Reviews

Rent

Book Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Larson. Directed by Paul Watson. Centrestage Productions. Geelong Performing Arts Centre – Drama Theatre (Vic) June 27th - July 12th, 2014

The considerable talents and professional expertise of Paul Watson as Director and Designer of this impressive production are inherent to its success. Rent is a marvellous musical, loosely based on La Boheme, but it is quite difficult to stage successfully; though not for Watson, who has now completed his third, very different (but equally successful), version of the show.

Ruthless! The Musical

Book and Lyrics by Joel Paley. Music by Marvin Laird. Seymour Centre & The Theatre Division. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre (NSW). June 19 – July 12, 2014.

How many divas can you fit onto the intimate stage of The Reginald at Sydney’s Seymour Centre?

Given the pure force of the theatrical energy they radiate, Ruthless! The Musical joyously pushes the boundaries with four divas of note, a diva-on-the-rise and a pocket diva thrown in for good measure.

Showtune

Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. Directed and choreographed by Jordan Kelly. Canberra Repertory. Theatre 3, Acton, A.C.T. 20 June – 5 July 2014

Staging an off-Broadway musical revue rather than the mid-year musical variety shows of recent years marks a fresh experiment by Canberra Rep and first-time director Jordan Kelly. This year, with no musical-variety show appearing in its programme, Rep has produced Showtune, an off-Broadway revue of the songs of consistent Broadway hit-maker Jerry Herman, a collocation of songs from eight of Herman’s shows.

Richard III

By William Shakespeare. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Mark Kilmurry. 24 June – 19 July, 2014

Shakespeare has been banned but there’s a secret society dedicated to performing Richard III in a locked warehouse guarded by CCTV cameras. That’s the premise of Mark Kilmurry’s claustrophobic Ensemble production, mounted to celebrate the Bard’s 450th birthday. The multitalented Kilmurry, co-Artistic Director of the theatre, also plays the bloodthirsty super-villain and, I assume, designed the setting (nobody gets the credit in the program).

 

Out of the Box Festival

Brisbane Cultural Centre. 25 June – 2 July 2014

I knew I was in for something different when I left the train to cross the street to QPAC. It was like wading through a vast school of little fish in feeding frenzy. Trains, out-of-town coaches, buses and private cars disgorged excited children with bigger people trying to herd them in one of three directions.

Rigoletto

By Verdi. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. June 26 – August 24, 2014

The elegant design of the program conjures the mood of this production, which is a stunning collaboration of music and voices, direction and design. It seems a little strange to suggest that the program heralds the colour and atmosphere that will predominate on the stage and the elegant lines of the set, but it does.

HYPRTXT Festival

MKA. Upstairs at Tuxedo Cat. 17 Wills Street Melbourne - 14 – 28 June 2014

‘Keen as Mustard and Sharp as Paint’ MKA’s HYPRTXTis a great chance to engage with some complex contemporary writing for theatre.  If you are after polished flawless production values - don’t even think about it.  However if you are prepared to take the risk of being confronted and challenged by energetic, passionate totally underfunded but eternally courageous gifted theatre makers - get to the Tuxedo Cat in the next couple of days and be inspired and soak up the ambiance.

 

 

Managing Carmen

By David Williamson. HIT Productions. Directed by Denis Moore. Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 24–28 June 2014 and touring nationally till late August

Possibly the only production I’ve ever seen in which a character’s transvestism was something other than a tacky sales gimmick, Managing Carmen is the tale of a top footballer’s increasingly bizarre relationships with his girlfriend, his agent–manager, his most ardent critic, his (belatedly announced) psychologist, and his shadow, as a secret hobby threatens to expose them all to ruin.

 

Seussical Jnr

By Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty based on the books of Dr. Seuss. Directed by Amanda Crewes, Musical direction by Yiannis Maxwell. Carine Senior High School Performing Arts Centre, WA. June 20-22, 2014.

With a cast of 60, the vast majority being children, Seussical Jnr played to packed houses at Carine Senior High School.

The Home Front

Directed by Heidi Silberman/Produced by Catherine Crowley and Heidi Silberman. The Street Theatre, Canberra ACT. June 18 – 28, 2014

The Home Frontis a piece of improvised theatre which explores the lives of three women in Australia during the Great War. The actors are Catherine Crowley, Ruth Pieloor and Lynn Petersen.  With ideas given by the audience, these three women explore life in 1916 in an unnamed town in Australia. We are introduced to these women by name, and then the story begins.

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