The Medea Project

A collaboration by Perri Cummings (director), Carol Cumming (filmmaker), Kristina Benton, Sally McLean & Hannah Gott (performers). Spark Productions, Auspicious Arts. Brunswick Arts Space (VIC). 25-28 November 2015.

On a huge screen, across the whole upstage wall of the tiny Brunswick Arts Space, twenty women – wildly different in life experience, attitude, age, ethnicity, profession and appearance – answer questions about life, work, happiness, love and children.  This is filmmaker Carol Cumming’s contribution to the piece.  The women are (mostly) unself-conscious, engaging and ponder the questions seriously.

When I Grow Up

Writer/Performer: Anne Gasko. The Butterfly Club. Nov 25 – 29, 2015.

Anne Gasko is a music theatre graduate branching out into Cabaret, and this was her first venture into writing and performing her own show.  A big ask and a big task.

It dealt with the frustrations of childhood, which she expected to dissipate when she grew up. However, as an adult, she finds life is not what she was expecting. She has the freedom to make choices, but these choices have consequences.

It was very well written and there was no hesitation in her delivery. Her timing was excellent.

Big River

Book by William Hauptman. Music and Lyrics Roger Miller. Players Theatre, Ballina. Director/Musical Director: Paul Belsham. Nov 13 – Dec 5, 2015

In reviving Big River, Ballina has presented a seldom seen musical and what a joy it is.

Paul’s staging of the story based on Mark Twain’s loveable characters including Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, is full of wit interwoven with Roger Miller’s music, a fabulous set including the raft “floating” down the mighty Mississippi is certainly a force to be reckoned with: so much so it has received 3 short list nomination’s for this years Gold Coast Area Theatre Awards to be announced next month.

Don’t Dress for Dinner

By Marc Camoletti. Directed by Walter Learning. Canberra REP, Theatre 3, Acton, Canberra ACT. Nov 19 – Dec 5, 2015

Don’t Dress for Dinner is a fast and funny farce, and an amusing evening of mind-twisting fibs, truth entanglements and wit.  It is set in a renovated farmhouse in France, where Bernard the philandering husband is sending his wife Jacqueline to her mother’s house for the weekend. His plans are messed up by the early arrival of Robert, his friend, as well as the arrival of Suzy the caterer, and Jacqueline changing her plans.

The Chain Bridge

By Tom Davis. Directed by Caroline Stacey. The Street Theatre, Canberra. 21–29 November 2015.

Steadily unravelling the secrets that have lain in wait for up to 54 years in the memories of three survivors of World War II, the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, and escape from war-sundered Budapest for eventual arrival in Melbourne, this multidimensional piece reveals the desperate responses that desperate circumstances wrought of good people simply trying to get by.  And it skilfully sets about revealing the way in which those living with these memories of loss and compromise can contain complexities of gentleness and vehemence, of perspicuity and blindness, of deep humanity an

Bonnie and Clyde

Music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Don Black and a book by Ivan Menchell. Murray Music and Drama Club. Directed by Zoe Jay. Pinjarra Civic Centre, WA. Nov 13 -28, 2015.

Murray Music and Drama Club have transformed the Pinjarra Civic Centre into a 1930s gangster world for director Zoe Jay's Bonnie and Clyde. Front of House staff dressed to impress, a transformed auditorium, wonderfully decorated table settings abound on the cabaret tables and a photo booth with gangster accoutrements allow the audience to continue their involvement through interval.

Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens

By Charlotte Mann. Blak Yak. Directed by Lorna Mackie. Memorial Hall, Hamilton Hill, WA. Nov 19 - Dec 5, 2015

Blak Yak's Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens is completely immersive theatre, as Phoenix Theatre's venue - The Memorial Hall, in Hamilton Hill, is transformed into cosmic cabaret bar, Saucy Jack's. Played essentially in the round, the audience become patrons at the bar and part of the action.

This is a fabulous looking production, much of this thanks to stunning costumes and wigs by Lynda Stubbs. Gorgeously and gloriously glitzy, the costumes are a central part of the plot and a treat within themselves.

Jerry’s Girls

Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman. Directed by Dean Bryant. The Production Company. Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne. November 21 – December 6, 2015

I adore Jerry Herman. He understands Leading Ladies better than any other Broadway composer and his songs for them are iconic. And last night his “Girls” were fantastic. If you take eleven of our finest leading ladies and let them loose singing these songs you would have every right to expect a triumph. And, indeed, you almost get it. The “Girls” are (mostly) sensational, which is even more remarkable given the handicap they have to overcome. The handicap comes in the form of writer/director Dean Bryant.

The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery

By David McGillivray & Walter Zerlin Jnr. Director: Gilly Graham. Nash Theatre. Merthyr Road Methodist Church, New Farm, Brisbane. 14 Nov – 5 Dec 2015

Nash Theatre rounds out their season of Murder They Wrote with one of the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate titles in what has become a very popular series for amateur theatre companies worldwide. Basically it’s a poor man’s Noises Off where an amateur group put on a play and everything goes wrong.

The Elixir of Love

By Donizetti. Opera Australia. Director: Simon Phillips. Conductor: Benjamin Northey. Arts Centre Melbourne. Nov 21 – 28, 2015.

This latest offering of the popular The Elixir of Love had an Australian setting and was a real hoot. Set in the First World War, the stage was awash with corrugated iron hills, sheep, cattle, and even a string of galahs on a wire. At one stage Nemorino sheared a sheep or two, and carried the corrugated iron fleece off stage.

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