Reviews

The King and I

By Rodgers and Hammerstein. Gold Coast Little Theatre. November 9 – December 7, 2019

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s timeless classic The King and I is portrayed most effortlessly on the Gold Coast Little Theatre stage. With beautiful costumes and cheeky children, it is a great way to round out GCLT’s playbill for 2019.

Lea Salonga In Concert

Michael Cassel Group. Camarata Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: Gerard Salonga. Concert Hall, QPAC. 9 November 2019

Broadway’s favourite Asian leading-lady Lea Salonga gave a capacity audience at the Concert Hall exactly what they wanted, plenty of Broadway, plenty of movie, and a lot of pop. The Philippine performer who rose to stardom in 1989 as the original Kim in Miss Saigon has captivated audiences ever since, on Broadway in Flower Drum Song, Allegiance, and Once on This Island.

A Delicate Balance

By Edward Albee. Sydney Classic Theatre Company. Director: Victor Kalka. Chippen St Theatre, Sydney. 7 - 16 November 2019

The setting for this 1966 play by American great Edward Albee, 4 years after the iconic Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, reads as follows: “The living room of a large and well-appointed suburban home”. Which is very difficult to achieve when you’ve only got two cents to rub together. Director/designer Victor Kalka has to make do with a row of boxed-in succulents and a well-stocked drinks trolley on his very wide stage. There’s no sign of a chair for anyone to sit on, or a small side-table, for the whole long evening. 

Apocalypse Meow: Crisis is Born

Created and performed by Meow Meow. Directed by Michael Kantor. Merlyn Theatre, The Coopers Malthouse, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank, Vic. 7 November – 1 December, 2019.

Cabaret performer extraordinaire Meow Meow (Melissa Madden Gray) returns to home territory and graces the stage at the Malthouse with her extremely endearing wit and charm. Her subversive approach to the silly season is highly irreverent and somewhat sacrilegious, and this merely adds to the festive mood. 

Photograph 51

By Anna Ziegler. Melbourne Theatre Company. Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio. 1 November - 14 December 2019

Nadine Garner transforms herself into Rosalind Franklin, X-ray crystallographer and one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century.  ‘Photograph 51’ is an X-ray diffraction image taken by Franklin’s assistant, Raymond Gosling, under her direction, in May 1952 and it provided the key, the evidence for how DNA ‘works’ - the secret of Life.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Adapted by Glyn Robbins from the novel by C. S. Lewis. Directed by Craig Griffen. Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana, WA. Nov 8-23, 2019

Koorliny Arts Centre’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe might easily be described as ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – Spectacular’. This lavish, large scale production - featuring a large ensemble, puppet magic and strong visuals - is a sensory delight.

She is Vigilante

Created and Directed by Bridget Balodis and Krystalla Pearce. Theatre Works, St Kilda. November 7 – 16, 2019

She is Vigilante is a collection of five fiery short plays by new and emerging female writers, developed and performed by a community–based ensemble of predominately untrained female performers, directed by Bridget Balodis and Krystalla Pearce.

Robot Coupe by Maja Amanita is a satirical series of mock adverts for domestic appliances used by women in self-defense. A clever and witty collection of vignettes, it addresses the dumbing down of women who watch morning television and are susceptible to being seduced by ludicrous and meaningless gadgetry.

Play Things

Written and directed by Scott McArdle. The Blue Room Studio, Perth Cultural Centre. Nov 5 - 23, 2019

A strongly written new work, crafted by Scott McArdle, this edgy and moving coming of age story follows a pair of teenagers as they help each other deal with trauma.

Late one afternoon, young teens wander through the bush in an outer suburb. Lucy says, with some excitement, that there is a dying kangaroo bleeding badly from its guts. Arnold follows.

While it sounds rather disturbing, and deals with a slew of confronting issues, this beautifully told story is one of the best new works of the year, and a wonder to watch.

Cinderella

Unpublished
Composed by Sergei Prokofiev. Choreographed by Ben Stevenson OBE. The Queensland Ballet. Artistic Director Li Cunxin AO. Canberra Theatre. 5–10 November 2019.

Beautiful, kind-hearted, loving Cinderella is sadly condemned to a life in the cinders by her nasty stepmother and heinously ugly stepsisters, all of whom love nothing better than themselves and making Cinderella’s life a misery.  Meanwhile, the handsome prince of the kingdom is about to hold a spring ball.  Naturally, the nasty stepmother is determined that one of her ugly daughters will find favour with the Prince and make him her husband.

Chicago

Music: John Kander. Lyrics: Fred Ebb. Book: David Thompson, based on the script by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse. John Frost and Suzanne Jones Production. Director: Karen Johnson Mortimer. Musical Director: Daniel Edmonds. Choreographer: Gary Chryst. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. Opening Night. 7 November 2019

It seems only a minute ago that Chicago was in town, but in actual fact it’s been ten years since this vaudeville valentine played QPAC. In that time it has become the longest-running revival in Broadway history, and the longest-running American musical on Broadway, only surpassed by the Andrew Lloyd Webber behometh The Phantom of the Opera. It’s the musical for our age - big, brassy and vulgar with buckets of cynicism. Its satire of the ‘celebrity criminal’ hasn’t dated and seems even more relevant in this day and age of YouTube posts.

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