Reviews

The Imaginary Invalid

By Moliere. Centrepiece Theatre. Director: Jordan Best. The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. July 11 – 21, 2012

From highly refined, intelligent wit and word play, almost acrobatic acting and slapstic, to gross-out bodily functions—there’s the feel of a circus to this magnificent production. Last year, Centrepiece Theatre’s The Imaginary Invalid played to rave reviews and helped net Jim Adamik a Canberra Critic’s Circle award. This reprise, with updated set, costumes and look, is a chance to see great satire done brilliantly. It’s a brash, loud, bawdy, vibrant, confident production.

Melbourne Cabaret Festival Gala

Chapel off Chapel – July 12th 2012. Festival runs from 12th -22nd July – Various venues.

Repeat after me…..Sammy J- Yay, Yay, Yay. Sammy J was the guest MC for the Gala Opening of this year’s Cabaret Festival and almost stole the show, until The Fabulous Singlettes, returning from Berlin to headline the festival, put him back in his lead-lined box so that his energy was contained. There is a reason the Singlettes have been adopted by Berlin and are huge stars on the European cabaret circuit. They are bloody good at what they do. Exemplary harmonies, larrikin comedy, high voltage energy – that’s what cabaret is about.

Cosi Fan Tutte

By Mozart. Melbourne Opera. Director: Suzanne Chaundy. Musical Director: Greg Hocking. Athanaeum Theatre, Melbourne. July 11 - 18, 2012.

I knew this production was going to be different when things started happening in the overture. Don Alfonso was in his Lygon Street wine bar showing the barmaid the ring he was planning to give to his intended when said lady walked out with another man! He immediately tore down the Alfonso sign and put up a neon sign, “Cosi Fan Tutte”, as the title tune appeared late in the overture.

It was a nice touch.

Arsenic & Old Lace

By Joseph Kesselring. Townsville Little Theatre. Directed by Marc Weston. 4 – 7 July, 2012.

Townsville Little Theatre’s third production of 2012 was the classic 1940’s black comedy Arsenic &    Old Lace, and they made a great job of it. Although almost 70 years old, the plot needs little explanation to most theatre-goers.

Spring Awakening

By Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, based on the play by Franz Wedekind. Blacktown Theatre Company. Blacktown High Schools Auditorium. July 6 – 14, 2012.

Rough hewn rustic furnishings in the makeshift foyer, subdued lighting throughout the auditorium, young people dressed in old-fashioned school uniforms gathering in what seem to be period classrooms to either side of the stage, as one boy plays an upright piano; the ambience ensures that the audience enters the world of Spring Awakening from the outset. Modern posters on the proscenium, juxtaposed with period settings appropriate to Franz Wedekind’s original 1892 drama on which the musical is based, intimate the timelessness of the musical’s issues.

Under Milk Wood

By Dylan Thomas. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. May 22 – July 7, 2012.

Dylan Thomas’ poetic saga of a spring day in a Welsh coastal village was written first for radio and, of course, for the lilting accents of its Welsh inhabitants. Just think of Richard Burton’s voice in the original BBC 1954 production.

The Mikado

By W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Opera Queensland. Director: Stuart Maunder. Conductor: Brian Castles-Onion. Choreographer: Siobhan Ginty Conservatorium Theatre, South Bank, Brisbane, 7-28 July, 2012. Regional Tour: Gold Coast 4 August/Toowoomba 7 August/ Maryborough 9 August/Rockhampton 11 August/Mackay 14 August/Townsville 16 August, 2012.

The rousing success of Opera Queensland’s sparkling new production of The Mikado, Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular work, is due to four people, Director Stuart Maunder, Set and Costume Designer Simone Romaniuk, Choreographer Siobhan Ginty, and Conductor Brian Castles-Onion. With its use of mobile phones and IPads, Maunder’s production established very early on this was a Mikado for the Y generation.

City of Angels

By Cy Coleman, David Zippel and Larry Gelbart. SYMT (Sydney Youth Musical Theatre). Director: Celeste Notley-Smith Hornsby RSL Club. July 6 – 14, 2012.

Youth musical theatre just got pretty raunchy at Sydney Youth. Murder, infidelity and seduction are rampant, even though none of the cast are older than 24. Don't worry though, it's all just musical comedy.

Tony Award winning musical City of Angels tells the story of a writer caught up in the machinations of Hollywood, while adapting his successful novel into a Film Noir detective flick. Boundaries between life and cinema are entertainingly blurred, as the film action is acted out in parallel, complete with re-writes.

Simple Gifts

Julia Messenger Quintet. Melbourne Recital Centre. Part of the American Songbook series. July 6 and 7, 2012.

Melbourne-born singer-songwriter Julia Messenger, acclaimed around the world for her exquisite voice, had a home-town audience swooning for two nights recently when she performed her personal favourites from the American Songbook. With her stunning vocal range, and accompanied by a fabulous quintet (Luke Howard on piano, Frank Di Sario on bass, Danny Farugga on drums and James Sherlock on guitar), Messenger perfectly showcased a variety of the best music created under the star spangled banner.

sex.violence.blood.gore

By Alfian bin Sa’at (co-written with Chong Tze Chien). Director: Stephen Nicolazzo. Set and Costume Designer: Eugyeene The. Costume Maker: Tessa Leigh Wolfenbuttel Pitt. Lighting: Yasmin Santoso. Sound: Claudio Tocco. Cast: Genevieve Giuffre, Catherine Davies, Matt Furlani, Whitney Boyd, Amy-Scott Smith, Zoe Boesen, Caitlin Adams. MKA, North Melbourne. June 27 – July 14, 2012.

sex.violence.blood.gore is an unexpectedly fascinating political satire.   However it must be said that without historical knowledge and experience of Singapore, its messages can be a little cryptic and confusing at times.  Regardless, it is an engaging, absorbing, often highly amusing work beautifully presented by gifted, articulate, eloquent actors playing with restraint and irony.  

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