Reviews

Conchita Wurst & Trevor Ashley In Concert

Featuring Kate Miller-Heidke. Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, 26 February, 2020

Mardi Gras fever hits Brisbane with Australian and Austrian Eurovision and cabaret royalty together on stage for one glam-tastic evening of entertainment, celebrating friendship, diversity and the power of pop!

Kafka’s Ape

Adelaide Fringe. Holden Street Theatres, Adelaide. 25 February – 15 March 2020

“Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.” When Red Peter delivers this Aldous Huxley quote, we’re already uneasy in our seats, disturbed emotionally and physically – and wondering what we’re going to do with this experience.

The King

By Jimmy Lyons. Adelaide Fringe/ Red Phoenix Theatre. Holden Street Theatres, Adelaide, 25 February – 15 March 2020

When Roger (Nigel Tripodi) dares to stop and look at a bright red barrel of a barbecue, salesman Hank (Michael Eustice) pounces on Roger’s uncertainty, finding every button to push that persuades him to buy what he doesn’t need – and offer it as a wedding anniversary gift to his vegetarian wife, Melissa (Sharon Malujlo).

Tales of an Urban Indian

By Darrell Dennis. Adelaide Fringe Festival. The Bus Stop - Adelaide Botanic Garden. 25 February - 1 March, 2020

In Tales of an Urban Indian 35-year-old Canadian indigenous actor, Brendan Chandler ‘becomes’ Simon Douglas, growing up on two different reserves. This piece of non-traditional theatre is compelling, all embracing, challenging and uplifting. The 90-minute, one-man narrative, like his earlier performance piece, How Did You Find Me Here? is the journey of a young man coming to understand his Indian heritage and its impact on his life.

Our Blood Runs In The Street

Chopt Logic / Red Line Productions. Old Fitz Theatre, Woolloomooloo. Feb 19 – Mar 21, 2020

With The Campaign running at the Seymour Centre about the activists who drove Tasmanian gay law reform, and now this show about five decades of gay violence in NSW, Mardi Gras shows itself as more than just sex, glitter and show tunes.

Both plays are impressively researched verbatim documentaries drawing on interviews and records and both are told with empathy and imagination.

Amore e Morte

By Riccardo Barone & Nikki Elli Souvertjis. Adelaide Fringe. Sei Sette. Adelaide Town Hall. 23 February 2020

Amore e Morte is a fascinating and compelling ‘song cycle’ written and performed by local artists Riccardo Barone (originally from Italy) and Nikki Elli Souvertjis. As its title suggest this is a tale about ‘Love and Death’ and told through music and songs. Furthermore, the tale is told from a female perspective – the wife of an Italian man. He has witnessed a murder and is pressured by an unknown force (the Mafia? Government? Police?) to remain silent.

Shrek The Musical

Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig. Book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. Music by Jeanine Tesori. John Frost and Glass Half Full Productions. Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne. February 16 – April 26, 2020.

In a world of uncertainty and negativity, we all need to embrace our inner child and reinforce that magic still exists. And it does - in life (though we don’t see it often enough) and certainly in theatre, as Shrek The Musical proves. The sheer joy of this show cannot be Ogre-estimated.

Torch the Place

By Benjamin Law. Melbourne Theatre Company. Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio. February 8 – March 23, 2020.

Torch the Place is absorbing entertainment in the form of an unfolding story of what is uncovered culturally, emotionally and psychologically when three Chinese Australian siblings decide to step in and help their mother with her overwhelming hoarding problem.  The tricky thing is that they forgot to let her know of their plans.  It’s about family and holding on and letting go.    

Salome

By Richard Strauss. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Richard Mills. Director: Cameron Menzies. Palais Theatre. Feb 22 – 27, 2020.

Salome was a musical triumph for Victorian Opera. Held at the Palais Theatre to accommodate the large orchestra, it was the orchestra that dominated, with thundering climaxes and spine-chilling power, well crafted by Richard Mills.

Billy Elliot the Musical

Music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall. Universal Theatrical Group, Working Title Films, Greene Light Stage, Michael Coppel, Louise Withers and Linda Bewick. Regent Theatre, Melbourne. Opening Night: February 22, 2020

Billy Elliotis technically about a small boy in a small town, but it translates to a massive theatrical experience which packs multiple emotional punches, especially with Lee Hall’s lyrics married to Elton John’s score, with direction by Stephen Daldry, choreography by Peter Darling, and the orchestra under the virtuosic direction of Michael Azzopardi.  

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