Reviews

Hail Mary

Written and directed by Noel O'Neil. Old Mill Theatre, South Perth, WA. April 10-24 2015

Hail Mary is a new comedy about nuns, billed as "a story about everyday miracles…". Written by local playwright Noel O'Neil, it is set in Western Australia and is being very well received in its World Premiere run in South Perth.

Set in the present, these rather progressive nuns, unusually clad in pre-Vatican II habits, make the ladies from Nunsense or Sister Act look quite sedate as we follow their quest to save their convent and the way they deal with an appearance of the Virgin Mary on the roof.

Deathtrap

By Ira Levin. Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Eternity Playhouse. April 14 – May 10, 2015

There is a good reason why Ira Levin’s Deathtrap is the longest running thriller on Broadway - it’s a cracker of a story within a story that hinges on the element of surprise, therefore I will avoid giving away the plot.

But even if you have seen it before or are a fan of the brilliant film starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve you will not be disappointed by Darlinghurst Theatre’s rendition of this classic tale.

Boys Will Be Boys

By Melissa Bubnic. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 2 Theatre. 16 April to 9 May 2015.

Confronting, visceral, brutal this play jolts the audience into the not-so-pleasant world of the uneven gender battleground of big business – in this case the trading floor … stocks, currency, percentages.  It pulls no punches, allows no compromises. It exposes every possible dirty trick that can be played by unscrupulous men in positions of power – and every demeaning sacrifice ambitious women might be forced to make as they try to win “in a boy’s world”.

Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show

Producers: Howard Panter and John Frost. Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star: April 15 - June 7, 2015.

The original Australian cast members held a reunion prior to the Sydney opening and shared war stories. We heard that when The Rocky Horror Show opened in 1974 the venue was a genuine scary old building with real life rats running around. The show has moved from a crumbling ruin forty years ago to the sparkling Lyric Theatre in 2015.

Double Bill: Bluebeard’s Castle & Il Segretto Di Susanna

State Opera of South Australia. Directed by David Lampard. The Opera Studio. April 17-18, 2015

The State Opera of South Australia (SOSA) opens its 2015 season with this intriguing double bill of two one act operas – Wolf-Ferrari’s comic Il Segretto Di Susanna and Bartok’s tragic “Bluebeard’s Castle” – which explore the importance of trust in married relationships.

The Merry Widow

By Franz Lehar. Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria. Director: Robert Ray. Musical Director: John Ferguson. Alexander Theatre, Monash University. April 16 – 18, 2015

This was a sumptuous production. The sets were striking, the costumes magnificent, particularly the Pontevedrian ones, the direction effective and ensemble singing tight. There were nine young dancers, three of them male, who added immeasurably to the show. The orchestra was excellent.

When directing The Merry Widow myself I struggled to find a workable translation. Director Robert Ray has, with permission, made changes which made for an effective show, including substituting a finale from another Lehar operetta. It worked very well.

Brisbane

By Matthew Ryan. Director: Iain Sinclair. QTC. Playhouse, QPAC, Brisbane. 11 April – 2 May 2015

Brisbane 1942 – Macarthur has arrived, the Brisbane line has been drawn, the Japanese have bombed Darwin, and there’s terror in the streets, a battle royal between Aussie Diggers and Yanks. This is the fertile background for Matthew Ryan’s sweet coming-of-age story Brisbane, which centres on a 14-year-old boy Danny and his best friend Patty.

Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘bout me

Tim Freedman does Harry Nilsson. Hayes Theatre Co (NSW). April 13 – 19, 2015.

A muted carpet square covers the stage, on it a desk, a drinks table, a leather armchair and a baby grand. A digital alarm clock on the desk is just hitting 12 midnight as the lights come up. The alarm buzzes and Tim Freedman, in striped pyjama pants and toweling bathrobe (cf the cover of Nilsson Schmilsson 1971) wanders in from a door stage right. His beard is similar to Nilsson’s – and when he picks up and dons a grey flat cap from a bust on the drinks table, the transformation is pretty damn good!

Craig Hill. Give Him an Inch

Part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Chapel off Chapel, 14-19 April, 2015.

Back in town again for another welcome return visit to the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Scottish comedian Craig Hill bounded back on stage at Chapel off Chapel in his trademark kilt with his trademark hi-nrg gayest of all gay dance intros. Mr Hill's comedy is a refreshingly contemporary take on the gay stereotype of bitchy queen humour - though the barbs are there, his delivery is so warm and approach so light-hearted that it's clear everything is in fun and we're all in on the joke.

Ross Noble: Tangentleman

Part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Palais Theatre, 14-18 April, 2015.

Comedian Ross Noble in person, at the Palais Theatre last night for his opening Melbourne Comedy Festival show, was truly something to behold. Firstly, he couldn’t stand still for more than half a second or so (he said that was because it would look boring if he just stood at a mikestand, but the more likely truth is that he’s overflowing with energy); secondly, he couldn’t stop talking. Who needs a script, or indeed anything other than the most nebulous outline, when you have Mr Noble?

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