Reviews

Hello, Dolly!

Book by Michael Stewart. Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman. Based on the play The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder. The Production Company. Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne. 27 May to 11 June, 2017

Hello, Dolly! is one of Broadways most successful musicals and, not surprisingly, the music by Jerry Herman is delightful and the story adapted by Michael Stewart from Thornton Wilder’s play The Matchmaker is full of humanity and lovely witty lines.

This simple story about finding love in New York is universal, heartwarming and presented in a wholly engaging, fluid way by The Production Company.

Only Heaven Knows

Music, Book and Lyrics by Alex Harding. Luckiest Productions and Hayes Theatre Company. May 30 - July 1, 2017

It is impossible to conceive of any company staging this work with any more passion and heart than this production team and cast. The atmosphere on opening night, in Kings Cross where the musical is set, was not just of a company putting on a show – but more like a group on a mission.

Matilda the Musical

Book by Dennis Kelly. Music and Lyrics by Tim Minchin. Based on the book by Roald Dahl. Presented by The Royal Shakespeare Company and Louise Withers, Michael Coppel and Michael Watt, with Chokey Productions, Just for Laughs Theatricals, Glass Half Full Productions, Paula Marie Black, Greenleaf Productions and Michael Lynch. Adelaide Festival Centre. May 21-July 16, 2017

Matilda the Musical is marvellous…a magical, mad and unexpectedly moving experience that tugs at the funny bones and heartstrings of adults and children alike.

Matilda is an entrancing story of childhood resilience and rebellion and is currently in Adelaide in the final stages of its Australian tour.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Music & Lyrics: Richard & Robert Sherman. Book: Jeremy Sams & Ray Roderick. Babirra Music Theatre. Whitehorse Centre, Nunawading (Vic). June 3 – 17, 2017.

Babirra have outdone themselves with this enthralling production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Little Shop of Horrors

Book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken. Based on the film by Roger Corman, screenplay by Charles Griffith. Blackwood Players (SA). Blackwood 21. May 26-June 17, 2017

Long-established Adelaide community theatre group Blackwood Players is getting its mojo back. The company had some heady early years through the 1950’s-90’s but more difficult times in later years, particularly from the mid 2,000’s. However its current very enjoyable production of Little Shop of Horrors is evidence of hard work and strategic thinking aimed at turning the group’s fortunes around.

Antigone

Written by Jean Anouilh. Directed by David Paterson. Based on the play Antigone by Sophocles. Music composed and performed by Josh Lyons, Brodie Greenhaigh and Steve Pearton. Heartbeast Theatre. Spring Hill Reservoir (Qld). 2 to 17 June, 2017

It was a cold Brisbane night. The shivering crowd tentatively descended the scaffold-staircase into the brick-lined belly of the Spring Hill Reservoir. The venue was literally and colloquially speaking, very cool for opening night of Antigone. Thankfully the Heartbeast Theatre production team had left a few blankets about for the frosty audience.

Ode

Original Concept by Karen Sibbing. Co-created by Samara Hersch and Karen Sibbing. Directed by Samara Hersch. Performed by Karen Sibbing. Sound design by Joost van Dijk. Lighting design by Michelle Thorne. Produced by Pietjan Dusee and Esther Bruls. La Mama Theatre, June 2 – 4, 2017.

Ode is a barefaced depiction and unraveling of a day in the life of a vulnerable human struck down by the horrid disease that is dementia. Live theatre can be confronting and Ode is very much that, yet it is performed and directed with great sensitivity and honesty; it awakens an actuality that maybe our loved ones, or we, may one day have to face this frightening fate.

The Advisors

Writer / Director: Gita Bezard. Writers and Performers Jeffrey Jay Fowler, Arielle Gray, Chris Isaacs, Frieda Lee, Mararo Wangai. The Last Great Hunt. Rehearsal Room 1, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. Northbridge, WA. 31 May - 10 Jun, 2017

In The Last Great Hunt’s The Advisors, a group of young people, whom if you squint could be the new Power Rangers, or perhaps an incarnation of Hi 5, throw a relentless slew of advice at the audience for 70 minutes. As a premise, this sounds questionable, but this is a really exciting and engaging piece of theatre.

The Witches

By Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood. Griffin Theatre Company. SUNPAC. May 25 and 26, 2017.

Presented by Griffin Theatre Company, and directed by Lucas Jervies, Christian Charisiou brings this wicked Roald Dahl tale to life as a one-man show. Playing a total of nine characters, intertwined with perfectly timed sound effects and lighting cues – this was a 50-minute show that required your full attention and for all the right reasons. Being a solo performer with minimal props and scenery is difficult enough but to bring to life each character almost instantly and with perfect execution is a tribute to the incredible skill of Christian’s craft.

Book of Exodus Part 1

Created by Adena Jacobs & Aaron Orzech; directed by Adena Jacobs. Fraught Outfit and Theatre Works. Theatre Works, Acland Street, St Kilda VIC. 31 May – 18 June 2017

Book of Exodus is the third part of the ‘innocence trilogy’, following On the Bodily Education of Young Girls and The Bacchae.  It presents the second book of the Hebrew Bible, almost without speech, using images and two child performers.  (There are two pairs of performers: Sol Feldman & Tarana Verma, and Ezra Justin & Malik Keegan, who will alternate.)

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