Reviews

Chicago

Music: John Kander. Lyrics: Fred Ebb. Book: Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins. Penrith Musical Comedy Company. The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith. May 5 – 13, 2017.

Penrith Musical and Comedy Company are first NSW company to present the brilliant Kander and Ebb musical Chicago on its return to the circuit this year, with lots of excitement and expectation as other societies follow suit during the year. Choosing to perform in the smaller concert hall instead of the larger theatre was a good decision. With a very minimal set design, the space worked to their advantage and nothing got lost.

MotherLode

Directed and compiled by Dean Carey. Rue De La Rocket and The Hub Studio. Actors Centre Australia, The Forum Theatre. May 4 – 13, 2017.

Seven women sitting on chairs face the audience, lit by candlelight and surrounded by a backdrop of projected stars - they pour their hearts out, as atmospheric music washes over them.

There is no stage movement; sometimes they talk just to the audience and other times they interact. The voiceover at the beginning explains that every word from this verbatim piece has been taken from actual interviews from mothers.

Swan Lake

By Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Choreographer: Ben Stevenson after Pepita and Ivanov. Conductor: Nigel Gaynor. Queensland Ballet. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. 5 - 13 May 2017 (reviewed at the Matinee Performance 6 May 2017).

Artistic Director Li Cunxin has waited many years for Queensland Ballet to present Ben Stevenson’s version of Swan Lake for the first time in Australia,and with the esteemed choreographer on hand (assisted by Tim O’Keefe) to recreate his vision, it’s a time for celebration. Swan Lake and Stevenson’s production hold a special place in Li’s ballet DNA with him having been taught the movement by Margo Fonteyn for Housten Ballet’s 1985 production where he danced Prince Siegfried.

La Sonnambula

By Vincenzo Bellini. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Richard Mills. Hamer Hall. May 5, 2017

Exquisite!

There was no other word for it. Sydney’s Jessica Pratt again returned from Europe to star in one of her favourite roles, and showed why last year she won the international award for Best Soprano of the Year.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

By Edward Albee. Darlington Theatre Players. Directed by Brendan Tobin. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. 28 Apr - 13 May, 2017

As presented by Darlington Theatre Players, Edward Albee’s modern theatrical classicWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a tight, emotionally charged incarnation of this game-changer Tony Award winning play.

Middle aged couple Martha and George have a deteriorating relationship and play emotional games. They draw a visiting couple, new colleague Nick and his wife Honey, into their emotional vortex,

Oklahoma!

Music: Richard Rodgers. Book & Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein 2nd. Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs. Roleystone Theatre, WA. Directed by Paul Treasure and Bree Hartley. May 5-20, 2017

Oh what a beautiful musical, as Roleystone Theatre presents the classic musical Oklahoma!

Played on a gorgeously constructed and finished set, designed by Daniel Ramsell, this show looks great, and while scene changes are significant, they are quick and effective. Judith Armstrong and Grant Armstrong have provided lovely backdrop art. Costumes, co-ordinated by Joanne Padget also look lovely. 

Annie

Music by Charles Strouse. Lyrics by Martin Charnin. Book By Thomas Meehan. Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Beenleigh, Queensland. Director – Lisa Ng. Musical Director – Nick Ng. Choreography – Laura Baker. April 28 to May 20, 2017.

Annie tells the story of an 11-year-old girl living in a run-down orphanage in 1933, whose optimism allows her to believe she will one day see her parents again and that each tomorrow will be a better day. Annie is eventually chosen to spend Christmas week with billionaire Oliver Warbucks (played by Nathaniel Currie) and she quickly melts the hearts of the stern businessman and his staff. The story then takes a deceitful turn when con artists devise a plan to separate Annie and Warbucks forever.

Henry V

By William Shakespeare. University of Adelaide Theatre Guild. Little Theatre. 6 - 20 May, 2017.

It’s “once more unto the breach” for Megan Dansie, as she directs another successful Shakespearean production at the Little Theatre.

Crown Matrimonial

By Royce Ryton. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport. Director: Kate Peters. May 6th to 27th, 2017.

All Monarchists and anyone interested in British history will enjoy this telling of the abdication of King Edward VIII to marry his true love, American divorcee Mrs Wallace Simpson. This warts and all production is historically acurate and visually appealing, with strong performances all round.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by Tim Rice. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director: Andrew Cockcroft-Penman. May 5th to 27, 2017

Following on from the success of The Mystery of Edwin Drood last year, Andrew Cockcroft-Penman, musical director Shari Ward and choreographer Jamie Watt, have joined forces once again to create another hit with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

This imaginative staging of a Lloyd Webber favourite featured a mixture of modern and traditional costumes with a minimalist set with lots of “everyday items” for props.

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