Reviews

Drive and Smoke

Written and directed by Clare Talbot and Jordan Holloway. Studio 411, Murdoch University, WA. March 22-24, 2018

Drive and Smoke are two short works presented by Hand in Hand Theatre at Murdoch University.

The first piece, Drive, written and directed by Clare Talbot, tells of a young couple’s car ride and explores love, loss and our inner processing. Lovely integrated performances from Claire Mosel-Crossley and Xarna Rappold, in a simply set, nicely rounded, ten minute show.

In the Heights

Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Book by Quiara Alegría Hudes. Blue Saint Productions. Hayes Theatre Co, Potts Point, NSW. Mar 16 – Apr 15, 2018

As I walked out of the theatre, I wanted to tell everyone to see this vital, joyous musical, but unless you’ve already bought your ticket, you’ll have to hope for a return season. All remaining performances sold out ahead of opening night.

As In The Heights raps, hip-hops and salsas its way across the stage, it’s a world away from anything else that has sung and danced around the Hayes stage amongst the eclectic repertoire we’ve enjoyed there.

Annie Jr

Music by Charles Strouse. Lyrics by Martin Charnin. Book by Thomas Meehan. Pelican Productions. Arts Theatre, Adelaide. March 23-25, 2018

Pelican Productions has a reputation for nurturing young talent and there is plenty of it on stage in the company’s latest production, Annie Jr. I was lucky enough to see Cast 1 perform for the afternoon.

The story of ‘Little Orphan Annie’ has become a family favourite and this latest interpretation does nothing to dampen enthusiasm. From the moment one hears those familiar notes of the score you are transported back to the New York City of the 1930s.

Neurosis: 10 Short Plays

Written by Greg Andreas, Kate Fester and Daniel Guyton. Directed by Greg Andreas, Antonio Peluso and Jane Oliffe. Music Written and Performed by Marc Auer. Metro Arts Lumen Room, 8th – 10th March and 22nd – 24th March 2018

As a collection of 10 plays (due to unforseen circumstances, only nine on the night we attended) Neurosis was a dark dramedy that compelled us to think about life’s biggest issues. The plays explored themes of racism, loneliness, death, manipulation, seduction and, of course, neurosis. The scripting was clever, with an above-average vocabulary which only occasionally delved into prolix. Many of the scripts had dark punchlines which appealed to the audience’s sensibilities.

Blue Murder

Written by Beatrix Christian. Directed by Jane Oliffe. 4 Stage Productions, Nash Theatre New Farm. March 23 & 24, 2018.

This play, first performed in 1994, is challenging for the cast as well as the audience as it tells how Eve leaves her country town to come to Blackrock, a gothic cathedral-like rock in Sydney Harbour, to work for Blue, a children’s writer. He leads her on a journey of self discovery that is magical, sensuous and frightening. It is a study of how men have created the fantasy that their art is more than life - and even death. The implications were obvious when the name Blue fully registered.

Abigail’s Party

By Mike Leigh. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 17 March – 21 April 2018

Beverly (Pip Edwards) and Laurence (Daniel Frederiksen), an upwardly mobile couple – that is, struggling out of the working class - have invited a few friends around for drinks and nibbles.  That is, Beverly has invited them.  Laurence, a stressed, harassed real estate agent, could really do without it and them. 

La Bohème

HANDA Opera on Sydney Harbour. Opera Australia. Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point. 23 March – 22 April 2018.

Rain clouds that have hovered threateningly over the city all day begin to clear. Late afternoon sunshine begins to filter through. The harbour begins to sparkle. What has been a dull and dreary day turns into a balmy, Sydney, autumn evening. How lucky for the opening night of another Handa Opera on the Harbour!

As the sky darkens above the Bridge and the Opera House, a crescent moon shines through the last wisps of cloud – and the lights go up on a snow-encrusted stage. It is a wintery December night in Paris. La Bohèmeis about to begin.

bare THE MUSICAL

Book by Jon Hartmere & Damon Intrabartolo, music by Damon Intrabartolo, lyrics by Jon Hartmere. Presented by StageArt. Chapel off Chapel. 20 March – 15 April 2018

Here is an American music theatre import, presented by the enterprising StageArt producers, with a cast of attractive, energetic and talented young people – with a few adults thrown in.  Set in a Catholic co-ed boarding school, with the senior students in their final year, the heart of the story is the troubled love affair between sensitive Peter (Adam Di Martino) and popular jock and girls’ heartthrob Jason (Finn Alexander).  It is the ‘love that dare not speak its name’ – at least as far as Jason is concerned.  This central plot strand of forbi

Masterclass

By Terrence McNally. Starring Amanda Muggleton. Andrew Kay in Association with the Kings Head Theatre, London. Directed by Adam Spreadbury-Maher. The Studio, Sydney Opera House. March 20 - April 8, 2018

You can see why Amanda Muggleton would keep returning to the part of Maria Callas in Terrence McNally’s Masterclass. She’s played her a number of times before and is now wrapping up an Australian tour - and still she revels in the role. You can tell that she loves the interaction with the audience, the jokes and the melodramatic character of one of the world’s great opera divas.

To Lonely, With Love

Created by Jennifer Monk, Perri Cummings and Lisa Dallinger. La Mama Theatre (Vic). March 21 – 25, 2018

There is a lot to be said about the art of letter writing, especially between the incarcerated and lonely people on the outside.

To Lonely, With Love, created from real letters by the director and performer Jennifer Monk, with Lisa Dallinger and Perri Cummings, is having its second season after its Explorations run at La Mama in 2016.

This is a genuinely entertaining nostalgia-driven piece of drama meeting physical theatre.

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