Reviews

Wicked

Music & Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz, Book: Winnie Holzman. Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire. Ipswich Musical Theatre Company. Director: Robbie Parkin. Music Director: Robert Clark, Choreographer: Simon Lind. Ipswich Civic Centre, 9-18 September 2016

Sometimes the line between a top community theatre production and a professional one can be very thin indeed, and that’s what we saw yesterday in Ipswich Musical Theatre’s production of Wicked. With so many pros on board behind-the-scenes and ex-Wicked Wiz Simon Gallagher stepping in as casting director, the result was pro-am musical theatre at its finest.

The Sound of Music

Music by Richard Rodgers. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Directed by Jeremy Sams. The Crown Theatre, Perth, WA. 14 Sep - 9 Oct 2016

The Sound of Music opened the last leg of the Australian Tour at The Crown Theatre Perth on September 15. Still feeling fresh and vibrant, this production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is lavish, with beautiful costuming and sets highlighting an excellent cast.

Songs For A New World

Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown Javeenbah Theatre Company, Nerang, Gold Coast. Director: Trevor Love. Sept 16 – Oct 1, 2016

This production has been stripped down to the bare essentials which, in a way, has taken the gloss off what could be a great experience.

I could not understand what it was all about until I got home and had time to read the comment on each song. Had these preceded each item as surtitles or commentary, with perhaps the use of a hat, scarf or prop it would have enhanced the experience of the production.

With the Musical Direction in the capable hands of Javeenbah Stalwart, Rachel Love, the show had pace but that alone was not sufficient to entertain.

The Wharf Revue 2016: Back to Bite You

Written by Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe, and Phillip Scott. Sydney Theatre Company. Musical direction by Phillip Scott. Canberra Theatre, 13–24 September 2016

With each year’s Wharf Revue, I’m surprised by the creativity and skill with which the Wharf Revue team turns existing songs, plays, films, and other cultural staples to good use in spotlighting the contradictions and doublespeak, the double standards and hypocrisies, the meaninglessness and frank absurdities that pervade Australian political life.

Breast Wishes

Concept, Anne Looby, book and lyrics, Bruce Brown. Spotlight Basement Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director: Tony Alcock. Sept 16 – Oct 2, 2016

When I review a show, I do so, on the merits of the performance I witness and am not influenced by comments from those connected to the production.

Breast Wishes shares the trials and tribulations of the female mammary glands and of those whose lives are affected in one-way or another. Breasts conjure up a variety of thoughts (the haves and have-nots) in different people and this show explores all of those “points”.

Footloose

By Dean Pitchford and Tom Snow. Holroyd Musical and Dramatic Society. Red Gum Theatre, Wentworthville. September 16 – 24, 2016.

HM&DS’s performance of the musical Footloose by Dean Pitchford and Tom Snow was a very entertaining night of theatre. Based on the 1984 movie of the same name, the musical includes all the catchy tunes from the film like “Lets Here it for the Boy” and “Footloose”, while other new songs written for the musical like “Mama Says” and “Heaven Help Me” are also great fun additions to the already brilliant score.

Oklahoma!

Music: Richard Rodgers. Book & Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein 2nd. Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs. SQUIDS Theatrical Inc. Director: Nathaniel Currie.Musical Director: Julie Whiting. Choreographer: Jessica Limmer. Redcliffe Cultural Centre, Redcliffe, Qld. September 9 – 17, 2016

With bales of hay on each side of the proscenium arch and dances of the hoedown and square dance variety, SQUIDS effectively brought the bucolic charm of Oklahoma!’s turn-of-the-century story to life. We all knew Rodgers and Hammerstein’s score as a classic of the Broadway musical theatre, but in this production it was Hammerstein’s book adaptation which deserved the laurels.

Soula’s Kitchen

Created and performed by Georgina Baveas. Designed by Meropi Tourogiannis. G&M Theatre. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Sept 16 – 24, 2016.

In this comedic one-woman show Soula’s Kitchen you will transform as a guest at a traditional Greek dinner. Soula’s dining room is the stage and the room abounds with Greek memorabilia and ornaments, from the old family photos and religious prints on the wall, the dolls in Greek dance costumes, food cooking on the stove (of course), down to the small details like the doilies in the glass cabinets and Greek music in the background.

Our House

Music and lyrics by Madness and a book by playwright Tim Firth. Genesian Theatre. September 3 – October 8, 2016

Every now and again theatre companies such as the Genesian, that usually produce dramas, decide to indulge in a musical. Not necessarily one that is well known nor one that requires a large cast, a multi-piece band or a big stage – but a musical, nevertheless. Our House is that sort of musical. It can be staged with a small cast (fourteen in this production), has relatively uncomplicated music (which could easily be have been recorded to disc rather than using a live band); and the action can be adapted to a smaller stage.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. September 12 – October 22, 2016

I remember once seeing a Brazilian production of the Dream so dark that it ended with the noble lovers casually slaughtering the mechanicals after they’d staged their tedious little play.  That Dream had nothing of the pastoral redemption and fairyland sweetness usual to Shakespeare’s play – and nor does this Kip Williams STC version.

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