Reviews

The Little Mermaid

Music: Alan Menken. Lyrics: Howard Ashman & Glenn Slater. Book: Doug Wright based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson. PRIMA. Director: Alicia Caruana. Musical Direction: Lucas D. Lynch & Samantha Peterson. Choreographer: Jen Howson Redcliffe Cultural Centre. April 22 – May 1, 2016

For some unknown reason I’m a sucker for Disney musicals; they put me in lyrical mode, and if it’s a score by Alan Menken, even better. So PRIMA’s Queensland Premiere production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid ticked all the right boxes for me. That it delivered in spades was the icing on the cake – good performances, good vocals, and just enough magic and make believe to enchant.

Velvet

Director/Creator: Craig Ilott. Musical Director: Joe Accaria. Peter Rix Production @ Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. From 20 April 2016

Velvet is gobsmackingly good! A fusion of cirque du Soleil, blistering vocals, and wall-to-wall disco dance beats, it had your adrenaline running from the moment you stepped into the theatre.

With the Cremorne set-up in cabaret mode, seven gigantic mirror balls, mirror columns, and a lighting plot no disco could ever afford, this show was 80-minutes of (disco) heaven.

The Boys’ Club

Written & directed by Thomas Ian Doyle. The Owl & Cat Theatre, 35 Swan Street, Richmond VIC. 19 – 23 April 2016.

Time to party at a cement works. The boss, Gunner (Steven Psoras) gives the new guy, young Asher (Brayden Lewtas) six grand to take care of the ‘entertainment’: booze, drugs and a stripper.  Gotta have a stripper.  But things go wrong.  Of course they do or there would be no play.  Without adding any spoilers to the ensuing catastrophes, the drugs are bad shit and the boys get a little carried away with Candy the stripper (Fiona Scarlett).  And when things go wrong, fear, panic, guilt and rage take over.

Disgraced

By Ayad Akhtar. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Theatre., Walsh Bay, Sydney. April 10 – June 6, 2016

Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced was last year the most produced play in America, and deservedly so.  

First time playwright he may be, but Akhtar won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for here so successfully forging flesh and blood characters from the conflict of urgent and commanding ideas.

Rock of Ages

Book by Chris D’Arienzo. Arrangements & orchestrations by Ethan Popp. Directed by: Ingrid Ganley. Musical Direction: Aaron Powell. Choreography: Kirsty Anderton. Presented by John X. Theatre Royal Hobart. 8- 23 April 2016

With a well-known show like Rock of Ages expectations are high, but the John X Productions season in Hobart at the Theatre Royal hit the mark. With their usually high standards, under the direction of long-time theatre whizz Ingrid Ganley and with a superb cast including veterans and scintillating newcomers, John X Productions gave Hobart audiences a bang-on rock concert experience. Gangbusters! Great houses and happy smiling audiences – what more would you want, if you have taken the risk to put on a BIG show?

The Moon’s a Balloon

Patch Theatre Company. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. April 19th-23rd, 2016.

Patch Theatre Company have done it again; visually breathtaking and imaginative, in its production of The Moon’s a Balloon, the company has made balloons the catalyst for an extraordinary tale of playful adventures that lead to friendship and connection.

The Moon’s a Balloon is the first production for The Adelaide Festival Centre’s 'Something on Saturday 2016' program for children.

Bambert’s Book Of Lost Stories

Barking Gecko. Directed by Luke Kerridge. Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA, Perth, WA. 8-23 April, 2015

Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories is an amazing new show produced by Barking Gecko, with this World Premiere being very different to anything else the company has produced to date. Lavishly presented, it is a beautifully presented piece for all ages. Adapted by Dan Giovannoni and Luke Kerridge, it is based on the German children’s book Bamberts Buch der verschollenen Geschichten by Reinhardt Jung.

The Wee Free Men

By Sir Terry Pratchett. Adapted and directed by Pamela Munt. Unseen Theatre Company. Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. 15-30 April, 2016.

This latest journey by Unseen into the uniquely creative world of Terry Pratchett may well prove highly popular to his staunchest fans, but probably has less to offer the average viewer than earlier excursions.

Tommy Tiernan - Out of the Whirlwind

Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Hamer Hall, Melbourne. Sunday 17 April, 2016.

Until recently Tiernan held the world record for the longest solo stand up comedy show and his stamina on stage shows no sign of abating. Tiernan’s performance is like a high-octane adrenalin rush. Also known for his tendency to court controversy, his material has a no holds barred approach, touching on topics ranging form sex to global politics. Tiernan’s humour is designed to offend but this is clearly a style rather than a reflection of his worldview.

Educating Rita

By Willy Russell. Christine Harris & Hit Productions. Directed by Denny Lawrence. QUT Gardens Theatre, Brisbane 14 & 15 April, 2016, and touring.

The more I see this play the more I see in it. Willy Russell's timeless tale of two contrasting characters in a teacher/student role exploring life's journey in all its complexities is as endearing as it is chucklesome. This little gem is not only entertaining but also full of substance, demonstrating the inclusion of different levels of exploration involving the British class system, environment, psychology and, of course, the matter of education.

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