Reviews

Cinderella

Panto, adapted by Terri Woodfine and Tess Burke. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director: Terri Woodfine. Jan 7 to 17, 2015

It’s school holidays, wet, and I have Master 9, Miss 7 and

Master 5 to entertain.  What’s to do on a Wednesday morning?

This show has certainly started Spotlight’s 60th year off with a bang – or rather a flourish of trumpets and magic.

My own little audience was captivated from the very start – Master 9 grasping lots of the mature snippets of humour, along with the adults in the audience; while Master 5 adored the crazy slapstick pantomime comedy, that’s to be expected from this style of show.

The Illusionists 1903: The Golden Age of Magic

Presented by QPAC in association with Tim Lawson and Executive/Creative Producer: Simon Painter. Creative Director: Mark Kalin, Original Music: Evan Jolly, Scenic Designer: Todd Ivins, Costume Designer: Angel Aaron, Lighting Designer: Christopher Boon Casey. QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane. 4-11 January, 2015; Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, 15 – 25 January 2015

Many years ago I remember seeing an old historical documentary tracing the incredible talents of the fast fading performers of the Vaudeville era. Fortunately the silent era of film was already in the making and able to capture some of these artists’ talents before being lost forever. Ironically, though, it was the film industry that gradually dissolved their world, as producers started to cash in on the benefits of transforming their venues into movie houses.

THRILLER Live

Adelaide Season December 30, 2014-Jan 11, 2015. Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and New Zealand seasons to follow.

THRILLER Live is thrilling indeed. Non-stop music, fabulous dance and sophisticated technical effects combine in a superb production.

There is no ‘story’ as such. Instead, the show is a celebration of the journey through pop to rock and soul to disco that Jackson undertook during his life and that he performed so uniquely.

The Magic Flute

By Mozart. Opera Australia. Director: Julie Taymor. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 2 – 30, 2015

The opportunity to see two very different Opera Australia productions of The Magic Flute in a matter of months was something not to be missed. In the first, The Magic Flute on Tour, Australian idiom, Egyptian Mysteries, wonderful voices and a chorus of local children took Mozart’s appealing music and characters to multiple venues and audiences around the country. It was fun, entertaining, beautifully directed and performed, educational … but just a little bit ‘twee’.

The Addams Family

Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Directed by Danny Ginsberg. PLOS (Vic). Frankston Arts Centre. Dec 31 2014 to Jan 10, 2015.

PLOS have another smash hit on their hands thanks to a stunning cast, the marvellous innovation of Director Danny Ginsberg, great costuming by Brett Wingfield and knockout choreography by Steve Rostron to Bev Woodford’s exemplary Musical Direction of a top notch orchestra.

Spirit of Christmas

With Simon Burke, Christie Whelan Browne, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, QPAC Choir, Brisbane Chorale, Brisbane Birralee Voices. Director: Brendan Ross Concert Hall, QPAC, Brisbane. 19-20 December 2014

Spirit of Christmas is an annual institution being a part of the fabric of Brisbane for the past thirty years. Audiences know what to expect and they get what they expect, a concert of hymns, religious works, Christmas songs and sing-a-long. Producer Paul Dellit doesn’t play around with the formula but manages to keep it fresh by seeding a new and unfamiliar Christmas song in with the traditional and also by introducing new talent. Billy Bouchier, a recent graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium Musical Theatre Course, was the latter in this year’s concert.

City of Perth Nativity

Forrest Place, Perth WA, Dec 16-19 2014

Presented by the City of Perth and performed by the Australian Performing Arts Network (APAN), The Nativity is a large-scale presentation, staged in the centre of Perth and free for the public.

The traditional story of Jesus' birth is told, with the help of wonderful singing and dancing from performers from all over Western Australia.

This year's story is introduced by two young boys (Charlie Martin and Zac Mcculloch) who discover an old book in a library. A shepherd from biblical times (Elwyn Edwards) appears and tells us the Christmas story.

The Age of Entitlement

By Saman Shad. Mongrel Mouth. Merchants House, 43-45 George St, The Rocks, Sydney. December 3 – 20, 2014

“Theatre where you don’t have to sit down and shut up” forms the tagline for new immersive theatre company Mongrel Mouth and their second production of the year, The Age of Entitlement.

Miranda

By Peter Blackmore. Garrick Theatre, Guildford, WA. Nov 27-Dec 13 2014

Miranda, directed by Rodney Palmer at the Garrick Theatre, is a very nice looking production, that tells its story well.

When aristocratic doctor Paul Marten finds a mermaid, while fishing in Cornwall, he decides to bring her to his London flat disguised as an invalid. This decision causes no end of consternation.

Rhett Clarke is a convincing Sir Paul, although is difficult to hear at times. Mary Murphy is elegant and sympathetic as central character Lady Clare.

Aladdin

By Stephen Quinn. Graduate Dramatic Society. Hackett Hall, Floreat WA. Dec 6-20, 2014

Graduate Dramatic Society's Aladdin, written by Stephen Quinn and directed by his alter ego Stephen Lee, shows a true understanding of the pantomime genre and is the closest thing you will find in Australia to true British pantomime.

Melissa Kiiveri, I imagined, would be too sweet and pretty to be an ideal principal boy — but her Aladdin is cute, boyish and earnest and she has a natural vulnerability that makes her Aladdin very endearing, while Grace Edwards makes a beautiful and likeable Princess.

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