Reviews

The Little Mermaid

Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, book by Doug Wright. Birdie Productions. Bryan Brown Theatre (Bankstown). 13 – 22 April 2018.

A heroine, a loyal sidekick, a villain, love, sacrifice and a happy ending are some of the key ingredients of a Disney movie, but when you put that on a stage, add stunning costumes and sets, strong vocals and an impressive orchestra, you have a fantastic show. Birdie’s production of the Little Mermaid is all this and more.

About four months ago, I was talking to Executive Producer, Rodney Bertram about his crew’s plans for the show and he told me how they wanted to bring the “Disney magic” to the stage. They certainly achieved this!

The Owl and the Pussycat

A new opera for children based on the poem by Edward Lear. Flowstate, Festival 2018 and Little Match Productions. Directed by Bridget Boyle. At Surfers Paradise, April 5-8, 2018, then Flowstate, South Bank, April 11-15.

The festival supporting the 2018 Commonwealth Games is as full of “personal bests” as the Games themselves and the Owl and the Pussycat is a marvellous example.

Commissioned for the festival, this operatic story expands on Edward Lear’s famous poem about a misfit Owl and Pussycat who find each other and despite the misgivings of their families, run away on an adventure.

Kitty Flanagan Smashing

Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins St, Melbourne. 10-22 April, 2018.

Kitty Flanagan’s sharp wit and astute cultural observations are finely tuned in this ‘smashing’ show. Flanagan mocks everything from fashionable words, personal relationships, and intimacy to our contemporary internet obsessed life. She leaves no stone unturned when it comes to highlighting bizarre and often less than graceful behaviour in our society, and Flanagan mimics this with incredible precision. Her energy and vibrancy produce non-stop hilarious humour which is intelligent and biting.

Flash Donahs

Written & directed by Graeme Dale. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton VIC. 12 – 22 April 2018.

Flash Donahs is ‘documentary theatre’ set in Melbourne in the 1880s.

Cock

By Mike Bartlett. Bakers Dozen Theatre Company. Directed by Beng Oh. The Stables – Meat Market. 11 to 21 April, 2018

Opening night of Cock was refreshingly ready for an audience.  There was no evidence of a lack of time spent in the rehearsal room in this superbly directed (Beng Oh) 2009 work by British playwright Mike Bartlett. 

Cock is about relationships, sexual identity, romantic relationships, and performed identity.  At its heart is the suggestion that the act of sex can be isolated from gender and feelings of love, and, an individual’s behaviour can be controlled by social expectations and the coercion of others.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Music & Lyrics: Richard & Robert Sherman. Book: Jeremy Sams & Ray Roderick. Northern Light Theatre Company (SA). Shedley Theatre, Elizabeth. April 14 – 28, 2018

Just in time for the school, holidays Northern Light Theatre Company are presenting that ‘child catcher’ of a musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Loosely based on the book by Ian Fleming, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang became a film in 1968 starring such luminaries as Dick Van Dyke, Lionel Jeffries and of course the legendary Sir Robert Helpmann as the Child Catcher.

Antony and Cleopatra

By William Shakespeare. Bell Shakespeare. Director: Peter Evans. 12 – 21 April 2018 Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra. 26 April – 13 May 2018 Fairfax Studio, Melbourne.

With a style like a movie thriller, Peter Evans’ Antony and Cleopatra is fast-paced, witty and exciting, and its tight, lean edit makes it fresh and comprehensible to a modern relatively lay audience. Every production of Shakespeare needs to decide to whom to pitch, and here, Evans seems to have aimed at a broader, more youthful group. Purists hanging out to hear each line of the sacred text for the richness of meaning and poetry probably consider it butchery, but I like the way each scene drives forward.

Frank Enstein

The Farm, in collaboration with Co3 Australia. Directed by Gavin Webber and Grayson Millwood. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. April 11-15, 2018

Frank Enstein is a thoroughly engaging, beautiful piece of theatre. Contemporary dance with a strong, well constructed story, about the struggle to fit in, and accepting yourself.

In this fresh take on the classic Frankenstein story, Frank is a lonely teenager who “wants to make his imaginary friends real”. Living with a physical impairment (as does the actor who plays him) he creates monsters to fulfil his desire to be normal and be accepted by others”.

Let’s Get Practical! Live

The Very Good Looking Initiative. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Tower - Coopers Malthouse, Southbank. April 10 – 22, 2018

Let’s Get Practical! Live is more than just your average comedy show - it is an hilarious, cutting edge and satirical poke-in–the-eye probe into the world of TV hosts, live variety and quiz shows, performed by a talented, eclectic, ensemble cast.

The Very Good Looking Initiative presents its second season after winning Melbourne Fringe Best Emerging Performance ensemble and rightly so; this is a real show-stopper of a show and l mean what l say.

#FirstWorldWhiteGirls: Botox Party!

Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Speakeasy HQ, 522 Flinders St, Melbourne. April 10 – 22, 2018

Welcome to #FirstWorldWhiteGirls: Botox Party!

This show is for the female who has everything but a conscience, hosted by the glitzy-sassy-glam girl Tiffany (Judy Hainsworth) and her co-host the ditzy-chic Madison (Meggan Hickey), ready to take their party (audience) on a journey into their rich and vacuous world.

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