Reviews

The Play That Goes Wrong

By Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields. Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, with Kenny Wax Limited, Stage Presence Ltd, ABA International Touring, in association with David Atkins Enterprises. Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, March 30-April 2, 2017; Sydney, April 5-23; Canberra, April 25-30; Brisbane, May 4-14; Perth, May 31-June 11.

For some in the audience it possibly takes a while to ‘get’ this production because it’s really a ‘play within a play’.

The Play That Goes Wrong  is a title that covers what in fact is a horribly bad production of a murder mystery put on by amateurs, who themselves are played by The Play That Goes Wrong’s supremely skilled professional actors. These professionals demonstrate some of the best physical comedy you’re ever likely to see.

Once in Royal David’s City

By Michael Gow. Black Swan State Theatre Company. Directed by Sam Strong. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth WA. 25 Mar - 9 Apr, 2017

Michael Gow’s latest play Once in Royal David’s City, a Christmas play with a difference, makes its WA premiere performed by Black Swan State Theatre Company and Queensland Theatre.

A show that frequently draws on the influence of Bertolt Brecht in the narrative - it is significantly Brechtian in style, but borrows from a range of theatrical styles to tell a story that deals with the loss of a loved family member. Despite the subject matter, this is a show of joy and light.

Macbeth

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Bruce Widdop & Matt Young, presented by OZ ACT. Geelong Botanic Gardens. 14 & 15 January 2017.

The dark aspects of the play give limited scope for a more light-hearted approach. Yet, while still exploring the descent into evil that Macbeth (Andy Delves) undergoes, OZ ACT manages to keep the play in a relatively unthreatening sphere. Delves makes the spiralling descent from decency to depravity an interesting journey.

Two

By Jim Cartwright. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Mark Kilmurry. 29 March – 6 May, 2017

Written in 1989, Jim Cartwright’s Two often crops up in England’s regional theatres. With its small cast (2) and one optional setting (the pub can be as present as your budget allows), the play is a blessing for cash-strapped companies everywhere. 

All the Songs I Can’t Sing

By Gavin Roach. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. 28 March – 8 April 2017.

The lights dim and Gavin Roach appears in a suitably lairy outfit of overalls, a pink hat and pink Doc Martins. He’s belting out the flattest version of “I’m walking on sunshine” you’ll ever hear. It’s no surprise given the show’s title.

After a brief introduction recounting his memories of being a Madonna-crazed school boy, it’s time for the next musical interlude, Madonna’s “Like a prayer”.

Wintersong – a Concert Version

Composer: Scott Cameron. Librettist: Kathleen McLennan. Kyneton Theatre Company. Venue: Bluestone Theatre, Kyneton. March 26, 2017

Wintersong is a new musical which is apparently still evolving, and this concert performance for an invited audience was to give feedback to the creative team. There were no sets or costumes, and the performers read from their scores.

The Pajama Game

Book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell. Music and Lyrics: Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. Northern Light Theatre Company. Director: Max Rayner. The Shedley Theatre, Elizabeth, SA. 24 March-8 April, 2017.

Any show that sends you out smiling is not to be sniffed at. The Pajama Game, as staged by Northern Light, delivers an evening of generally pleasant entertainment, with a more-than-solid cast working hard to overcome unfortunate opening night issues with the sound system that rendered the performance less satisfying than it might have been.

Sweet Road

By Debra Oswald. Javeenbah Theatre, Nerang, Gold Coast. Director Gaye Gay. 24th March – 8th April, 2017.

Debra Oswald will be better known to many of you as the scriptwriter for the TV hits Offspring and The Secret Life of Us.

That may explain why Sweet Road is a collection of short scenes tracing the adventures of an odd assortment of characters, some travelling with a purpose and some just drifting along this Sweet Road.

Happily married Jo (Kaela Gray) is planning a surprise birthday for her husband when she is surprised to see him kissing her best friend: so she takes off!

Boyband

Conceived by Peter Quilter. Spotlight Basement Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Directed by Katie Steuart-Robins. 24th March – 9th April, 2017

Boyband follows the trials and tribulations of a group of young guys assembled to be the next Pop sensation, summed up in a few words; Sex, Drugs and all the trappings of the eighties pop scene.

The Band: Matt – Phillip Maas, Sean – Lachlan Beck, Jay – Justin Wise, Adam – Ethan Beck and Danny – Clay Carlaw come together with the promise of good times with a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, guided by Alan Beck, their unethical promoter – Wayland and his plan to take the money and run.

Carmen

By Georges Bizet. Opera Australia / HANDA Opera on Sydney Harbour. 27 March to 26 April 2015.

This epic telling of Carmen, staged on Sydney Harbour, in surely the world’s most spectacular outdoor setting, is the first OA Handa production to be revived.  And with good reason.  The Gale Edwards 2013 production may be an edited version of Bizet’s original but it conjures all the fireworks, colour and vivid impact you expect of an Event Opera. 

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