg Theatre Company. December 11 – 19, 2015.

The youth arm of Heidelberg Theatre Company performed this re-write of the Treasure Island story and it was an entertaining evening for the young. With a majority of female cast members, Jack Hawkins became Jill Hawkins, while there were quite a few female pirates.

Around The World in Eighty Days

From the novel by Jules Verne, adapted by Molly McPhee. Doublemask Youth Theatre Group.. Murwillumbah Civic Centre. December 11th – 12th, 2015.

The fifty-odd members (all aged 13 to 18) of Doublemask (under the supervision of Lachlan Glasby) have presented an interesting adaptation of the Jules Verne Novel for their final production for 2015.

Taking ownership of the production: they scripted, planned, and produced the entire show themselves.

Doublemask member Molly McPhee created the script and the emerging talents of the teenage members staged an interesting telling of the Verne story.

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