Reviews

Bondi Legal by Tony Laumberg

Tap Gallery, Darlinghurst.

Bondi Legal tells a classic underdog story. Steven McGrath plays a lawyer just starting out in his career. He takes a job as a locum, covering for a lawyer who is going on holidays. The first day on the job he finds out that the lawyer has left him with a bomb. He has to appear in court to act in a case where a mother is taking on a large pharmaceutical company in a case where the claim is that her daughter’s racing mare lost some of its hair after using one of its products.

When the Rain Stops Falling

Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Writer, Andrew Bovell; Designer, Hossein Valamanesh; Composer, Quentin Grant; Director / Dramaturg, Chris Drummond.

Diverse forces have forged this new Australian theatrical epic through its generous creative gestation, commenced in 2005. Innovative Adelaide theatre company Brink Productions’ 2008 Adelaide Festival triumph When The Rain Stops Falling opened in Sydney shortly before its London premiere.

God Of Carnage by Yasmina Reza

Queensland Theatre Company & Black Swan State Theatre Company. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. May 4. Director: Michael Gow

Yasmina Reza’s new play, God Of Carnage, starts with a premise ripped straight from the headlines – schoolyard bullying – in which two couples come together to discuss the action of their sons, Bruno and Ferdinand, where Bruno ended up with two broken teeth. The parents, Michel, a wholesaler of household goods, and Veronique, a writer who’s latest cause is what’s happening in Africa, and Alain, a corporate lawyer, and Annette, a wealth manager, meet at the home of Michel and Veronique.

Shut Your Eyes & Think of England by John Chapman and Anthony Marrio. Spotlight Theatre Gold Coast.

Shut Your Eyes & Think of England

If you did as the title suggested you would have missed a very funny performance! Dealing with a financial dilemma that could ruin all concerned, this hysterical romp was fast and furious. Containing all the ingredients of a good farce, the show, directed by Dorothy Henderson, and portrayed by a very talented cast, was full of double entendre and mixed identities along with compromising situations.

Dead Cats Don’t Bounce by Simon Alroe

Hot Tin Roof Production. Cremorne Theatre QPAC, Brisbane. (QLD)

What a joy to watch a play where you peep through a window of today’s world and recognise the people there. What made it work? First came the words: Simon Alroe (watch this writer – he is following in Williamson’s, Simon’s, Bennett’s and Ayckborn’s footsteps) focused on the economic collapse and corporate people caught up by it. The playwright examined what in their past might have accounted for the characters’ reactions to what happened. That engaged us.

Assassins. Book By John Weidman, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Roleystone Theatre. (WA) March 6 – 21.

Roleystone’s Assassins abandoned the traditional setting of this musical, with this production set in a bar, presided over by a female publican/proprietor. The Proprietor entered from the cellar (underworld?), naughtily attired in red, as she encouraged would-be assassins. This was an impressive performance by Carmen Miles, although singing two octaves above the original it sometimes felt a little beyond her range. Carmen also doubled nicely as Emma Goldman.

Singing in the Rain.

Based on the MGM Film. Empire Theatre, Toowoomba. (Qld) April 1.

What a glorious feeling to sit in a beautiful art deco theatre and enjoy a sparkling performance of a musical from the same era. Singing in the Rain was the latest professionally directed amateur musical staged by the Empire Theatre. Director Lewis Jones and choreographer Alison Vallette milked every drop of talent from this community.

The Man from Mukinupin by Dorothy Hewitt, with a score by Jim Cotter.

Melbourne Theatre / Company B. Sumner Theatre until July 19

Dorothy Hewitt's Australian theatre classic The Man from Mukinupin is set in the fictitious small West Australian wheat-belt town of Mukinupin during World War 1. Encased in a small town scenario in which Hewitt wove a light musical, her play exposed Australian society at the time when brutal racism existed.

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story

Music & Lyrics: Buddy Holly & Others. Book: Alan Jones & Rob Bettinson. Live Theatre Productions. Playhouse, QPAC. May 2, 2009.

The best part of Buddy has always been the second act “Clear Lake Concert,” and once again it’s this sequence that elevates this bio-pic version of Buddy Holly’s life above other rock ‘n’ roll tributes. Scott Cameron, who’s been channeling Holly up and down the Gold Coast for the past four years, is personable in the title role, a good singer, and a terrific guitarist. Flip Simmons as Richie Valens made the most of his brief moment in the spotlight.

Jerry Springer: The Opera by Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee

Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House. April 21 – 26.

Has any opera/musical caused as many jaws to drop as this one? Not just at the constant obscenities, the blatant blasphemies, and the parade of amoral trash-can characters. What amazes is the breathtaking daring of the concept - an opera based on the Jerry Springer TV freak show!? – coupled with the rich brilliance of the score. Jaws dropped and ears tingled at the Sydney Opera House main concert hall when the 21 performers delivered superb 8-part operatic harmonies to such lines as “what the fucking fuck fuck”.

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