Reviews

Chess – The Musical.

Lyrics By Tim Rice. Music by Benny Andersson And Bjorn Ulvaeus. Auckland Music Theatre inc. Westpoint Performing Arts Centre, Westmere, Auckland. NZ, May 12 – 26, 2012

Three games – Chess, The Cold War and a love story are the base upon which the 1984 rock opera Chess The Musical rests; competition in politics, love and sport all in one story, told in true 80’s rock style, with big songs, big hair and big egos. One could say the musical has enjoyed checkered success since its first performance in 1986, yet in the past two or so years Chess has been enjoying a worldwide revival with some success.

A Hoax

By Rick Viede. La Boite and Griffin Theatre Company. 5 - 26 May at The Roundhouse, Brisbane and 20 July – 1 September, 2012 at The SBW Stables, Sydney.

Author Rick Viede achieved a rapid ride to stardom among playwrights: 2008 Griffin Award for his first play, Whore, which also won the 2010 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award; then A Hoax won the 2011 Griffin Award.

This dark comedy is as modern as yesterday: mobile phones, face book, youtube, familiar morning TV shows … you’re right in the picture.

Seven Stories

Presented by Kismat. Chapel off Chapel (Vic). May 9 – 12, 2012.

Seven Stories is deceptively named as it is more a magic show than an evening of story, although the storytelling element is well integrated and at times wise and elucidating, the intrigue is in the magic.

Charismatic Vyom Sharma has put a great little show together displaying, for me at least, almost perfect ‘sleight of hand’. He does tell stories and anecdotes throughout and is ably assisted by musician Steph Speirs, who underscores the whole with light lilting music from a Yamaha keyboard.   

Biddies

By Don Reid. CDP. Director: Wayne Harrison. The Street, Canberra, 8 to 12 May 2012 and touring.Her Majesty's Theatre, Adelaide from August 14 - 18, 2012.

Biddies is an exploration of the womanhood of six women.  It looks beyond the external descriptions we use of ourselves and others—such as dux of school; marriage; children; loss of a spouse; and doing one’s duty in society—to the essentials within each of us that lie beyond those external factors.

All That I Will Ever Be

By Alan Ball. Fly-On-The-Wall Theatre. Director: Robert Chuter. Chapel off Chapel. May 9 – 20, 2012.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Engadine Musical Society. Director: Kerrie Hartin. Musical Director: Valerie Hull. Choreographer: Kirstie Bell. Sutherland Entertainment Centre. May 9 – 13, 2012.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s retelling of the biblical story of the ‘coat of many colours’, initially a cantata for schools, later expanded into a longer musical, remains a relatively short, simple storytelling piece, with a score which parodies a wide range of popular music genres.

Engadine Musical Society has staged a happy, energetic production.

Naked Boys Singing

Director: Jonathon Worsley. Musical Director: Sheena Crouch. Choreographer: Adam Williams. Malthouse Theatre (Vic). May 4 - 12, 2012.

The title, Naked Boys Singing, really said it all, though they were men, not boys. From part way through the opening song, that’s what we had for the rest of the show. After a while it lost its shock value. There was no plot, no political points made. This was meant to be a fun night out for those who like to push the envelope.

When Dad Married Fury

By David Williamson. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Sandra Bates. 9 May – 16 June, 2012. Additional Performances at the Theatre Royal, Sydney on June 22 & 23.

With three major productions to his name, David Williamson is the Ensemble’s house dramatist for 2012. The year started with Greta Scacchi in Nothing Personal and will end with Garry McDonald in Managing Carmen. Meanwhile here’s Nick Tate in When Dad Married Fury, already booked out before the first night and extended ‘due to overwhelming demand’.

On The Rocks

Vertical Shadows Dance Group. Director / Choreographer: Stephen Agisilaou. Chapel off Chapel. May 9-12, 2012.

They’re young, they’re beautiful, and they are totally committed to the idea of narrative contemporary dance as envisioned by director Stephen Agisilaou. They are the dancers of Vertical Shadows.

Stephen’s latest work On The Rocks shows us how to think outside the square where dance is concerned. It’s about as far away from anything you will see at the Arts Centre as it could possibly be, and far more refreshing.

Reasons To Be Pretty

By Neil LaBute. Director: James Beach. Featuring: Julia Grace, Andrew Henry, Stephen James King and Lucy Maunder. Darlinghurst Theatre (NSW). May 4-June 3, 2012.

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