Reviews

Sunset Boulevard

Book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Willoughby Theatre Company. Directors: Simon Greer and Andrew Castle. Musical Director: Greg Jones. Choreographer: Rebekka Osborne. The Concourse, Chatswood. November 16 – 24, 2012.

Reclusive silent movie star Norma Desmond has retreated to the faded glory of her gloomy Sunset Boulevard (Hollywood) mansion, planning her return to the screen, in the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical version of Billy Wilder’s screen classic.

Willoughby Theatre Company has mounted the NSW Premiere of this grand musical theatre diva vehicle in great style.

Calendar Girls

By Tom Firth. Brisbane Arts Theatre. 10 November – 15 December, 2012.

What a great choice for the lead-up to the Festive Season! This Calendar Girls is family-friendly and focuses on the comedy of how to keep photos of mature nude women posing for a calendar, decent and artistic. They succeed!

Murdered to Death

By Peter Gordon. Director: Dawn Ridsdale. Frankston Theatre Group Nov 16th – Dec 2nd, 2012

Frankston Theatre Group has been entertaining the Peninsula for over 70 years and their latest production is sure to please the stalwart supporters. Presented in cabaret style at Mt Eliza Community Hall, it allowed audience members to bring wine and nibbles and get into the mood of the play, the very funny Murdered to Death – a Whodunnit which tips its hat to Agatha Christie – even down to a busybody “Miss Maple” from the local village.

The 39 Steps

By Patrick Barlow. Director: Doug Bennett. 1812 Theatre (Vic). Nov 15th – December 8th, 2012

What a delightful Christmas treat the 1812 has on offer! Even if you’re not normally a theatregoer, you will love this latest production of Patrick Barlow’s comedy spoof on John Buchan’s novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic 1935 movie. There are spies, Nazis, murders, beautiful women, and a hapless rake of a hero on the run in Richard Hannay. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a thriller, as one poor elderly and somewhat deaf audience member did on opening night. He got very confused by the hysterical laughter in the audience.

Midsummer

By David Greig. Music by Gordon McIntyre. Red Stitch (VIC). Red Stitch Actors Theatre. Director: John Kachoyan. November 16 – December 15, 2012

Life can be like a poker game in the world of Midsummer. Turn the card over and you may be lucky and win; or turn it over and you may not get what you hoped for.

Helena and Bob, the unlikely couple in Scottish playwright David Greig’s romantic comedy performed by Red Stitch, play the game of yes, no or maybe, leaving destiny hanging - they may end up together or they may not, it depends on the choices they make, choices that seem inconsequential at the time but could alter the future.

Fast + Fresh Dance 2012

Presented by Form Dance Projects and Riverside. Lennox Theatre, Riverside Parramatta (NSW). Heats 14 & 15 Nov, Final 17 Nov 2012.

More than a hundred young choreographers and dancers competed in this year’s installment of Fast + Fresh Dance, resulting in 15 short dance pieces being performed at Saturday night’s Gala Final. Artists aged under 21 travelled from as far as Inner Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast to be a part of this exciting project in it’s fifth year.

The Music Man

By Meredith Willson. Beenleigh Theatre Group. 26 Oct -10 Nov 2012

This show contained some of the finest work I have seen from this group in recent years. That is to say, it had many magic moments when everything fell together. Credit for this lay mostly with Sally Daly’s astute casting and thorough rehearsal, and Christopher King’s effective choreography.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Music and Lyrics by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman. Adapated for the stage by Jeremy Sams and Ray Roderick. Based on a story by Ian Fleming. Producer: Tim Lawson. Director: Roger Hodgman. Capitol Theatre, Sydney from November 17, 2012. Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne from January 30, 2013.

Sometimes an off-the-production-line vehicle needs a few kilometres under its belt to iron out those new car bugs. Such was the case with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was mildly afflicted by audio gremlins and a lack of pace in the first act on opening night.

No doubt as the production flies around Australia, these will be ironed out and Chitty will be purring like a well-oiled Jaguar.

The audience was determined to have a good time. Clapping  (and perhaps a few also humming) along to the familiar tune even during the overture.

A Chorus Line

Music: Marvin Hamlisch. Lyrics: Edward Kleban. Book: James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante. Director: Baayork Lee. Musical Director: Paul White. Tim Lawson Production. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. From 16 Nov 2012

After playing sell-out seasons in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Singapore, this new production of A Chorus Line finally arrived in Brisbane. I was apprehensive about seeing it, having fond memories of the original Broadway production which I’d seen in 1975, early in its record-breaking 15 year run, and of the original Australian cast in 1977 (the only times I have ever seen the show), but as it turned out I need not have worried. Producer Tim Lawson had done the work proud. Not only is it exhilarating, but exciting musical theatre.

Glimpse

Devised and performed by Michala Banas, Tom Barton, Keith Brockett, Mark Diaco, Marg Downey, Dan Hamill, Linc Hasler and Laura Maitland. Kin Collective (VIC) Fortyfivedownstairs. Directed by Laura Maitland with Associate Director Noni Hazlehurst. November 14 – December 2, 2012

Glimpse has morphed out of what actors love to do; that is, meet together, improvise, and wait for art to be born.

Kin Collective, a new and independent theatre company, boasting an eminent ensemble of Australian actors and collaborators, originated out of the idea of coming together to try things out; and what has resulted is an absorbing production that is mature and intelligent, and at times truly heartbreaking.

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