Reviews

Funny Money

By Ray Cooney. Ballina Players. Players Theatre, Ballina. Directed by: Jackie Reidy and Mike Sheehan. April 1st to 10th, 2016

FUNNY Money (as the name suggests) is a funny show and this production had everything worthy of a great comedy; pace, timing, lots of laughs, sight gags and a solid set that withstood the continuous banging of doors!

Georgy Girl – the Seekers Musical

Book by Patrick Edgeworth. Script Consultant, Graham Simpson. Music Supervision, Arrangements and Orchestrations by Stephen Amos. Producers: Richard East and Dennis Smith. State Theatre, Sydney. Sydney Premiere – April 6, 2016

If, like me, you grew up in Australia the 1960s, The Seekers, and their hits including “The Carnival is Over”, “I’ll Never Find Another You”,  “A World of Our Own” and “Georgy Girl” are probably part of the soundtrack of your life.

The apparently squeaky clean young Aussie folk group taking on the pop music world in a music industry better know for sex, drugs and rock’n’roll became national icons with their clean-cut image and distinctive harmonies.

Reuben Kaye – Plugged

The Butterfly Club. MICF. 5th-17th April, 2016

Turn back the clocks – it’s Berlin in the 1930s … you can sense there should be cigarette smoke, and Kurt Weil, Bertolt Brecht and a young Jacques Brel sitting at the stage’s edge waiting for Marlene to appear. And she does…. tall, smokey-eyed, androgynously beautiful: but wait, this isn’t Dietrich, it can’t be; he sings too well and he isn’t butch enough. Yet the soul, the spirit, the charisma is all there, along with the ghosts of all the great Cabaret stars like Dietrich.

Vladimir the Crow – Whispering Ghoul

Written and performed by Paul Bourke. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Sound design by Stephen Bourke. La Mama Courthouse. March 30 – April 10, 2016

If you are interested in clowns and clowning catch this show because Paul Bourke’s clown Vladimir the Crow is stunningly unique.  He is a delightful clown, perhaps a little socially confronting at times, but very engaging and touching.  

As ghoul and ghoul whisperer, Vladimir is sometimes dark and sinister, sometimes contortedly pathetic, sometimes charming, sometimes disarmingly close and often ridiculously funny.

Hairspray

Music: Marc Shaiman. Lyrics: Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman. Book: Mark O’Donnell & Thomas Meehan. Based on the movie written & directed by John Waters. Director/Choreographer: Callum Mansfield. Musical Director: Dennett Hudson. Harvest Rain Production. Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. 8-10 April 2016

Harvest Rain’s big fat arena Hairspray is billed as the world’s biggest production of the musical and with over 900 people on stage they’re already in the history books. With a principal cast of names, headed by Simon Burke, Tim Campbell, Christine Anu, Amanda Muggleton and Wayne Scott Kermond, musical theatre graduates, and hundreds of kids with stars-in-their-eyes, this irresistible salute to the sixties is a spectacular and way OTT production.

Sunny Ray and the Magnificent Moon

Arena Theatre Company. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre Melbourne. Directed by Christian Leavesley. Dramaturgy by Casey Bennetto. April 5 – 10, 2016

As consummate, flexible performers, Claire Bartholomew and Daniel Tobias present two well-rounded personas - Sunny Ray and Magnificent Moon, respectively. 

This show is great entertainment for four to eight year olds and their parents and anyone who can be a big kid at heart when watching fun performances. 

I Get The Music In You

Jan Van de Stool (Queenie van de Zandt). MICF. Trades Hall, Carlton. 24 March - 17 April, 2016.

Queenie van de Zandt is a legend amongst Music Theatre and Cabaret lovers. Her alter ego, Jan van de Stool, is almost as famous – thanks to Queenie.

The Great Fire

By Kit Brookman. Belvoir. April 2 – May 8, 2016

The opening scenes of this new play by Kit Brookman are so promising. The introductory dialogue is crisp and the cast has picked up the natural rhythms that make it recognisably Australian. The characters and setting too, in these opening scenes, are familiar: members a family returning home from different parts of the country to celebrate Christmas.

Replay

By Phillip Kavanagh. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre. April 2 – May 7, 2016

Brotherly love can be such an odd beast, a mix of unstated feelings and admiration, pinched by competition and envy, gentle and teasing perhaps but often bullying and oppressive.  Phillip Kavanagh’s new play about three brothers begins with these promising themes.

Harvey

By Mary Chase. Direction: Simon Corvan & Kathleen Yorston. Growl Theatre, Windsor School of Arts Hall, Windsor, Qld. 7 – 16, April 2016

Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize winning Harvey was written in 1944 and at 1,775 performances is one of the longest running plays on Broadway. It owes a lot to the screwball comedies of the thirties, think The Man Who Came to Dinner and plays of that ilk. Psycho-analysis became the rage in the U.S. at the time with plays and musicals alive with Sigmund Freud allusions. Chase cleverly tapped into this stream of social consciousness and was one of the first playwright’s to suggest the inmates of the asylum were more sane than the people who committed them.

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