Reviews

Jump for Jordan

By Donna Abela. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre – Feb 14 to March 29, 2014. Merrigong Theatre Company – April 2 – 5.

Informed by her Maltese background, Donna Abela has written a witty and endearing snapshot of what it means to be second generation Australian.  Such alternative takes on Australian identity, a “new multiculturalism”, appeared on our stages in the late 1980’s. It’s good to see them back!

The difference perhaps is the ambitious, poetic storytelling structure with which Abela, not always successfully, takes us on the journey of young Sophie.

The Sheds

Written & Directed by James Cunningham. Adelaide Fringe. The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. February 18-22, 2014

Set entirely within the changing room of an AFL team, The Sheds explores the relationship between Darren (Patrick Chirico), a star player who has recently come out as gay, the resentment this provokes in one of his teammates, Jimmy (Andii Mulders) and the efforts of the team captain, Liam (Ludwik Exposto) to mediate in this conflict.

Second Hands

Written and directed by Jeffrey Jay Fowler. PICA - Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth Cultural Centre, WA. 18-22 February 2014.

The Fringe World Guide gives little symbols to each show to help people make selections. Second Hands is recommended as being suitable for taking Nan and Pop, great as a mate night and being "sure to impress and entertain your date". While Second Hands is certainly impressive, I would strongly advise against using this show as an aphrodisiac unless your lover is slightly unhinged.

Point and Shoot

By Tyler Jacob Jones and Robert Woods. Directed by Gemma Hall and Tyler Jones. The Stables, Perth Cultural Centre, WA. Feb 9-16, 2014.

Thanks to an extra show being added to its Perth Fringe World season, I was able to catch this little gem by Holland Street Productions, at its final performance.

This was a World Premiere musical by Tyler Jacob Jones and Robert Woods, who also penned Falling to the Top: The Music Trashtacular, and stars the authors with Erin Hutchinson and Tamara Woolrych. An actor-musician production, the music (including clever sound effects) was all played by the four performers who played maybe twenty instruments and perhaps forty characters during the 75 minute production.

The Rocky Horror Show

Book, Music & Lyrics: Richard O’Brien. Ambassador Theatre Group/Gordon Frost Organisation. Director: Christopher Luscombe Crown Theatre, Perth from Feb 14, 2014, then Festival Theatre, Adelaide, from Mar 21 and Comedy Theatre, Melbourne from Apr 26.

The Rocky Horror Show has jetted into Perth, in just the second leg of the national tour.

This 40th anniversary production is fresh and energetic, with the opening scenes having a bright almost cartoonish feel, contrasting beautifully with the heavily decorated old-fashioned, gothic decor of the later castle scenes in a cinematically inspired set by Hugh Durrant.

The performances, without exception are superb. Characterisations were noticeably different to the movie and to previous Australian productions of this show.

Miles Away

Written & Directed by John Doherty. Adelaide Fringe. The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. February 17-22, 2014

One of the most commendably ambitious works on offer this Fringe Season, Miles Away is a somewhat uneven, but ultimately rewarding one woman show.

A Boy & A Bean

Devised and performed by Nick Atkins. PACT Centre for Emerging Artists and the Q Theatre Company. PACT, Erskineville 12 – 15 Feb 2014 & Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith 19 – 22

A Boy & A Bean at PACT promises to “walk head first into the marriage equality debate” but strangely avoids overtly discussing politics at every turn. Amidst some of the most tumultuous gay politics the country has ever seen, the softer, subtextual tack taken by writer and performer Nick Atkins lacked the fire and guts necessary to lift A Boy & A Beanout of the ordinary to the theatrical extraordinary.

Cinderella

By Tony Nicholls. Directed by Carole Dhu. Pinjarra Civic Centre, WA. Feb 14-15, 2014

With a "blink and you miss it" season, chances are that you didn't catch Primadonna Productions’ incarnation of Cinderella.

To present this Tony Nicholls pantomime, the youth company teamed with local adult thespians to give the kids a chance to work with more experienced actors, and the result was a lot of fun for all.

An excellent example of true community theatre, with a lovely atmosphere generated from the stage and front of house, while producing a good quality production.

Annie

Book: Thomas Meehan. Music: Charles Strouse. Lyrics: Martin Charnin. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director / Choreographer: Kim Reynolds. 14 Feb to 8 Mar, 2014.

Based on the syndicated comic strip character, Annie hit the stage with gusto as Spotlight’s Valentines Day gift to the Gold Coast. The audience could “feel the love” as a dozen “little girls” sang, acted and danced their way into everyone’s hearts.

Forbidden Broadway

By Gerard Alessandrini. Savoyards. Director: Angela Clarke. Musical Director: Joanne Wolfe. Star Theatre, Wynnum, Qld. 15-23 Feb 2014

Forbidden Broadway opened in New York in 1982 and since that time has become an Off-Broadway institution. Poking fun at Broadway shows and personalities has been creator Gerard Alessandrini’s stock-in-trade for the past 30 years, and this production called ”Greatest Hits – Volume One” gathers together some of Allessandrini’s wittiest swipes at musical theatre.

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