Reviews

Into The Woods

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by James Lapine. Fab Nobs Theatre. Bayswater (Vic). July 10-25, 2015

One of the joys of reviewing good community theatre is the exhilaration of seeing companies with miniscule budgets present full blown multi million dollar musicals, and sharing the passion that they imbue each show with.

Merrily We Roll Along

Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by George Furth. Riverside Lyric Ensemble. Parramatta Riverside Theatre. July 10 – 18, 2015.

This precision-paced production is a fine example of what community theatre can achieve. The direction is as creative and tight as the score itself. There are many great songs in this musical, all of which are quintessential to the characters and the tale they tell – and this production shows understanding of and respect for the special rhythms and juxtapositions that make Sondheim’s works that little bit different.

Cuckoo

By Jane Miller. 15 Minutes from Anywhere Company. At fortyfive downstairs, Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 8 – 28 July 2015

Mel (Natalie Carr) and Leo (Matthew Molony) are a suburban couple alienated from each other.  He plays with Lego; she does crossword puzzles on her computer.  They talk past each other.  He wants a dog; she doesn’t.  There’s talk of getting away somewhere, but it’s just talk.  Suddenly, they are confronted with ‘Johno’ (Samuel Russo) – a man-child – who claims to have been in a bike accident just outside, but asks if they can make him some toast.  Who is this guy?  ‘You know who I am,’ says Johno. 

We Get It

By Marcel Dorney & Rachel Perks, co-created by the performers: Tamiah Bantum, Amy Ingram, Kasia Kaczmarek, Maurial Spearim, Sonya Suares and Emily Tomlins. Elbow Room for MTC Neon. Southbank Lawler, Melbourne. 9-19 July 2015.

Within the loose framing device of a television reality show or talent quest, five actors – each going by their real life names – compete for the right to have a career as a performer.

Real Women

Book & Lyrics by Jacqueline Ozorio. Music by Matthew Samer. Director Michelle Miall. Cabaret @ The Cremorne, QPAC. 13 June 2015.

Real Womenis an hilarious new mini-musical comedy from Brisbane duo Jacqueline Ozorio and Matthew Samer. Filled with real life stories sourced from women on social media, the musical is presented as a series of character driven vignettes. The show pokes fun at the double standards facing us every day, and is about the way our minds and bodies are shaped, and how that affects our relationships to each other and to ourselves. With no real set, costumes or props to speak of, this work manages to stand on its own, entirely on the strength of the music, script and lyrics.

Noises Off

By Michael Frayn. Director: Alex Lanham. Arts Theatre, Brisbane. 4 Jul – 15 Aug 2015

Arts Theatre couldn’t have chosen a better play than Noises Off to celebrate their 1000th production. Ever since it premiered in 1982, Michael Frayn’s comedy has been called the “funniest play ever written” and this production goes a long way to proving that point.

Bear with Me

Windmill Theatre. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. July 7 – 19, 2015.

The key to children’s theatre is simplicity; words and concepts that are easily understood. Bear with Me is a delightful introduction to theatre for the young ones in the family. Songs that are easily learnt encourage the audience to join in, thereby promoting confidence in their abilities. Creative play works their young minds and the faces of the many children is testament to the fact the show is working. Add to the mix the security of everyone’s favourite teddy bear and you have an interactive production that is both challenging and entertaining.

The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein

Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks. Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan. Directed by Steven Kent. ARC Theatre (Vic). Banyule Theatre, Heidelberg. July 3rd-11th, 2015

It takes a brave theatre company to programme a musical no-one has seen in any form (though clearly much has been gleaned from the film Young Frankenstein) and which has never been performed in the state before. It’s even braver when the musical happens to be by the idiosyncratic vaudevillian Mel Brooks. Let me give huge bouquets to the terrific Heidelberg based ARC theatre for letting us see Young Frankenstein for the first time.

Blueback

By Tim Winton, adapted by Peta Murray, Directed by Phillip Mitchell. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle, WA. July 4-18, 2015

Blueback, a lovely adaptation of the novel by Tim Winton, is being revived at Spare Parts Puppet Theatre in Fremantle. The theatrical retelling by Peta Murray, is a visually focused, gentle story, perfect for a school holiday reprieve.

Possibly stronger than its previous incarnation, Blueback is presented by actors Bec Bradley and St John Cowcher, who perform almost wordlessly to a beautifully constructed narrative, supplemented by music by Don Hopkins.

The Dapto Chaser

By Mary Rachel Brown. Apocalypse Theatre and Griffin Independent. SBW Stables Theatre (NSW). July 1 – 25, 2015.

When Four Corners broadcast footage of widespread dirty deeds in the Greyhound racing industry, the producers of this play must have been as pleased as a puppy when its master returns home after a long trip.

Here was life imitating art, just a month or so before its run  ‘around the track’ in Sydney.  

Some good old fashioned research helped shape this play. The Dapto Chaser was deeply influenced by Mary Rachel Brown’s time speaking to people involved in the Dapto Dogs near Wollongong (south of Sydney ) .

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