Reviews

Oklahoma!

By Rodgers and Hammerstein. The Production Company. Director: Chris Parker. Musical Director: Guy Simpson. Choreographer: Amy Campbell. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. May 26 – June 3, 2018.

Celebrating its twenty year anniversary, The Production Company decided to repriseOklahoma! This was the musical which changed the face of music theatre in the middle of the last century, introducing a dark character, and a feisty woman who didn’t like to be taken for granted.

Heathers – The Musical

By Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director & Choreographer: Jamie Watt. May 25 – Jun 16, 2018

Advertised as “RESTRICTED MA 15+”, it took very little time to realise why! The subject matter was confronting as were many of the numerous dance routines.

13 – The Musical

Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn. The Hills Musical Theatre Company (NSW). Model Farms High School Auditorium. May 25 – Jun 2, 2018.

Evan Goldman is about to turn thirteen and is looking forward to his Bar Mitzvah party. Then his parents announce that they are getting divorced … and his mother takes him from New York to the little country town of Appleton, Indiana – "The Lamest Place in the World". It’s all a bit too much! How will he celebrate this important birthday in a country town where he doesn’t know anyone. In a bid to get in with ‘cool kids’, he learns that "What It Means be a Friend" is more important than being popular.

Bosom Buddies

Devised by Peter J Adams. Director: Jason Langley. Musical Director: Michael Tyack. Christine Dunstan Productions. Empire Theatre, Toowoomba, Qld. 25 May 2018, and touring.

Toowoomba’s crown-jewel, the art-deco Empire Theatre, was host to two of Australia’s musical theatre crown jewels when Nancye Hayes and Todd McKenney, in their only Queensland performance, presented their two-hander theatrical walk down memory lane Bosom Buddies.

To hold an audience on stage for one-hour is a feat and a half, to do it for over two-hours requires not only stamina but amazing talent, and Hayes and McKenney have bucket-loads of both.

Frank Forbes & the Yahoo Boy

Written and Directed by Matt Hawkins. South Australian Playwrights Theatre. Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. 23 May – 2 June, 2018.

Can a piece of theatre cross cultures and manage to entertain audiences all along the demographical spectrum? Can it do so by combining elements of serious drama and character detail with almost-farcical comedy? This one certainly can.

Centering around the by-now familiar news story of a Westerner targeted by an online scammer in Africa and persuaded to part with a substantial amount of money, writer/director Matt Hawkins brings mature insight and a perceptive eye to his multi-dimensional story. He also regularly manages to make us laugh – sometimes uproariously!

The Pillowman

By Martin McDonagh. Patalog Collective. Chapel off Chapel. 22 – 27 May 2018.

Horror can have an inescapable fascination; cleverness and humour can be irresistible; and story twists can be riveting.  Such are elements of The Pillowman, a seductive work of Martin McDonagh’s very individual imagination.

Bare

Music: Damon Intrabartolo. Lyrics: Jon Hartmere. Book: Jon Hartmere & Damon Intrabartolo. Understudy Productions. Director: Sue Rider. Musical Director: Luke Volker. Choreographer: Madison Lee. Brisbane Powerhouse, 14 May – 2 June 2018

Bare, a pop-rock musical of teenage-angst and gay love is currently having its Queensland premiere as part of Brisbane Powerhouse’s Festival of Queer Arts and Culture – Melt. The show, which first saw the light of day in Los Angeles in 2000, most recently played a short Off-Broadway stint in 2012 and has since become a cult favourite.

Terrestrial

By Fleur Kilpatrick. State Theatre Company SA. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. 25 May – 2 Jun 2018

Terrestrial definition: “pertaining to, consisting of, or representing the earth as distinct from other planets.” The title sets the context of this State Theatre of South Australia production. We are in a small, isolated outback town where the earth and sky are ever present. People are few and connections are tenuous.

Her Father’s Daughter

By Keziah Warner. An adaptation of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. Hotel Now Theatre Group. Prahran Council Chambers. 22 May – 3 June, 2018.

Her Father’s Daughter casts a critical eye on the classic Hedda Gabler. Keziah Warner has written an exciting new contemporary modified version composed masterfully with sharp poignant dialogue addressing the concerns and values of middle - class Australia

Caligula

By Albert Camus. A new translation by David Greig. Red Phoenix Theatre. Holden Street Theatres. May 24-June 2, 2018.

Few of us could ever imagine philosophy might prevail in a meeting between Roman Emperor Caligula and his Senators, but instead we’d almost certainly expect mindless depravity, decadent sex and gruesome violence to be high on the agenda.  The 1979 Penthouse Magazine/Bob Guccione movie starring Malcolm McDowell has fostered that enduring impression, but the savagely funny and playful David Greig translation of Albert Camus’ 1940’s play Caligula looks at the notorious Emperor through a very different prism.

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