Reviews

Tommy Tiernan - Out of the Whirlwind

Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Hamer Hall, Melbourne. Sunday 17 April, 2016.

Until recently Tiernan held the world record for the longest solo stand up comedy show and his stamina on stage shows no sign of abating. Tiernan’s performance is like a high-octane adrenalin rush. Also known for his tendency to court controversy, his material has a no holds barred approach, touching on topics ranging form sex to global politics. Tiernan’s humour is designed to offend but this is clearly a style rather than a reflection of his worldview.

Educating Rita

By Willy Russell. Christine Harris & Hit Productions. Directed by Denny Lawrence. QUT Gardens Theatre, Brisbane 14 & 15 April, 2016, and touring.

The more I see this play the more I see in it. Willy Russell's timeless tale of two contrasting characters in a teacher/student role exploring life's journey in all its complexities is as endearing as it is chucklesome. This little gem is not only entertaining but also full of substance, demonstrating the inclusion of different levels of exploration involving the British class system, environment, psychology and, of course, the matter of education.

CROSSxROADS

Music and Lyrics by Anthony Costanzo. Book by Peter Fitzpatrick. Directed by Tyran Parke.. Chapel off Chapel. April 16-30, 2016.

It’s a heady feeling to be at the World Premiere of a new musical - an Australian musical at that. The excitement in the foyer was palpable, and I was amongst the most excited. We theatre lovers and Musical Theatre Tragics all want to see a smash hit created here, but perhaps our expectations are too high, and our patience is wearing thin. However, even the most generous of theatre-goers may have been a little disappointed at the end result of CROSSxROADS after nearly four years in development.

Machu Picchu

By Sue Smith. State Theatre Company of South Australia. Dustan Playhouse. 13 April – 1 May, 2016

Machu Picchu is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; a man-made sculpture that has stood the test of time, predominantly because of its impenetrable foundations.

Sue Smith has written a story about love; the love we must find for ourselves when faced with unmentionable tragedy. Faced with her own mortality in 2014, she sought out wise people during her experience. This helped her find the courage needed to survive and we are privileged to witness this raw piece of theatre as a result.

Bright World

By Elise Hearst & Andrea James. Directed by Paige Rattray. ARTHUR & Theatreworks, at Theatreworks, Acland Street, St Kilda (VIC). 13-30 April 2016

On 6 December 1938, some weeks after Kristallnacht in Germany and Austria, 78-year-old William Cooper led a delegation in Melbourne to the German Consulate. They presented a petition protesting at ‘the cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government of Germany’. The consulate did not accept the petition. William Cooper was an Aboriginal man – a Yorta Yorta man – and his petition was on behalf of the Australian Aboriginal League, which he had founded.

The Elephant Man

By Bernard Pomerance. The Adelaide Rep. Directed by Megan Dansie. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. April 14-23, 2016

The Elephant Man is something of a hard sell, as the large number of empty seats on the opening night of The Adelaide Rep’s latest production attests. This is a joyous, witty and ultimately life affirming play that contains many scenes of hearty good humour. But it is hard to describe the story without making it sound like a depressing slog.

Hay Fever

By Noël Coward. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. April 11 – May 21, 2016.

Director Imara Savage has given Hay Fever all the panache that was Noël Coward. Fast and witty, colourful and provocative, it is the kind of production ‘The Master’ would relish were he alive today.

Titanic The Musical

Book by Peter Stone. Music and Lyrics by Maury Yeston. North Queensland Opera and Music Theatre. Townsville Civic Theatre. April 13 – 23, 2016.

Bill Munro is a legend of Townsville theatre. As a director he has been responsible for some of the biggest hits the city has seen over the past 40 years. He chose Titanic The Musical to be his swansong before he retires overseas in the near future and it is a fitting tribute that such a dazzling production fulfils that role.

Australia's Game The Musical

Written and Directed by Alex Lykos. Music by Andrew Scott and Amy Freeman. Bulldog Theatre. Factory Theatre Marrickville. April 7 – 17, 2016.

For ten years Alex Lykos has been putting his own plays onto the stage in Sydney's inner-west under the umbrella of his aptly named Bulldog Theatre Company. He has displayed bulldog-like determination to present his own works, which are often flavoured by his experience as a Greek Australian, but not in the league of success of Wogs Out of Work.

Australia's Game the Musical is good multi-cultural fodder. It’s set in a soccer team and charts the relationship between the Superstar, his coach (Alex Lykos) and an up-and-comer Tom.

When The Rain Stops Falling

By Andrew Bovell. St. Jude’s Players (SA). Directed by Geoff Britain. St. Jude’s Hall, Brighton. April 14-23, 2016

Andrew Bovell’s play chronicles three generations of a troubled family, exploring the ways in which the sins of parents affect the lives of their children, and the tangled web of interconnected psychological neuroses that result. Events unfold in a non-linear, episodic fashion, jumping backwards and forwards in time seemingly at random, the pieces of the puzzle only coming together at the very end.

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