Reviews

Kiss of the Spider Woman

By John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terence McNally. Hills Musical Company. Stirling Community Theatre. April 27 to May 12, 2012.

You don’t want to be kissed by the spider woman, but you do want to see the Hills’ Kiss of the Spider Woman, my oath.

The novel by Argentina’s Manuel Puig was published in 1976. He adapted the story to the stage in 1983 and two years later there was a film. The musical - music/lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret and Chicago) and book by Terrence McNally won seven 1993 Tony Awards - for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Costume Design, and for each of the three lead actors.

Stockholm

By Bryony Lavery. Director: Tanya Gerstle. Red Stitch Actors Theatre. April 27 - May 26, 2012.

The Neverending Story

Adapted by Tim O’Connor from the book by Michael Ende. Music: Klaus Doldinger. Additional Music: Maitlohn John. Harvest Rain (Qld) Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. Director: Tim O’Connor; Musical Director: Maitlohn John. Set & Costume design: Josh McIntosh. April 28 – May 12. 2012.

The star of the evening of this premiere movie-to-stage adaptation was Josh McIntosh’s puppet and costume designs. Brilliantly imaginative they set the bar high for a theatrical version of the popular children’s fantasy that has spawned three movies plus an animated TV-movie and series.

Tim O’Connor’s direction was also imaginative and helped by the use of the film’s original music score by Klaus Doldinger, re-orchestrated for a string quartet by Maitlohm John. It was a highly-stylistic version of the land of Fantasia where the story was set.

Late Night Impro Lounge

Wine Bar, Enmore Theatre (NSW). Comedy Festival. 10.15pm, April 27 / 28, May 4, 5, 11 & 12, 2012.

Some people are just born with funny bones and thankfully the core group of this show including Impro Australia veterans, Rebecca De Unamuno, David Callan and Cale Bain have been endowed with their fair share.

Let the Sunshine

By David Williamson. Directed by Dennis More. The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 26 - 29 April, 2012, and touring regional Australia.

At one point Emma, a high-flying corporate lawyer, explains that she had wanted to be a teacher but her father ‘thought she could do better’. My 13-year-old daughter immediately elbowed me: yes, I’ve inadvertently said precisely that to her once. She’d then repeated it to all of her teachers at her Year 6 graduation. That’s why you go to see a David Williamson play, for those awkward flashes when you recognise something that makes you squirm while you laugh.

Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare. Queensland Theatre Company. Playhouse, QPAC 21 April – 13 May 2012

This show exceeded all expectations.

Overenthusiastic morality police complained about bill-board pictures of the lead actors embracing because 2011 Matilda-award-winner Melanie Zanetti looked ‘underage’. She played a very convincing fourteen year-old Juliet and deserved the praise and love the audience showered on her. They also loved Thomas Larkin’s Romeo, his second performance as a Shakespearean hero within three months.

 

Australia Day

By Jonathan Biggins. Playhouse Theatre, Arts Centre, Sydney Opera House September 12 to October 27, 2012.

Just like Aussies love to argue about the best way to BBQ a steak, Stage Whispers’ Sydney and Melbourne reviewers seeJonathan Biggins’s sausage sizzling comedy Australia Day very differently.

David Spicer found Australia Day much more to his taste than our Melbourne reviewer Coral Drouyn, who felt it struck the odd ‘snag’.

David's reaction on seeing it in Sydney is that, “Australia Day is a cracker of a comedy.

“The opening night audience was primed for a good time and got what they came for.

The Red Apple / Trouble in Tahiti

By Jacques Offenbach / Leonard Bernstein. Lyric Opera of Melbourne. Chapel off Chapel. Director: Nathan Gilkes. Conductor: Pat Miller. April 21 – 29, 2012.

Lyric Opera of Melbourne continues to introduce rarely heard operas to the Melbourne public and from what I saw the public responded well.

The Red Apple is an Offenbach operetta with a new translation by Pat Miller. In spite of the flimsy plot Kate Amos, Michael Lapina and Bruce Raggatt gave convincing performances. Michael was in thrilling form, and Kate and Bruce, a G&S specialist, were also strong performers.

Lou Sanz: Neverending Storage

Matchbox @ The Factory Theatre, Marrickville. April 25 – 29, 2012.

We're informed that this performance is flowing smoothly, subsequent to opening night, and that the Festival organisers / venue have ironed out the technical issues mentioned in our review.

Xanadu

By Douglas Carter Beane, Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. Mosman Musical Society (NSW). Director: Anthony Young. Zenith Theatre, Chatswood. April 20 – 28, 2012.

In Xanadu does Mosman’s show

A zany fun-filled night decree.

This affectionate stage musical send-up turns cult classic Xanadu, regularly rated amongst the worst movie musicals ever made, into a laugh-filled romp.

Seen the movie? That may well broaden your smile. Lived through the disco era? That will certainly tickle a funny bone or two. But this production feels like an all-round crowd-pleaser.

Mosman’s production is a cute, cheeky, high-camp disco frolic.

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