Dianne Reeves

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Her Majesty’s Theatre. June 12, 2017.

Dianne Reeves is a jazz ‘legend’, winner of five Grammy awards, and has just turned 60, which she amusingly and poignantly reflected on in her show. This was the first time Dianne Reeves had performed in Adelaide.  Her show, two hours of wonderful ‘smooth jazz’, was the first in a series of concerts by acclaimed international cabaret artists that is one of the main features of the year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival.  Other artists include Alan Cumming and Michael Feinstein.

The Moors

By Jen Silverman. Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre, Chapel Street, St Kilda East VIC. 10 June – 9 July 2017

A superb cast and a director with an assured and inspired sense of imagery and style lift this rather smarty-pants play into something that delights and entertains.  The moors of the title – described frequently in the text as ‘bleak’, ‘windswept’ and ‘boring’, but also a stimulus to wild imaginations – are Brontë territory.  (Few clichés are left unturned – or over-turned.)  But don’t expect Charlotte, Emily or Anne to appear, or any of their literary creations.  It is, however, a play that

Carlotta Queen of the Cross

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2017. Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent. June 11 & 12, 2017

Watching Carlotta Queen of the Cross is attending an audience with a living legend. We are privileged to share her life in 70 mins of non-stop laughter and applause.

After a short piano introduction to ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’, Carlotta makes her entrance in a glittering full-length silver gown and black feather boa. For those of us lucky enough to have seen her in ‘Les Girls’ at the Cross, as I have, the years have not dimmed her talent and politically incorrect banter.

Three Mikados

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2017. Dunstan Playhouse. June 11 & 12, 2017

Three Mikados is an absolute delight. Three actors attempt to do a 70-minute version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, playing and sharing all the roles – plus a wayward spear-carrier. They are led by the popular comedian Colin Lane, whose ego starts to run hysterically out of control from the very beginning.

Bill Frisell: When You Wish Upon a Star

2017 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse. Adelaide Festival Centre. 10-11 June, 2017.

As someone who’s been turned on to the wonderful world of jazz music over the last five years or so, this reviewer wasn’t about to turn down the opportunity to witness an elder statesman of the genre – described in 1987’s Jazz: The Essential Companion as “one of the most accomplished and sought-after young American guitarists” – live and in the flesh.

Lucky: Songs by Kylie

Michael Griffiths. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Space Theatre. June 9-11, 2017

Michael Griffiths is no stranger to cabaret, having won the prestigious Helpmann Award last year as Best Cabaret Performer. He has toured his shows based on Madonna, Annie Lennox, Cole Porter and now Kylie MinoguewithLucky: Songs by Kylie.

Ever the consummate professional, in 65 minutes he guides us through Kylie’s life from her early days in Neighbours to her recovery from breast cancer and ability to endure through adversity.

Noises Off

By Michael Frayn. Queensland Theatre/Melbourne Theatre Company. Director: Sam Strong. Playhouse, QPAC, Brisbane. June 3 – 25, 2017

In 1998 former New York Times critic Frank Rich wrote in his book Hot Seat that “Noises Off was, is, perhaps always will be the funniest play written in my lifetime.” He also said the film adaptation was “one of the worst movies ever made,” and that’s because Noises Off is a theatrical conceit that only belongs on a stage.

The 7 Stages of Grieving

By Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman. Queensland Theatre / Grin and Tonic Theatre Troupe. Riverside Theatres Parramatta. June 8 – 10, 2017, and touring.

Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman’s original production of ‘7 Stages’ is a collection of ‘chapters’ documenting the effect of white settlement on our First Peoples. In a series of vignettes using different theatrical styles, they tell of the disruption that invasion and assimilation has wrought. They cover the loss of land, family, culture and self esteem. They cover discrimination and vilification. But they also incorporate reconciliation, hope … and humour.

The Clean House

By Sarah Ruhl. New Theatre, Newtown, NSW. June 6 – July 8, 2017

Sarah Ruhl’s play is a witty American domestic comedy about housework and different loves lost and gained. Its occasional leaps into metaphors and magic realism are challenging to get right.  A workaholic doctor, Lane, sacks her Brazilian cleaning lady, Matilda – an aspiring stand-up comedian  who hates cleaning – just as her breast surgeon husband cuts open and falls in love with his patient.

The Village Bike

By Penelope Skinner. Cross Pollinate Productions. Director: Rachel Chant. The Old Fitz Theatre, Sydney. 7 June – 8 July, 2017

Behind the busy bar of a rough and tumble Wooloomooloo drinking spot, downstairs, between the busy kitchen, the inadequate toilets and a dining area is the cramped theatre space. The stacked audience face a perfect little setting in which everything works – the doors, the upstairs bedroom, the rumbling pipes, the computer, the sink, the bike. The Sydney Theatre Company couldn’t wish for a more polished and convincing set.

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