Reviews

KURT

Justin Burford. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The Banquet Room. June 8 – 10, 2012.

In a ballsy move, ARIA Award winning frontman of End of Fashion, Justin Burford makes his cabaret debut with KURT, the story of 90’s grunge god Kurt Cobain.

After casually mentioning the long held idea for a John Waters-esque take on Cobain’s epic rise and demise to the Rock of Ages production team, Burford was given the opportunity to develop the show and present its debut performance at the 2012 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Misanthropology

Eddie Perfect. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse (SA). June 8 – 10, 2012

Flight of the Concords and Tim Minchin are names that come to mind when you see Eddie Perfect.

Three Sisters

By Anton Chekhov. Directed & Adapted by Liz Arday. Factotum Theatre. Tap Gallery (Sydney). June 7 – 23, 2012.

Anton Chekhov’s naturalist play – based, it is believed, on the life of the Bronte sisters – sees three sisters, Olga, Marsha and Irina, and their brother Andrei, in a provincial garrison town in Russia. Dissatisfied with their lives, despite the comings and goings of the soldiers of the garrison, the girls, brought up in Moscow, dream, unsuccessfully, of returning to the symbolic sophistication of that city. Both Marsha and Andrei have made unfortunate marriages. Olga, a schoolteacher, is unhappy. Irina, just turning 20, longs for something more than just being at home.

The Nutcracker on Ice

The Imperial Ice Stars. Capitol Theatre, Sydney. June 6 – 10, 2012; Canberra Theatre Centre, June 13 – 17; Lyric Theatre, QPAC, June 20 – 24; Adelaide Festival Centre, July 18 – 22; Arts Centre, Melbourne, July 25 – 29; His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth, Aug 2 – 12.

These bravado Russians on ice have skated across Australia already with Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and twice with Swan Lake. Now they’re back with an ice version of Tchaikovsky’s 1890’s ballet, The Nutcracker.

Reasons to be Pretty

By Neil LaBute. Square Peg Productions. Theatreworks. May 31 – June 17, 2012.

It claims to be a play about “our culture’s fixation with vanity and physical attractiveness”.  The title fits: Reasons to be Pretty.  But I must have missed this.  I witnessed the scope of beauty, yes, but it was in the total ugliness of some characters and relationships.

Square Peg Productions and Director Eddy Segal brings Reasons to be Pretty, from American playwright and screenwriter Neil LaBute, to Theatreworks.  LaBute wrote the play over a ten year period which explains its disjointedness at times.

Miss Saigon

Music: Claude-Michel Schonberg. Lyrics: Alain Boublil & Richard Maltby Jnr. Savoyards. Director: David Williams. Musical Director: Geoffrey Secomb. Choreographer: Tamsin Sutherland. Iona Performing Arts Centre, Wynnam (Qld). June 2 – 23, 2012.

Full disclosure; I love Miss Saigon and consider it one of the best written musicals of the last twenty-five years. Schonberg and Boublil’s richly layered score never fails to move me.

Circa

Created by Yaron Lifschitz and the Circa ensemble. A Circa Production, presented by Malthouse Theatre. Director: Yaron Lifschitz. Merlyn Theatre. May 29 – June 10, 2012.

Circa is a timely celebration of Circus Skills in Melbourne, as the city that has hosted the National Institute of Circus Arts for 12 years now from its first pilot course in 1999. 

Seven vibrant, talented and highly trained young artists strut their stuff at a relentless pace - backed by a loud and engulfing soundtrack. As unique individuals, who almost all trained at NICA, they are representative of their peers – many of whom are surely in the audience.

Avenue Q

Music and lyrics by Robert Lopez & Jeff Marx. Book by Jeff Whitty. Brisbane Arts Theatre. 2 June – 14 July, 2012

There was a buzz of anticipation and excitement in the opening night’s full-house audience signalling a great season ahead. From curtain-up the show rose to our expectations. Avenue Q is a great choice for this intimate, welcoming theatre.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

By Benjamin Britten. Libretto after William Shakespeare by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. Opera Australia. Director: Baz Luhrmann. Conductor: Paul Kildea. Choreographer: John O’Connell. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. May 26 - June 8, 2012.

Oliver!

By Lionel Bart. Babirra Music Theatre. Director: Sue Salvato. Musical Director: Ryan Jacobs. Choreographers: Cameron O’Reilly/Lisa-Maree David. The Whitehorse Centre (Vic). June 1 – 10, 2012.

Since the demise of Whitehorse, Babirra Music Theatre seems to have moved up a gear to seriously challenge as one of the best amateur companies in Melbourne. Everything about this production showed class.

Particularly impressive were the abstract sets. The flies were rarely used as these large structures were spun around to reveal another side, the action continuing as the sets moved around it. The lighting was constantly enhancing the production.

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