Reviews

Wicked The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz

Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Book by Winnie Holzman. Based upon the novel by Gregory Maguire. Shane Davidson Presents. Walford Anglican School Theatre (SA). April 19-23, 2017.

To this veteran ‘Wicked-watcher’, who has seen the production six times over the years, the prospect of an amateur version with mainly youth, was a challenge. How would a traditionally ‘adult’ show work in this format?

Diary of a Wombat

Based on the book by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley. Monkey Baa Theatre Company. Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre. April 18 – 24, 2017

Monkey Baa’s adaptation of Jackie French’s first book about Mothball the wombat is true to Bruce Whatley’s vivid illustrations depicting a week in the life of this endearing but mischievous mammal who spends the days sleeping, eating, sleeping, scratching, sleeping … and finding as many ways as are possible to annoy the family whose garden she has chosen to make her home.

13 The Musical

Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Book by Dan Elish. Jopuka Productions Inc. Directed by Joshua Maxwell, Musical director Quinn Carter and Choreography by Nicole Seggie. The Art House, Wyong. April 15-21, 2017

As the title suggests, this relatively little-known show celebrates/commiserates that most painful rite of passage – turning 13. At the time of it's Off Off Broadway (Californian) Debut in 2007, 13 was the only musical ever to have a full cast and band made up of teenagers. Making it's Broadway debut over a year later – it closed after a less than a year – but remained a cult hit among die-hard fans and has been revised and 'revived' at various times in scattered capital cities ever since.

The Book of Everything

Adapted by Richard Tulloch from the novel by Gus Kuijer. Caste Hill Players. The Pavilion Theatre. Mar 31 to April 22, 2017

When I first saw this joyous, quirky little play at Belvoir a few years back, I was absolutely charmed. Despite it’s dark themes of domestic violence and religious hypocrisy, I was totally swept up by its whimsical, optimistic sense of hope. It’s a wonderful uplifting Australian stage adaptation of a Dutch novel by Gus Kuijer,

Similar feelings washed over me again at the Pavilion Theatre watching Carol Wimmer’s production for the Castle Hill Players.

Dracula: Last Voyage of the Demeter

By Sean Carney. Bitten By Productions. Club Voltaire 14 Raglan St, North Melbourne. April 12 – 22, 2017.

In Bram Stoker’s Dracula there is a brief mentione of Dracula travelling by ship to England. Writer Sean Carney has chosen to imagine what occurred on that fateful trip and has created an eerie tale that is confidently presented.

We are below deck in a cargo area where the Captain of the good ship Demeter is guarding Dracula, who has been captured, chained and caged. The ship is becalmed and an unrelenting fog descends, causing crew and passengers to become unsettled.

Table 17

Written and Directed by Phillip A Mayer. Here There & Everywhere Theatre Company. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Southbank Theatre, The Lawler. April 19 – 22, 2017

When going to a family wedding you know the relatives to avoid and who is going to cause embarrassment. In Table 17, Phillip. A. Mayer has drawn on his experience as an MC and guest at many weddings to create a one act play featuring a stock cast of guests thrown together at the back table of a wedding. 

The Travelling Sisters

Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, off Little Collins Street, Melbourne. 17-23 April, 2017.

The Travelling Sisters (Lucy Fox, Ell Sachs and Laura Trenerry) is a truly delightful comedy show. The incredibly talented trio employ a vast range of performance skills including music, clowning, pantomime, mime, physical theatre, theatre of the absurd and performance art to produce a highly satirical look at life, especially Australian life. Although they are well travelled their show focuses on some of the more absurd or bizarre caricatures that typify Australian culture. Their perspective is often uncannily accurate and astute, and the result is hilarious.

Bach’s St Matthew Passion

Sydney Philharmonia choirs (Symphony Choir, Chamber Singers, Vox, Sydney Philarmonia Orchestra). Conductor – Brett Weymark. Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. 15 April 2017

Bach’s St Matthew Passion is considered one of the greatest music scores ever written. First heard in 1727 in St Thomas’ Church in Leipzig Germany, the piece is performed in two parts. The first tells the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. The second, depicts the trial, crucifixion and burial of Jesus.

I had the pleasure of listening to the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs (SPC) and the Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra perform this complex, beautiful, sombre and dramatic work on Holy Saturday in the near full, Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

By Rajiv Joseph. Mad March Hare Theatre. Directed by Claudia Barrie. Old Fitz Theatre, Sydney. 12 April - 6 May, 2017

When you enter the theatre, Maggie Dence - who’s playing a tiger - is already on stage, peering through a fence, looking straight into the audience, sizing up who’s sitting down. This Bengal tiger was played by Robin Williams on Broadway and, in a similar way to how Williams probably did, Dence dominates the stage

The Dog / The Cat

By Brendan Cowell and Lally Katz. Belvoir, Upstairs Theatre. April 13 – May 7, 2017

Two little plays about estranged couples relating to each other through their pets seems like kids’ theatre – until I remember how many times, as a grown adult, I talk big issues with our dog, and imagine its replies!  

Expanded now for the Upstairs theatre, Brendan Cowell’s The Dog and Lally Katz’s The Cat return to Belvoir as very funny double bill.  

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