Reviews

Harry Shearer and Judith Owen: This Infernal Racket

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse. 16-17 June, 2016.

Life partners Shearer and Owen make for a contrasting and, at best, intriguing cabaret double act. They perform with a no-frills stage setup that is classily understated, and are supported by keyboardist CJ Vanston, percussionist Pedro Segundo, and the unmistakable, legendary bassist Leland Sklar (pop and rock fans of a certain generation and taste are virtually guaranteed to own at least one album on which he has played).

Bijou – A Cabaret of Secrets and Seduction.

Written & performed by Chrissie Shaw. Pianist Alan Hicks. La Mama presents a SmallShows Production. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton VIC. 15 – 19 June 2016.

A 1932 photograph by the Hungarian-French photographer Brassaï  (Gyula Halász)of a bejewelled but scowling elderly woman in the Bar du Tribunal in Paris was the initial inspiration for Chrissie Shaw’s show.  The photographer included the woman, whom he dubbed with cruel irony La Mome Bijou, in his renowned collection Paris du Nuit.  (‘Mome’ can mean ‘kid’ or ‘youngster’ or even ‘chick’.)  The woman apparently showed up at the bar every night, bedecked with all her jewellery.&nbsp

The Music Man

By Meredith Willson. Queanbeyan Players. Directed by Joseph Mcgrail-Bateup. The Q Performance Centre, Queanbeyan. June 10 – 25, 2016.

An old favourite has returned to town, refreshed with new choreography, some charming new singers in leading roles and a real zing to the step, marching along to “Seventy-Six Trombones”.

Deanna Gibbs is delightful as Marian Paroo, with a beautiful lyric soprano voice that shines in “The White Knight”. Gordon Nicholson makes “Professor” Harold Hill persuasive and smooth, while bringing his best game to “Seventy-Six Trombones”, where one is almost taken away with the promise of a band!

Dita Von Teese – Strip Strip Hooray!

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Festival Theatre. 13th June, 2016

“Queen of the New Burlesque” Dita Von Teese graced the Festival Theatre stage to rapturous applause in her show Strip Strip Hooray! It soon became apparent why this forty-something temptress has become an icon in this genre in recent years.

New York comedian and host extraordinaire Murray Hill was a vibrant and hilarious emcee for the evening. Facilitating as much sexual innuendo and audience participation as possible, he kept everyone engaged between acts. He was pure show business.

Bring It On - The Musical

Book: Jeff Whitty, Music: Tom Kitt & Lin-Manuel Miranda, Lyrics: Amanda Green & Lin-Manuel Miranda. WAAPA 2nd and 3rd Year Music Theatre Students. Directed by Jay James-Moody. Regal Theatre, Subiaco, WA. 11-18 Jun, 2016

WAAPA's annual showcase musical, featuring Musical Theatre Students, and involving many WAAPA departments, is an eagerly anticipated event.

Barb Jungr – Hard Rain: The Songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen

Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. 12 & 13 June, 2016.

The promise of an evening spent with interpretations of the work of two of the greatest and most distinctive of modern songwriters was more than enough of an attraction to a reviewer who was unfamiliar with the interpreter herself. Fortunately, Barb Jungr does not disappoint. Her stated aim is to present ‘P’ songs: philosophical and political – but she does so with an impish persona that is delightful.

Robyn Archer – Dancing on the Volcano

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. 11-12 June, 2016

Robyn Archer’s love affair with Adelaide continues as she premieres her latest show Dancing on the Volcano, which is a name adopted for a period where cabaret had a rebirth in Germany between 1919 and 1933.

Tripod with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra: This Gaming Life

Conductor: Austin Wintory. Director: Andrew Pogson. Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. 11 June, 2016.

This reviewer considers himself a long-time Tripod enthusiast, but has also been a long-time non-gamer since about the age of 12 when the family Amiga 500 computer console both broke down and was rendered obsolete (whichever came first). The Tripod fan elected to see this new show, in the hope that it could deliver engaging entertainment and hilarious humour for someone who does not currently lead a gaming life.

Keep

By Francesca Pazniokas. Owl and Cat Theatre, 34 Swan Street Richmond VIC. 7 – 17 June 2016.

The stage is piled high with tottering piles of junk – the kind of junk that would still be there when a jumble sale is over.  A dead plant, fluorescent flower jewellery, ghastly ‘art’, lurid soft toys piled on a battered cabinet, a headless but pregnant mannequin, bags of who-knows-what.  You know the place smells off.  A peremptory knocking at the apartment door.

Heathers: The Musical

By Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy. Showwork Productions. Playhouse Theatre, Sydney Opera House. June 8 – 26, 2016.

Having partially recast the show and returned to Sydney to a bigger stage and audience, I’m thrilled to see that Heathers: The Musicalis still as slick and entertaining as ever.  Production specifics aside, it’s hard for a show like this to flop with thanks to the gritty, intelligent writing of Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphey, favourites in the contemporary musical theatre sphere, and the same guys who brought us the smash hit Legally Blonde The Musical.

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