Reviews

Barbu Electro Trad

Cirque Alfonse. The Peacock/Gluttony. Adelaide Fringe. March 8-13th, 15th-19th, 2017

This show is like no other circus cabaret; with a thumping soundtrack and an abundance of cheeky shenanigans, you will have the time of your life.

Large screens either side of the performing space provide video of the beautiful Quebec region, along with scantily clad performers frolicking through the countryside. At times, bizarre, it all soon makes sense.

Cold Light

Adapted by Alana Valentine. Based on the novel by Frank Moorhouse. Directed by Caroline Stacey. Produced by the Street at The Street Theatre, Canberra. Australian Premiere. March 3 – 18, 2017

This new production has debuted at The Street Theatre in Canberra. It is based upon the final novel in Moorhouse’s trilogy which details the life, ambitions and loves of the fascinating Edith Campbell Berry. Alana Valentine’s adaption of the novel is most entertaining, retaining the humour and drama of the novel while compressing the action into a marvellous narrative that compels the audience’s attention.

Twelve Angry Men

By Reginald Rose. Director: David Cascarino. Campbelltown Theatre Group Inc. Town Hall Theatre. March 3 – 18, 2017.

This is an excellent production, well acted with taut direction.

Il Trovatore

By Verdi. CitiOpera (Vic). Director: Stella Axarlis AM. Musical Director: Alan Cook. Frankston Arts Centre, March 12, 2017 and Wyndham Cultural Centre, March 25.

This was another ambitious project for this semi-professional company. A traditional production, which was originally staged at the Athenaeum Theatre, it looked a bit sparse on the huge stage in Frankston, though the projections at the back helped.

Il Trovatoreis nothing without top singers, and this CitiOpera delivered. New Zealand dramatic soprano Amanda Atlas had the ideal voice for Leonora. Her big voice easily met the demands of this challenging role, also delivering some beautiful pianissimo singing.

Manual Cinema – Magic City

Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide. Adelaide Festival. March 11-13, 2017

Manual Cinema is a team of film-theatre artists from Chicago, USA. This is their first visit to Australia, and they are quite simply marvelous.

Magic City is the first of two shows they are performing at Her Majesty’s Theatre as part of this year’s Adelaide Festival. It is loosely based on the 1910 children’s novel of the same name by Edith Nesbit, the English author, and co-founder of the Fabian Society, who also wrote other children ‘classic’ novels such as Five Children and It (1902) and The Railway Children (1906).

Peter and the Wolf

Narrated by Miriam Margolyes. Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Adelaide Festival of Arts 2017. Adelaide Festival Theatre. March 11-12, 2017

Miriam Margolyes and orchestral music, or more specifically glorious Adelaide Symphony Orchestra music, is a magical blending that provided a delightful feast for the imagination on the opening night of Peter and the Wolf.

The performance was presented in four sections:

The Cunning Little Vixen Suite - Leos Janacek

The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra - Benjamin Britten

Polovtsian Dances, from Prince Igor - Alexander Borodin

Peter and the Wolf - Sergei Prokofiev

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. Music by special arrangement with Sony/ATV Publishing. Adapted for stage by Jeremy Sams. Based on the MGM motion picture. Licensed script adapted by Ray Roderick. Novel by Ian Fleming. Musical Director: Daniel Heskett. Co-director: Narelle Bonnici. Co-director: Samantha Heskett. CenterStage Geelong. Geelong Performing Arts Centre. March 10 to 18, 2017.

Like the directors – Narelle Bonnici and Samantha Heskett – I have fond childhood memories of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. All three of us entered the world of Chitty in front of our grandparents’ television.

Even back then, Chitty was dated.

While Ian Fleming’s other creation, James Bond, gets continuously updated, Chitty remains frozen in time. Why? None of today’s cars have enough character to be Chitty.

Faith Healer

By Brian Friel. Directed by Judy Davis. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 4 March – 8 April 2017

Director and actors, all of extraordinary caliber, offer audiences a perfectly stripped back yet marvelously nuanced Belvoir Street production of Brian Friel’s Faith Healer at The Sumner Theatre.

Considered to be Irish writer Friel’s masterpiece, it is made up of four rich and complex monologues that are hinged on that ‘slippery fish’ memory. 

Evocation of Butoh

Program 2 - Before the Dawn. Yumiko Yoshioka. Asia TOPA / La Mama. Artistic Director – Yumi Umiumare. Lighting Design - Bronwyn Pringle. March 9 – 12, 2017.

This is the most marvelous opportunity to be entranced by world-renowned Butoh practitioner Yumiko Yoshioka, who brings her own unique form of Butoh. Butoh was first created in 1959 in Japan and has been a unique form of physical expression that is grounded in the grotesque and does not err from the abject and dark and taboo subjects.

The Sleeping Beauty

By Ottorino Respighi. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Phoebe Briggs. Director: Nancy Black. Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse. March 11 – 18, 2017

So Ottorino Respighi wrote an opera? Who knew! Obviously the powers that be at Victorian Opera did, and what a delight it was.

As the work was originally written for a marionettist, VO employed puppeteers to create the various characters with singers in street clothes singing beside them. Sometimes they would mirror each others’ movements. With so many animals featured, this worked very well.

 

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