Reviews

Escape to Peligro Island

Windmill Theatre. Arts Centre Melbourne. Preview: May 3, 2012. Performances on May at 11 am and 1.30pm.

Although I’ve taken many a grandchild to the pictures, I don’t recall taking them to live theatre. Unfortunately I didn’t have one available to come when I attended a school preview of Escape to Peligro Island. I wish I had.

The Liar’s Bible

By Fiona Samuel. Sydney Independent Theatre Company, 8A/32-60 Alice Street, Newtown. May 1 – 19, 2012.

It’s easy to see why New Zealand playwright Fiona Samuel has won awards. In this play, she has created characters that are carefully and skilfully revealed in a multiplicity of short scenes that challenge director, designers, cast and audience alike. Yet they come together, in final moments that link and expose, but don’t make lengthy explanations. Samuel is a clever writer who shows genuine respect for the ability of her audience to make connections.

The Girls in Grey

By Carolyn Bock and Helen Hopkins. Presented by The Shift Theatre in association with Theatre Works. Director: Karen Martin. Lighting Design: Nick Merrylees. Sound Design: Nick Van Cuylenberg. Set Design: Alexander Hiller. Costume Design: Lyn Wilson. Theatre Works. April 25 to May 13, 2012.

The Girls in Grey is an amalgam of experiences of Australian Army Nurses serving in World War One. Much of the text comes from diary entries and letters. It is a work that ‘tells it like it really was’ through the sensibilities of the women of the era.

Looking Through A Glass Onion

John Waters with Stewart D’Arietta. Chapel Off Chapel. May 2nd – May 6th, 2012. Sydney – Various venues from May 11th. Other States late May.

They come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Some are in their teens and even their parents weren’t born when The Beatles broke up. Others are in their twilight years, baby boomers just like John Lennon himself, who would have been 72 this year. They fill the comfortable lounge and coffee bar area of Chapel Off Chapel and stand three deep at the bar sipping champagne or dipping their biscuits into flat whites. There’s a buzz, an excitement – like that of any other opening night. For this is no tribute show at the local RSL.

Kiss of the Spider Woman

By John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terence McNally. Hills Musical Company. Stirling Community Theatre. April 27 to May 12, 2012.

You don’t want to be kissed by the spider woman, but you do want to see the Hills’ Kiss of the Spider Woman, my oath.

The novel by Argentina’s Manuel Puig was published in 1976. He adapted the story to the stage in 1983 and two years later there was a film. The musical - music/lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret and Chicago) and book by Terrence McNally won seven 1993 Tony Awards - for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Costume Design, and for each of the three lead actors.

Stockholm

By Bryony Lavery. Director: Tanya Gerstle. Red Stitch Actors Theatre. April 27 - May 26, 2012.

The Neverending Story

Adapted by Tim O’Connor from the book by Michael Ende. Music: Klaus Doldinger. Additional Music: Maitlohn John. Harvest Rain (Qld) Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. Director: Tim O’Connor; Musical Director: Maitlohn John. Set & Costume design: Josh McIntosh. April 28 – May 12. 2012.

The star of the evening of this premiere movie-to-stage adaptation was Josh McIntosh’s puppet and costume designs. Brilliantly imaginative they set the bar high for a theatrical version of the popular children’s fantasy that has spawned three movies plus an animated TV-movie and series.

Tim O’Connor’s direction was also imaginative and helped by the use of the film’s original music score by Klaus Doldinger, re-orchestrated for a string quartet by Maitlohm John. It was a highly-stylistic version of the land of Fantasia where the story was set.

Late Night Impro Lounge

Wine Bar, Enmore Theatre (NSW). Comedy Festival. 10.15pm, April 27 / 28, May 4, 5, 11 & 12, 2012.

Some people are just born with funny bones and thankfully the core group of this show including Impro Australia veterans, Rebecca De Unamuno, David Callan and Cale Bain have been endowed with their fair share.

Let the Sunshine

By David Williamson. Directed by Dennis More. The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 26 - 29 April, 2012, and touring regional Australia.

At one point Emma, a high-flying corporate lawyer, explains that she had wanted to be a teacher but her father ‘thought she could do better’. My 13-year-old daughter immediately elbowed me: yes, I’ve inadvertently said precisely that to her once. She’d then repeated it to all of her teachers at her Year 6 graduation. That’s why you go to see a David Williamson play, for those awkward flashes when you recognise something that makes you squirm while you laugh.

Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare. Queensland Theatre Company. Playhouse, QPAC 21 April – 13 May 2012

This show exceeded all expectations.

Overenthusiastic morality police complained about bill-board pictures of the lead actors embracing because 2011 Matilda-award-winner Melanie Zanetti looked ‘underage’. She played a very convincing fourteen year-old Juliet and deserved the praise and love the audience showered on her. They also loved Thomas Larkin’s Romeo, his second performance as a Shakespearean hero within three months.

 

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