Reviews

City of Angels

By Cy Coleman, David Zippel and Larry Gelbart. SYMT (Sydney Youth Musical Theatre). Director: Celeste Notley-Smith Hornsby RSL Club. July 6 – 14, 2012.

Youth musical theatre just got pretty raunchy at Sydney Youth. Murder, infidelity and seduction are rampant, even though none of the cast are older than 24. Don't worry though, it's all just musical comedy.

Tony Award winning musical City of Angels tells the story of a writer caught up in the machinations of Hollywood, while adapting his successful novel into a Film Noir detective flick. Boundaries between life and cinema are entertainingly blurred, as the film action is acted out in parallel, complete with re-writes.

Simple Gifts

Julia Messenger Quintet. Melbourne Recital Centre. Part of the American Songbook series. July 6 and 7, 2012.

Melbourne-born singer-songwriter Julia Messenger, acclaimed around the world for her exquisite voice, had a home-town audience swooning for two nights recently when she performed her personal favourites from the American Songbook. With her stunning vocal range, and accompanied by a fabulous quintet (Luke Howard on piano, Frank Di Sario on bass, Danny Farugga on drums and James Sherlock on guitar), Messenger perfectly showcased a variety of the best music created under the star spangled banner.

sex.violence.blood.gore

By Alfian bin Sa’at (co-written with Chong Tze Chien). Director: Stephen Nicolazzo. Set and Costume Designer: Eugyeene The. Costume Maker: Tessa Leigh Wolfenbuttel Pitt. Lighting: Yasmin Santoso. Sound: Claudio Tocco. Cast: Genevieve Giuffre, Catherine Davies, Matt Furlani, Whitney Boyd, Amy-Scott Smith, Zoe Boesen, Caitlin Adams. MKA, North Melbourne. June 27 – July 14, 2012.

sex.violence.blood.gore is an unexpectedly fascinating political satire.   However it must be said that without historical knowledge and experience of Singapore, its messages can be a little cryptic and confusing at times.  Regardless, it is an engaging, absorbing, often highly amusing work beautifully presented by gifted, articulate, eloquent actors playing with restraint and irony.  

Accidently Ugly

Co-devisors Melinda Hetzel, Joseph O’Farrell and Jacob Williams in collaboration with cast members aged 5-12 years.. St Martins Youth Arts - Northcote and South Yarra programs. St Martins Youth Arts Centre, South Yarra (Vic). Artistic Director: Melinda Hetzel. Set Design: Georgia Mill. Auslan Performer: Lyn Gordons. July 6th and 7th, 2012.

What do you fear? Spiders? Witches? The Boogey Man? How closely are your fears associated with appearances? A warty nose, a hunched back, a gappy smile, eight hairy legs and too many eyes?

Using Oscar Wilde’s tale, The Selfish Giant as its centrepiece, Accidently Ugly pursues the connections we make between what we find ugly and therefore fear. Perhaps looking closely at a creature we find to be ugly will reveal intricate detail, just as looking beyond a person’s appearance reveals deeper truths.

Carousel

By Rodgers & Hammerstein. Playhouse Theatre Incorporated. Director: Pauline Vella. Choreographer: Clayton Curnow. Playhouse Theatre, Glen Eden, Auckland, NZ. July 7 – 21, 2012

Carousel is the second stage musical by the team of Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (book and lyrics). The work premiered in 1945 and was adapted from Ferenc Molnár's 1909 play Liliom, transplanting its Budapest setting to the Maine coastline. The story revolves around carousel barker Billy Bigelow (Nicholas McGough), whose romance with millworker Julie Jordan (Tizane McEvoy) comes at the price of both their jobs.

ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS

Starring James Corden. National Theatre Live. Selected Cinemas Nationally. July 7 and 8, 2012

If you saw the amazing James Corden win at this year’s Tony Awards (or if you’re a fan from Gavin and Stacey) you might have thought enviously, why don’t we get to see performances like that in theatre in Australia. Well of course we do. We have terrific actors in great productions……sometimes. But we don’t always get the biggest smash hits from the West End or Broadway. Now, thanks to the National Theatre Live initiative and Sharmill Films we can see the actual productions with the original casts. What a treat!

The Pajama Game

By Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, based on the novel 7½ Cents by Richard Bissell. Diamond Valley Singers & The Eltham Orchestras Inc. (VIC). Warrandyte High School Theatre. Director: Lynne Counsel. Musical Director: Ian Lowe. July 6 – 14, 2012.

Diamond Valley Singers’ 2012 production of the musical The Pajama Game is a testament to the talent pool on-hand in the north/east suburbs of Melbourne.

This snappy and vibrant version of the 1954 Adler & Ross musical shows evidence of the hard work that goes into such a demanding production.

Typewriters, telephones and hand-held sewing machines set the scene for the 1950s story about guys and girls falling in love amongst the threat of a strike by the workers of a pajama factory.

Eat Pray Laugh!

Barry Humphries’ Farewell Tour. Director: Simon Phillips. Capitol Theatre, Sydney, July 5 – July 14, 2012, then Melbourne, July 14 – Aug 4 and Jupiters Theatre, Gold Coast, August 25 – 31.

How much spittle can a 78-year-old generate? That was my thought as Sir Les Patterson rained down on the hapless members of the audience who sat in the front row of the Capitol Theatre for his ‘farewell’ tour.

Yes, Prime Minister

By Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn. Director: Tom Gutteridge. Playhouse, QPAC, 5 July 2011

Yes, Prime Ministeris a popular franchise, having spawned five television series, a radio series, three novels and now a West End stage adaptation, so it seems almost sacrilege to criticize what some people regard as one of the best British television comedies ever written. But there’s the rub. This is a television concept which doesn’t belong on a stage. Despite current references to global warming, carbon tax and underage sex, I found it long past its use-by date. Some jokes landed, but for most of the evening it was a barren landscape.

The Mousetrap

By Agatha Christie. Michael Coppel, Louise Withers, Linda Bewick in association with Adrian Barnes by arrangement with Mousetrap Productions Ltd London. Director: Gary Young. Sydney Theatre. July 4 – 29, 2012, then touring.

The Mousetrap is a bit like a reality TV star on a global scale. It’s famous for being famous. Half way through the first act I was scratching my head. How is this the longest running play ever?  It feels like it was written in 1952 and is comparable to many middle of the road oh so English murder mysteries which you find in the Samuel French play catalogue, staged regularly by community theatre. Why is this old fashioned play still going in the West End sixty years later?

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