Reviews

Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude

Written by Michael Bobbitt and Jim Davis, with music and lyrics by John L. Cornelius, II. StageArt. Director: Luigi Lucente. Musical Director: Caleb Garfinkel. Choreographer: Madi Lee. Chapel Off Chapel. April 3 – 13, 2018

StageArt is a small professional company which is achieving a lot. Having last week presented us with Bare, the Musical, they were now to delight us with Garfield.

A one hour show for kids during the school holidays, this was a hoot. All the animals had tails, and minimal makeup, but it didn’t matter, as each one captured the essence of its character.

The set comprised a door with surrounds, a couple of sections of fence and a box for Garfield to sleep on. Nothing more was required.

Massive Bitch

By Chelsea Deller. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. April 2 – 8, 2018

Wow, what a comical plethora of paradoxical characters performed by the up and coming, already legendary Chelsea Zeller.

After her sellout show at the 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, she has returned with a brilliant new show to rock your socks off.

The Importance of Being Earnest

By Oscar Wilde. Artefact Theatre Co. St Martin’s Theatre. March 27 - April 7, 2018

Founded in 2016, Artefact Theatre Co. is a fully independent self-funded theatre company. Their latest production is Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest; a play often considered to be one of the wittiest in the English language.

Fleabag

By Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Director & dramaturg Vicky Jones. A DryWhite and Soho Theatre presentation in association with Malthouse Theatre. Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne. 28 March – 22 April 2018

The concept and the presentation are simple.  Fleabag (Maddie Rice) sits on a high stool on a platform and tells us about her life.  It was written as a one-woman show – and it still is.  This mode can so easily become tedious, but Fleabag never does. 

Kosher Bacon

By Michael Shafar. Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2018 (VIC). Trades Hall. March 29 - April 22, 2018

Michael Shafar is Jewish, 27, and writes for The Project. As such, he’s capable of quick-witted quips about today’s hot topics.

When he steps on the stage — tall, good-looking, commanding — Shafar starts by questioning his audience about themselves. Jewish or non-Jewish? Married? Family?

Shafar rarely singles audience members out. Instead, he makes sure everyone feels the show is being explicitly performed for them.

Diplomacy

By Cyril Gely. Translated and adapted by Julie Rose. Ensemble Theatre. Directed by John Bell. March 23 to April 28, 2018.

There was a palpable buzz in the foyer, aided by news that the play was sold out before opening night and destined for a national tour in 2019. The combination of a thrilling World War 2 drama, set in Paris, directed and starring Australia’s most lauded Shakespearian actor John Bell, had already proved box office alchemy.

Going Down

By Michele Lee. Sydney Theatre Company. Directed by Leticia Cáceres. Wharf 2 Theatre, Walsh Bay. March 23 - May 5, 2018

The new play Going Down, by Melbourne writer Michele Lee, is semi-autobiographical. She’s Asian-Australian, like her lead character Natalie. More specifically they’re Hmong-Australian, originally from Laos.

Both Michele and Natalie are seen by their audiences as more Asian than Australian. Natalie may live in hipster Melbourne and write frank books about sex and feminist ideas but people who come to see her want to hear Hmong stories. In many ways, Natalie is actually more Australian than Asian but most people see her the other way around.

You Stupid or What?!

By Dr Jason Leong. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Coopers Malthouse, 113 Sturt Street. 28 March – 22 April, 2018

Dr Jason Leong seems a very unlikely comedian given his title. In fact, Jason is an MD and his medical knowledge forms an important part of his highly amusing material. Jason has a vast array of issues and frustrations that provide ample opportunity for him to reflect on the absurdities of many of our daily activities and attitudes.

From Here to Infirmity

Written & performed by Sue Ingleton. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton VIC. 29 March – 8 April 2018

Before the show begins, it’s already begun.  An old bloke in a lightweight sports jacket, a sporty, narrow brim hat and a ‘pencil’ moustache roams about the audience waiting to enter the theatre.  He seems to know a few of us and isn’t shy about saying so.  “Jeez, Michael,’ he says to me, ‘you’re getting fat, mate.  Tsk.’  Then, turning to The Companion, he tells her she’s beautiful, and me that I’m a lucky man.  There’s just a touch of the salacious about the compliment – but that&rs

Duets with Myself

Written & performed by Charlotte Kerr. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne CBD. 27 March – 1 April 2018.

At the start of her show – and there’s some uncertainty that the show has started – Charlotte Kerr, seated behind her keyboard, thanks the audience for coming to ‘this trial’.  Oh, we think, it’s that kind of show – self-reflexive, pretending that it’s a ‘work in progress’ - a test of audience response to the material.  But maybe not. 

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