Reviews

Sense and Spontaneity

The Shambles, Perth Cultural Centre, Fringe World, WA. Feb 1-4, 2015

Sense and Spontaneity may very well be the sweetest show at the 2016 Fringe World Festival. With beautiful manners, and lovely costuming this warm hug of an improvised show is overwhelmingly "nice".

Esther Longhurst and Jessica Messenger have an obvious love for the novels of Jane Austen and at the performance I viewed, the real life romance of audience member Isabelle was given an Austen makeover and was presented as a long-lost Jane Austen manuscript.

North by Northwest

Adapted from Ernest Lehman’s film script by Carolyn Burns. Directed by Simon Phillips. State Theatre Arts Centre Melbourne. Jan 29 - Feb 13, 2016.

Premiering last year with MTC, this production of the iconic 1959 Hitchcock film took Melbourne by storm, though I missed it. I can only assume that something has been lost in the transference to the much larger State Theatre.

The Measure of a Man

Performed and devised by Gavin Roach. 2016 Midsumma Festival. Gasworks Studio Theatre, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park, 1-6 February, 2016.

The title alludes to historical figures who use this idiom to refer to spiritual and moral standards that define a man’s place in the world. Roach is no less probing in his deliberations on what it means to be a gay man in contemporary society. This performance is an extremely personal journey, which provides a frank account of the insecurities, longings, and compulsions that plague the protagonist. Roach’s character is alluring and the explicit nature of his revelations is a fascinating journey into a psyche that is rarely given such detailed attention.

Cats

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Based on ‘Old Possum’s Book of practical cats by T.S Eliot. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. From January 29, 2016.

One of the greatest musicals to ever grace theatre stages, Cats opened at the Lyric Theatre on the 29th of January for a short three week season.  Since its World Premiere, Cats has been presented in over 30 countries, has been translated into 15 languages and has been seen by more than 73 million people worldwide.

Writer’s Block

Written and directed by Kellie Eatock. World Premiere. Javeenbah Theatre, Nerang, Gold Coast. January 29 – February 13, 2016

Writer’s Block tells of the struggle between Writer, Jane (Libby Bancroft) and her characters to create a story line where everyone is happy with the plot; not an easy situation when the characters are self opinionated and determined to get the outcomes that they believe are rightfully theirs.

Meow Meow's Little Mermaid

Created by Meow Meow. Directed by Michael Kantor. Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse Theatre (Vic). Jan 28 – Feb 14, 2016; then Perth International Arts Festival, 24 - 28 Feb 2016 at Octagon Theatre, UWA

When you take a highly intelligent, very beautiful and multi-talented performer and give her free range over her own creation, you would expect the results to be spectacular and, for the most part, they are.

Herstory

Directed by Imogen Kelly. De Parel Spiegeltent, Urban Orchard, FringeWorld, Perth WA. 27-31 January, 2015

Herstory makes its WA premiere as a late night show night show in De Parel Spiegeltent at FringeWorld.

Part Burlesque, part fun women's history lesson, Imogen Kelly, Burlesque Queen (2012) plays Marlene Dietrich who introduces an hour long show which explores some of history's most notorious women.

A fabulously eclectic production which includes satire, puppetry, singing, amazing aerials, clever short films, stripping and audience interaction, it would be impossible to be bored in this swift ever-changing show.

The Angel of Death

Written and directed by Matthew Briggs. Composed by Josh Heaysman. B&H Theatre Co. The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. 26-30 January, 2015.

Where and how did the legend of the Grim Reaper - as spooky as it is indelible - first originate, and what must it be like to have to carry out the duties of the job? B&H Theatre Company have attempted to answer these (and other) questions in a musical theatrical package which, despite more than its share of bumpy and wobbly passages, ultimately sent this reviewer home with a smile.

The Barber of Seville

By Gioachino Rossini and Cesare Sterbini.. Opera Australia. Directed by Elijah Moshinsky. Dame Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 28 – March 22, 2016.

The Barber of Seville is the jewel in Opera Australia’s crown – a seamless and sublime blend of words, music and production.

This is THE opera to take someone a little reluctant on the art form.

It has none of the less attractive features of opera. No-one is stabbed, strangled or commits suicide.  There are no moments of unnecessary repetition. The narrative is purely comedic and has not dated. The tunes are joyous and plentiful. Even the overture is an exciting event.

DivaLicious and the Impresario

Directed by Ian Toyne. The Art Gallery of Western Australia Concourse, Perth Cultural Centre, Fringeworld, WA. 28-30 January, 2016

The first thing that one notices about DivaLicious and the Impresario, apart from the lovely venue, is that the audience is decidedly more mature than the average FringeWorld show, with nary a hipster beard or blue hairdo in sight. In some ways this is a shame, as I feel that this is a show that would be enjoyed by all, and the few teens and twenties in the audience clearly had a ball.

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