All Shook Up

Matt Byrne Media. Touring the Arts / Shedley / Chaffey theatres (SA) until July 31

Matt Byrne Media's Adelaide premiere of All Shook Up opened at the Arts Theatre to an almost full house. However, design issues appear to have translated into technical problems, which the cast may struggle to overcome throughout the run. The colourful cast worked hard to deliver the Elvis inspired musical, but sound levels, lighting and choreography standards have impacted on the production quality.

The Merry Widow

Operetta by Franz Lehar. English Book & Lyrics: Christopher Hassell. Opera Queensland. Opened 10 July, 2010, Conservatorium Theatre, South Bank, Brisbane. Director: Anna Sweeny. Conductor: Kellie Dickerson

Queensland’s new Merry Widow, Antoinette Halloran, is charming and delightful, sings gloriously, and looks like 20 million dollars (the sum she has just inherited plotwise), on her entrance, in Opera Queensland’s The Merry Widow, but Anna Sweeny’s production is like a glass of flat champagne, there’s no effervescence. Jason Barry-Smith sang well, but was miscast as the dashingly, dissolute Danilo. He’s a terrific character performer, but he’s no leading man.

The Art of Being Still.

Written and directed by Steven Dawson. Out Cast Theatre. Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre, Melbourne, until July 17.

In the early 1990s, when I first saw The Art of Being Still, I can remember being quite surprised that a play about the immense personal tragedy caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic could hardly bring itself to mention the actual circumstances of the ‘absent friend’s’ death. I remember having a large number of conversations with people about this ‘notion of invisibility’ at the time.


Freely adapted from Jean Luc Godard’s film Week End. Written by Matthew Lambert. Created and Directed by Lynne Ellis. Created and Designed by Paul Blackman. Sound Designer – Robert Jordan. Lighting Designer – Mitch Ellis Performed by Sam Sejavka, Francis McMahon, Ben Andrews, Christian Bagin and Imogen Sage. La Mama Courthouse Theatre. June 30 - July 18.

“A play adrift in the cosmos. A play found in the scrap heap. In between the space of these two statements we have attempted to evoke the artistic freedom that was so inspiring in the ‘mise en scene’ of Jean Luc-Godards’ film Week End. Vive La Revolution.” This statement by consummate Director Lynne Ellis appears to locate the starting point for the amusing, entertaining, wholly outrageous romp of a piece of theatre that is Weekend.

Beaudy The Musical

Written and composed by Michael Orland. NIDA Sydney

Sometimes a production is so awful that it almost becomes entertaining … much like a farce. Such was the case with Beaudy the Musical which, just when you thought it could not get any worse, it did and more so. According to the program Michael Orland started writing ‘Beaudy’ 28 years ago. I understand that he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money putting it on with a large professional cast, orchestra, venue and a publicity machine with all the trimmings. He was told this was not wise – but pressed on.

Entertaining Mr. Sloane by Joe Orton

State Theatre Company of SA – Dunstan Playhouse 2 - 25 July

Entertaining Mr. Sloane by Joe Orton tells the story of a teen boy who takes up lodgings with the sex starved Kath and her elderly father after a chance meeting at the library. Kath’s live-in father, hard of hearing and slowing in memory, recognises Sloane from the past and identifies him as the murderer of his old boss. So infatuated by Sloane is Kath, that she pays no attention to her father’s warning.

Miss Saigon

by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Boublil and Richard Maltby, Jr. Ballina Players. Directors: Sue & Paul Belsham

A difficult show for any company to present, Ballina’s production contained all the right elements to make it a memorable show. The strong principal line up was headed by Dean Salonga (a cast member of the original 1995 professional production) as the Engineer and capably supported by Grace Cockburn – Kim, Dean Doyle – Chris, Jessie Matthews-Cooke – John, Brian Pamphilon – Thuy and Meredith Betts – Ellen.

The Truth About Fairytales.

Performed by Sharon Kirschner. Accompanied by Trevor Jones. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne.

I tip my hat to anyone who dares get up on stage to perform on their own. Anyone who has ever done it knows how terrifyingly exhilarating it can be. I am also always especially thrilled to have the opportunity to see young performers taking to the stage of Melbourne’s cabaret gem of a venue – The Butterfly Club. Here, in spite of its glittering façade, welcoming bar, utterly charming staff, and a fascinating and enviable collection of bric-a-brac, is a stunning little cabaret room and tiny stage that forgives nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The Arcadians by Lionel Monckton and Howard Talbot. New Book by Mel Morrow.

Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Victoria. Director: Robert Ray. Musical Director: Ben Kiley. June 25 - July 10, 2010

The Gilbert and Sullivan Society broke with tradition to perform The Arcadians at the Malvern Theatre, and this proved very successful. A much smaller theatre than the Alex, there was no problem hearing all the singers, and the small orchestra (keyboard, violin and oboe) worked well, though a recording was used for the overture.

West Side Story by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.

Lyric Theatre, Sydney. Director: Joey McKneely. Musical Director: Donald Chan. Jerome Robbins’ original choreography recreated by Joey McKneely. July 4 to August 15, then touring.

Fifty years since Australian audiences first saw West Side Story, the balletic musical theatre reinterpretation of Romeo and Juliet, set amidst New York’s inter-racial gang wars, is indelibly etched on theatrical and cinematic consciousnesses.

Prior to rehearsals, director Joey McKneely told me that Jerome Robbins’ choreography is the DNA of West Side Story.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.