Reviews

The Magic Pudding.

Adapted from the Norman Lindsay classic for the stage by Andrew James, with music by Sarah de Jong. Directed by Margie McCrae. World Premiere. Marian Street Theatre for Young People Sydney. May 15 to July 17.

The biggest challenge posed by bringing The Magic Pudding to the stage is what to do with the star of the show? Having a person play an inexhaustible bowl of pudding would be hard to swallow. In this regard the Marian Street Theatre for Young People production was a triumph. Albert - as the Magic Pudding is known - was a puppet, both beautifully crafted by the Sydney Puppet Theatre and superbly manipulated by his master pulling the strings, Tristan McKinnon.

84 Charing Cross Road

by James Rosse-Evans (based on the novel by Helene Hanff). Kyneton Theatre Company. April / May 2010.

I was delighted to attend the last night of Kyneton Theatre Company’s production of 84 Charing Cross Road. The whole experience was a pleasure from being welcomed by smartly attired front of house staff and offered a sherry to partaking in a light supper whilst hearing the company’s President make a short address. This offering has deservedly been playing to almost full houses.

The Elixir of Love by Gaetano Donizetti

Opera Queensland. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. May 15 – 29. Conductor: Graham Abbott. Original Director: Simon Phillips. Revival Director: Christopher Dawes.

Operas that are reconceived and updated don’t always work, but Simon Phillips’ take on The Elixir of Love is a joy from start to finish. Originally mounted at the State Theatre of the Victorian Arts Centre in 2001, it sets Donizetti’s tale of a love-sick peasant who buys a love potion to win the heart of the girl he loves in the Australian bush at the start of World War 1.

Show Stoppers

Luckiest Productions and Neil Gooding Productions. Parramatta Riverside Theatres. May 2, 23 & 29.

Three terrific musical theatre talents sing the best-known showtunes from some of the most popular musicals in recent memory, rousingly accompanied by a piano, percussion and bass trio.

That’s the formula for Show Stoppers, a show developed for club and regional performance, playing several of dates at Parramatta Riverside Theatres prior to hitting the road.

It’s a repertoire of safe commercial choices, fabulously sung, and aimed directly at pleasing its target audience.

Dumped! The Musical We’ve All Been Through by Emma Powell.

Twelfth Night Theatre, Brisbane (Qld). May 6 to June 12, 2010. World Premiere. Director: Terrence O’Connell.

Menopause The Musical has a lot to answer for, some of it good – some of it bad. But what it has done is pave the way for a series of similarly themed shows to make their way on to the Australian stage - albeit masquerading as legitimate musicals. It has also made it possible for a lot of first time ticket buyers to access an appealing, uplifting, live theatre experience.

Songs For a New World

Music & Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown. Harvest Rain Theatre Company. May 13 to 20. Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane. Director/Producer: Tim O’Connor. Music & Vocal Director: Maitlohn Drew

Musical theatre requires good voices, and there’s no shortage of them in Harvest Rain’s Songs for a New World. Four of Brisbane’s top singers, Luke Kennedy, Naomi Price, Angela Harding and Luke Venables, together with a vocal ensemble of 12, bring Jason Robert Brown’s contemporary music theatre song cycle to life.

Every Single Saturday

Written and directed by Joanna Weinberg. Tuggeranong Arts Centre, Canberra
 - May 11-15, 2010. Casula Powerhouse, Liverpool
 - Sat 12 June at 2pm and 8pm. The Parade Space, NIDA, Kensington
- September 13 to October 10

Moon Over Buffalo by Ken Ludwig

Canberra Repertory Society, directed by Cate Clelland. Theatre 3, Acton, 30 Apr to 15 May 2010

George and Charlotte, who feel their heyday passing as stars of the stage, are set to impress the film director Frank Capra, casting for his forthcoming blockbuster, when things start to go awry, in Rep's latest paragon of comic timing.

Richard III by William Shakespeare

Melbourne Theatre Company. Sumner Theatre. Director: Simon Phillips. Set Designer: Shaun Gurton. Costume Designer: Esther Marie Hayes. Lighting Designer: Nick Schlieper. Composer: Ian McDonald. Until June 12

Simon Phillips commences his production of Richard III with a short segment from Henry VI. Richard enters somewhat surreptitiously, during this prologue, and ingratiates himself prior to launching into the play’s opening monologue. The character appears relaxed and confident and the actor has a chance to get the measure of his audience. So the famous soliloquy beginning: “Now is the winter of our discontent”, is spoken by a character the audience is familiar with.

Copacabana

Book & music by: Barry Manilow. Lyrics by: Jack Feldman & Bruce Sussman. Hobart Repertory Theatre. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. Director: Patricia Kempa

“Her name was Lola,” and yes, it’s true, “she was a showgirl”, and she was gorgeous! The Hobart Repertory Theatre production of Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, a musical theatre extravaganza, had all the right ingredients: music, singing and dancing, lights, costumes, sequins, fun and laughter. The proof of a successful production must be the number of people singing after the show. The signature tune, the only original, of course featured in the after-show singing.

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