Reviews

Love Song

By John Kovenbach. Stooged Theatre Company (Newcastle, NSW). Civic Playhouse. March 6 – 9, 2013.

If you're feeling down there's a trick you can (supposedly) do to your mind, and that's to smile. Apparently the mere act of turning the corners of your mouth upwards and baring your teeth - while willing your face to feel pleased about something, acts as a nudge to the mood lifting chemicals in our brains and voila! We feel a bit better. 

Well, that's the theory. 

End of the Rainbow

Play by Peter Quilter. QTC & QPAC Production. Director: David Bell. Musical Director: Andrew McNaughton. Playhouse, QPAC, Brisbane. 2-24 March 2013

When Christen O’Leary belted out “The Trolley Song” towards the end of the first act, the stage lit up, the excitement built and the atmosphere was electric. In that one moment O’Leary captured the performing essence of show-business icon Judy Garland, the subject of British playwright Peter Quliter’s End of the Rainbow. The play set in London in 1968, dealt with the final weeks in the star’s life as she attempted to fulfil an engagement at London’s Talk of the Town struggling with alcohol and pill addiction.

CAVALIA

Creator: Normand Latourelle. Equestrian Director & Choreographer: Benjamin Aillaud. Director, Images & Projection Design: Erick Villeneuve. Composer: Michel Cusson. Choreographer & Staging Artistic Coordinator: Alain Gauthier. Costume Designer: Manon Desmarais. Lighting Designer: Alain Lortie. Set Designer: Marc Labelle. Under the White Bog Top, DFO, Brisbane Airport. 6-31 March 2013.

Breathtaking in its Olympian equestrian skills, Cavalia, a celebration of the relationship between man and horse, galloped into Brisbane last night on the first leg of its Australian tour. With a cast of 42 horses and 36 riders, aerialists, actrobats, dancers and musicians, they brought a new dimension to the art of horsemanship, with a show that also embodied trapeze, rope-twirling, trampoline and bungee jumping. The displays of bare-back riding throughout were thrilling.

Oliver!

By Lionel Bart. St George Theatre Company / Rockdale Musical Society. Hurstville Entertainment Centre. March 1 – 10, 2013.

Dickens’ story of an orphan who finds a loving home, after a detour via London’s 19th century Underbelly, and the songs from Lionel Bart’s musical version, need little introduction.

Darkened in mood for the 1990s Sam Mendes / Cameron Mackintosh production, with atmospheric orchestrations and pruning of its musical comedy elements, it’s now probably closer to a contemporary music theatre piece than the effervescent 1960 original.

Thursday

By Bryony Lavery. World Premiere – co-production by Brink Productions and English Touring Company. Director: Chris Drummond. Norwood Concert Hall – Feb. 25th until March 16th, 2013.

Ultimately a meditation on the fragility of life, Thursday is a riveting piece of theatre, ingeniously designed by Dan Potra and intricately lit by Colin Grenfell. It is inspired by the story of Adelaide woman, Gill Hicks, who lost her legs in the London bombings of 7th July 2005.

The play’s opening sequence offers audiences a simultaneous fly on the wall view of the beginning of the day of each of the characters – three couples and three singles.

BLUE/ORANGE

Written by Joe Penhall. Mockingbird Theatre. Director: Chris Baldock. Broken Mirror Studios, 2C Staley Street, Brunswick. Februuary 28 - March 9, 2013.

When Mockingbird Theatre burst onto the scene last year with The Laramie Project  at Chapel off Chapel, there were some who remained sceptical. After all, Chris Baldock was recreating his award winning production with a new company.

With Blue/Orange, Joe Penhall’s 2000 award winning play, Mockingbird Theatre clearly emphasises its commitment to excellence and lays down the gauntlet to other small theatre companies. What’s more, Chris Baldock cements his position as an exciting director poised to take on all comers.

One Man, Two Guvnors

By Richard Bean. National Theatre Of Great Britain. Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, February 28 - March 9, 2013; Auckland March 14-23; Sydney 30 March – 11 May & Melbourne 17 May – 29 June.

National Theatre Of Great Britain’s One Man, Two Guvnors is now touring Australia following its ongoing success in London’s West End, a UK tour and an award-winning Broadway run.

Its first stop was for Adelaide Festival and while the immitigable English farce seems at odds with much of the other fare that artistic director David Sefton has programmed for 2013, it must be said that One Man, Two Guvnors is very, very funny.

Orpheus in the Underworld

By Jacques Offenbach. Updated by Jonathan Biggins and Phil Scott. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. February 28 – March 27, 2013.

“Life’s a bore without amour” agreed – and in the present political climate, a bit depressing too. Thanks be, therefore, that Opera Australia brought Jonathan Biggins and Phil Scott in to rework their 2003 adaptation of Orpheus. It’s bright, fast, funny, colourful and very topical.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Carol Burns’s stage interpretation of Joan Lindsay’s novel. Brisbane Arts Theatre. Feb 22 – Mar 16. 2012.

More than a premiere, this is a once-in-a-lifetime theatrical event!

The story obviously burned in Carol Burns’s mind for a long time until she created her own true-to-the book interpretation of the Lindsay novel. Shane Rodwell’s brooding set exudes either mystery or reality according to Alan Lawrence’s ingenious soundscape and Geoff Squire’s illuminations.

Angela Tonuri’s costumes establish the early 1900s and the actors convince us how cumbersome they were, even for girls in a relaxed picnic situation.

The Farndale Ave Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery

By David McGillvray and Walter Zerlin Jnr. Directed by Tanya Ryder-Barnes.. 1812 Theatre – Ferntree Gully (Vic). 28th Feb – 23rd March, 2013.

With an impressive cast, excellent direction and a wildly funny play, 1812 has started its new season with a fabulous production that even outdoes its last offering of 2012 – The 39 Steps.

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