Reviews

Disney's Aladdin Jr.

Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice. Book adapted & additional lyrics by Jim Luigs. Music adapted and arranged by Brian Louiselle. Based on the screenplay by Ron Clements and John Musker, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. Adelaide Youth Theatre. Arts Theatre. 28-30 April, 2016.

Can a wild and wonderful animated movie musical translate successfully to the stage? You bet it can; in the hands of Adelaide Youth Theatre, Disney’s Aladdin becomes a genuine treat.

Dad's Army

By Jimmy Perry and David Croft. Launceston Players. Directed by Jeff Hockley, co-directed by Mark Horner. Earl Arts Centre, Launceston. 26th April – 7th May 2016

Recreating the popular BBC television sitcom Dad’s Army could be risky business, unless you have a large pool of males to draw on. For Launceston Players director Jeff Hockley, there was a good choice and casting was spot-on. Dad’s Army is a much-loved production, with the crowds enjoying the fun and nostalgia.

Pennsylvania Avenue

By Joanna Murray-Smith. Starring Bernadette Robinson. Directed by Simon Phillips. Playhouse, Sydney Opera House. April 28 – May 22, 2016

Bernadette Robinson’s one-woman show Songs for Nobodies turned her into a theatrical star, with critics searching for superlatives, wondering where she’d been hiding all these years. So the next idea had to be a good one.

It’s a risky idea too: she and her Australian creative team devised a particularly American show, drawing inevitable comparisons to Broadway and off-Broadway performers, who are, after all, rather good at this kind of thing.

Henry IV Part I

By William Shakespeare. Directed by James Christensen. Melbourne University Shakespeare Company. Guild Theatre: 1st Floor, Union House, University of Melbourne. 28 April – 7 May, 2016.

This production contributes to the calendar of events organised by the University of Melbourne to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, which celebrates his literary and theatrical legacy. Christensen has devised an unusual modern adaptation with Queen Henry IV (Adelaide Greig) reigning on the throne and looking to her daughter Princess Hal (Kate Weston) to step up to the role of fortifying their position.

The Full Monty

Music & Lyrics by David Yazbek. Book by Terrence McNally. Based upon the screenplay by Simon Beaufoy. The Hills Musical Company (SA). Directed by Max Rayner. Stirling Community Theatre. April 29 – May 14, 2016

Feel-good crowd pleaser The Full Monty is treated to a small-scale, but big-hearted revival from The Hills Musical Society.

Sets are minimalist, with the production often relying upon projected imagery to set the scene. But that isn't too much of an issue, as the show is primarily a character piece and the high-energy dance choreography delivers the goods in terms of visual spectacle. 

Uncle Vanya

By Anton Chekhov, adapted by David Mamet. Canberra Repertory Society. Directed by Geoffrey Borny. Theatre 3, Acton. 28 April – 14 May, 2016

In vino veritas: in wine is truth. One of the most beautiful, truthful moments in Rep’s production comes when Voynitzky (the Uncle Vanya of the title), drunk on vodka, drops his emotional shield of sarcasm and flippant humour, and speaks softly, from the heart, of his love for Yelena. His bravado vanishes and his cadence changes in a way that is natural, familiar and unstereotyped. Less sensitive direction could have made had Vanya a regular loud drunk, stumbling and slurring words, but instead the vodka leaves him disarmed.

There’s No One New Around You: The Tinder Musical

By Kiera Daley, Steven Kreamer (on piano), and Mark Simpson. Directed and performed by the authors. 12th Annual Sydney Comedy Festival, Factory Theatre. April 27-29, 2016.

As part of the current Sydney Comedy Festival this great little show played for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it run. Which is a pity as this show deserves better exposure.

For those who don’t know, “Tinder” is a mobile phone app that lets its users find other suitable users, mainly for casual sex. The title comes from the message that pops-up when you exhaust all of your potential matches on the app.

Tape

By Stephen Belber. Play Dead Theatre Company. The Court House Hotel, 86-90 Errol Street, North Melbourne. 27 April – 7 May 2016

A down market motel room in Lansing, Michigan.  A dishevelled guy, Vince (Michael Mack) in his underwear – restless, on tenterhooks, drinking.  He’s expecting someone.  Someone arrives: Vince’s best buddy from high school, Jon (Adam Hetherington).  Jon is a filmmaker, in town for a film festival with his latest movie.  Jon is idealistic about the power of cinema to influence society, but his movie sounds like schlock.  So right off there’s a little disparity between Jon’s view of Jon and Jon himself.  And Vince?  He&rsquo

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare. Queensland Theatre Company. Directed by Jason Klarwein. Playhouse Theatre at QPAC, Brisbane. 23 April to 15 May, 2016

One of Shakespeare's famous comedies is being given special treatment by QTC's artistic team here in Brisbane, having a modern tropical 5 star resort backdrop and revolving stage to set the scene for all the fun and frivolity of this quaint tale of love and lust, complete with all the numerous repercussions this can have on human relations.

Oliver!

Book, Music and Lyrics by Lionel Bart. Based on the book Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Wyong Musical Theatre Company. The Art House, Wyong. April 27- May 1, 2016.

It's here! It was 12 years in the planning (and re-planning and rescheduling) but it's here! Wyong Shire has her very own multi-purpose performance arts space. Pulling up in front of the former Memorial Hall site now feels totally surreal. With it's streamlined, glass visage, through to the spacious foyer, very high ceilings and the 500 seat theatre (with balcony seating!) you could be forgiven for mumbling to yourself “Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Wyong anymore”.

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