Reviews

The Bright Stream

Music: Dmitri Shostakovich. Libretto: Adrian Piotrovsky & Fyodor Lopukhov. Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky. Assistant Choreographer: Alexander Petukhov. Bolshoi Ballet. Lyric Theatre, Brisbane. 7-9 June, 2013.

The second ballet in the Bolshoi Ballet’s exclusive Brisbane Season was the comedic rural romp The Bright Stream. For breathtaking classical dance it was equally as thrilling as Le Corsaire. Set on a collective farm in Stalinist Russia in the thirties, the ballet encompassed a plot of confused identities, cross-dressing, and romanceset to a ravishing score by Shostakovich. It was ballet music written by a master.

BLAK

Bangarra. Choreography by Stephen Page and Daniel Riley. McKinley and Music by David Page and Paul Mac. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House, June 7 – 22, 2013; Canberra Theatre Centre, July 11 – 13 & QPAC, Brisbane, July 18 – 27.

Bangarra’s critically acclaimed Blak came to Brisbane at the end of their current tour following stints in Melbourne, Woolongong, Sydney and Canberra. This impressive new work, played without an interval, was in three parts.

Sweeney Todd

By Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. Blue Mountains Musical Society. Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith. My 24 – June 1, 2013.

The Saturday matinee for BMMS’ Sweeney Todd had me captivated from the very moment the house lights dimmed and the organ solo signalled the show’s beginning.

ENRON

By Lucy Prebble. New Theatre (Newtoown, NSW). June 4 – 29, 2013.

It could be said that this is an ambitious production: a weighty and complicated topic; more than fifty roles; in a fairly long and complex play. Yet from the start it is obvious that director Louise Fischer knew just what was needed for this play by the much-lauded British playwright, Lucy Prebble.

Private Lives

By Noël Coward. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Director: Patricia Kempa. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. 31 May – 15 June, 2013

Private Lives, written by Noël Coward and first performed by him in 1930, when he was at the height of his popularity, is a popular play for community theatre groups. Presented anew by Hobart Repertory Theatre Society, and directed with precision by Patricia Kempa, this old play can still draw a crowd.

Arafat In Therapy

By Jeremie Bracka. Director: Pip Mushin. Chapel off Chapel - June 4 – 9, 2013. Parade Theatre Sydney - July 10 - 14 (no show on 12th).

Jeremie Bracka is quite simply one of the best comic actors we have, and one of the most intelligent and astute writers. That combination allows him to overcome poor and pedestrian direction, fluctuating sound levels, blackouts and stage waits for no apparent reason and truly bad music (intentional or otherwise?) that is probably meant to be funny but isn’t. And the show ringing up 15 minutes late with a noisy audience who all seemed to know each other and played with their iPhones throughout, didn’t help either.

AT LAST – The Etta James Story

By John Livings. A Room 8 production. Playhouse Theatre, Brisbane. 5 – 9 June 2013

Biographical musicals are becoming popular. Etta James fans packed the Playhouse for last night’s opening, filled with anticipation. They were well rewarded!

Icons

Celebrating the Biggest Icons in Music History, featuring Greg Gould and his band 'The Chase'. Iconic Productions. Laycock Street Theatre, Gosford. May 24, 2013

Born and bred on the Central Coast of NSW, Greg Gould has spent virtually half of his 25 years on stage. At 16 he made the Top 40 of Australian Idol and for the past couple of years he's been touring the world on board cruise ships as the headline act – ideal training conditions for the rigours of an ambitious touring show such as this.

The title implies that it might be just another in the relentless line of tribute/impersonation shows – but it's really Gould's personal love letter to his favourite superstars and songwriters.

Don Juan

By Moliere, Tasmanianised by Robert Jarman. Blue Cow Theatre. Theatre Royal Backspace, Hobart. Director: Robert Jarman. 29 May – 8 June, 2013.

Although he is a fictional lothario, Don Juan is touted as being theoriginal lady-killer, a name lent to any man who is a womaniser. The Don Juan legend or persona has inspired many writers, including Moliere.

2 Short Russians

Vodka, Fucking and Television by Maksym Kurochkin and The Bear by Anton Chekhov. 5pound theatre. Director/Designer: Jason Cavanagh. The Owl and Pussycat, Richmond. May 28 – June 28, 2013.

The Bear is a beautifully crafted piece of writing and a lovely introduction to Chekhov as a writer of comedies. This staging is just delightful with all three actors excelling. What it may lack in precision is made up for with energy commitment and a very real grasp, and expression, of instinctive truth.

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