Reviews

Hooray For Hollywood

Written and Directed by Kate Peters. Top Hat Productions. Spotlight Basement Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Mar 31 – Apr 17, 2016

Kate Peters has delivered a marvelous trip down Memory Lane with this entertaining tribute to celluloid history. From the early days right up to the current hits, this show is full of nostalgia, delivered at a cracking pace.

Under the baton of Mo Award winner Kirri Adams, the show contains a cavalcade of singable and tappable movie magic brought to life by Choreographer Erin Lardner’s effective routines.

The “top line” cast of 5 ladies and 5 men with 4 show girls, dressed in Denis Watkins’ glitzy costumes, give the show plenty of life.

CJ Delling - Funny Bits

Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Bull and Bear Tavern, 23 March - 3 April, 2016

Often, if a comedian is not cutting edge, profane or crude, it is assumed they don’t have much to say. CJ Delling is the opposite of this: she isn’t cutting edge, profane or crude, and she has a lot to say. Sweet, goofy and funny, you'll walk out of her show feeling as if you've made a new friend.

Good Morning Mofo

Zoe McDonald. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Malthouse Theatre, March 28 - April 17, 2016

Malthouse has been transformed into a Comedy Hub, with an inviting relaxed ambiance, to house a number of highly recommended Festival Shows. 

In Good Morning Mofo Comedian Zoe McDonald presents a high-energy work that opens with a punch and doesn’t let up for a second.  She creates and pillories, one of those ‘good morning television shows’, through embodying a number of hysterical, beautifully drawn and skillfully embodied, characters.  

Boundless Plains to Share

Written & performed by Tom Ballard. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Supper Room, Melbourne Town Hall. 26-28 March; 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17 April 2016.

This is show about Australia’s refugee policy – that is, what we do with asylum seekers. You might think that it’s either very brave or very crazy to present that stuff at a comedy festival.  I’d say brave – although with a title like ‘Boundless Plains to Share’, audiences just might have an inkling of what to expect.  The near 70% of Australians who think we should treat ‘illegal maritime arrivals’ more harshly probably won’t show up for anything to do with sharing boundless plains.

Penny Arcade - Longing Lasts Longer

Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre Melbourne, Mar 24 – Apr 3, 2016; The Giant Dwarf, Sydney, Apr 6 – 8; Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, Apr 9.

Penny Arcade is back and her show at the Spiegeltent, Longing Lasts Longer, is surely the hot ticket of the Comedy Festival! But be warned it is for the thinking punter who enjoys confrontational ideas.  See it if you have a genuine interest in cultural change, adaptation, the curved balls life throws at us and you really do have a sense of humor.

Speedmouse

Umbilical Brothers. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Athenaeum Theatre and Arts Centre Melbourne shows. Mar 26 – Apr 17, 2016

I have seen the Umbilical Brothers on TV on odd occasions but this was the first time I had encountered them live. I hope it won’t be the last.

They have been peddling their particular brand of physical humour for over 25 years and it is quite unique. Speedmouse brought them into the digital age. They’d lost their remote! Someone had it, as they went mute, paused, rewound and fast-forwarded as various buttons were pressed out of their sight. Their physical and vocal control was amazing.

Impromptunes

Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Trades Hall. Founder: Emmet Nichols. Accompanist: Jamie Burgess. March 24 – April 3, 2016.

I have encountered Impromptunes a couple of times now, and I am pleased to say they are back to their best. At my second encounter they had changed their format, which didn’t work as well, and they have now reverted to the original intention.

This was to present an original musical based on a title supplied by the audience. In this case it was “Catastrophe at Trades Hall”. Unlike the first airing, where they went into a huddle before starting, they launched straight into the musical, which gave the impression that the suggestion came from a plant.

Velvet

Directed by Craig Iliot. Produced by Organised Pandemonium. Malthouse Theatre. March 23rd - April 17th, 2016

Look up at the stage! Is it a circus? Is it a Cabaret? Is it a Burlesque? Whatever tag you try to place on this amazing pastiche, the overwhelming word is ENTERTAINMENT; commercial, brash, full of colour and movement and wonderful live disco music that will have you bopping in your seat.

Turandot

By Giacomo Puccini. 2016 Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. Opera Australia. Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquarie’s Point, Sydney. March 24 to April 24, 2016.

Once again the weather was stunningly kind for the opening night of this, Giacomo Puccini’s very last opera. Set in China, it tells the story of the icy princess Turandot, who avenged the barbaric humiliation of her ancestor, Lou-Ling, thousands of years ago by executing any suitors that could not answer three esoteric riddles. That is until Calaf, an exiled Mongolian prince, falls in love with her and determines to win her.

Queen Bette

By Peter Mountford. The Old 505 Theatre, Newtown. March 22 – April 8, 2016.

Jeanette Cronin may not be well-known but I’ve always admired her acting, so often brash or droll, with that outsider quality to cut through.  In this return of her solo show, co-written with and directed by Peter Mountford, she is perfectly cast to give us 80 absorbing minutes of Bette Davis.   And it’s not just her uncannily similar appearance.

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