Reviews

Frogman

Devised by Curious Directive (UK). Melbourne International Arts Festival. Theatre Works. 11 – 15 October 2018

With a solid gripping story that is not too long,  and finely tuned treatment and operation of Virtual Reality, Frogman is excellent festival fare.

Madiba the Musical

By Jean-Pierre Hadida. The Comedy Theatre Melbourne (and touring Australia and NZ). 3-28 October, 2018.

It is difficult to know where to start even when only writing a review of this momentous show. French author and composer Jean-Pierre Hadida has taken on the monumental task of telling the story of Nelson Mandela’s life in a musical. Producer Neil Croker has brought the first English language version to lucky audiences in Australia. It has kept the same title as the French version – Madiba – the name of Mandela’s clan.

Tom, Dick & Harry

Unpublished
By Ray and Michael Cooney. Tea Tree Players. Director: Barry Hill. Tea Tree Players Theatre, Surrey Downs. 10-20 October, 2018.

If comedy is hard, then farce is especially so. For a really crackerjack farcical comedy to have been written in the first place is relatively rare; to see it staged and performed at the level of true expertise required feels like a privilege. TTP’s production of Tom, Dick & Harry is all of this, and more besides: it’s a joy!

Shrek the Musical

Unpublished
Based on The Dreamworks Animation Motion picture and book by William Steig. Book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. Music by Jeanine Tesorei. Willoughby Theatre Company. The Concourse Theatre, Chatswood. October 13 – 28, 2018.

Willoughby Theatre Company’s production of Shrek, the classic family movie turned stage musical, was a delightful experience on a mammoth scale, with production values on a par with professional theatre I have seen of late.

Nine The Musical

Unpublished
By Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston. Stage Art. Chapel Off Chapel. October 12 – 28, 2018

An allusive and vivacious Stage Art production!

Nine The Musical is not just an entertaining night out with a bunch of songs, it is a true experiential stirring of the senses.

Bullies

Unpublished
By Reg Cribb. WAAPA Second Year Acting Students. Directed by Andrew Lewis. Enright Studio, WAAAPA, Mt Lawley, WA. 12-18 October, 2018

The world premiere of this moving original commissioned work by Reg Cribb, is presented by Second Year Acting Students, and designed built and crewed by Production and Design Students.

Reg Cribb, working with WAAPA with support from the Mindaroo Foundation, has created a collection of stories and songs, all based on real-life incidents that reveal people’s vulnerability to bullies.

Heathers The Musical

Book, Music and Lyrics by Kevin Murphey and Laurence O’Keefe. Based on the film written by Daniel Waters. Presented by Dramatic Productions (ACT). Produced by Richard Block. Directed by Kelly Robert and Grant Pegg. Gungahlin Theatre. 12 – 27 October 2018

The Heathers are a colour-coded, croquet-playing triad of pure teen bitch power. Veronica Sawyer tries to join the group but is ejected when she refuses to bully her friend. She falls in love with JD, an intellectual outsider with ideas for revenge. And that’s when the deaths start. People of my vintage will remember the dark, dark 80s movie about bullying, harassment, toxic love, revenge and murder in an Ohio high school, which was adapted to musical form in 2014.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare. WAAPA 2018 Graduating Acting Students. Directed by Stefanos Rassios. The Edith Spiegeltent, WAAPA, Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, WA. 12-18 October, 2018

For the first time, a major acting production is being performed in WAAPA’s Spiegeltent (The Edith), with the 2018 Graduating Acting students presenting A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the round.

Ear to the Edge of Time

By Alana Valentine. Sport for Jove. Seymour Centre. October 11 – 27, 2018

Set in the world of astronomical research, Alana Valentine’s compelling play explores how sexual discrimination can lurk within the traditional team ethic of science.

Astrophysicist Professor Jocelyn Burnbell , interviewed by Valentine, denied being cheated when her male supervisor won the 1974 Nobel Prize for what were her discoveries:  accepting the team leader, usually a bloke, collects the gong.

Mamma Mia! The Musical

Presented by Michael Coppel, Louise Withers & Linda Bewick in association with Adelaide Festival Centre. Music and lyrics by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus (and some songs with Stig Anderson). Book by Catherine Johnson. Originally conceived by Judy Craymer. Additional material & arrangements: Martin Koch. Festival Theatre, Adelaide. 9 October - 18 November 2018.

In the nearly twenty years since its inception, Mamma Mia! has become far, far more than just one of the many immortal smash hits launched into the unsuspecting world of the 1970s by Swedish popmeisters (and Eurovision Song Contest winners) ABBA. It is a ‘jukebox musical’ whose success with the public has reached phenomenal proportions, going on to spawn not just a blockbuster onstage run, plus a movie adaptation (which set its own U.K. box office record as the most successful British cinema release in history), but also a recently released original screen sequel.

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