Reviews

The Bodyguard

Based on the Warner Bros. film by Lawrence Kasdan. Book: Alexander Dinelaris. John Frost, Michael Harrison & David Ian Production. Director: Thea Sharrock. Musical Director: David Skelton. Choreographer: Karen Bruce. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. From 22 July 2017

When I first saw The Bodyguard in London I thought it was a show that would work in Australia provided they cast a performer who could sing the Whitney Houston songbook and sing it well. Is Paulini up to the task? She certainly is. When she’s belting out those pop-diva arias she’s the real deal, delivering powerhouse after powerhouse performance and pulling the maximum emotional weight out of every key-change. “I Will Always Love You” was simply goose-bump thrilling.

Morning Masterworks: Queensland Symphony Orchestra

Simone Young & Ray Chen. Paganini: Violin Concerto No.1, Mvt 1. Holtz: The Planets. Concert Hall, QPAC. 21 July 2017

Musical wunderkind Ray Chen displayed stunning violin mastery when he returned to Brisbane yesterday to appear with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in their Morning Masterworks series. Playing the first movement of Paganini’s notoriously difficult Violin Concerto No. 1, Chen’s bravura performance (on his 1715 Stradivarius worth a cool 10 million) was simply astonishing.

An Inspector Calls

By J. B. Priestly. Pymble Players, NSW. 19 July- 12 August, 2017

J. B. Priestly’s play, written in the mid 20th century but set in 1912, has been described as “a potent blend of fine dramatic craft and good old-fashioned social conscience” and Helen Williams’ production for Pymble Players emphasises both qualities of the play. Though set in England over a century ago, the play has resounding messages that are still relevant today.

Love You Hate You Drive You Wild

An original comedy by Bianca Butler Reynolds. Directed by Kat Dekker. Developed with support from Playlab. Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts, 20 July - 23 July, 2017.

Imagine your picture was used as the subject of a meme and it ruined your life. That’s the amusing premise behind Love You Hate You Drive You Wild. The story is a black comedy that deals with themes of mental illness, sexuality, friendship and bravery. Who knew a play that explores ideas such as depression and suicidal thoughts could be so uplifting? Yet there is a beautiful sense of love and hope at the heart of this play.

Under the Covers

By Matthew Mitcham and Nigel Turner-Carroll. Directed by Nigel Turner-Carroll. Hayes Theatre, Sydney. 19 - 23 July, 2017

Olympic gold medallist Matthew Mitcham doesn’t mind telling people his problems. This is the champion diver’s second autobiographical cabaret, where he talks and sings about his struggles, admitting to depression, past drug addiction and plenty of bad decisions. He’s written a book about himself too.

The Imperial Bells Of China: Chimes In Concert

Hubei Opera Company. Producers Hubei Provincial Performing Arts Group. Ausfeng Event Productions. Conductor Zhou Wen. Concertmaster Hu Jian. Melbourne Recital Centre 20 July 2017; Sydney Opera House, 23 July.

When a collection of bronze and stone bells and chimes were unearthed at the tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng’s tomb in Sui County, Hubei Province in China in 1978, the most celebrated discovery was the bianzhong, possibly the oldest functioning twelve-tone instrument in existence.

The ‘Chimes In Concert’ program is a study in uncommonly heard timbres including the bianzhong. The program features a range of traditional instruments, such as se, chi, drum and banjo, as well as vocalists, bamboo flute and several pieces featuring the highly prized chimes.

Constellations

By Nick Payne. The Street Theatre. Directed by Caroline Stacey. The Street, Canberra. 15–29 July 2017

It’s a rare delight to attend a play whose performance is as convincing as that by Jenkins and Lexi Sekuless in Constellations.  The mental agility necessary to convey the varying significance in consecutively played word-identical scenes several times in a row and in many alternatives to the one scene with little to no break between them was impressive; the memory necessary to replay all the variations one after another must be prodigious.  And this cast of two pulled it

The Association

By Perri Cummings with Lee McClenaghan & Jennifer Monk. Girls Act Good. 64 Pentland Avenue, Yarraville. 18 – 30 July 2017

The venue, 64 Pentland Avenue, is a modest weatherboard cottage in suburban Yarraville.  Its porchlight beams through the shadows.  We – the audience, eight or nine of us - stand outside in the cold evening street.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Directed by Mike Finch. The Funatorium. Canberra Theatre Centre. July 12 – 15, 2017

“You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are” – Lewis Carroll

Welcome to the entirely bonkers world of the funniest tea party ever imagined. With colour, movement, humour and astonishing acts, this cabaret is a delight for everyone from 5 to 105.  Alice isn’t in this version of Wonderland.  Rather, we the audience get to experience the tea party as if we were Alice. 

9 to 5 The Musical

Music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. Book by Patricia Resnick, based on the screenplay by Resnick and Colin Higgins. Canterbury Theatre Guild, Nida Theatre’s Playhouse. July 14th-22nd 2017.

Canterbury Theatre Guild’s production of 9 to 5 The Musical, based on the movie of the same name, was a delightful afternoon at the theatre.

The production was brought to life by a talented cast of 22, which nicely filled the compact space at NIDA. The highly entertaining script and score by Dolly Parton and Patricia Resnick is hilarious and really gives the audience an inside view of office life in the 1980’s for three women, working for a rude and very sexist boss at the fictional setting of “Consolidated Industries”.

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