Reviews

A Holly Jolly Christmas.

SALOS. Tower Arts Centre, Pasadena (SA). Dec 4 – 7, 2014

It's that time of the year again where we pull out the decorations and the tree and try to capture the Christmas spirit. SALOS have done just that! Their latest offering is a mixture of familiar Christmas carols, show tunes and folk music. With a musical ensemble consisting of Sue Penhale on Piano and Robert Brown on Flute, the audience were witness to a traditional old school Christmas celebration.

Dirty Dancing

By Eleanor Bergstein. Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star, Opening Night, December 3, 2014, then Melbourne’s Princess Theatre from 1 March 2015, the Lyric Theatre, QPAC from 27 May, and the Crown Theatre, Perth from 2 August.

There was enough Dirty Dancing and fleshy beefcake on stage to elicit squeals of approval from women in the audience, who gave the evening the festive feel of a hen’s night.

Even if their husbands/boyfriends found it a more of a ‘chick’s show’ then no doubt they were still pleased to see a big smile on their date’s face.

Throbbing hips, provocative swivels and even the occasional face buried in a  convulsing crutch made it a saucy night out, in a clean cut 1960’s kind of way.

Frankenstein

Written by Nick Dear. National Theatre (filmed live). Directed by Danny Boyle Various cinemas – encore screenings from November 28, 2014.

Whilst we may have bemoaned in the past the lack of access to some of the West End’s most challenging offerings, London’s National Theatre goes a long way to rectifying the problem with its series of filmed plays.

Falstaff

Music by Guiseppe Verdi. Libretto by Arrigo Boito. Directed by Simon Phillips(1995). Revival Directed by Hugh Halliday. Opera Australia. State Theatre Arts Centre Melbourne. December 1,4,6,9,11, 2014

It seems more than fortuitous that this is Opera Australia’s last presentation for the year.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

By Larry L. King and Peter Masterson and Carol Hall. Murray Music and Drama Club. Pinjarra Civic Centre. Nov 14 - 28, 2014

Murray Music and Drama Club's production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, is a wonderful looking show that is receiving a very positive audience response.

Director Trevor Delaporte, directing his first musical, is supported by Carole Dhu as musical director and very young choreographer, Ellie Bickford. Music is provided by a single piano, capably played by Kenn Ellis.

There are some notable performances in this cast of over forty.

 

The House of Yes

By Wendy MacLeod. Little Ones Theatre in Association with Theatreworks, at Theatreworks, Acland Street, St Kilda (VIC). 27 November – 13 December 2014

A hurricane rages outside the Washington DC home of the wealthy Pascal family: widowed Mrs Pascal, daughter ‘Jackie-O’ – dangerous when off her medication – and younger son, college drop-out Anthony.  They await the arrival of Marty, Jackie-O’s twin.  Marty is coming home from New York and he’s bringing ‘a friend’.  The friend turns out to be Lesley, a waitress and the only ‘normal’ character.  She and Marty are engaged.  Lesley’s intrusion on this cossetted, insulated family is a catalyst for ‘

Anything Goes

Music and lyrics by Cole Porter. Wanneroo Repertory Club. The Limelight Theatre, Wanneroo WA. Nov 27 - Dec 13, 2014

Wanneroo Repertory Club closed the year with a large scale production of Cole Porter's Anything Goes. It was directed and choreographed by Terry Pirlo with musical direction by Michelle Claire.

A simple, single set with multiple levels was well employed, while costuming was a pleasure to look at, especially with the ladies' dresses.

Rupert

By David Williamson. Daniel Sparrow Productions. Theatre Royal, Sydney. Director: Lee Lewis. 29 November – 21 December 2014

Last year’s hit MTC production of David Williamson’s revue-style portrait of Rupert Murdoch here returns for a short Sydney season on its way to London’s West End. It has the same vibrantly theatrical direction by Lee Lewis and the same simple but effective design by Stephen Curtis. The cast has been reinforced, most notably with James Cromwell, a genuine American stage, television and movie star.

Dreams from the Second Floor

Director: Firenza Guidi. The National Institute of Circus Arts. 26 November – 6 December 2014

The graduating students of NICA chose the raw material of a gantry cityscape and dreams to create a world of episodic movement and physical daring. A wide variety of circus skills were demonstrated with an emphasis on aerial work, contortion, Roue Cyr and gymnastics. The troupe worked well together and on occasion merged into a single coherent performance. The individual and duo performers displayed shining skills and compelling action. Performers’ technical skills were secure and the riggers did a quiet, competent job.

Footoose

Music: Tom Snow. Lyrics: Dean Pitchford. Adaptation: Dean Pitchford & Walter Bobbie. Director: Tim O’Connor. Choreographer: Dan Venz. Vocal Director: Sophie Woodward. Harvest Rain. Powerhouse, Brisbane. 27-30 Nov 2014

Harvest Rain’s second and third year interns created a storm of irresistible dancing heat when they burned-the-floor at Powerhouse with Footloose. Dan Venz’s moves and the charismatic performance of Ethan Jones as Ren were the big plusses of Tim O’Connor’s zippy production. Film-to-stage adaptations are notorious for never being as good as the original and this by-the-numbers script is no exception. The thing that keeps it buoyant is its retro 80s pop score.

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