Reviews

Pancake Opus

By Sandra Fiona Long. Arts House Warehouse, North Melbourne. May 31 – June 19, 2018

Pancake Opus is a hunky and cathartic performance written and performed by Sandra Fiona Long. This show has been cleverly designed as an opus like structure, featuring many composite skits revolving around the making of pancakes.

Seussical

Music: Stephen Flaherty. Lyrics: Lynn Ahrens. Penrith Musical Comedy Company. Directors: Bek Want, Brenden Neaton. Musical Director: Craig Parris. Choreographer: Hannah Lansley. The Joan Performing Arts Centre, Penrith. April 13 – 21, 2018.

If you missed Penrith’s Seussical then you missed a spectacular treat. This big bold musical that brings together major characters from the books of Dr Seuss was not only fantastic quality entertainment but was also a lesson in crowd management. There were 91 in the cast and whenever all or most of them were on stage (which was lots of times) they were positioned in such a way so that each one could always be easily seen. I don’t know how directors Bek Want and Brenden Neaton achieved this feat and made it look easy.

The Nightingale and the Rose

After Oscar Wilde. Theatre Works and Little Ones Theatre. Theatre Works, Acland Street, St Kilda VIC. 30 May - 10 June 2018

Oscar Wilde’s brief satirical allegory is loaded with allusive symbols and this Little Ones Theatre production does not depart far from it in terms of plot or indeed what spoken dialogue there is. The salient differences are in gender switches and the queer aesthetic, and in making Wilde’s ironic humour more explicit.  The Nightingale’s ‘sweetest song’, for instance, not only becomes an operatic aria, but she has some uncertainty deciding just which song is her sweetest.

Be More Chill

Book by Joe Tracz. Music and Lyrics by Joe Iconis. Phoenix Theatre. Directed by Benjamin Albert. Memorial Hall, Spearwood, WA. May 18 – Jun 2, 2018

Be More Chill is a relatively new musical, based on Ned Vizzini's novel of the same name, with a book by Joe Tracz and Music and Lyrics by Joe Iconis. Strangely for a show which is yet to have a Broadway (or even Off-Broadway) run, it also has an “underground” or cult following, which has led to capacity houses and requiring Musical Director Krispin Maesalu to make (an obviously 'once burned' announcement) that audience members are requested not to sing along “even if you DO know all the words”.

The Yeomen of the Guard

By Gilbert and Sullivan. Eastwood Uniting Church Musical Society. May 18 – June 2, 2018

EUCMS’ performance of the classic Gilbert & Sullivan operetta The Yeomen of the Guard had a very strong Community Theatre feel throughout all aspects of the production. The limitations of the stage space and orchestra area of Eastwood Uniting Church Hall didn’t deter the company from using a cast of 28 performers, which filled the Hall with a very full sound at all times but also ensutred a crowded stage in the ensemble scenes.

Singin’ in the Rain

Music and lyrics by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. Script by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Babirra Music Theatre (Vic). Director: Alan Burrows. Musical Director: Amy Wert. Choreographer: Kristy Griffin. The Whitehorse Centre, Nunawading. June 1 – 16, 2018

Babirra Music Theatre was at its absolute best again. Though Singin’ in the Rain is not a great piece of theatre, with its two dimensional characters and melodramatic story line, it is a delightful romp and has some spectacular dance sequences.

It started with a film being shown during the overture, introducing the main characters, which was a nice touch.

Sense & Sensibility

By Kate Hamill. Based on the novel by Jane Austen. State Theatre Company South Australia. The Playhouse, Canberra. 29 May – 2 June 2018.

Improving on a well-written classic is a goal often missed in theatre, and improving on it while remaining faithful to its author’s writing and intent means aiming high indeed.  How do you infuse a well-known work with surprise or even freshness without adding to or altering what the author wished to communicate?

 

The Winlsow Boy

By Terence Rattigan. Castle Hill Players. Directed by Jennifer Willison. The Pavilion Theatre Castle Hill. June 1st – 23rd, 2018.

Written in 1946, The Winslow Boy is based on the 1910 court case in which Martin Arthur-Shee employed the highly respected barrister Sir Edward Carson, to defend his son who was accused of stealing a postal order from a fellow student at Osborne Naval Academy. The boy was found to be innocent, but the case “caused an uproar” and was widely followed by the press of the time.

The Longest Minute

By Robert Kronk & Nadine McDonald-Dowd. Queensland Theatre, debase productions & JUTE Theatre Company. Director: Bridget Boyle. Cremorne Theatre. QPAC, 31 May – 23 June 2018.

The Longest Minute is 85 minutes of joy! A sweet coming–of-age tale about a young girl from a mixed-race fanatical NRL family, and her obsession to play football, The Longest Minute uses the background of the Cowboys 2015 success to tell her story of family, loss, and connection.

PUFFS

By Matt Cox. The Alex Theatre, St Kilda. 31st May – 8th July 2018

In its inaugural International season, ‘PUFFS or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic’has arrived at the Alex Theatre in St Kilda.

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