Reviews

Disco Inferno

Music from the 70’s. Book by Jai Sepple. Canterbury Theatre Guild. November 1 – 9, 2013.

The smoke machine set off the alarm at the Bexley RSL, so before a note had been played the audience enjoyed the unexpected appearance of the fire brigade on stage.

This was appropriate for a jukebox musical which has a lead song and title Disco Inferno comprising the lyrics Burn Baby Burn.

Thankfully there was smoke but no fire and without much delay the Disco Ball started spinning.

I must declare my interest up front.

The Club

By David Williamson, Galleon Theatre (SA). Director: Vicky Horwood. Domain Theatre, Marion Cultural Centre. October 31 – November 9, 2013

One of the definitions of the word meeting is ‘an assembly or gathering of two or more people for a specific purpose’. The Club, by David Williamson, uses many such informal and self-managed meetings to expose the wheeling and dealing & power struggles in this satirical play set in a late 1970’s Australian Football Club Boardroom.

In Galleon Theatre’s production, Peter Smith is a fervent Ted Parker, the Club president. His character’s great passion and love for the game and the local club seeps through his performance.

The Light in the Piazza

By Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas. Malvern Theatre. Director: Alan Burrows. Musical Director: Shirley White. November 1 – 16, 2013

The Light in the Piazza had its amateur premier recently at the Athenaeum Theatre in Lilydale and I caught the opening night of a return season at the Malvern Theatre, so it was a very well-oiled production and the sets appeared to have been designed for this theatre.

The Light in the Piazza debuted in 2005 with music written by Adam Guettel, Richard Rodgers’ grandson. There was no similarity in style between the two composers. I didn’t come away whistling the tunes, though more familiarity might help. It was not easy to sing.

Anaconda

By Sarah Doyle. Paddington Arts Club and Rock Surfers Theatre Company. The Bondi Pavilion Theatre. October 29 – November 23, 2013.

Phil Walker was sexually abused by fellow private school students. Matty Buttiker stood by and watched. Years later, Walker is arrested for murdering one of his attackers – “It was a mercy killing. He doesn’t have to live with himself now …” – and Buttiker, now a successful barrister, offers to take his case free of charge.

Carmen Sweet

Natalie Weir’s contemporary ballet to Rodion Shchedrin’s reworking of Bizet’s Carmen Suite. Expressions Dance Company & Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Cremorne Theatre. October 31 – November 2, 2013

It’s not surprising that this is the company’s most popular ballet  ̶ familiar story and wonderfully evocative music.

The Pirates of Penzance

By Gilbert and Sullivan. The Production Company. Director: Dean Bryant. Hamer Hall. October 30 – November 3, 2013.

The satire which infused all Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas has long since been forgotten. Who was the model for the Modern Major – General (who knew nothing about the military) that they lampooned? Audiences in the 1880s certainly knew and laughed, for G&S were astonishingly modern and daring for their time.

HAIR

Music: Galt MacDermot. Book & Lyrics: Gerome Ragni & James Rado. Queensland Conservatorium 2nd Year Musical Theatre Student Production. Director: Sue Rider. Musical Director: Matthew Samer. Choreographer: Helena Moore. Powerhouse, Brisbane, 30 Oct – 2 Nov 2013

The sixties hippy protest era of anti-war, drugs and free-love was exuberantly brought back to life at Powerhouse last night in a free-wheeling but tight production by Sue Rider.

Hair, with its multiple quirky characters,was the perfect musical for a group of students to perform and the Conservatorium’s 2nd year group did it proud.

It’s An Earthquake in my Heart

By Goat Island. University of Melbourne – VCA (Vic). Studio 45, Dodds Street. Director: Robert Walton. Set design: Alexandra Hiller. 25 October – 1 November, 2013

Real-life implications of calamity are central to It’s An Earthquake in my Heart, which confronts with the uncomfortable question, “What would happen if you had not come home last night?” And the follow-up question, “Are you afraid?”

Eddie Goes To Poetry City

By Richard Foreman. Adapted by Richard Murphet. University of Melbourne-VCA (Vic). Grant Street Theatre. Director: Richard Murphet. Assistant Director: Prue Clark. Set Design: Laura Hicks. Costume Designer: Rebecca Dunn. 25 October - 1 November, 2013

In ‘obedience’ to the dictate of playwright Richard Foreman, director Richard Murphet has melded the two existing versions of this play, and the company has reinvented the locations and all the ‘characters’ apart from Eddie. Songs were also added ‘for good measure’.

A pleasing randomness pervades this production as everyman Eddie (Alistair Frearson) visits a city of poetry and is swept along in its frustrating labyrinth of dreams, nightmare, displacement, intrigue and desire. It is as though we too have entered a poem.

Follies

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by James Goldman. Hornsby Musical Society. Part of the Hornsby Shire Festival of the Arts. Hornsby RSL. October 24 - 26, 2013.

Any company game enough to stage one of Music Theatre’s most challenging and technically demanding works deserves accolades just for the attempt. This weekend Sydney gets not one but two of such works, with Anyone Can Whistle playing a few suburbs south of Follies. Both are brought to us by that master of neurotic introspection, Stephen Sondheim.

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