Reviews

The Lion King

Music & Lyrics: Elton John & Tim Rice. Additional Music & Lyrics: Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor, Hans Zimmer Disney Production. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane from 26 September 2014

The Lion King has finally arrived in Brisbane with the largest box-office advance in the history of the Lyric Theatre and theatregoers last night were not disappointed. This salad bowl of theatrical magic overwhelms with its vision and deserves every accolade it has ever received.

 

As You Like It

By William Shakespeare. Spark theatre company. Brunswick Art Space, 2A Little Breese Street, Brunswick (VIC). 25-28 September, 2-5 October 2014.

No resources here except a lot of talent and Shakespeare.  Spark, a company who clearly love what they’re doing, give us Shakespeare’s comedy of the sexes (not ‘sex comedy’) in a concrete floored old garage or workshop off a lane in Brunswick.  It’s chilly and the seats are hard.  No wings, no flies.  No theatrical lights – the lights here are pretty much on or off.  Some imagination has gone into the costumes (design by Jaz Tweedale and Cassandra Storm), but almost no money, and the

Li’l Abner

Music by Gene de Paul. Lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank. Directed by Martin Croft. VCA GRADUATING STUDENTS. Space 28. VCA. 18 - 28 September 2014.

What a terrific fun show Li’l Abner is, even though it is so seldom performed. The VCA Music Theatre Graduating Students give us a zippy and colourful production, expertly directed by the marvellous Martin Croft with a terrific set by  Adam Gardnir and dozens of colourful costumes  by Harriet Oxley.

 

Black Diggers

By Tom Wright. Queensland Theatre Company, Sydney Festival and Brisbane Festival, in association with QPAC and The Balnaves Foundation. 24 September - 12 October, 2014

I went along to this with false expectations. I loved Joan Littlewood’s satirical Oh What a Lovely War! Later,I directed a production of it. I guess I expected a black Ozzie version.

 

Scotch and Soda

Starring Company 2 (Performer/directors David Carberry and Chelsea McGuffin) and The Crusty Suitcase Band (Director/Composer Ben Walsh). Judith Wright Centre and Brisbane Festival;  23-27 September 2014

Want a night out without being bombarded by idle chatter and verbal display? Want to be transfixed for over an hour?

 

Company 2 is a Brisbane based multi-disciplinary company who uses the circus, dance and live music as their platform and who on this occasion was accompanied by a raunchy selection of on-stage musicians/characters formed from the backbone of the Sydney jazz underworld.

7

National Institute of Circus Arts. Director: Meredith Kitchen. Production Manager & Lighting Design: Eduard Ingles. Sound Designer: Angelique Ross. NICA, Prahran. 24-27 September and 1-4 October, 2014

In an exciting display second year students from NICA constructed and performed three ensemble pieces exploring their responses to, and their interpretations of, “7”.

 

This was a satisfying demonstration of the lessons of collaboration, performance focus, physical theatre and a broad range of circus skills. There were moments of danger and humour.

 

Anything Goes

Music and Lyrics by:Cole Porter. New Book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman. Musical Theatre Crew. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. Director: Leiz Moore. 12 -27 September 2014

Hobart’s Musical Theatre Crew’s Senior Ensemble gave this reviewer an interesting experience when they presented Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. With a ready supply of talented young musical theatre students to choose from, producers Allan Jeffery and Leiz Moore, also the director, rehearsed the vibrant musical with an alternating cast. Producer Jeffrey suggested that I should “see both casts, because they are both good.” 

The Riders

By Iain Grandage, based on the Tim Winton novel. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Richard Mills. Director: Marion Potts. Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse. September 23 - October 4, 2014

Victorian Opera was back to their usual fare with a world premiere of a commissioned opera by composer Iain Grandage. The Riders was based on the Tim Winton novel of the same name and was a dark piece. 

 

The Motherf**ker with the Hat

By Stephen Adly Guirgis. Directed by Adam Cook. Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Sept 19th – Oct 19th, 2014

American writer Stephen Adly Guirgis can’t be accused of false advertising – he clearly signals the extreme nature of his play in its title. That title may often be censored – it’s previously been called The ________ With the Hat and even The Mother with the Hat – but no punches are pulled on stage. It’s an intense work, violent in both its language and the actions the characters pursue.

Bombshells

By Joanna Murray-Smith, directed by David Bell. Coopers Malthouse, Melbourne, 23-28 September, 2014.

A one-woman show by Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith, Bombshells is a series of six monologues, each showcasing a different character and performed in this production by Christen O’Leary.

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