Reviews

The 60 Four

Adelaide Fringe Festival 2019. Various Locations. March 2 -30, 2019

The 60 Four have bought back the boy band era with all its rich harmonies, classy tuxedoes and snappy choreography. These boys (all in their early 20s) quickly have the audience in the palm of their hands, all backed by a tight 7-piece band.

Playing to a packed house of all ages, mainly Baby Boomers, they soon have the audience clapping along, swaying, using their iPhones for a light show and dancing in the aisles. I even heard some screaming from the back.

Grand Finale

Adelaide Festival. Hofesh Shechter Company. Choreographed by Hofesh Shecter. The Festival Theatre. 15 – 17 March, 2019

Grand Finale is indeed just that, a grand finish to the 2019 Adelaide Festival. Performed by the Hofesh Shecter Company from England and Israel, with an ensemble of ten dancers from eight different countries, this is a high energy performance with links to an international vocabulary of dance.

World Problems

By Emma Mary Hall. fortyfivedownstairs - 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Mar 12 – 24, 2019.

World Problems is the new experimental theatre project written and performed by Emma Mary Hall. Not familiar with her previous work, l found it an interesting and rather intriguing process as an audience participant. She vividly tells her story, recollecting her own experiences via a repetitive recall of  “You remember”. Confident and engaging, she takes you into her personal memory vaults from her childhood days, teenage years, adulthood, present day and into her own dystopic visions of herself in the future.

Zizanie

By Meryl Tankard. Adelaide Festival. Restless Dance Theatre. Space Theatre. 14-17 March, 2019

On researching the meaning of the word Zizanie, I found it generally means ‘discord’ or ‘chaos’, however it can also mean ‘to drive a wedge between’. I think the latter meaning is most apt for this stunning performance by Restless Dance Theatre. Whilst Zizanie is born of the creative mind of the talented Meryl Tankard, who saw the idea of chaos and messing about as being a starting point, it is the metaphor of ‘driving a wedge’ that gives a very strong message.

Ulster American

By David Ireland. 2019 Adelaide Festival. Traverse Theatre Company. Dunstan Playhouse. March 13th – 17th, 2019

What results when a British director, a female playwright from Northern Ireland and an overbearing American actor meet? A black comedy of epic proportions. Playwright David Ireland has created an intense, confrontational story about gender politics, female empowerment and owning one’s truth.

Hydra

By Sue Smith. Director: Sam Strong. Queensland Theatre & State Theatre Company of South Australia co-production. Bille Brown Studio, South Brisbane. 9 March – 6 April 2019.

George Johnston and Charmian Clift were the Australian literary darlings of the 50s: authors who rejected Western consumerism and decamped to a remote Greek island to become ‘real’ novelists. That they eked out a hand-to-mouth living for ten years before the success of Johnston’s My Brother Jack becomes the background to Sue Smith’s Hydra, a play that explores their intense love for each other, their fractured marriage with its infidelity, alcoholism, illness and jealousy.

Barnum

Music by Cy Coleman. Lyrics by Michael Stewart. Book by Mark Bramble. Adelaide Fringe 2019. March Productions. Main Theatre at Goodwood Institute Theatre, Adelaide. March 14 -17, 2019

With the recent success of the film The Greatest Showman it makes perfect sense for March Productions to present Barnum. A difficult musical to say the least, it requires a leading man who can sing, dance and walk the tightrope.

Those of us who are old enough remember the great Reg Livermore playing the title role. March Productions have a winner on their hands with Ben Francis from the Tightrope Cast as P.T. Barnum himself.  While some of the leading roles are different in the alternating cast (the Trapeze Cast), I can only comment on the cast I saw.

Cella

By Paul White and Narelle Benjamin. Part of Dance Massive at Arts House, North Melbourne. Meat Market. March 12 – 16, 2019.

Cella is an amazing dance performance devised by two consummate choreographer/dancers, Paul White and Narelle Benjamin, currently on as part of Dance Massive 2019 at the Arts House, North Melbourne. Cella offers challenging ways to perceive performance dance that is centered on bodily biological structures.

Personals

Music: Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz, William Dreskin, Joel Philip Friedman, Seth Friedman, Michael Skloff. Book & Lyrics: David Crane, Seth Friedman, Marta Kauffman. Griffith 3rd Year Musical Theatre Students. Director: Jason Langley. Musical Director: Heidi Loveland. Choreographer: Joseph Simons. Burke Street Studio, Brisbane, 12-16 March 2019/Chapel Off Chapel, Melbourne, 21-23 March 2019.

Personals has an impressive pedigree, with book and lyrics by the writers of Friends (before it became a worldwide phenomenon) and Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz amongst the songwriters.

Written in 1985, when people placed ads looked for partners in the free street press of the day, 34 years on director Jason Langley has given the dating concept a clever IT spin with the use of mobile phones and computers.

Wrath

By Liam Maguire. Hi-JackedRabbit Theatre Company. King Cross Theatre, Sydney. Directed by Liam Maguire. 26 February – 18 May, 2019.

For their three-month takeover of the Kings Cross Theatre, beginning with Wrath, JackRabbit Theatre has changed its name to Hi-JackedRabbit Theatre. This is the first of five promised productions, all around 60 minutes, and all aimed at “people who are bored with Sydney’s nightlife and have been looking for something to do”. Don’t know what the round-the-corner theatre folk at the Stables or the Old Fitz think about that, or indeed the many previous visitors to this oddly satisfying traverse space.

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