Reviews

Fiddler on the Roof

By Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick. Gosford Musical Society (NSW) Laycock Street Theatre, Gosford. Director: Ted Williams. October 28 – November 19, 2011.

Caravan

By Donald Macdonald. Peridot Theatre (Vic). Director: Bob Bramble. November 4 – 19, 2011

Donald Macdonald’s Caravan is the holiday we would all like to forget; the story of three couples on a caravan holiday in NSW.

Peridot Theatre’s amazing set represents a rather long caravan, open-sided to reveal the interior where all the action takes place, with outside events achieved by excellent sound effects, from hitting one’s head upon entry, to erecting the annexe, to the thunderstorm and rain which kept the holiday makers inside the caravan for two weeks.

Robin Hood’s Lament / Dido and Aeneus

Yarra Theatre Company (Vic). Artistic and Musical Director: Nigel McBain. Choreographer and Assistant Director: Natalie Phillips. Ashwood Secondary College. October 26 - 30, 2011

I recently heard a visitor from Sydney express surprise that Melbourne had fourteen opera companies to Sydney’s three. I wouldn’t be able to name fourteen in Melbourne, and I don’t know if they included the G&S Societies, but we certainly have many more than three.

So what prompted Nigel McBain to start up another?

For a start this talented lad obviously has a passion for baroque opera, and no-one else appears to be focusing on this. Secondly, it appears to be an amateur company, while many of the others are semi-professional.

Camelot

By Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. MLOC (Vic). Director: Judy Sullivan. Musical Director: Danny Forward. Choreographer: Merilyn Young. November 4 – 11, 2011.

Lips Together Teeth Apart

By Terrence McNally. Mixed Salad Productions (SA). Star Theatre Two. Director: David Simms. October 21 - November 5, 2011

Only Terrence McNally would write a play that shows the instability of straight relationships compared to gay ones – with no gay characters.

Instead, all the gay characters are offstage. Sally (Tracey Walker) and her husband, Sam (Steve Parker) have inherited a beach house in a gay ghetto from her brother, who died of AIDS-related illnesses.

The couple have invited Sam’s sister, Chloe (Nicole Rutty) and her husband John (Peter Davies) to join them for the New Year’s Eve weekend.

Time's Arrow

Birnam Wood Theatre. Director: Shannon Woollard. La Mama Courthouse Theatre (Vic). November 1 – 12, 2011.

Cafe Rebetika

Conceived and Directed by Stephen Helper. Co-Writer Choreographer: Thomas Papathanassiou. Set Design: Bill Buckley. Costume Designer: Adrienne Chisholm. Lighting Designer: Nigel Levings. Associate Lighting: Designer: Richard Vabre. Live music by Rebetiki. Musical Director – Yiangoullis Achilles and Musicians; Tony Iliou, Takis Dimitru, Argyris Argyropoulis and Paddy Montgomery. The Arts Centre, Playhouse. 3 – 13 November, 2011.

Cafe Rebetika is a contemporary Australian musical with a huge heart that was inspired by a fascinating time and place in Greek history. With the support of the Arts Centre it has been honed, through its development, with great integrity and sensitivity to a point where it should ‘take off’.  What it most needs at the moment is for Melbourne’s Greek audiences to fill the houses and bring with them as much love, tenderness and understanding as the piece itself has been melded with.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

By Edward Albee. Repertory Theatre (Christchurch, NZ). Director: Elsie Edgerton-Till. Elmwood Auditorium. 2-8 November 2011.

You can take the Society out of the theatre, it seems, but no way is the theatre urge leaving the Society. This fascinatingly nasty play hit the stage very early in the distinguished playwright's career, but its indelible insights and linguistic flair marked it for classic status from the beginning, in spite of its shocking ways. As such, it fits well within Canterbury Repertory Society's focus and the production at Elmwood is well up to the high standards maintained with such passion in the Old Girl of Kilmore Street.

Tracey Harvey Smokin’ at The Paris Cat

Paris Cat Jazz Club, Melbourne (Vic).

The venue is charming but tiny – the postage stamp stage is barely large enough for the grand piano, let alone Tracy Harvey’s glorious and infamous teeth (which, she assures us, are insured). Nevertheless the room is packed, and there’s a smattering of celebrities present (Tony Ayres, Producer/Director of The Slap is stage side) and there’s definitely electricity, of the Energiser Bunny variety, in the air.

The Cemetery Club

By Ivan Menchell. Therry Dramatic Society (SA). Arts Theatre. November 2 – 12, 2011.

Don’t let the title put you off. This play by American Ivan Menchell was made into a lively movie in 1993 and director Loriel Smart has assembled a highly talented and experienced cast for your theatrical pleasure.

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