Reviews

A Streetcar Named Desire

By Tennessee Williams. New Farm Nash Theatre (Qld). Nash Theatre, Brisbane. May 11 – June 1, 2013

This community theatre had a gypsy history since its 1994 inception at Nash Street School of Arts in Rosalie, whence they were moved to Balfour Street, New Farm (1996), then a live theatre stint on one stage of the Valley Twin Cinemas, followed by a roving year in 2004 until they settled in the Merthyr Road Uniting Church Hall which they now call ‘home’. Nash re-established their reputation and now attracts a loyal following. The stage has limitations but they are used to adjusting to performance spaces.         

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Chatswood Musical Society. Director: Matt Cater. Musical Director: Hayden Barltrop. Choreographer: Laura-Beth Wood. Zenith Theatre, Chatswood (NSW). May 10 – 18, 2013.

Chatswood Musical Society’s ‘Joseph’ is one of those community theatre shows that starts off strongly, then just keeps on fulfilling, and even exceeding, its initial bright promise.

The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe

Conceived and led by Ros Horin. A co-production between Racing Pulse Productions, Riverside and Belvoir in association with NSW Service for the rehabilitation and treatment of refugees (STARTTS). Lennox Theatre, Riverside - 9 May to 18, 2013 & Downstairs Theatre, Belvoir - 15 August to 8 September, 2013.

This important piece of verbatim theatre needs to be seen and lauded for many reasons. There’s the sheer courage of the women who have been prepared to share their stories. There’s the intricate way Ros Horin has woven those stories into an extraordinary piece of theatre. There’s the vitality and enthusiasm of the performers.

Grease

By Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Hornsby Musical Society. Director: Phyllis Horne. Musical Director: David Morgan. Choreographer: Laurie Tancred. Hornsby RSL. May 3 – 11, 2013.

Getting in just ahead of the big-name, big budget professional revival touring Australia later this year, Hornsby Musical Society’s bright, energetic no-frills version reminds just why Grease is such a staple for schools and young amateur casts, despite the dubious morality of its ending.

The current version combines the favourite songs from the film with the original stage script and score.

About Tommy

By Thor Bjorn Krebs, translated by David Duchin. Directed by Kat Henry. Red Stitch Actors Theatre, 2 Chapel St, Kilda. April 26 - May 25, 2013.

About Tommy is a challenging piece of theatre to stage. Translated into English from Thor Bjorn Krebs' original Danish, it presents us with windows into the experiences of a young Danish soldier sent to 1990s Yugoslavia as part of the UN peacekeeping force. Plunged into the midst of the Serbo-Croat conflict, Tommy and his fellow soldiers are in the difficult situation of being unable to initiate fire against enemy attack even when their own lives are directly threatened - and this is just one of many complexities confronting them in the war-torn, alien environment.

FRANKENSTEIN

By Nick Dear. Ensemble Theatre Production. Director Mark Kilmurry. Original music by Elena Kats-Chernin. Street Theatre, Canberra, May 7 – 11, 2013, then touring to various venues through Victoria, Tasmania, Qld and NSW, finishing in Wollongong on August 10.

Frankenstein, based upon Mary Shelley’s classic gothic tale, is a daring and confronting re-imagining that fills the senses. In this 110 minute, one act play, the emotions, morals and empathy of the audience are held captive in silence and awe.

Mother, Wife, and the Complicated Life

Book and Lyrics: Amity Dry. Music: Amity Dry & Mark Simeon Ferguson. Popjam Productions. Designer/Director - David Lampard. Musical Director - Mark Simeon Ferguson. Lighting Design - Emily VanWinkle. Chapel Off Chapel, Prahran - 1st to 5th May, 2013. Everest Theatre, Seymour Centre, Sydney - 23rd May to 1st June 2013.

In this new musical we enter the world of four friends, each at a different stage of the marriage and motherhood experience.   Lily (Rosanne Hoskings) is the thriving restaurant owner, married to a loving husband and mother of two;  Bec (Nikki Aitken) is the stay at home mum with three kids under 3; Jessie (Rachel McCall) is hanging out for her boyfriend to propose so she can stop hiding the bridal magazines and Kate (Amity Dry) is the career woman who finds her planned future altered dramatically by an unexpected pregnancy.

They’re Playing Our Song

By Neil Simon, Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer-Sager. HIT Productions. Director / choreographer: Terence O’Connell. Musical Director: Robyn Womersley. Theatre Royal, Sydney, May 3 & 4, 2013, and touring.

Touring productions, pared back to the basics, in this case, two talented music theatre performers, supported on keyboards by their accomplished musical director, have their own distinct joys.

In a charm piece like They’re Playing Our Song, you can sacrifice the sets, but never the performances.

Frankenstein

By Mary Shelley, adapted by Brenna Lee-Cooney. Fractal Theatre. Brisbane Arts Theatre. 3 to 18 May, 2013.

Everyone has heard of Frankenstein but few know the story. Here is your opportunity!

Fractal Theatre’s version attempts to perform the original so you can understand Mary Shelley’s rather naïve novel, now a literary classic. Fractal also uses an amazingly versatile stage design that adds to the horror of the story. Their cast features some of Queensland’s top actors to narrate the story. That alone justifies your visit.

All My Sons

By Arthur Miller. Newcastle Theatre Company, Lambton. Directed by Janet Nelson. April 27 – May 11, 2013.

NTC celebrates 55 years of community theatre in the Hunter region this year. Their third production is Arthur Miller's first Broadway smash – All My Sons.

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