Reviews

The Trolleys

By Sara West. Directed by Andie Holborn. Playlovers. Hackett Hall, Floreat, WA. May 20-29, 2016

Playlovers' The Trolleys is an alternate universe or possibly post-apocalyptic story, set in a world inhabited only by children. A gang of six, who call themselves The Trolleys, struggle to survive in a hostile world, but their lights are fading and nobody knows why…

The Herringbone Saga

Written and directed by Bob Charteris. KADS Theatre, Kalamunda, WA. 6-28 May, 2015

The Herringbone Saga is a locally written play and this production is a world premiere of the show as a full-length piece — directed by the author Bob Charteris.

The script began as one-act-play "At Home With the Herringbones" which was well received at DramaFest in 2014, winning a People's Choice Award. This play now forms the first act of the full length play. The second act (which could also be performed as the one Act play "The Curse of the Herringbones") is part sequel, part prequel and part sister production to the original play.

The Tragedy of King Richard III

By Marcel Dorney and Daniel Evans, based on Shakespeare's play. Directed by Daniel Evans. La Boite Theatre Company . The Roundhouse, Brisbane. 21 May - 11 June, 2016

This adaptation of Shakespeare's famous play has been designed to ask a lot of questions. Seemingly inspired by the excavation of King Richard's skeleton in a Leicestershire car park in 2012, the writers have abandoned the use of previous contemporary outlooks and have attempted to devise a new concept of theatre, viewing certain aspects from different angles whilst incorporating a little 'shake, rattle and roll' into the mix. Bones not included.

Mary Poppins

Music & Lyrics: Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, George Stiles, Anthony Drewe. Book: Julian Fellowes. Babirra Music Theatre. Director: Chris Bradke. Musical Director: Ben Hudson. Choreographer: Di Crough. Whitehorse Centre, Nanawading. May 28 – June 12, 2016.

Mary Poppins was originally a Disney film, based on a book, and the magic required for nannies to fly and make things appear and disappear was much easier to achieve in that medium. Transferring this to the stage presented challenges, but Babirra met them head on.

Strictly Gershwin

Ballet by Derek Deane. Music: George Gershwin. Lyrics: Ira Gershwin, Dubose Heyward. Queensland Ballet. With the Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gareth Valentine. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 27 May – 4 June 2016

Strictly Gershwin is flashy, brash, uninhibitedly vivacious and an obvious audience pleaser. Its association to classical ballet at best is peripheral but as a dance show it’s exhilarating. The combination of big orchestra, Gershwin tunes, and a ballet company letting their hair down with tap, Latin and ballroom is irresistible. Artistic director Li Cunxin’s pulse for the commercial has never been more acute and judging by the unabashedly bravura audience reaction he could have another annual Nutcracker on his hands if he chose to program it.

Communicating Doors

By Alan Ayckbourn. Javeenbah Theatre Company, Gold Coast. Director: Annie Lotoki. May 27 to June 10, 2016

Sir Alan Ayckbourn is recognised as one of Britain’s foremost playwrights having penned over 80 plays and movies and is also a director of note in the UK and Director Annie Lotoki in a great fan.

Catch Me If You Can

Book by Terrance McNally. Lyrics by Marc Shaiman. Music by Scott Whittman and Marc Shaiman. Presented by Dramatic Productions (ACT). Gungahlin College Theatre. 27 May - 11 Jun 2016

With a charismatic lead who looks frighteningly like Leonardo di Caprio and a cast including both novices and experienced performers, Dramatic Productions’ Catch Me If You Can is a lot of fun. Most readers will at least be aware of the film of the same name and the story of Frank Abagnale Jr, who between the ages of 16 and 21 was a confidence trickster who passed forged cheques to the tune of $2.5M and cadged countless free international air air flights before he was caught.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics: Tim Rice. Director / Choreographer: Jody Hooker, Musical. Director: Sue Brown. The Hills Musical Theatre Company (NSW). Model Farms High School. May 27 – June 4, 2016.

I was warned that Hills' Joseph would be “am-dram,” because most of the cast were first- or second-timers. Apparently the lack of experience and training would hinder the enjoyment.

Nonsense.

Xanadu

Book by Douglas Carter Beane; Music & Lyrics by Jeff Lynne & John Farrrar. The Mount Players, Macedon, Victoria. Directed by Julie Paice. Musical Director – Jem Sherwill.. Choreographer – Donna Johnston. Producer - Amanda Watson. Mountview Theatre. May 13 - June 4, 2016

Xanaduis surprisingly cheeky, full of jokes and has an edge of witty irony.  This production, featuring a vibrant cast of mixed ages and talents, has been skillfully brought together by Director Julie Paice.   There is never a dull moment. 

It is based on the 1980s film that was a box office flop but the memorable soundtrack was understandably a big success with songs such as ‘Magic’, ‘Suddenly’ and ‘Xanadu’ that were performed by Olivia Newton-John and The Electric Light Orchestra. 

Catch Me If You Can

Music by Marc Shaiman. Lyrics by Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman. Book by Terence McNally. Marie Clark Musical Theatre (SA). Directed by Charissa McCluskey-Garcia. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. May 27 – June 4, 2016

On the opening night of the Marie Clark Musical Theatre group’s latest show, an audience member suffered from a near-fatal seizure and the performance came to a halt partway through act one, so that the company could call an ambulance and paramedics could see to the unfortunate patron. This is a situation that would’ve rattled the nerves of seasoned pros, but the amateur cast and crew handled things with commendable calm, empathy and promptness.

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