Reviews

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown

Book Music and Lyrics Clark Gesner. Aleksandar Vass and Vass Productions (Vic). Director: Gary Abrahams. Set Designer: Jacob Battista. Alex Theatre, St Kilda (Vic). June 21 – July 2, 2016

In the wake of the Peanuts movie, and just in time for the school holidays, comes a family friendly musical that first appeared on Broadway in 1971, and enjoyed a revival in 1999.

Performances by all six cast members are earnestly delivered, and strongly sung, from the glass-half-empty Charlie Brown (Cameron Macdonald), the queen of crabbiness Lucy (Courtney Glass), blanket-carrying philosopher Linus (Adam Porter), and Beethoven tragic, Schroeder (Josh Robson).

Gazillion Bubble Show

Out of the Box Festival. Concert Hall, QPAC. 23-27 June 2016

Bubbles are magical and this show takes it to the extreme filling the theatre with thousands of them. It’s spectacular, dazzling and as an introduction to theatre for kids it’s the perfect show.

The Love for Three Oranges

By Prokofiev, performed in English in a translation by Tom Stoppard. . Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. June 23 – July 8, 2016

This strange combination of commedia dell’arte and opera lends itself to all sorts of imaginative design and action, and this production, first performed in 2005, has all the hallmarks of twenty-first century technical creativity. It is bright and whimsical, with all the zaniness and pace of true comic farce depicted in music that pops and bubbles like a bottle of fizz.

Starman – Sven Ratzke

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Space Theatre. 22-25th June, 2016

German-Dutch cabaret performer Sven Ratzke has created a unique individualised persona in his tribute to David Bowie. Starman is Ratzke’s homage to the late star and it is filled with his interpretation of familiar Bowie songs. Long-time collaborator Charly Zastrau is along for the ride on piano and offers up extraordinary arrangements.

Trilogy

Originally conceived by Nic Green in collaboration with Laura Bradshaw. Now written and performed by Nic Green, Laura Bradshaw, Murray Wason, Bron Batten, Candy Bowers and local Melbourne women. Arts House, North Melbourne. 21 – 26 June 2016.

Eleven years ago, Nic Green was working in UK schools with 12-year-olds.  A majority of girls, imagining their future, said their dream was to be ‘a footballer’s wife’.  At the same time, as she says in her program note, Nic Green was making a performance piece with other young girls - girls as young as eight, ‘lost in a fog of self-deprecating negativity…[concerned] about their own bodies and the self-doubt they lived with daily…’

Dead Heads

By Ali Viterbi. Owl & Cat Theatre, Richmond VIC. 21 June to 1 July 2016.

It’s the 1970s and Sadie (Sophia Simmons) and Ethan (Rian Howlett) are high school sweethearts.  They’re passionate fans of The Grateful Dead.  Sadie is a wide-ranging reader of literature and philosophy, but also – too bad for her – starry-eyed about Ethan.  He’s the son of Holocaust survivors and just a little self-absorbed.  He figures that all that peace and love stuff in the 60s failed, so now they should just live for themselves.  What he really means is he’ll live for himself… Via a series of short scenes, Dead H

Creature: An Adaptation of Dot and the Kangaroo

Script: John Romeril. Based on the book by Ethel C. Pedley. Music: Peter Kennard. Choreographer: Dean Walsh. Co Directors: David Clarkson & Cristabel Sved. Out of the box and Stalker Theatre Company production. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 21-28 June 2016

QPAC’s annual Out of the Box festival for kids eight years and younger kicked off yesterday with a strikingly imaginative and effective adaptation of Ethel C. Pedley’s beloved children’s classic Dot and the Kangaroo. Written in 1899, the tale of a young girl Dot who gets lost in the bush and is befriended by a kangaroo has enchanted generations of children for ages.

The Nederlands Dans Theater

A Three Ballet Programme. State Theatre, Arts Centre. Exclusive season 22nd-25th June, 2016.

There are good reasons why adjectives like “exquisite”, “astonishing”, “flawless”, “incomparable” are used about the Nederlands Dans Theater – affectionately known as NDT. Their agility and physicality are incomparable, their technique is astonishing and their lines are exquisite - overall they are indeed flawless.

The Honey Bees

By Caleb Lewis. Red Stitch Theatre. Directed by Ella Caldwell. June 14 - July 16, 2016

There’s much to enjoy in Lewis’s new play, developed with the help of Red Stitch’s INK…a worthy in house programme for writers which is in jeopardy after Arts Funding cuts. It’s part Outback Chekhov/part Home and Away in red Dirt, but, despite being an entertaining 90 minutes, the text itself needs a solid dose of subtext and less exposition, more depth and less width, more character and less plot. It simultaneously feels too long, and yet doesn’t allow enough breathing space for us to take in the machinations between characters.

Ladies Night

By Anthony McCarten & Stephen Sinclair. Jally Entertainment production. Gardens Theatre, Brisbane. 21-22 June 2016 and touring.

Ladies Night has an impressive record - eight sold-out tours of the UK, a Moliere Prize (France’s premiere award for comedy), and translations into sixteen languages. It is without doubt New Zealand’s most commercially successful play.

If you feel you’ve seen the plot before, you have - The Full Monty ripped it off in 1997 - but it’s still a funny concept - four unemployed blokes, motivated by The Chippendales, form a male-strip show to make some money.

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