Reviews

Megan Mullally & Her Band Nancy & Beth

Devised by Megan Mullally & Stephanie Hunt. Melbourne Recital Centre. 12 & 13 June 2019

‘It started as a bit of a joke,’ said Megan Mullally in a recent interview, ‘but it’s not as much of a joke now.’  Which doesn’t in the least mean her ‘punk vaudeville’ show is not funny or not extremely entertaining.  What Ms Mullally means is that this now highly polished show began in 2011 with Ms Mullally and Stephanie Hunt fooling around – with a ukulele apparently – finding they loved the same songs and that their voices blended, and slowly developing Nancy and Beth.  Don’t ask me to explain the

Philip Quast Uncut

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2019. A Meredith Shaw Production. The Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre. June 10, 2019

An afternoon with an old friend. That’s the way the performance by Philip Quast felt in his Adelaide Cabaret Festival show Philip Quast Uncut. From the moment we hear a disembodied whistle and his approaching beautiful tones singing “The Gypsy Rover”, as an audience, we are along for the ride. It was clear there was much affection in the room for this homegrown star. He made the local audience feel special by even singing a rendition of “Adelaide’s The Home For Me”from On The Wallaby by Nick Enright.

Almost, Maine

By John Cariani. Between the Buildings Theatre Company. Meat Market’s Stables, North Melbourne. 10 – 16 June 2019

Love is tough.  Finding it, declaring it, keeping it, losing it.  Set in the fictitious snow-bound small town of ‘Almost’in the north-eastern US state of Maine on a Friday night, John Cariani’s play in nine parts depicts lovelorn or love-lost inhabitants as they hit turning points in their lives – and it’s sweet, bitter, funny and sometimes just a little too cute and corny.  

Rock Choir

QPAC Choir & QPAC Youth Choir / Griffith University Musical Theatre Graduates/ Merge Dance Theatre / Rock Choir Band. Choirmaster: Timothy Sherlock. Piano: Tina Liu. Concert Hall, QPAC. 11 June 2019

On its tenth anniversary, QPAC’s Community Choir is this year paying tribute to Rock ‘N’ Roll with songs from The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Billy Joel, through to classic groups of the eighties Queen, Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd. An eclectic selection of material that encompassed hard rock to soft-pop rock.

With over 200 voices at his disposal, choirmaster Timothy Sherlock’s choral and musical arrangements gave four-part harmony life to this classic repertoire at times nearly blasting the roof off the Concert Hall.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The Australian Ballet, with Orchestra Victoria. The Arts Centre Melbourne. 8 – 22 June 2019

Tonight was the 50th performance of Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Opening in Oxford in 1862, this balletic adaptation of the famous novel sticks closely to its original text. Alice, played by Principal Artist Ako Kondo and her sisters (Jill Ogai and Karen Nanasca) are being entertained by Lewis Carrol himself (Adam Bull). One by one the guests arrive for a party most played by Principal Artists.  It’s beautiful to be sure and promising of some wonderful dance to come.

Pride and Prejudice

By Helen Jerome. Based on the novel by Jane Austin. Redcliffe Theatre, Queensland. Directed by Madeleine Johns. June 7 – June 16, 2019

Let’s go back into the past and follow the family relationships as every possible trick is used to find husbands for the three Bennet girls – Jane, Elizabeth and Lydia – as daughters could not inherit any of the estate. Success for a young lady was to be married and here their mother is obsessed with the task. The novel was written during the Regency Era in 1813 and this gives the modern audience the opportunity to witness a view life of a time so very different from our own.

Cloudstreet

Adapted by Nick Enright and Justin Monjo from the novel by Tim Winton. Malthouse Theatre. May 6 – June 16, 2019

This feat of theatre is epic and audiences are ‘loving it’.   It is exquisitely staged, clever and entrancing.

Tim Winton’s story is about two young families, the Pickles and the Lambs, who share a ramshackle house, as their children grow and lives change in the decades after WWII.  Some aspects of each family develop and some disintegrate.  It is a much-loved work and a favorite Australian novel of many.

Ms Lisa Fischer with Grand Baton

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse. 7-8 June, 2019

One of the highlights of this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival is the legendary Ms Lisa Fischer performing with the band Grand Baton. Both are individually well known, having successfully collaborated with other major artists such as the Rolling Stones and Louis Vega. When performing together, however, they are known for creating musical magic, their individual artistry complementing each other and working harmoniously as one.

Taxithi – An Australian Odyssey

By Helen Yotis Patterson. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Space Theatre, 7th and 8th June, 2019.

Taxithi is an enthralling homage to the wave of Greek migrants who arrived in Australia in the 1950’s and 60’s, in particular to those strong women who sailed here with heavy hearts and spent a lifetime yearning for their homeland, their loved ones and their Hellenic identity.

Helen Yotis Patterson has skilfully written a heartfelt piece of verbatim theatre and fused it with moving pieces of Greek folk music, or rebetika, which was popularised during the period that the Greek migrants become an indelible part of our Australian society. 

Megan Mullally and her band Nancy and Beth

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide, 9 June 2019; Elizabeth Murdoch Recital Hall, June 1 & 13; Sydney Opera House, June 16; QPAC, June 19.

Nancy and Beth is the creation of Megan Mullally (from Will & Grace) and Stephanie Hunt (Friday Night Lights), a singing and dancing duo reviving and restyling songs old and new. Their harmonies are sublime, their choreographed dancing is beat-perfect – and together, it’s hilarious.

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