Reviews

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.

Natural Causes

By Eric Chappell. Eltham Little Theatre. Director: Mel de Bono. Feb 14 – Mar 1, 2014.

Natural Causes, a black comedy by English writer Eric Chappell, was given an entertaining airing by Eltham Little Theatre.

The single set was quite complicated on the small stage, with characters having to be seen in the garden and to disappear up the stairs. It worked well and was quite impressive.

Coriolanus

By William Shakespeare, directed by Josie Rourke. National Theatre Live. Participating cinemas across Australia from February 22, 2014.

Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, like so much of his work, features themes that are as relevant today as they were when the play was written. A Roman soldier returns from battle as a conquering hero, but even as he accepts a place in the senate, voices of dissent are raised against him. Unwilling to conceal his contempt for the masses, he is outcast as the people turn against him - so joins forces with his former enemy to seek revenge.

A Special Day

By Ettore Scola & Ruggero Maccari. Adapted by Gigliola Fantoni. Translated by Ana Graham, Antonio Vega & Danya Taymor. The Play Company and Por Piedad Teatro. Adelaide Fringe. Holden Street Theatres. February 13 – March 16, 2014.

Observing the development of a relationship, unfolding in gentle stages, in front of your very eyes, can surely be one of the most rewarding and privileged positions a theatre audience can find themselves in. It is this kind of experience that the stage adaptation of the 1977 film A Special Day delivers, and when brought to engaging and touching life by two highly energetic and talented performers, this resourceful production overcomes the occasional niggling flaw to leave its viewers feeling both warm and wistful.

Privates on Parade

By Peter Nicols. Music by Denis King. New Theatre (NSW). Director: Alice Livingstone. Feb 11 – Mar 8, 2014.

The happy buzz and crush of opening night in the foyer of the New Theatre is made even brighter as The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boys (Henry Moss, David Ouch and Gerwin Widjaja) in stunning satin and immaculate wigs swing into action, setting the scene for a very well directed, fast-paced production.

Set in a British army base in Singapore in 1947, Privates on Parade “deals with very serious questions about gay history and sexual and racial politics … about a time when life was much harder for homosexual men” (Alice  Livingstone, Director).

Simon’s Final Sound

By Finegan Kruckemeyer. Blue Cow Theatre Company. Backspace Theatre, Theatre Royal, Hobart. Director: Robert Jarman. 11–21 December 2013

Playwright Finnegan Kruckemeyer specialises in writing commissioned plays for a young audience. He was asked to write a comedic play for an older audience, to include actors whose work he was familiar with from profit-share theatre company Blue Cow Theatre. The result is the silly, naughty, fast-paced comedy Simon’s Final Sound.

In Vogue: Songs by Madonna.

Adelaide Fringe. Garden of Unearthly Delights – Le Cascadeur. February 14 – March 16, 2014

How can a solo cabaret performer possibly hope to encompass and encapsulate the 30-year career of one of the most successful and influential artists in pop music history, with only 60 minutes at his disposal? A formidable challenge, but Michael Griffiths’ show is an enjoyable attempt to capture the heart of both the music and the writer/performer behind it.

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