Reviews

Briefs - Close Encounters

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2017. Magic Mirrors Spiegel Tent. 9-11th June, 2017

Combine gender bending, drag, acrobatics, circus, magic, comedy with just a touch of S&M and you have the spectacle that is Briefs - Close Encounters.

Being a virgin to this Queensland company (with the addition of a local Adelaide performer) I didn’t have a clear idea of what to expect, so every twist and turn of the show was totally new to me.

Performed in the iconic Magic Mirrors Spiegel Tent, this show is a delight for the senses from start to finish.

Miss Saigon

Music: Claude-Michel Schonberg. Lyrics: Richard Maltby Jr & Alain Boublil. Director: Mardi Schon. Musical Director: Julie Whiting. Choreographer: Maranne McQuade. Queensland Musical Theatre. Schonell Theatre, Brisbane. June 7 – 11, 2017

Staging Miss Saigon is a challenge for any community theatre company but Queensland Musical Theatre came through with flying colours.

Sierra Boggess – In Concert

Concertworks production. Musical Director: Brian Hertz. Concert Hall, QPAC, Brisbane. 8 June 2017.

Royalty came to Brisbane last night - that is Broadway and West End royalty -  the form of the brilliant and captivating young star Sierra Boggess. Not only is she Broadway and West End royalty, she is also a Disney Princess as well having created the role of Ariel in the stage version of The Little Mermaid animated movie.

Fiddler on the Roof

Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Book by Joseph Stein. Therry Dramatic Society. Arts Theatre, Adelaide. June 8 – 17, 2017.

Fiddler on the Roof has been a show close to my heart since I played in the orchestra for a production in 1981. Naturally I went to Therry’s production with high expectations and I was not disappointed.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

By Dale Wasserman. Monster Media (VIC). Director: Carl J. Sorheim. Designer: Sarah Tulloch. Southbank Theatre, The Lawler. May 31 - June 11, 2017

Staging One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in Australia requires a lack of sanity.

First, Cuckoo’s Nest is filled with American cultural references.

Second, the early 21st Century is the wrong time for this play. Modern psychiatric hospitals are mostly dissimilar from what you see on stage.

Third, the play calls for a cast of 16. While several actors in the ensemble only have a short time on stage, few of the roles are interchangeable.

Yet somehow Monster Media made the play work.

Thank You For The Music – An Abba Celebration

QPAC Choir Showcase Concert. Choirmaster: Timothy Sherlock. Concert Hall, QPAC, 6 June 2017

On ABBA’s first tour to Australia in 1977 they played all capital cities but Brisbane which of course elicited a huge outcry from local fans at the time. This concert by the QPAC Choir rectifies this 40-year old oversight by celebrating the music of the Swedish super group whose songs have become pop classics over time.

Hating Alison Ashley

Book by Robin Klein. Adapted by Richard Tulloch. Directed by Tanja Stanley. Mousetrap Theatre, Redcliffe, Queensland. June 2 – 10, 2017.

If you think you know what school students are really like, you should see these grade eights at the notorious Barrington East School.  Work and good behaviour are foreign to them. The dominant person is Erica Yurken, who  believes  she is destined for a glittering stage career. Alison Ashley arrives as a complete contrast to the others – she is beautiful, rich, clever and well behaved. The school’s one week camp brings everything to a head when they  stage the camp play.

The Nixon Tapes

By John Adams. Opera Australia. Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House. June 5, 2017

John Adams’ thrilling opera Nixon in China has, inexplicably, never been seen in Sydney. Now thirty years after its premiere, Opera Australia is at least performing four extracts in a Concert Hall version, and dubbing it The Nixon Tapes.

Andrew Mogrelia conducts the full OA Orchestra and Chorus and five soloists singing the roles which made this historic 1972 meeting in Beijing.  

True West

By Sam Shepard. Mount Players (Vic). Mountview Theatre Macedon May 26 - June 10, 2017

True Westis a strong and interesting play by Sam Shepard. It seems to be produced every now and again but not as often as Cowboy Mouth, and not surprisingly as it is challenging for both actors and audience.

It is a courageous choice for Mount Players and its success is a testament to the especially strong ethic of team playing that this company thrives on.

1984

By George Orwell. New adaptation created by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan. Ambassador Theatre Group & GWB Entertainment present the Headlong, Nottingham Playhouse & Almeida Theatre production. Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. 31 May – 10 June 2017

There is little to add to Lesley Reed’s comprehensive review of this powerful touring production.  I must certainly agree that this Australian cast set design, lighting and sound are excellent – all are indications of what can be done when imaginations completely in keeping with the text are adequately resourced.  The design by Chloe Lamford, in particular, makes possible numerous coups de theatre – surprising and frightening appearances and disappearances by Winston Smith’s nemeses and the transformation before our eyes (that makes what we’v

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