Reviews

Shrek The Musical

Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig. Book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. Music by Jeanine Tesori. John Frost and Glass Half Full Productions. Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne. February 16 – April 26, 2020.

In a world of uncertainty and negativity, we all need to embrace our inner child and reinforce that magic still exists. And it does - in life (though we don’t see it often enough) and certainly in theatre, as Shrek The Musical proves. The sheer joy of this show cannot be Ogre-estimated.

Torch the Place

By Benjamin Law. Melbourne Theatre Company. Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio. February 8 – March 23, 2020.

Torch the Place is absorbing entertainment in the form of an unfolding story of what is uncovered culturally, emotionally and psychologically when three Chinese Australian siblings decide to step in and help their mother with her overwhelming hoarding problem.  The tricky thing is that they forgot to let her know of their plans.  It’s about family and holding on and letting go.    

Billy Elliot the Musical

Music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall. Universal Theatrical Group, Working Title Films, Greene Light Stage, Michael Coppel, Louise Withers and Linda Bewick. Regent Theatre, Melbourne. Opening Night: February 22, 2020

Billy Elliotis technically about a small boy in a small town, but it translates to a massive theatrical experience which packs multiple emotional punches, especially with Lee Hall’s lyrics married to Elton John’s score, with direction by Stephen Daldry, choreography by Peter Darling, and the orchestra under the virtuosic direction of Michael Azzopardi.  

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

Book by Douglas McGrath. Words & Music by Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil. Adelaide Fringe. David Gauci & Davine Productions. Star Theatre. 19 - 29 February, 2020

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical premiered on Broadway in 2014. It has subsequently been performed throughout the USA and the UK, and there was an Australian tour in 2017. Why it didn’t come to Adelaide is a mystery. However, thanks to David Gauci and Davine Productions Adelaide finally gets to see and experience this truly delightful musical.

Amore e Morte

By Riccardo Barone & Nikki Elli Souvertjis. Adelaide Fringe. Sei Sette. Adelaide Town Hall. 23 February 2020

Amore e Morte is a fascinating and compelling ‘song cycle’ written and performed by local artists Riccardo Barone (originally from Italy) and Nikki Elli Souvertjis. As its title suggest this is a tale about ‘Love and Death’ and told through music and songs. Furthermore, the tale is told from a female perspective – the wife of an Italian man. He has witnessed a murder and is pressured by an unknown force (the Mafia? Government? Police?) to remain silent.

Salome

By Richard Strauss. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Richard Mills. Director: Cameron Menzies. Palais Theatre. Feb 22 – 27, 2020.

Salomewas a musical triumph for Victorian Opera. Held at the Palais Theatre to accommodate the large orchestra, it was the orchestra that dominated, with thundering climaxes and spine-chilling power, well crafted by Richard Mills.

War Horse

Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford in association with Handspring Puppet Company. Sydney Lyric. Feb 15 – Mar 15, 2020.

After MIchael Morpurgo’s original novel, Spielberg’s film, two monster international tours and a theatre audience of eight million, there’s still moving magic left in the tale of this old War Horse. Joey is the star, thrust from country Devon to the trench warfare horrors of 1914 France, but he’s no more than a beautifully constructed puppet horse artfully manipulated by three humans. 

Short+Sweet 2020

Week 2. Tom Mann Theatre, Surry Hills. February 20 – 23, 2020

For a highly entertaining night of theatre with a great variety of themes and styles make sure you get to the Short+Sweet Festival, running for 8 weeks, plus finals weeks, at Tom Mann Theatre in Chalmers Street Surry Hills.

Each week there are 10 or more plays, each no more than 10 minutes, which range from light comedies to serious drama and everything in between. At the end of the night the audience gets to vote for two plays, which adds another layer of interest as winners progress to a big finals week.

Gypsy Caravan

Adelaide Fringe. Unley Village Green. February 22 – March 1, 2020.

The Unley Village Green on a mild summer’s evening provides a truly idyllic setting to enjoy Studio Flamenco’s Fringe offering Gypsy Caravan. Old and young gathered with rugs and cushions, picnics and drinks, sangria and paella to take in a night of Gypsy entertainment under the stars.

Seen and Unseen

Asia Topa. Arts Centre Melbourne and Victorian College of the Arts. Martyn Myer Arena. 20 – 29 February 2020

Drawn from the Balinese philosophy of Sekala Niskala that is translated as ‘the seen and the unseen’, this work is inspired by Director Kamila Andini’s film of the same name.     

Exotic and absorbing, Seen and Unseen is a rich, evocative, intoxicating triumph for the senses. On the face of things it is beautifully fluid and superbly presented dance and music performance of mystical and almost hypnotic nature. 

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