Reviews

5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche

Written by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood. Directed by Nathanael Cooper. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Lithuanian Club North Melbourne. Sept 24 – Oct 1, 2016.

The Melbourne premiere season of the Off-Broadway 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche is here for the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2016 after a critically acclaimed Australian premiere last year in Brisbane and sell-out seasons in Chicago and New York. This award winning show starring Catherine Alcorn, Lauren Jackson, Ashlee Lollback, Lauren O’Rourke and Bianca Zouppas is showing at one of Melbourne’s hidden gems, the Lithuanian Club North Melbourne and it’s a must see.

The Toymakers

Book and Music by the Company Members. Doublemask Youth Theatre Co. Murwillumbah Civic Centre. Conceived, produced and directed by the company under the Guidance of Artistic Director: Lachlan Glasby. 23rd – 24th September, 2017

As I have reported in previous reviews, this remarkable company of teenagers create every aspect of their production.

Their latest offering is The Toymakers; set in a shanty town during the great depression in New York City. While one immediately thinks of Annie: that is where the similarity ends. The first act was a little slow while the scene and plot were established, but once that was out of the way, the show settled down to and intriguing piece of theatre.

What the company lacked in expensive trappings they more than made up for in enthusiasm and energy.

Murder on the Pacific Diamond

Presented by The Sparrow Men. Performed and devised by Marcus Willis & Andy Balloch. Melbourne Fringe Festival. The Improv Conspiracy – Theatre, Level 1, 19 Meyers Place, Melbourne. 24, 25, 27, 28, 30th September, 1 & 2 October, 2016.

This dynamic performance is a testament to the allure and power of improvised theatre. Willis and Balloch play Detectives Conway and Smitherson, who set out to help the audience uncover the mystery behind the murder of Dame Elizabeth Heinrich. The crime occurs aboard the luxury cruise liner, The Pacific Diamond. With the aid of only a few sound and lighting effects, and almost no props, Willis and Balloch are able to evoke the setting with ease and panache.

Nobody Owns The Moon

Directed by Michael Barlow. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle, WA. Sep 24 - Oct 8, 2016

Nobody Owns the Moon is a World Premiere production by Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, based on the book of the same name by Tohby Riddle. A poignant and moving new work, it is perhaps the last new work to feature the talents of co-creator Noriko Nishimoto, who died earlier this year.

Darker in theme, subject matter and design than most pieces for young people, Nobody Owns the Moon touches on themes of loneliness, homelessness and greed, but is ultimately joyful and hopeful.

Singin’ In The Rain

Music and lyrics by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. Screenplay: Betty Comden & Adolph Green. Lunchbox Theatricals, David Atkins Enterprises, Michael Cassel Group, Teg Dainty Production. Director: Jonathan Church. Musical Director: Adrian Kirk. Choreographer: Andrew Wright. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. From 23 Sep 2016

Phantom has a crashing chandelier, Miss Saigon has a helicopter, and Singin’ in the Rain has, well, rain - buckets of it. When the orchestra strikes up that well-known classic riff and Don Lockwood starts humming “dum, de, dum, dum” a frisson of excitement tingles the audience and we’re in musical comedy heaven. The classic scene where the character splashes through the pouring rain closes the first act on a high.

Annie

Music by Charles Strouse. Lyrics by Martin Charnin. Book By Thomas Meehan. Western Arts Theatre (Vic). Director: Chris Anderson. Musical Director: Minna Ikonen. Choreographer: Kai Mann-Robertson. Maribyrnong College. September 23 – October 2, 2016.

Western Arts Theatre (WAT) is a relatively new group operating in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Apart from Altona and Williamstown, who are much further south, there are no other music theatre groups in the area, so they are filling a great need.

I hadn’t attended the theatre at Maribyrnong College before, but found it to be a nice intimate theatre. The lack of an orchestra pit was overcome by having the band in an adjacent room, but I detected no problems with this. The band played well and there were few problems of the balance with the singers.

Our Country’s Good

By Timberlake Wertenbaker. The Stirling Players. Stirling Community Theatre. September 23-October 8, 2016.

Rehabilitation or the gallows? When dealing with serious felons, it’s a question pondered by far more civilised and recent societies than that of early Australian penal colonies.

Timberlake Wertenbaker’s 1988 play Our Country’s Good is set in Governor Arthur Philip’s penal colony and poses the execution vs rehabilitation dilemma through a familiar theatrical device, a play within a play.

Bunny

Daniel Kok & Luke George. Nexus Arts. OzAsia Festival. 23-24th September. 2016

“Bunny” is the name given to a person tied in rope bondage. This bold collaboration by Singapore dancer Daniel Kok and Tasmanian-born Luke George captivates and pushes the boundaries of trust. Erotica bubbles under the surface of this theatre piece, with the audience as much a part of the presentation as the artists themselves.

Boeing Boeing

By Marc Camoletti, translated by Beverley Cross. Castle Hill Players. Pavilion Theatre, Castle Holl Showgrounds. Sep 23 – Oct 15, 2016.

If you love a good farce, especially one that’s done well, then this production of Boeing Boeing will be just your ticket - and despite the fact that the plot might seem  politically incorrect, it’s not impossible that you’ll get lots of laughs.

Grease

Book, Music & Lyrics by Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey. Toowoomba Philharmonic Society. Director/Vocal Coach: Cherie Vera. Musical Director: Joe Goodman. Choreographer: Daniel Erbacher. Empire Theatre, Toowoomba, Qld 23-25 Sep 2016

Daniel Erbacher’s choreography was the star of this production. The first act finale “We Go Together” had the entire company of 36 dancing in synchronisation and it was euphoric with the energy levels off the charts. Every musical number was enhanced by Erbacher’s movement, which captured the 1950’s era to perfection, as did the wailing tenor saxes in Joe Goodman’s pit band, and Emma-Jane Apsey’s leather jackets, bobby-sox and pedal pusher costumes.

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