Reviews

Jim Morrison: Kaleidoscope

Written and performed by Luigi Lucente. Directed by Nicholas Christo. 45 Downstairs, Melbourne. Jan 21 – 25, 2014.

Luigi Lucente…if you don’t know that name then make a note of it. Lucente is a MAJOR (in capitals) world class performer who never fails to delight; whether it’s as the lead in a musical (Pippin, Parade) or, currently, in cabaret with a show devised and written by himself.

After Dinner

By Andrew Bovell. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Theatre. January 15 – March 7, 2015.

Sydney Theatre Company had its first production at the Wharf in1985. It’s fitting then, that it has chosen to open its 2015 season with an Australian play written and set in the 1980s.

After Dinnerhas lost none of its touching exposure of human frailties – nor its hilarious humour. Five clever and very experienced actors, and an intuitive director, find every poignant nuance of Andrew Bovell’s very recognisable characters, whilst still making the most of the comedy with which he softens the blows of insightful social comment.

Disney’s Alice in Wonderland

Ballina Players. Director: Geoff Marsh. January 16th – 25th, 2015.

Following the Ballina tradition, their first production for the year is their Junior Production of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and in the same tradition most of the work on this production is done by the young members themselves under the guidance of their senior players members: Gold Coast Area Theatre Award Nominees and Winners.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

Written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield. Directed by Rebecca Elise Lamb. Brisbane Arts Theatre. 10 Jan-14 March, 2015

It's great to see Brisbane Arts Theatre tackling even more adventurous shows after all those many wonderful years of contributing to the rise in the arts and theatre in Brisbane, and I was happy to revisit a show I enjoyed seeing many years ago at the Criterion Theatre in London. What follows is therefore partly based on this initial viewing and the fact that I was able to see only the first act due to an on-going assignment.

Ukchuk-Ga Pansori Mother Courage

Sydney Festival. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 20 & 21, 2014

Writer, composer and singer Jaram Lee is an astonishing performer as she narrates the sorrowful tale of Anna, who falls foul of three husbands, struggles as a war merchant  and, after she loses all three of her children to war, in grief changes her name to Ukchuk. This is the wrenching tale of Brecht’s famous survivor, Mother Courage, a women lost in the disastrous Thirty Years War, forced by the world to abandon her humanity and all moral niceties. 

Accomplice

By Rupert Holmes. Javeenbah Theatre, Gold Coast. Director: Nathan Schulz. January 16th – 31st, 2015.

Javeenbah has opened its 2015 season with an intriguing comedy-thriller from the pen of Rupert Holmes.  Nathan Schulz has assembled a great cast with a plot that has more twists than Chubby Checker!

Needless to say, it’s one of those plays “you had to be there” to understand.

Great performances from (a very supple) Sarah Cooke, David Fraser, Tahlia Jade and (understudy) Paul Del Gatto standing in for the leading man (Kit Sivyer).

The Long Pigs

We3 Insite Arts. Sydney Festival. Seymour Centre. January 15 – 18, 2015

Physical theatre is a curious art form – speaking to you for reasons you can’t always specify, evoking feelings, emotions and experiences through movement and images on stage. The best physical theatre speaks to you, somehow reflecting life and its pleasures, disappointments and tragedies.

Sweet Charity

Book by Neil Simon. Music by Cy Coleman. Lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Luckiest Productions, Neil Gooding Productions and Tinderbox Productions Sydney Opera House from Jan 15, 2015; Canberra Theatre Centre from 11 Feb; Arts Centre Melb from 25 Feb & IPAC from 11 March.

As soon as I walked in the joint, a man of distinction approached me to ask me to spend some time on stage with the provocatively clad dancing girls. Did I look like a real big spender or had I just been cast as the type who would pop their cork at the Fandango Ballroom?

Next to Normal

Music by Tom Kitt. Book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey. Doorstep Arts in association with Hayes Theatre Co. Director: Darylin Ramondo. Musical Director: Alistair Smith. Hayes Theatre Co (NSW). Until February 1, 2015.

An ordinary suburban family drowning under the weight of bi-polar disorder, unresolved grief and anger; it’s not the usual fare of musicals, yet it’s actually the true pay-off with Next To Normal.

While musical theatre has had it’s fair share of intriguing diva roles with clear issues, their 11 o’clock number epiphany hasn’t usually been preceded by treatment including electroconvulsive therapy. Here’s a musical which, rather than tieing up the loose ends by the final curtain, and promises nothing more than tenuous new beginnings.

Strictly Ballroom

Book by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce. Music by various. Director: Baz Luhrmann. Set and Costumes: Catherine Martin. Produced by Global Creatures and Bazmark. Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne. Opening Night: January 17, 2015.

The “Buzz” saying for 2014 was “It is what it is”, and it might have been coined for Strictly Ballroom – the Musical. So  - what exactly is it?

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