Reviews

Night Sings Its Songs

By Jon Fosse, translated from Norwegian by Sarah Cameron Sunde. La Mama, Carlton (VIC). 13-24 April 2016

A Young Woman (Katherine Innes) needles A Young Man (Reece Vella) about how they never do anything, they never go out...  She means him.  He won’t even go to the store.  He just sits around.  Her friends won’t come inside the house because of him.  He tries to ignore her, reading his book.  He is a would-be writer, but publishers reject whatever he sends them. 

Miss Julie

By August Strindberg. Directed by Kip Williams. MTC Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. April 16 – May 21, 2016.

The wondrous thing about theatre, for myself and so many others, is that it is three dimensional, with the illusion of being “real” upon a stage, because the actors are flesh and blood, yet leaving room for us to create our own subtext alongside that of the writer’s. It is not film, or television, which have their own attributes but are, at the core, two dimensional.

The Gondoliers

By Gilbert and Sullivan. GSOV. Director: Adrian Glaubert. Musical Director: Timothy Wilson. Choreographer: Sarah Cossey. Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre. April 21 – 23, 2016

The Gondoliers did not start well. The director came out to tell us how wonderful the show would be, and that there would be a raffle at interval. A loose sheet in the program would be been more appropriate.

Then the overture started and some of the well-known melodies appeared to go missing. This is the first time GSOV has performed at Darebin, and it was very obvious the orchestra was amplified, something I had not observed at previous venues. Perhaps the venue demanded it, but sometimes the counter melodies overwhelmed the main tune, which was disconcerting.

Swallow

By Stef Smith. National Theatre of Parramatta (NToP). Lennox Theatre, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. April 21 – 30, 2016

National Theatre of Parramatta’s (NToP) very first production is a dark play, but one nonetheless that ticks all the boxes of the sort of work NToP aims to produce. That is, it’s “bold, contemporary, imaginative and inspired … (taking) us into the belly of urban life”. It has attracted director Kate Champion, a team of imaginative designers and three impressive and talented performers to the ‘west’, and, hopefully, will establish this new company as another beacon for the arts in western Sydney.

The Little Mermaid

Music: Alan Menken. Lyrics: Howard Ashman & Glenn Slater. Book: Doug Wright based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson. PRIMA. Director: Alicia Caruana. Musical Direction: Lucas D. Lynch & Samantha Peterson. Choreographer: Jen Howson Redcliffe Cultural Centre. April 22 – May 1, 2016

For some unknown reason I’m a sucker for Disney musicals; they put me in lyrical mode, and if it’s a score by Alan Menken, even better. So PRIMA’s Queensland Premiere production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid ticked all the right boxes for me. That it delivered in spades was the icing on the cake – good performances, good vocals, and just enough magic and make believe to enchant.

Velvet

Director/Creator: Craig Ilott. Musical Director: Joe Accaria. Peter Rix Production @ Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. From 20 April 2016

Velvet is gobsmackingly good! A fusion of cirque du Soleil, blistering vocals, and wall-to-wall disco dance beats, it had your adrenaline running from the moment you stepped into the theatre.

With the Cremorne set-up in cabaret mode, seven gigantic mirror balls, mirror columns, and a lighting plot no disco could ever afford, this show was 80-minutes of (disco) heaven.

The Boys’ Club

Written & directed by Thomas Ian Doyle. The Owl & Cat Theatre, 35 Swan Street, Richmond VIC. 19 – 23 April 2016.

Time to party at a cement works. The boss, Gunner (Steven Psoras) gives the new guy, young Asher (Brayden Lewtas) six grand to take care of the ‘entertainment’: booze, drugs and a stripper.  Gotta have a stripper.  But things go wrong.  Of course they do or there would be no play.  Without adding any spoilers to the ensuing catastrophes, the drugs are bad shit and the boys get a little carried away with Candy the stripper (Fiona Scarlett).  And when things go wrong, fear, panic, guilt and rage take over.

Disgraced

By Ayad Akhtar. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Theatre., Walsh Bay, Sydney. April 10 – June 6, 2016

Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced was last year the most produced play in America, and deservedly so.  

First time playwright he may be, but Akhtar won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for here so successfully forging flesh and blood characters from the conflict of urgent and commanding ideas.

Rock of Ages

Book by Chris D’Arienzo. Arrangements & orchestrations by Ethan Popp. Directed by: Ingrid Ganley. Musical Direction: Aaron Powell. Choreography: Kirsty Anderton. Presented by John X. Theatre Royal Hobart. 8- 23 April 2016

With a well-known show like Rock of Ages expectations are high, but the John X Productions season in Hobart at the Theatre Royal hit the mark. With their usually high standards, under the direction of long-time theatre whizz Ingrid Ganley and with a superb cast including veterans and scintillating newcomers, John X Productions gave Hobart audiences a bang-on rock concert experience. Gangbusters! Great houses and happy smiling audiences – what more would you want, if you have taken the risk to put on a BIG show?

The Moon’s a Balloon

Patch Theatre Company. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. April 19th-23rd, 2016.

Patch Theatre Company have done it again; visually breathtaking and imaginative, in its production of The Moon’s a Balloon, the company has made balloons the catalyst for an extraordinary tale of playful adventures that lead to friendship and connection.

The Moon’s a Balloon is the first production for The Adelaide Festival Centre’s 'Something on Saturday 2016' program for children.

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