Reviews

The Marriage of Figaro

By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Richard Gill. Director: Jean-Pierre Mignon. Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse. July 18 – Aug 3, 2012.

Normally concentrating on less familiar operas, Victorian Opera broke away with an innovative production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. A triangular portion of the stage protruded into the audience bringing them closer to the action. There were minimal scene changes, although these did take time on opening night.

Hairspray

Book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, Music by Marc Shaiman and Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman. Matt Byrne Media, Arts Theatre, Adelaide and Shedley Theatre, Elizabeth, July 5-28, 2012.

Adelaide missed out on the professional tour of Hairspray.

With such a void to be filled, enter director/producer/actor Matt Byrne with a vibrant, joyous, exciting version of the classic show.

He said his production was based on John Waters’ original 1988 film, rather than the 2007 version which featured John Travolta.

With Byrne’s biggest cast to date, 60 performers, the show ticked all of the boxes with a fantastic ensemble cast, an innovative pastel set and a rocking 12-piece band led by Rodney Hrvatin.

Vivienne Powell’s Sentimental Journey

Seymour Centre, Sydney. July 18, 2012

Fresh from successful performances in the Hunter Valley, Vivienne Powell’s sentimental journey with Ella Fitzgerald, Julie London and Doris Day continues the seemingly popular trend for performers to pay tribute to their favourite stars. And why not? The songs they made famous are timeless and passing them on to succeeding generations seems like a good idea – though the audience, who certainly enjoyed the performance  in the cosy Sound Stage at Sydney’s Seymour Centre, were hardly newcomers to the repertoire!

Motherhood the Musical

By Sue Fabisch. Producer: Christine Harris & HIT Productions in association with GFour Productions. Director: Terence O’Connell. Musical Director: Vicky Jacobs. Everest Theatre, Seymour Centre. July 17 – 21. The Q Theatre, 14 August 2012. And touring.

From the team that brought the amusing Menopause the Musical, here is a journey through the travails and joys of motherhood. Sure, there may be many heartaches, annoyances, irritations and moments of madness to these four funny mothers, but there are also times of great love and tenderness towards their partners and their little darlings. (Not sure there’s much love towards mother-in-laws, though, given the hilarious grandmother song!)

Home

By Margie Brown-Ash. La Boite Indie & The Nest Ensemble. Roundhouse Theatre, Brisbane.18-28 July, 2012.

This show falls into my category of ‘pocket’ theatre: intimate, audience-engaging, personal, similar to Victorian drawing room presentations.

What Margi Brown Ash performs, with son Travis Ash on keyboards, is her own life story so far, embellished with moving anecdotes from other people of her generation, gathered over past years as she developed this piece in Houston Texas, Israel/Palestine, Egypt, Mexico and Perth.

Corporate Vibes

By David Williamson. Pursuit Productions, Director: Glen Hamilton. Producer: Michelle Neil. Lighting & Sound: Tilda Sathida Featuring Phil Kachoyan, David Nealon, Michelle Neil, William Maher, Celine Oudin, Atlanta Webster and Divya Rajagopalan. The Old 505 Theatre, Surry Hills. 11-14 July, 2012.

It’s a war out there

OVO

Cirque du Soleil. Northshore, Hamilton, Brisbane. Writer, Director and Choreographer: Deborah Colker. Director of Creation: Chantal Tremblay. July 17th to September 2nd, 2012.

Cirque de Soleil has bounced back into Brisbane with its new show titled Ovo (Portuguese for egg). Almost an institution now with its blue-and-yellow Big Top and village and on this occasion an air balloon to boot for an appropriate introduction, this new production is an epic journey into a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where the variety of bugs work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement.

Shifting Ground

By Zoe Scoglio. Presented by Arts House. Concept/Performer/Videographer – Zoe Scoglio. Sound Designer – Nigel Brown. Set and Prop Designer – Zoe Stuart. Interaction Designer – Chris Heywood. Producer – Briony Galligan. Meat Market (Vic). 19 to 22 July, 2012.

This refined work requires a receptive open mind from its audience, who are ushered into a small reception room to receive a piquant glass of tea and choose an industrial or natural rock of their own, to then enter the small gallery of a performance space. 

In the intense, short but highly immersive forty-five minutes Zoe Scoglio engages, discovers, explores and plays with natural and constructed images of the forming, formations, and constructions of geological terrain.  Not a word is spoken and the audience is free to read into it what they will.

Terrain

Bangarra Dance Theatre. Artistic Director: Stephen Page. Choreographer: Frances Rings. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. July 18 – Aug 18, 2012. Tours to Wollongong, Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane.

The recent stunning transmutation of Lake Eyre from dry salt through to lush inland sea – and its Arabunna inhabitants – was the inspiration for this first full-length work by Bangarra artist-in-residence, Frances Rings.

These shifting landscapes are explored by Bangarra’s twelve dust-clad indigenous dancers, in a hymn to country told through nine distinct chapters.

Aida

By Giuseppe Verdi and Antonio Ghislanzoni. Opera Australia. Director: Graeme Murphy. Opera Theatre, Sydeny Opera House. July 17 - October 13, 2012.

This sumptuous production is even stronger on its second outing in Sydney in less than four years.

It was created when Opera companies across Australia pooled resources to stage a new production of Aida with fresh choreography from Graeme Murphy.
The set was simple and clever. At the back of the stage are projected images, often along the theme of a pyramid. It was ideal for the love triangle at the centre of this story.

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