Reviews

Annie

By Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin and Thomas Meehan. The Regals Musical Society. Sydney Technical High School, Bexley. Director: Meg Day. Musical Director: Jake Ryan. Choreographer: Tracey Rasmussen. October 14 – 22, 2011.

INGENUITY was essential, and evident in abundance.

Five weeks out from opening, The Regals discovered that Rockdale Town Hall would be unavailable for their production of Annie, due to asbestos concerns. The company, including two big casts of children, had been rehearsing a large-scale production for four months, with all facets of preparation, assuming the Town Hall stage facilities, well under way.

Lawrie and Shirley

By Geoff Page. Director: PJ Williams. The Street Theatre, Acton, ACT. 14 – 23 October 2011

THE WHARF REVUE – DEBT DEFYING ACTS

By Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe & Philip Scott. STC production. Gardens Theatre, Brisbane. Director: Jonathan Biggins. Musical Director: Philip Scott. Music Tracks: Andrew Worboys. 13 – 15, October 2011.

Sydney Theatre Company’s Wharf Revue, which has been making Sydneysiders laugh for the past ten years, in recent times has also toured the Eastern states. Debt Defying Acts is midway through its tryout tour which started in Gosford 30th September and ends back at the Wharf 17th November.

Whiteley’s Incredible Blue ...an hallucination

By Barry Dickens. Produced and presented by fortyfivedownstairs. Director: Julian Meyrick. Whiteley: Neil Pigot. Musicians – Pietro Fine, Robert George and Robert Calvert. Associate Director and Designer: Meredith Rogers. Lighting Designer: Kerry Saxby. Sound Designer and Operator: Christopher Wenn. October 13 – 23, 2011.

On the simple set of a hotel room, with sparingly used projected images, a flock of paper herons, spoken stage directions and wonderful improvisational musical extrapolation - Neil Pigot as Brett Whiteley works through a tortured, grounded purgatory.

Ghosts

By Henrik Ibsen. Newcastle Theatre Company. Director: Debra Hely. October 12 – 22, 2011.

It’s always reassuring when community theatre companies veer off the trusted path of farce and classics and venture into what might be perceived as more ‘risky’ territory – by either staging brand new, cutting-edge works or perhaps riskier still, taking one of Ibsen’s vehicles for a spin.

Tosca

Music: Giacomo Puccini. Libretto: Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. Opera Queensland. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. Original Director: John Copley. Revival Director: Cathy Dadd. Conductor: Nicholas Braithwaite. October 15 – 29, 2011.

If you’re going to go out with a bang, it might as well be a big bang, and that’s what Chris Mangin’s swan-song as artistic director of Opera Queensland did with this magnificent production of Tosca.

Flush

By Tara Adams. Atherton Performing Arts (Qld). Director: Shane Trevorrow.

Beauty and the Beast

By Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Linda Woolverton. Northern Light Theatre Company (SA). The Shedley Theatre – 14 to 29 October, 2011.

Northern Light Theatre Company’s Beauty and the Beast at the Shedley Theatre, directed by Fran Edwards, journeys remarkably close to a professional production.

The show rides gracefully on the back of some masterfully crafted coat tails and features an outstanding cast as well as one of the most professional ensemble groups seen onstage in Adelaide amateur theatre for years.

Spring Awakening

Music: Duncan Sheik. Book & Lyrics: Steven Sater, based on the play by Frank Wedekind. Oscar Theatre Company. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. Director: Emily Gilhome. Musical Director: David Law. Choreographer: Rodney Pratt. 14 – 22 October 2011

I was blown away by this production as much as I was when I saw the original cast on Broadway. It’s a classy piece of musical theatre, and there’s class written all over Oscar Theatre Company’s production of it. Based on a 116 year-old German play by Frank Wedekind that was banned for a hundred years and has since been called a masterpiece, this musical version of the work is as relevant today as it must have been back when it was written.

This Year’s Ashes

By Jane Bodie. Griffin Theatre Company. Stables Theatre (NSW). October 12 – November 19, 2011.

“This city has rules. And if you can’t work them out then you’re lost, afloat. Because it’s hard and fast and shiny here, and it’s lonely.”

Loneliness… that is the overriding theme in This Year’s Ashes. The loneliness one feels when immersed in a city that’s in love with itself. Where genuine human contact is often fleeting and your past is never really that far behind you.

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