Reviews

My Name Is Jimi

Co-created by Jimi Bani & Jason Klarwein, based on a story by Ahdi Dimple Bani & Jimi Bani. Queensland Theatre. Melbourne International Arts Festival. Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio. 4 – 7 October 2018

Jimi Bani embraces the audience with his wonderful smile.  A seasoned actor in theatre and television, he brims with confidence and infectious good humour.  Within seconds, he’s got us in the palm of his hand.  So, he’s the ideal guide to take us into the history and culture of his island – Mabuiag in the western Torres Strait.  Today its population is somewhere between four and five hundred people.

Madiba the Musical

By Jean-Pierre Hadida. The Comedy Theatre Melbourne (and touring Australia and NZ). 3-28 October, 2018.

It is difficult to know where to start even when only writing a review of this momentous show. French author and composer Jean-Pierre Hadida has taken on the monumental task of telling the story of Nelson Mandela’s life in a musical. Producer Neil Croker has brought the first English language version to lucky audiences in Australia. It has kept the same title as the French version – Madiba – the name of Mandela’s clan.

Lexicon

NoFit Circus. Melbourne International Arts Festival. October 3 – 21, 2018

No lion tamer. No animal in sight, not in this modern circus!

An unruly bunch of circus misfits mingle, while stirring up a trail of mischief through the crowd. The show is soon to begin, the smell of buttery popcorn hovers and children are giggling with anticipation.

Leap of Faith

Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Glen Slater. Book by Janus Cercone & Warren Leight. Based on the Motion Picture “Leap of Faith” produced by Paramount Pictures and written by Janus Cercone. North Shore Theatre Company. Director: Chapin Ayres. Musical Director: Andrew Beban. Choreographer: Olivia Cathro. Independent Theatre, North Sydney. October 5 - 14, 2018.

This production is full of charm, heart, and professionalism.

Director Chapin Ayres brings out both the emotional truth of the script and some great performances from the cast. I felt that Ms Ayres understands what the show is about, both in terms of its spirit and how to stage it.

The Bard and Beyond

Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Carlos Kalmar. Violin: Arabella Steinbacher. Concert Hall, QPAC. 6 October 2018

German violinist Arabella Steinbacher was the undoubted star of this very eclectic Queensland Symphony Orchestra concert, delivering an impassioned account of Bruch’s Concerto No. 1 in G Minor. One of the most popular works for orchestra and violin in the classical music repertoire it has been a favourite with solo artists ever since it was written 150 years ago. A highly romantic piece full of sweeping melody and Hungarian folk dance themes, Ms.

The Imaginary Invalid

By Molière. Blackwood Players. Blackwood Memorial Hall (SA). October 5-20, 2018

Molière’s comedies are forerunners to modern farce and also considered Restoration in type, though emanating from France rather than from the traditional English Restoration Era genesis. Key to performing in such comedy is delivering the witty, fast-paced prose well and mastering the satire and absurdity, while never losing the underlying energy. One must also be playful, yet elegant, a difficult compromise.

Rock of Ages

By Chris D'Arienzo. Songs by Various writers. Phoenix Ensemble. Directed by Morgan Orth. Musical Direction by Nick Ng. Choreography by Shelley Scott. October 5th - 27th, 2018.

Rock of Ages, the hit Broadway musical about true love, bad 80s music and even worse hair, has finally arrived at the Tin Shed, also known as, Phoenix Ensemble. While this may not be Shakepseare, Rock of Ages does provide for a fun night out at the theatre and plenty of great 80s tunes to sing along to.

Dido & Aeneas

By Henry Purcell. State Opera South Australia in collaboration with The Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide. Plant 4, Bowden, SA. 2-7 October, 2018.By Henry Purcell. State Opera South Australia in collaboration with The Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide. Plant 4, Bowden, SA. 2-7 October, 2018.

Your humble reviewer admits to being something of an opera novice, but this hour-long production is a pleasant experience indeed.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

From the book by Joan Lindsay. Adapted for stage by Tom Wright. University of Adelaide Theatre Guild. Little Theatre Adelaide University. October 6-20, 2018.

Joan Lindsay's Picnic at Hanging Rock was first published in 1967. Whether a true story or not, the eery tale of a group of three girls and their teacher from Appleyard College who go on a picnic to the local beauty spot is etched into Australian lore.  The Peter Weir film adaptation in 1975 told with much beauty the haunting, ethereal story about the doomed Valentine’s Day trip in 1900.

Ann-Droid

Bandart Productions. Awesome Arts Festival. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. 4-6 Oct, 2018

For kids whose first passion is video games, Ann-Droid may well be the perfect early theatre experience. This production, which hails from Budapest, combines theatre with animation in a present day take on the Pinocchio story.

Bereaved eccentric inventor Alfred (Szabolcs Thoth-Zs) invents a robot girl. She is tasked with completing a mission. Along the way, the girl, Ann, (Katalin Lengyel) discovers her humanity.

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