Reviews

The Red Apple / Trouble in Tahiti

By Jacques Offenbach / Leonard Bernstein. Lyric Opera of Melbourne. Chapel off Chapel. Director: Nathan Gilkes. Conductor: Pat Miller. April 21 – 29, 2012.

Lyric Opera of Melbourne continues to introduce rarely heard operas to the Melbourne public and from what I saw the public responded well.

The Red Apple is an Offenbach operetta with a new translation by Pat Miller. In spite of the flimsy plot Kate Amos, Michael Lapina and Bruce Raggatt gave convincing performances. Michael was in thrilling form, and Kate and Bruce, a G&S specialist, were also strong performers.

Lou Sanz: Neverending Storage

Matchbox @ The Factory Theatre, Marrickville. April 25 – 29, 2012.

We're informed that this performance is flowing smoothly, subsequent to opening night, and that the Festival organisers / venue have ironed out the technical issues mentioned in our review.

Xanadu

By Douglas Carter Beane, Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. Mosman Musical Society (NSW). Director: Anthony Young. Zenith Theatre, Chatswood. April 20 – 28, 2012.

In Xanadu does Mosman’s show

A zany fun-filled night decree.

This affectionate stage musical send-up turns cult classic Xanadu, regularly rated amongst the worst movie musicals ever made, into a laugh-filled romp.

Seen the movie? That may well broaden your smile. Lived through the disco era? That will certainly tickle a funny bone or two. But this production feels like an all-round crowd-pleaser.

Mosman’s production is a cute, cheeky, high-camp disco frolic.

Amadeus

By Peter Shaffer. The Launceston Players. Earl Arts Centre, Launceston (Tas). Director: Jeff Hockley. April 19 – 28, 2012

Amadeus by Peter Shaffer is not a history play of the life of Mozart although it is peopled by many of the grand characters of the time. It is also a way to investigate Shaffer’s own creative question: if there is a God, is God acting and caring for us? The ghosts of Salieri and Mozart form the basis for the exposition of that argument, using the audience as the sounding board. A clever ploy, beautifully executed by director Jeff Hockley.

The Pirates of Penzance

By Gilbert and Sullivan. Northern Light Theatre Company (SA). Shedley Theatre. April 13 – 28, 2012

If you will excuse the pun, the Northern Light Theatre Company’s latest offering of the The Pirates of Penzance is the very model of a modern tilt at G & S.

Sue Pole’s direction of the show is cleverly consistent and shows both a respect and understanding of the subtle cerebral gymnastics of the dialogue. Choreographically Kerreanne Sarti’s vision trundles along well with interesting shape and movement. Tammy Papps’ musical control of the orchestra and cast kept the show moving along with strength.

Plague Dances

By Four Larks (Mat Diafos Sweeney, Sebastian Peters-Lazaro & Jesse Rasumssen) and Marcel Dorney. Four Larks Theatre. Music Composition and Direction Mat Diafos Sweeney, arranged in collaboration with the musicians. Lyrics Jesse Rasmussen. Direction: Mat Diafos Sweeney, Jesse Rasmussen, Sebastian Peters-Lazaro (movement). The Tower – Malthouse Theatre. April 14 -29, 2012.

Plague Dances is a well-crafted, evocative and haunting work melded with the exquisite use of instrumentation and the singing voice.

Singin’ In the Rain

Music& Lyrics: Nacio Herb Brown, Arthur Freed, Al Goodhart, Al Hoffman, Roger Edens, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Edward Heyman. Book: Betty Comden & Adolph Green. Director: Madeleine Johns. Musical Director: Sherree Drummond. Choreographer: Meredith Johns. Redcliffe Musical Theatre, Redcliffe Cultural Centre, Redcliffe, Qld, April 20 - 29, 2012

Singin’ In the Rain is one of the all-time great movie musicals, if not the greatest, but the stage adaptation is not one of the all-time great stage musicals. Stretching the 103 minute film to over 2-hours labors the story and diffuses the wit even with a book by screenplay writers Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The other problem is the story’s set-up which is slow and there are no big production numbers in the first act and only one in the second.

April’s Fool

By David Burton. Judith Wright Centre of Creative Arts, Brisbane. April 20-21, then on national tour until June.

This is one of the finest pieces of educational theatre I have seen.

We become engrossed and finally shattered by the ending, despite its inevitability. Credit must go to the inspired casting and direction of David Burton’s script by Lewis Jones.

After Toowoomba teenager, Kristjan Terauds’drug-related death in 2009,

An Appointment with J Dark

Triage Live Art Collective. Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall. April 18 – May 6, 2012.

Friends warned me to be on my guard when I told them I was going to experience a piece of 'live art' in which I would be the sole audience member. I had booked in for an appointment with 'J Dark', and would be taken through the labrynthine backrooms and stairwells of the North Melbourne Town hall for what sounded like a cat-and-mouse psychological game. Would I end up running out of the building? Probably.

Actually no, I didn't run away but if you're going to participate in this risky type of theatre, it's good to know you have the option.

More or Less Concrete

Arts House – North Melbourne Town Hall. Choreographer/Director Tim Darbyshire. Sound Designer: Jem Savage. Original Sound Concept: Myles Mumford. Lighting and Set Designer: Ben (Bosco) Shaw for Bluebottle 2. Dramaturge/Sound Theorist: Thembi Soddell. April 18 -22, 2012

Innovative, collaborative, inspiring, visceral and hypnotic, More or Less Concrete could be interpreted as a work about the nature of different and changing forms of concrete - however it is much more than that. 

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