Reviews

Next to Normal - Australian Premiere

Music by Tom Kitt. Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey. Melbourne Theatre Company, Victoria. Playhouse, Arts Centre. Director: Dean Bryant. Musical Director: Mathew Frank. 28th April – 28th May, 2011. Season extended to June 4.

The Australian premiere of Next to Normal is an outstanding musical drama which offers a window into life with bi-polar disorder. Don’t go expecting large chorus numbers, glitzy costumes, spectacular dance numbers and a saccharin-sweet ending. This is tough, real-life, heart-wrenching stuff, with some decent belly-laughs along the way.

The Eisteddfod

five.point.one - Bakehouse Theatre. April 28 – May 15, 2011.

Influence

By David Williamson. Noosa Arts Theatre. Director: Sam Coward. April 15 – 30, 2011

David Williamson is a very professional writer. Noosa Arts Theatre has the best all round standard of the community theatres on the Sunshine Coast. Sam Coward is probably the best working director of community theatre on the Sunshine Coast. This play was always going to work once this triumvirate was connected. It was a great night out at the theatre and so much more rewarding - on so many levels – than the usual stale stodgy porridge dolloped up on the average coastal stage.

Statespeare

shake & stir / La Boite. Roundhouse Theatre (Qld). April 28 – May 6, 2011, and touring nationally.

Yes! Shakespeare still speaks to today’s young people; shake & stir persuaded me

Writer Nelle Lee (working with scenes from nine popular Shakespearean plays) has put an ensemble of four actors in a situation of final year drama students examining Shakespeare plays as they prepare for their critical final assignment and performance. That’s how this play connects.            

Silent Disco

By Lachlan Philpott. Griffin Theatre / ATYP/ HotHouse Theatre. SBW Stables Theatre, Darlinghurst (NSW). April 28 – June 4, 2011.

I just love it when I’m blown away by a piece of new Australian theatre, as I was by Silent Disco.

Was it identification (as an ex-teacher), with a teacher and her students in a testing school?

Perhaps, though I’m betting Silent Disco will not only resonate with teachers, but will really engage younger audiences.

My thoughts were drawn back to an earlier school-themed Griffin hit, Us Or Them, which so many teachers and their students shared in the same venue and beyond in 1984.

Amplification

BalletLab. Merlyn Theatre, CUB Malthouse Choreographer: Phillip Adams. Composer/Turntablist Lynton Carr. Set & Lighting Designer: Bluebottle. Costume Designer: Graham Green. Mar 22 – 26.

A Car Crash of a Performance

And just like a car crash it was compulsive viewing. Amplification is a piece which explores and expands on the 1.6 seconds when your life flashes before your eyes after you realise you are going to crash, and the result of the crash. Abduction, hoods, torture, body bags – all part of a performance that was at times confronting.

The Boy From Oz

Music & Lyrics: Peter Allen & Others.Book: Nick Enright. Empire Theatres Production. Empire Theatre, Toowoomba, Qld. Director: Lewis Jones. Musical Director: Rainer Pollard. Choreography: Alison Vallette. 14-17 April 2011.

With an abundance of glitz, glitter and sequins, Lewis Jones’ production of The Boy From Oz provided the capacity audience at Toowoomba’s historic Art-Deco Empire Theatre, with entertainment with a capital E.

One of the most successful and popular, if not the most popular Australian musical ever, the jukebox bio-musical tells the story of songwriter and entertainer Peter Allen as a big splashy cabaret.

ME PREGNANT

Written and Performed by Nick Coyle. The Old Fitzroy Theatre (NSW). April 7 – 23, 2011 A twisted Troubadour concocts a bizarre tale.

A twisted Troubadour concocts a bizarre tale.

ME PREGNANT is a wicked cocktail of Canterbury Tales, Frankenstein and Summer Heights High.

Company

By Stephen Sondheim and George Furth. Director: Dannielle Ashtom. Old Mill Theatre, South Perth (WA). April 1 to 16, 2011

COMPANY is centered "around the extremely good-looking Bobby who, after celebrating his 35th birthday, still can’t commit to a steady relationship although wants to share his life with someone." Bobby's friends, five couples and three girlfriends, feature in a series of linked vignettes.

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare. Bell Shakespeare. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House, April 8 – May 12; The Playhouse, Canberra, May 19 – June 4; Playhouse, the Arts Centre, Melbourne, June 9 – 25.

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