Reviews

Palace of Varieties

Adelaide Repertory Theatre. Arts Theatre. November 16-25, 2017.

What a delight it is to go the theatre and to be thoroughly entertained. If you are a fan of hilarious skits, a sing-a-long, melodrama and the odd dirty ditty, then look no further than ‘The Rep’s’ latest offering, Palace of Varieties.

Director Pam O’Grady knows her genre well and drains every laugh from the attentive and co-operative audience. With so much going on, mistress of ceremonies Penni Hamilton-Smith does a fine job to steer the night’s festivities, her sharp wit and improvisational skills on full display.

Lonely People Are Always Up in the Middle of the Night

Written and directed by Hila Ben Gera. La Mama Explorations. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton VIC. 18 – 20 November 2017

Six talented young actors give us six lonely people in a series of linked two-hander scenes.  It’s more sketch dramedy than a ‘play’, but it holds together in Short Cuts mode.  There is light and shade, changes of pace and even style.  Some of the sketches are funny in a ‘that’s so true’ sort of way, some are sad and awkward, and a couple perhaps outstay their welcome.

Romeo Is Not The Only Fruit

Playwright, director and lyricist – Jean Tong. Composer and sound designer – James Gales. Musical Director and composition support – Will Hannagan. Set and Costume designer – James Lew. Poppyseed Festival. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. Nov 14 – 28, 2017

This great positive lively show played to an almost full house on Saturday.  It is truly worth catching as theatre with a message that doesn’t preach but wholeheartedly entertains. It is youthful, joyful and delivered with a lovely light touch, showcasing some exciting emerging talent.   

Barnabas Kelemen

Brahms Violin Concerto, Dutilleux Metaboles, Ravel Daphnis et Chloe – Suites 1 & 2 The Queensland Symphony Orchestra with The Australian Voices. Conductor: Alondra de la Parra. Concert Hall, QPAC. 17-18 Nov 2017

Queensland Symphony Orchestra have capped off a stellar seventieth birthday year with a stellar concert featuring Hungarian violin virtuoso Barnabas Kelemen. Kelemen, a last minute replacement for the indisposed Maxim Vengerov, proved he was not only a master of his instrument but also of the concert stage, with an electrifying performance of Brahms Violin Concert.

Nocturne

By Adam Rapp. IKAG Productions. Bakehouse Theatre. 15-19 November, 2017

American novelist and playwright Adam Rapp first staged Nocturne in 2001. Local Adelaide actor Tom Gentry has taken on the mammoth task of reproducing this highly emotive work as both the protagonist of the play and the director.

A stark set consisting of a sofa, desk, bookcase, typewriter and a coffee table strewn with books is dimly lit, allowing for a glimpse of piano keys painted upstage on the floor; their relevance soon becomes apparent.

Muriel’s Wedding the Musical

Book by PJ Hogan. Music and Lyrics by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall. Based on the Movie with additional songs by ABBA. Global Creatures and Sydney Theatre Company. Directed by Simon Phillips. Set and costumes by Gabriella Tylesova. Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay. Opening Night: Saturday November 18, 2017.

What an Abbasolutely fabulous night in the theatre, that is as refreshing as a popsicle on a hot summer’s day, with as much heart and warmth as your mother’s baked dinner.  The biggest surprise is that not only are the songs of the famous Swedish quartet seamlessly integrated into the narrative, but that the four band members make frequent return visits as fairy-Godmother like characters.

The Lonesome West

By Martin McDonagh. Directed by Keiran Brice. Presented by Troop Productions. Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, 8 – 18 November, 2017

Last night I saw something that made me very sad. The Lonesome West was one of the best plays I’ve seen all year. So it was sad to see such a small crowd in attendance. That superb cast and crew deserve to be playing to packed houses. They definitely earned the standing ovation they got at the end of this pitch perfect, dark comedy.

Wanted – one body!

By Charles Dyer. Castle Hill Players. Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill. Nov 17 – Dec 9, 2017.

Written by British actor and playwright Charles Dyer, Wanted – one body! has been staged constantly since its first production in 1961. Set on a stormy night ‘many years ago’ in an old stately home in England, with lots of crashing thunder, flashing lightning, eerie wailing, a sliding panel and the occasional piercing scream, the play has all the essentials of a typical ‘whodunnit’. But, with a couple of disappearing corpses it turns from ‘thriller’ into a crazy mix of comedy and mystery.

The Importance of Being Earnest

By Oscar Wilde. St Jude’s Players Inc. Directed by Rosie Aust assisted by Don Oakley. 16 – 25 November 2017

Oscar Wilde is the master of the comic line and the memorable phrase and there are many of these delights in The Importance of Being Earnest.

Let the Right One In

By John Ajvide Lindqvist, adapted by Jack Thorne. Black Swan State Theatre Company. Directed by Clare Watson. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. Nov 11 - Dec 3, 2017

Black Swan State Theatre Company’s final production of 2017 is a very dark incarnation of Let the Right One In.

Based on the Swedish novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist and adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne, it tells of Oskar, a 12 year old boy, lonely and bullied, who meets Eli, a mysterious and scruffy teenaged girl. The two form an unlikely but genuine friendship as local police attempt to solve a series of grizzly murders.

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