World War T

Written & directed by Blair Moro. An International Collaboration presented by Singles Awareness Productions. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Courthouse Hotel, 86-90 Errol Street, North Melbourne. 24-27 September 2016.

Attacking Donald Trump is like shooting fish in a barrel.  Crass, ignorant, lying, racist, misogynist...  Yeah, yeah.  A sitting duck.  Nevertheless, we’re all obsessed and afraid: this crazy could become the most powerful man in the world.  Given that there’s not much Australians can do about it, maybe the best thing is to laugh.  That’s what this show does – with heaps of energy, verve, slapstick, sly insight and occasional wit. 

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Music: George Gershwin. Lyrics: Ira Gershwin. Book: Joe DiPietro inspired by material by Guy Bolton & P.G. Wodehouse. Savoyards Musical Comedy Society. Director: Sherryl-Lee Secomb. Musical Director: Geoffrey Secombe. Choreographer: Desney Toia-Sinapati. Iona Performing Arts Centre, Wynnum East, Qld. 24 Sep – 8 Oct 2016

Nice Work If You Can Get It is a much-reworked version of George and Ira Gershwin’s 1920’s musical Oh, Kay! Every convention of a twenties musical comedy is pulled into service, from showgirls popping up out of a bath, to mistaken identities, disguises, and as many hoary old jokes as Joe DiPietro could cram into his script.

5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche

Written by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood. Directed by Nathanael Cooper. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Lithuanian Club North Melbourne. Sept 24 – Oct 1, 2016.

The Melbourne premiere season of the Off-Broadway 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche is here for the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2016 after a critically acclaimed Australian premiere last year in Brisbane and sell-out seasons in Chicago and New York. This award winning show starring Catherine Alcorn, Lauren Jackson, Ashlee Lollback, Lauren O’Rourke and Bianca Zouppas is showing at one of Melbourne’s hidden gems, the Lithuanian Club North Melbourne and it’s a must see.

The Toymakers

Book and Music by the Company Members. Doublemask Youth Theatre Co. Murwillumbah Civic Centre. Conceived, produced and directed by the company under the Guidance of Artistic Director: Lachlan Glasby. 23rd – 24th September, 2017

As I have reported in previous reviews, this remarkable company of teenagers create every aspect of their production.

Their latest offering is The Toymakers; set in a shanty town during the great depression in New York City. While one immediately thinks of Annie: that is where the similarity ends. The first act was a little slow while the scene and plot were established, but once that was out of the way, the show settled down to and intriguing piece of theatre.

What the company lacked in expensive trappings they more than made up for in enthusiasm and energy.

Murder on the Pacific Diamond

Presented by The Sparrow Men. Performed and devised by Marcus Willis & Andy Balloch. Melbourne Fringe Festival. The Improv Conspiracy – Theatre, Level 1, 19 Meyers Place, Melbourne. 24, 25, 27, 28, 30th September, 1 & 2 October, 2016.

This dynamic performance is a testament to the allure and power of improvised theatre. Willis and Balloch play Detectives Conway and Smitherson, who set out to help the audience uncover the mystery behind the murder of Dame Elizabeth Heinrich. The crime occurs aboard the luxury cruise liner, The Pacific Diamond. With the aid of only a few sound and lighting effects, and almost no props, Willis and Balloch are able to evoke the setting with ease and panache.

Nobody Owns The Moon

Directed by Michael Barlow. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle, WA. Sep 24 - Oct 8, 2016

Nobody Owns the Moon is a World Premiere production by Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, based on the book of the same name by Tohby Riddle. A poignant and moving new work, it is perhaps the last new work to feature the talents of co-creator Noriko Nishimoto, who died earlier this year.

Darker in theme, subject matter and design than most pieces for young people, Nobody Owns the Moon touches on themes of loneliness, homelessness and greed, but is ultimately joyful and hopeful.

Singin’ In The Rain

Music and lyrics by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. Screenplay: Betty Comden & Adolph Green. Lunchbox Theatricals, David Atkins Enterprises, Michael Cassel Group, Teg Dainty Production. Director: Jonathan Church. Musical Director: Adrian Kirk. Choreographer: Andrew Wright. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. From 23 Sep 2016

Phantom has a crashing chandelier, Miss Saigon has a helicopter, and Singin’ in the Rain has, well, rain - buckets of it. When the orchestra strikes up that well-known classic riff and Don Lockwood starts humming “dum, de, dum, dum” a frisson of excitement tingles the audience and we’re in musical comedy heaven. The classic scene where the character splashes through the pouring rain closes the first act on a high.


Music by Charles Strouse. Lyrics by Martin Charnin. Book By Thomas Meehan. Western Arts Theatre (Vic). Director: Chris Anderson. Musical Director: Minna Ikonen. Choreographer: Kai Mann-Robertson. Maribyrnong College. September 23 – October 2, 2016.

Western Arts Theatre (WAT) is a relatively new group operating in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Apart from Altona and Williamstown, who are much further south, there are no other music theatre groups in the area, so they are filling a great need.

I hadn’t attended the theatre at Maribyrnong College before, but found it to be a nice intimate theatre. The lack of an orchestra pit was overcome by having the band in an adjacent room, but I detected no problems with this. The band played well and there were few problems of the balance with the singers.

The Drover’s Wife

By Leah Purcell. Belvoir in association with Oombarra Productions. Belvoir Street Theatre. September 17 – October 16, 2016.

Leah Purcell here ambitiously reworks Henry Lawson’s famous 1893 short story about the drover’s wife left alone in the Alpine country to fend for her children.  The biggest action in Lawson’s yarn was the snake in the woodpile; Purcell paints a far broader canvas.

Our Country’s Good

By Timberlake Wertenbaker. The Stirling Players. Stirling Community Theatre. September 23-October 8, 2016.

Rehabilitation or the gallows? When dealing with serious felons, it’s a question pondered by far more civilised and recent societies than that of early Australian penal colonies.

Timberlake Wertenbaker’s 1988 play Our Country’s Good is set in Governor Arthur Philip’s penal colony and poses the execution vs rehabilitation dilemma through a familiar theatrical device, a play within a play.

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