Reviews

An Iliad

By Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson. Adelaide Festival. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre. March 4- 8, 2014.

An Iliad is a stunning and absorbing solo performance by Tony Award winner Denis O’Hare, who embodies an ageless poet retelling the ancient story and never-ending destruction of war throughout the ages. In doing so, O’Hare illuminates the heroism, the impact on families and the personal stories that fill every moment in every war.

HAIR

Book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado. Music by Galt McDermott StageArt. Directed by Robbie Carmelotti. Chapel off Chapel (Vic). March 4 – 9, 2014

StageArt are having a good Hair day; in fact they are having a good Hair year. Hair may now be a “period piece”, as the director described it to me after the show (I prefer to say Retro), but it is still terrific entertainment, high energy and infectious (in a good way), and far more than just a novelty piece.

Inspector Drake and the Black Widow

By David Tristram. Directed by Anne Simmons. 1812 Theatre. 27th Feb – 22nd March, 2014.

David Tristram is a very funny English playwright who specialises in creating hysterically funny plays mostly for community theatres. They have small casts, one set, and generally make fun of “Am-Dram” itself – with subject matter sending up detective genres and popular cultures like soap operas. He is the perfect choice for 1812’s start to 2014.

Experienced director Anne Simmons clearly has a ball with the play and her cast. Tristram writes most of his comedy business into the script itself, but Simmons and cast realise it beautifully.

BigMouth.

SKaGeN, with Richard Jordan Productions Ltd, in a co-production with De Tijd and Stuk. Directed and performed by Valentin Dhaenens. Adelaide Festival 2014. Queen's Theatre. 27 February - 3 March, 2014.

One man, armed with a bushel of carefully selected speeches (some of them mere snippets, but virtually all chosen for good reason) and a range of microphones to capture multiple voices for the purpose of creating dazzling tapestries of atmospheric sound, has journeyed from Belgium to make what this reviewer considers to be a phenomenal artistic impact on the Adelaide Festival this year, certainly one worthy of a standing ovation.

The Naked Magicians

Presented by Brisbane Powerhouse and Samuel Klingner Entertainment Enterprises. Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse, as part of the Brisbane Comedy Festival. 25th Feb-2nd March, 2014

Starting the Brisbane Comedy Festival with a bang, this harmless X rated

fun-filled party night-out stars handsome Mr Nice-Guy comedians Christopher Wayne and Mike Tyler.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

By William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin. Adelaide Youth Theatre. Star Theatres, Adelaide 28 February -1 March, 2014.

For their Adelaide Fringe production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Adelaide Youth Theatre has cast some older actors than the company normally uses, due to the show’s subject matter.

The show is a tongue-in cheek, sometimes ribald examination of America’s Spelling Bee circuit and includes delightful characters together with great songs.

Eugene Onegin

By Tchaikovsky. Opera Australia. Co-production with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London and Fondazione Teatro Regio, Turin. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. February 28 – March 28, 2014

Eugene Onegin is Tchaikovsky’s and co-librettist Shilovsky’s adaptation of Alexander Pushkin’s novel in verse about love and rejection. It is, in turn, romantic and sad, and shows the powerlessness to avert impending tragedy once decisions have been made – and the music echoes these sentiments in themes and notes that rise and fall and rise again.

Playground

Music and Lyrics by Nick Hedger. Performance Coach: Jason Langley. Movement Adviser: Cherie Hill. Chapel off Chapel. February 28 - March 2, 2014

Nick Hedger, Nick Hedger, Nick Hedger….I’m saying the name three times so that you never have any excuse to say you don’t remember it. Of course, if you’ve already been exposed to Hedger’s astonishing talent, there is no way you could ever forget it.

The Mountaintop

By Katori Hall. Queensland Theatre Company. Playhouse Theatre, QPAC. 22 February – 16 March 2014

We’ve all heard of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and remember he was assassinated in the 1960s. That’s all you need to know because Katori Hall’s play is his fictional final night.

 

The Seagull

By Anton Chekhov, adapted by Hilary Bell. State Theatre Company of South Australia. State Theatre Company Scenic Workshop, Adelaide Festival Centre. February 21 - March 16, 2014.

For its Adelaide Festival production of The Seagull the State Theatre Company of South Australia uses traverse staging with minimal stage dressing and props as an inspired means of disengaging audience members from their surrounds, effectively immersing them only in the mood and story of this 1890’s classic piece.

Sensitively directed by Geordie Brookman and staged in the State Theatre Company’s atmospheric Scenic Workshop, the Company’s production of Anton Chekhov’s famous play is a new adaptation by Australian playwright Hilary Bell.

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