Reviews

Mamma Mia!

Music & Lyrics: Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus. Book: Catherine Johnson. Michael Coppel, Louise Withers & Linda Bewick Production. Director: Gary Young. Choreographer: Tom Hodgson. Musical Supervisor: Stephen Amos. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 26 December 2017 – 4 February 2018.

With filming just wrapped on Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the second movie in the franchise, due for release in July 2018, it’s time to revisit the stage version once again.

This new production has a new set, new costumes and a younger cast. It still sounds the same, and the implausible plot is still the same, but it’s been given a whole new makeover. Fans who loved it the first time around are still going to love this version.

Spirit of Christmas

Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Simon Kenway. With Simon Gleeson and Alinta Chidzey. Concert Hall, QPAC. 22-23 December 2017.

Each year QPAC’s annual Spirit of Christmas concert just seems to get bigger and better and this year was no exception. With over 400 artists participating from the QPAC Choir, Brisbane Chorale, Voices of Birralee, Brisbane Birralee Voices, Brisbane Bells Handbell Orchestra and guest artists Simon Gleeson, Alinta Chidzey, Julia McRae, Shubshri Kandiah and Sofia Formica, accompanied by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the voices of the massed choirs were indeed heavenly.

“Joy to the World” has never sounded more appropriate nor more joyous.

A Very Kransky Christmas

Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), Cremorne Theatre, 19 to 23 December, 2017

Some families do charity work together for Christmas; others fire up the barbie and break out the backyard cricket. The Kransky Sisters gather in their Esk homestead’s lonely lounge room and sing songs. It helps to distract them from the disappointment of realising that Santa has bypassed their house yet again. Middle sibling Eve must also deal with the added frustration of knowing that her recurring wish-list item – a husband – will inevitably be crossed off by one of her sisters.

Elf Jnr The Musical

Songs Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, with a book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin. Adelaide Youth Theatre. Arts Theatre. 22nd & 23rd December, 2017.

Adelaide Youth Theatre’s latest production is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. High energy production numbers teamed with some catchy tunes make for an entertaining hour of festive fun. It’s feel-good tale of an elf orphan (who is actually a human) is delightful in its execution. His journey to New York City to find his father is both comical and touching.

Paper Cuts

By Kirsty Budding. Budding Theatre. Directed by Kirsty Budding. Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre. 21–23 December 2017

Paper Cuts is sub-titled Comedic and Satrical Monologues for Audition and Performance.  The production coincides with the launch of the book of the same title and employs 30 of the book’s 36 monologues (some of which are in reality one-sided dialogues), using nearly as many actors and a master of ceremonies, Jasper Lindell, with a flair for the comic himself.

 

All Is Calm

By Peter Rothstein. Musical arrangements by Erick Lichte & Timothy C. Takach. Goodwood Institute. 21 - 23 December, 2017.

Promise Adelaide’s production of All is Calm is a rather sombre, moving and at times perplexing show. It focuses on that rather unique but true event in the history of WWI in which on Christmas Eve, 1914, German and British soldiers put down their weapons and met in ‘No Man’s Land’ in order to exchange Christmas greetings and well wishes.

The production is a type of ‘verbatim’ theatre in that it is a series of recollections from those involved, punctuated and supported by songs, Christmas songs as well as other popular WW1 songs.

The Unbelievables

The Works Entertainment. Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Dec 19 – 29, 2017; Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, Jan 3 – 13, 2018; Crown Theatre, Perth, Jan 18 – 28, 2018.

Glitz, glam and lots of lights and decibels herald this new show from the producers that took ‘The Illusionists’ and ‘The Golden Age of Circus’ from their Sydney premieres to the international touring circuit. In this production, they expand from a single theme to bring together performers from different “genres and skillsets” in a show that combines circus, magic, dance and music – and a little bit of Las Vegas-style hype.

A Christmas Carol

By Melissa Lee Speyer, with thanks to Charles Dickens. Lies, Lies and Propaganda. KXT - Kings Cross Theatre. Dec 14 – 24, 2017

An exciting merry rendition, for the festive mood, of Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol. Dickens’ novel is much of doom and gloom; Lies, Lies and Propaganda’s Theatre Co production is the opposite, an interesting mixture of Dickens’ themes and present day conflicts, bringing together a mixture of family and society’s values towards others in need of Christmas cheer, adapted by Melissa Lee Speyer.

The Nutcracker

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Queensland Ballet. Choreographer: Ben Stevenson. Conductor: Nigel Gaynor. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 8-16 Dec 2017

Presented annually for the past four years, Queensland Ballet’s The Nutcracker has been so phenomenally successful that this year they’ve had to move the production to a bigger venue to accommodate the demand for tickets. Notwithstanding this production also saw the return to the stage for the first time in 18 years of Queensland Ballet’s artistic director Li Cunxin as Dr Drosselmeyer, a one-time only performance on 10 December that was sold-out within one hour of the tickets going on sale.

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare. Melbourne Shakespeare Company. St Kilda Botanical Gardens. December 2 – 17, 2017

A night (or day) spent watching theatre surrounded by idyllic gardens is never a time wasted. Surrounded by the rose garden at the St Kilda Botanical Gardens, Melbourne Shakespeare Company set up their stage for their recent offering, Much Ado About Nothing.

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