Reviews

Cosi

By Louis Nowra. Old Nick Company. Director: Robert Manion and Katie Robertson. Theatre Royal Backspace, Hobart. June 13 - 22, 2013

The production of Cosi by Louis Nowra, presented by Old Nick Company at the Theatre Royal Backspace in Hobart, presented this reviewer with a dilemma. Who, in a large cast of competent actors, stood out for praise? The simple answer, although something of a standard cliché, is that it truly was an ensemble piece, with everyone working well. The most important and obvious point of this cast was that the characters were on display, not the actors.

The Pirates of Penzance

Music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W S Gilbert. Director Meg Warren. Musical Director Graham Ford. Choreographer Tamblyn Smith. Presented by Diamond Valley Singers and Eltham Orchestras (Vic). Until 13 July, 2013.

Upon leaving the Warrandyte High School Theatre after the Diamond Valley Singers and Eltham Orchestras’ spirited account of this classic comic opera, I couldn’t help but contemplate how much poorer our musical world would be if the works of Gilbert and Sullivan had never existed. They are perfectly compelling beasts – providing, at once, the challenges of the fiendishly difficult ‘patter songs’ for which they are most famous, and the equally recognisable choruses that provide ensembles with the opportunity for a wonderfully big ‘sing’.

Cinderella (or Goodness Triumphant)

Opera by Gioachino Rossini. New English translation: Lindy Hume. Recitatives: Narelle French. Director: Lindy Hume. Conductor: Wyn Davies with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra Conservatorium Theatre, Southbank, Brisbane. 6 July 2013

2013 seems to be the year of Cinderella. First we had Queensland Ballet’s production of it and now Opera Queensland get into the act with a work that is listed as number 29 on the world’s most-performed operas.

My Leonard Cohen

Written and Directed by Stewart D’Arietta. Music and Lyrics by Leonard Cohen. Chapel off Chapel. 6th- 14th July, 2013

The gift of Music is a powerful thing. Cohen has that gift not just in his music but in the power of the lyrics that go with it. Stewart D’Arietta, a great musician in his own right, has the gift of interpreting what Cohen has created, and he brings to that art all the power that a master craftsman can give. He’s charismatic, gob-smackingly good and, dare I say it, even sexy, his slight frame filling a much larger space and giving an aura of command and authority to the performance.

Rocket Man

By Paul Gilchrist. Subtlenuance Theatre Company. Director: Paul. Gilchrist. Producer: Daniela Giorgi. Designer: Rachel Scane. Tap Gallery East Sydney. 4-14 July to 2013

Blind Anger Tasted

Sydney Indie theatre stalwarts Paul Gilchrist and his partner Dani Giorgi have created their thirteenth production in five years and Rocket Man delivers a powerful blast of passion, disappointment and anger.

Corpse

By Gerald Moon. Gold Coast Little Theatre. Directed by Nathan Schulz. June 29 to July 20, 2013.

CORPSE! What a great name for a “who-dun-it”, especially when there is only one lady, two gentlemen, a twin playing psychopath and multiple “corpses”.

Nathan Schulz, assisted by Barry Gibson, brought the corpses to life in an ever-twisting plot worthy of the best English thrillers.

The Pirates of Penzance

Gilbert and Sullivan. Directed by Adam Salathial. Phoenix Theatre at Memorial Hall, Hamilton Hill, WA. July 5-20, 2013

Laughing Horse Productions and Phoenix Theatre's co-production of The Pirates of Penzance was one of the most fun productions I have seen in a while.

While the skill levels of the cast vary enormously and frankly some aspects of the show are not really up to scratch, it is one of the quirkiest interpretations of Pirates I have seen, has a beautiful spirit and has some truly brilliant moments.

Singin’ in the Rain.

Adaptation (book) by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Based on their screenplay for the MGM film of the same name. Music by Nacio Herb Brown. Lyrics by Arthur Freed. Director Rowena Brown. Musical Director Rebecca Dupuy-Purcell. Choreographer Lisa-Maree David. Set Designers Rowena Brown and Matt Wheatland. Costume Designer Louise Parsons. Presented by ARC (Vic). Until 13 July, 2013.

What, asked the audience member sitting behind me of her companion on the opening night of ARC’s production of Singin’ in the Rain, were they thinking? Apparently, a less-ambitious show might have been in order. Well, if ambition is the yard-stick by which we are to measure the success of this young company’s terrific production of this celebrated musical, then all power to them.

Sleeping Beauty in the Wood

By Tony Nicholls. Directed by Carole Dhu. Pinjarra Town Hall, Pinjarra, WA. July 5-6, 2013

Prima Donna Productions is predominantly a youth theatre company, which has become quite a presence in the Murray district in the past ten years. Featuring kids from 7 to 18 in this production, the emphasis is on involvement and all in the cast of over thirty performers demonstrated an excellent on-stage commitment.

This WA written pantomime, by Tony Nicholls, was localised even further with a clever dig at neighbouring town Dwellingup. A contender for an award for the most complex plot in panto history, the story was effectively conveyed and the audience kept well entertained.

Tosca

By Giacomo Puccini. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. July 6 – August 31, 2013.

The Plot

Puccini’s opera, adapted from a play by French playwright Soudain, and first performed in 1900, is set in Rome in 1800 as Napoleon’s troops approach to free Rome from the long and tyrannical rule of the Kingdom of Naples.

Angelotti, who has just escaped from prison, hides in the Attavanti chapel of the Sant’Andrea dell Valle church. When he emerges, the artist Mario Cavaradossi, who is completing a painting of Mary Magdalene in the church, agrees to help him escape but tells him to hide when Tosca approaches.

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