Reviews

Beauty and the Beast

Music: Alan Menken. Lyrics: Howard Ashman & Tim Rice. Book: Linda Wooverton. Director: Jason Ward Kennedy. Musical Director: Mark Beilby. Choreographer: Jo Badenhorst. Savoyards. Iona Performing Arts Centre, Wynham, Qld. 14 - 28 March 2015

Beauty and the Beast is a modern musical theatre classic. Based on the acclaimed Disney animated movie of 1991, its Broadway incarnation ran 5,461 performances, making it the 9th longest running musical in Broadway history. The musical has continued to charm, delight and move audiences around the world ever since. It’s one of the most successful franchises in the Disney canon and it never fails to thrill.

Nothing to Lose

Chapter One: Body//Language. Malthouse Theatre and Force Majeure. Director – Kate Champion. March 11 – 21, 2015.

If nothing else, Nothing To Lose proves that pounds of voluptuous flesh can be very sexy. 

L’Heure Espagnole / Gianni Schicchi

By Ravel & Puccini. Lyric Opera of Melbourne. Directors: Nicholas Cannon and Jane Millet. Conductor: Pat Miller. Chapel off Chapel. March 13 – 19, 2015.

This was a delightful evening of comic opera. The orchestra was on stage with a walkway around three sides of it and the action taking place in front of the orchestra and on the walk ways. This worked well, and the orchestra was occasionally included in the action.

Fela! The Concert

Book by Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis, based on music and lyrics Fela Kuti. USA. Adelaide Festival. Adelaide Festival Theatre. March 12-14, 2015

Enduring and Defiant Human Spirit Enshrined in Afrobeat

Audiences are left buzzing and perhaps a little exhausted by the effervescence and frenetic energy of Fela! The Concert. Its message about the capacity of one man to inspire the Nigerian people to resist injustice and corruption shines through, embodied in the late Fela Anikulapo- Kuti’s passionate and defiant lyrics, his music and the wonderfully evocative dance.

riverrun

The Voice of the River in James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. Adapted, directed and performed by Olwen Fouéré. Sydney Theatre Company presents TheEmergencyRoom and Galway International Arts Festival in association with Cusack Projects Limited. Wharf 2 Theatre. March 10 – April 11, 2015.

Olwen Fouere, a slight figure in grey, stands on an stage empty but for a cable that snakes like the river Liffey itself to a lone microphone. White powder differentiates the river from the bank. Taking off her shoes, Fouere wades into it, and, reaching the centre of the stage and the microphone, she calls, hauntingly, the Sanskrit words that herald the twilight of dawn: Sandhyas! Sandhyas! Sandhyas!

Nice Girls Don’t Stay For Breakfast

Presented by Fatlady Productions. Adelaide Fringe. Published Arthouse, 11 Cannon St, Adelaide/ March 12-14, 2015

Nice Girls Don’t Stay For Breakfast is a classy tribute to the songs of sultry jazz legend, Julie London. All of her most iconic hit songs (“Cry Me A River”, “Blue Moon” et al) are included in the set, alongside more idiosyncratic, personal numbers (“Everything Happens To Me” and “Daddy”) beloved to London’s longterm fanbase.

Beauty and the Beast

Adelaide Festival. ONEOFUS/Improbable (UK). Dunstan Playhouse, Festival Centre. March 10 – 15, 2015.

Everybody loves a fairy tale. Fictional characters facing life’s woes, lessons learnt, good versus evil, with the promise of a happy ending. Husband and wife team Mat Fraser and Julia Atlas Muz found comparisons with the popular fable Beauty and the Beast, an unlikely love story that, despite all odds, flourishes. Inviting the audience to share in their journey was a privilege. We were witness to their vulnerability, passion and wit.

The Cemetery Club

By Ivan Menchell. Wyong Drama Group. Directed by Ron Baker. The Grove, Wyong, NSW. 12 – 21 March 2015

Made into a 1993 film featuring Olympia Dukakis and Ellyn Burstyn, this very funny play tells the story of three Jewish widows who meet for tea before going to visit their husband's graves once a month.

The plot poses the eternal question of 'how long is long enough to grieve - before moving on with your life?' – but not everyone's motivations are the same. Doris, Ida and Lucille are three very different, larger-than-life roles – each oozing with pathos, presenting a delightfully juicy challenge for any actress 'of a certain age'.

Black Diggers

By Tom Wright. Adelaide Festival. Queensland Theatre Company. Her Majesty’s Theatre. March 10-14, 2015.

Story of Sacrifice and Injustice Impacts Adelaide Festival Audiences.

Little Women

From the novel by Louisa May Alcott, adapted by Scott Davison. Director: Fiona Kennedy. Villanova Players. Mt Gravatt TAFE College, Brisbane. 5-22 March 2015

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has been a right-of-passage read for adolescent girls since it was first published 147 years ago. It could arguably be called the first ‘girl empowerment’ story. The adventures both amorous and otherwise of the four New England March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy and their patient and understanding mother Marmee during America’s Civil War era have not only delighted and warmed readers in print, but also in movie, television and musical adaptations.

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