Reviews

The Sleeping Beauty

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikosvsky. Story: Ivan Vsevolozhsky based on Charles Perrault’s La Belle au bois dormant. Queensland Ballet. Choreography: Francois Klaus, after Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa. Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia. Playhouse, QPAC, 1-19 December 2012

Queensland Ballet’s remounting of The Sleeping Beauty was a popular audience pleaser. Tchaikovsky’s 1890 work, one of the most famous in the classical ballet repertoire, was a good choice to end their 2012 season and a good choice as Artistic Director’s Francoise Klaus’ swan song.

Little Orphan trAshley

Written by Trevor Ashley and Phil Scott. Directed by Craig Ilott. Studio, Sydney Opera House. December 5 – 23, 2012.

This is brilliant, funny, wicked theatre. Don’t get too tipsy at the bar as you’ll need your wits for the quips that come so thick and fast you’ll miss them if you’re not paying attention.

The show has the right blend of crudity, profanity, ribald humour and social and political satire suitable for an adult panto. It moves at a fast pace and each of the talented cast get their chance to shine, ably supported by Michael Tyack’s musical direction and three piece band.

Dumb Blonde – The Genius of Dolly Parton

Devised and performed by Allison Farrow. Accompanied by Lincoln Le Fevre. Director: Sara Pensalfini. Presented with the support of the Tasmanian Theatre Company Cascade Indie Program. Theatre Royal Backspace, Hobart. December 5 – 9, 2012

Tasmanian singer and actor Allison Farrow returned to the stage with her third one-woman show, this time paying tribute to the song writing talent of a childhood favourite: the incomparable Dolly Parton. The show was a 90 minute chat with the audience, singing the Parton songs most meaningful to Allison. Classically trained Farrow “found” her childhood hero again in recent years, devising the show to revisit the music and honour Parton, who she thinks of as a “genius” with a five-decade legacy to music.

Charles Dickens Performs A Christmas Carol.

Written by Charles Dickens. Directed by James Adler for Eagle’s Nest Theatre. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. 5th- 9th December, 2012.

We live in a world where we’ve forgotten what a marvellous evocative storyteller Charles Dickens was. We’ve also forgotten the true meaning of Christmas and giving; of self exploration and change. How wonderful, then, that actor Phil Zachariah and director James Adler have once again combined to bring us this marvellous offering, which is not so much a play as an intimate soiree with Dickens himself round the fire in his drawing room.

RENT

By Jonathan Larson. Shire Music Theatre, Sutherland Memorial School of Arts. November 30 – December 9, 2012.

While there seemed to be a good production of rock musical RENT happening on stage, it wasn’t until after interval on opening night that audience members got the full experience.

But please read on past the next two pars, as an unhappy beginning led to a much more positive conclusion.

Arsenic and Old Lace

By Joseph Kesselring. Heidelberg Theatre Company. Director: Bruce Akers. November 22 – December 8, 2012.

Villains wear many faces in playwright Joseph Kesselring's pitch-black comedy classic, Arsenic and Old Lace. There are the adorable faces of elderly aunts Abby and Martha Brewster, whose treatment of lonely old men gives 'charity' a new meaning. Then there is the face of their murderous nephew Jonathan, distorted by plastic surgery to hide his crimes. You would think Jonathan is the true fiend of the piece but the story gets darker, and funnier, from there.

A Hunger Suite

Clockfire Theatre Company. Devisors: Emily Ayoub, Mine Cerci, Alicia Gonzales. Producer: Kate Worsley. Outside Eye: Gareth Rickards. Old 505 Theatre, Surry Hills. 21 November to 2 December 2012

Happy Days is here again!

Bye Bye Birdie

Music: Charles Strouse. Lyrics: Lee Adams. Book: Michael Stewart. Harvest Rain Production. Director: Tim O’Connor. Choreographer: Callum Mansfield. Powerhouse, Brisbane, 29 Nov - 8 Dec, 2012

Bye Bye Birdie by Harvest Rain’s first and second year interns was a funny and enjoyable production of the classic Broadway musical.

Michael Stewart’s book for this social satire of the sixties, teenagers, rock ‘n’ roll, and mother issues, is surprisingly still relevant, and Strouse and Adams’ score still bursts with vitality 50 years after it was written

Diary of a Scoundrel

By Alexander Ostrovsky, adapted by Rodney Ackland. Villanova Players. Seven Hills Campus of TAFE, Brisbane. Director: Brian Cannon. Nov 23 – Dec 8, 2012.

Diary of a Scoundrel is a 150 year old Russian comedy, and at its original length is three acts and three and a half hours long. It was translated into English in 1988. Fortunately this adaptation brought it down to two acts thanks to Rod and Maria Thompson’s edits and cuts by director Brian Cannon. It’s still a long play, but at two hours and twenty minutes it’s more manageable.

Milos (Karadaglic) In Concert

The Recital Hall, Melbourne - Sat 1st December, 2012. Perth Concert Hall - Mon. 3rd December.

The guitar is the most personal of instruments. It is shaped like a woman and needs to be held gently against your body, cradled in your lap, in order to be played. It is a sensual scenario before a note is played. You speak to her, sometimes in a whisper, sometimes with demanding passion, and she responds. Depending on how you touch her, that response can be the most achingly beautiful expression of love that you will ever experience. Last night, in Melbourne’s impressive Recital Hall, we witnessed that love affair expressed with the most extraordinary intimacy.

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