Reviews

The Last 5 Years

By Jason Robert Brown Directed by Craig Griffen, Musical Direction by Kohan van Sambeek. Dolphin Theatre, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA. Aug 15-16, 2014

The Last 5 Years ran for a very short season, of four performances over two nights at The Dolphin Theatre. Presented by the relatively new company, Fresh Bred, this was the most fully presented production of this show that I have seen.'

Therese Raquin

By Gary Abrahams, from the novel by Emile Zola. Directed by Gary Abrahams Theatreworks. August 14th-30th, 2014

There is so much good theatre in Melbourne, often far superior to the main stage offerings. Therese Raquin is a case in point; a hearty Gothic melodrama, it entertains throughout despite having some inevitable flaws.

Finding the Silence

Casus Circus Première. Performance Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. 16 – 23 August 2014

Visually spectacular, physically stunning, this new show is destined to amaze overseas media just as its predecessor, KNEE DEEP, did.

Deceptively simple, the continuous sequence of amazing solo feats, duos, trios and foursomes is performed by just four skilled artists:  Emma Serjeant, Jesse Scott, Lachlan McAulay and Vincent van Berkel.

Show Boat

By Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. The Production Company. Director: Roger Hodgman. Musical Director: Kellie Dickerson. Choreographer: Dana Jolly. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. August 16 – 24, 2014.

I have never seen an amateur production of Show Boat and The Production Company showed why. It is a massive show and one of the greats of twentieth century music theatre. Opening in 1927 when lightweight operettas were the norm, it was way ahead of its time and was to Jerome Kern what Porgy and Bess was to George Gershwin.

Broadway Spectacular

Queensland Pops Orchestra. Conductor: Patrick Pickett. Concert Hall, QPAC, Brisbane. 16 August 2014

Conductor Patrick Pickett’s ingratiating and jolly demeanour permeated this whole concert, making it a very folksy and warm program. The orchestra, which this year is celebrating its 30th anniversary, was in fine form delivering songs from classic Broadway and more recent musicals, helped by the Vocal Manoeuvres choir, the Moreton Bay College Dancers, and two outstanding guest artists, Silvie Paladino and Kane Alexander.

Constellations

By Nick Payne. Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Eternity Playhouse. August 13 – September 7, 2014

Darlinghurst Theatre Company's production of Nick Payne's Constellations has been a much anticipated event on the 2014 arts calendar and it is well worth the wait.

This is a story that traverses time and space. It looks deeply at relationships, brain cancer, string theory and bee keeping.

Rolling Thunder Vietnam

Concept: Scott Barton. Script: Bryce Hallett. Blake Entertainment & QPAC Production. Director: David Berthold. Musical Director: Chong Lim. QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane, 14-15 August 2014 and touring nationally.

Rolling Thunder Vietnam is an explosive, raw and visceral experience - a look at the Vietnam War using a collection of rock ‘n’ roll songs of the era and a narrative culled from personal stories and letters from the front.

Spring Awakening

Book & Lyrics by Steven Sater, Music by Duncan Sheik, based on the original play by Frank Wedekind. Directed by Sandra Neal, Musical Director Liam Mooney, Choreographer Lynda Tama, Vocal Director Rachel Cairns. Townsville Civic Theatre 13 – 23 August 2014

When the Townsville Choral Society announced that their next musical was to be Spring Awakening, a lot of people, including me, were quite surprised. This modern (2006) rock musical graphically touches on abortion, homosexuality, child sexual abuse and suicide…amongst other themes. It was a courageous decision to stage it.

Intimacy

Created by Torque Show with Michelle Ryan and Lavender Vs Rose. Directed by Ingrid Weisfelt and Ross Ganf. Tower Theatre, Cooper’s Malthouse. August – 23, 2014.

Challenging, poignant, intense and confronting, and heart-breaking – these are just some of the words one could use to describe the 60 minutes we share exploring Intimacy with four very diverse performers. Michelle Ryan, an exquisite dancer in her former life, uses her struggle to acceptance of MS as a basis to examine the importance of intimacy in all our lives. She shares the performance space with the impressive Vincent Crowley and Emma Bathgate and Simon Eszeky, who provide the music for the piece – which is, in truth, more cabaret than theatre.

Hairspray

Book by Mark O'Donnell & Thomas Meehan. Music by Marc Shaiman. Lyrics by Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman. Based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters. Adelaide Youth Theatre. Director: David Gauci. Musical Director: Emma Knights. Choreographer: Nina Richards. Arts Theatre, Adelaide. August 13-16, 2014.

If ever there was a show to make you feel glad you bought a ticket, it's Hairspray; specifically, Adelaide Youth Theatre's new production.

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