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.

Songs for Sarah Connor

Written by Alastair Tomkins. Directed by Penny Farrow. MICF. Chapel of Chapel 12 - 16 April, 2016

There is so much on offer at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival that sometimes shows that deserve to be seen fall through the cracks and have to rely on word-of-mouth or the odd critic who deigns to cover them, to find an audience. Songs for Sarah Connor falls into this category. Fortunately the word of mouth could be nothing but terrific and this critic certainly enjoyed herself.

Brisbane Baroque 2016

In association with QPAC. 8-16 April 2016

Agrippina (originally created for the Gottingen International Handel Festival) with libretto by Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani, music by George Frideric Handel, directed by Laurence Dale and King Arthur with text by John Dryden, music by Henry Purcell, directed by Rodney Fisher

I (Honestly) Love You

Written and directed by Damon Lockwood. Lockwood Productions. Melbourne International Comedy Festival, National Theatre, 20 Carlisle Street, St Kilda, 13 -16 April 2016.

Our often foolish behaviour when we are in love provides ample comic material for this play. Lockwood has added a further element to this age-old topic by making the two protagonists compulsive truth tellers, and their brutal honesty frequently spells disaster for romance.

The ensuing embarrassing episodes provide some extremely funny scenarios. This is a novel idea with some innovative reflexive techniques.

Good People

By David Lindsay-Abaire. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Directed by Mark Kilmurry. 7 April – 21 May, 2016

Every now and again the Ensemble picks up a Broadway play overlooked by the bigger Aussie theatre companies. Such is Good People, which won the 2011 New York Drama Critics Award for Best Play, and which here proves to be an absolute killer.

The first night audience sat up, the five-person cast stood tall and the evening ended with the most heartfelt, urgent applause. Somewhere playwright David Lindsay-Abaire must have been feeling good.

The Original Grease

By Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Squabbalogic. Director: Jay James-Moody. Musical Director: Benjamin Kiehne. Choreographer: Simone Sallé. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre. April 6 – May 7, 2016

Before Grease became a popular movie, subsequently sanitized into just another high school musical, it was a darker stage musical with a real underbelly of teenage angst and delinquency. It was far edgier, raunchier, and more brutal, especially so in this ‘original’ pre-Broadway version, currently being presented by Squabbalogic.

While the Grease we know now is full-on 50s nostalgia, this raw original version was a kind of anti-nostalgia. The coarse language, attitude, cruelty and bullying of delinquent teenagers are far more in-your face.

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